Dev Snapshot 03: Problems Sir?

August 7th, 2010 by Shaun Milne

Game development is risky. There's a risk there might be a pipeline problem half way through. There's a risk there might be a game breaking bug. There's a risk the end product might not actually be fun. There are hundreds of risk factors.

Most likely, no matter how hard you prepare or think you are prepared in advance - something will go wrong. It might be small, but it will happen. It's like our brains force it to happen.

My method of risk management initially involves imagining all the possible problem areas that can go wrong before the project starts. I do this partly by imagining the complete development process, the tasks that need to be completed, the pipeline and flow and order of tasks. This also acts as a sort of vision, a goal that I'll work towards, day to day, to keep me on track. Our brains can work a lot faster than we can physically, it won't solve it for you, but it might make you more aware of potential pitfalls - on a subconscious level or not.

There are some risks you can't avoid however, and these are usually third party risks out with your control. My problems this week have revolved around the Unity beta crashing almost constantly when building for the device, and the implementation of OpenFeint for leaderboards. The unity bug is now resolved with the latest patch, but I think I won't be implementing OpenFeint after all, as my initial tests proved it to be slightly sluggish on the iPhone 3G. I hate implementing leaderboards, it feels like I do them at least once a month!

Next week, I'll be doing the dreaded sound design of all the enemies, designing and adding some sweet weaponry and hopefully finishing up the user interface and overall flow. The gameplay is coming along nicely, just needs some balancing work and more behaviours. I think this is the end of week 6, and my planning is only for a total of 8 weeks broken up into 4 smaller, 2 week sprints, so I guess this will be the final push. \o/

And then it begins again.

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