Polish or develop first?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Kirbyrocket, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Kirbyrocket

    Kirbyrocket Member

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    I've heard many people take different stances on the argument of whether or not they should polish the design of their game at an early stage of its development, but I'm curious what the general consensus is on this matter.

    I personally prefer to
     
  2. Kyon

    Kyon Member

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    I polish a lot during my development.
    But now while I'm in the middle of a big project I would suggest to not really do that.
    Or atleast, idk, not too much. It takes way more time and I now see the benefits of prototyping ideas first.
    Just prototype stuff quickly. Try to make your game before polishing it I guess.

    But that said, it all depends on the game. If you have a game based around a mechanic than maybe it's necessary to polish that mechanic so you can design around it better.



    Ps. also, I'm saying this, even though I won't change. I can't stand unpolished features. Even while testing is. So slow-development (and polishing) is a choice for me.
     
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  3. Kirbyrocket

    Kirbyrocket Member

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    That's my one thing especially. I feel like if I'm ever going to present my game to someone, especially as a prototype, it should look appealing to the audience regardless if there's minor bugs currently.

    For example, one of my main focused games soon to be going on Kickstarter is a fighting game with a very specific and niche concept that can help for both accessibility and porting to all other devices. Regardless of how great of a concept it is though, if it doesn't visually or audibly sound pleasant, then I know I wouldn't be proud asking for any sort of funds for it.
     
  4. nacho_chicken

    nacho_chicken Member

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    For demos and presentation videos, you just have to make the parts that are being shown look good. The rest of the game can be a buggy mess or straight-up not even exist yet. You certainly don't have to polish the entire game to show it off.
     
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  5. Kyon

    Kyon Member

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    ok so yeah, if you're talking about putting a demo on kickstarter. Then YES polish it.
    For releases in general or playtests with larger amounts of people I would suggest atleast a bit of polish in your demo.
    But most people don't really do that until about 70% of their game is done.
     
  6. Kirbyrocket

    Kirbyrocket Member

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    I guess it's just because of how picky I can be sometimes since I just find it easier to understand what I'm working with otherwise.
     
  7. ajan-ko

    ajan-ko Member

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    It depends, if you want to make this into real thing then...
    Get your audience first, build your core audience.

    Basically business divided into 3 main category...

    1. Things that give you money. Example, sales, building audience, marketing, kickstarter, etc.
    2. Things that losing you money. Example, IT cost, polishing, creating features, rebuilding, hiring helpers, etc.
    3. Profit. Aka Point 1 minus point 2.

    You need to focus on point one. What things that gives you money? Kickstarter, and building audience right? So it's better to make:

    A. Small but polished game. To build your core base bit by bit. Just one stage. Same BGM, but polished.
    B. A small polished prototype or concept art you can use to kickstart the game.

    If you already get the point 1 then it's up to you to speed the development process by polishing it later.





    But if you want to just be a hobby. Then just polish it later.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  8. Bayesian

    Bayesian Member

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    I like to use the MVP method of creating a Minimal Viable Product.

    Strip down your game idea to its most basic functions and gameplay. And create a build of that in about six weeks and see how far you get. It can be a bunch of BS code just get something working to some approximation. Just don't start over.

    From there you'll know what needs polish and what needs to be redesigned.
     
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  9. Yal

    Yal GMC Memer GMC Elder

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    I'd say that polish is necessary and you should polish code as early as possible, e.g. core physics... because if you change the physics later, you could potentially make older levels unbeatable. (I've had first-hand cases with that, and it causes a lot of extra work). Set these things in stone early in the project and make sure the core gameplay is fun, otherwise either players will not enjoy the game, or you'll stop enjoying it yourself and never finish it. But visual polish is a lot less important, and you can save that for last. I'd recommend cutting down on ANIMATION polish until the game nears release, most of your promotional material is going to be still images and they'll look just fine without animations, and animations take a lot more work than single sprite frames.
     
  10. Kyon

    Kyon Member

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    The first speaker of this talk has some good strategies for this:


    He talks about adding polish-placeholders. Like, do add little sounds and screenshakes as early as possible.
    But finetune them way later on.
     
  11. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    you cannot polish somthing you do not have, your first concearn is to make a game and to have fun, then expand that and with time you will also polish where it is nececery, where it is not nececery there is no need for polishing, you will be simply wasting your time if you engage in polishing for its own sake.
    overall my standpoint is polish game elements when nececery. well written code comes from practice and creativity.
     
  12. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Supposedly Mario 64 was just Mario in a room for the first year to get the jumping to feel right. If it's good enough for a global company to polish first, then it's good enough for the rest of us. You don't know how to design levels until you know what you have.

    From the reaction I get on Twitter, people would rather see a polished game with wow factor than anything else. This is useful to build the hype as you can show off that polish for years as you develop. Show off a meh looking game and people will lose interest and move on real fast and that loss of interest sticks with people.

    As for development vs polish, they kind of go hand in hand since development is part of the polish process as development is a catch all term. However, you can do an on off method. When you get bored of pushing your game further, you can polish what you have. If you get tired of getting bogged down in the details, you can push your game further with broader strokes of development. Develop with one hand, polish with the other.

    When I push forward with development, I like to play the entire game once a week. That will remind me of highs and lows of the game, where you need to polish and make it feel better. Even what to cut. If I play something that I developed months ago, I will turn into just a player and get reminded where you need to put more effort with what I have. I've cut 90 minute games down to 45 to make it more enjoyable. That too is part of the polish process.

    Seen below was 2 months of polish during development on and off. From the backgrounds, to the jumping, to the particles, to the explosions, to the slashes, animations, the FX, doing a different kind of screen shake for hits and explosions, the controller rumble, how the sword hits, how enemies react when hit, making the emoticons pop, the parallax, the moving clouds vs player movement to not make you sick, how the enemies die, what happens as they die, the name pop up, the layering of tiles, how the life meter reacts when you take damage. It's less of a look than a feel. Everything blends together like making a soup. You either have salt water or you have something that can make an entree for $35 at a fancy restaurant.

    [​IMG]

    Screenshake is easy and a lot of developers do a pretty ghetto version of it where you can see the edge of the screen. I always prefer to do sounds last as sound can enhance things, but if you have a good game before you add sound and music, then you have something special.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  13. Gravityhamster48

    Gravityhamster48 Member

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    I think a lot of people look down on polishing during development, but I beg to differ.

    I pretty much begin polishing right out of the gate on my projects. I like to see what I'm making while I'm making it. For example, in my current project, "GunDown", I polished all the way through. Within the first few weeks of development I made the lighting system. When I made a new gun, I worked it over, nit-picking small things like speed and damage and any recoil to get it just how I wanted it. Right out of the gate I made a player sprite and used some tile-sets I had created in a previously dropped project (which basically became this game). I made all the sprites for the enemies as I created my enemies and I wrote/produced all my music as I needed it. I created the sound effects pretty much as they were needed too, although any voice-acting I did quite a while after I created what needed it because I needed a quiet time to record it.

    For comparison, here's some really early gameplay:

    And here's gameplay much much farther along. About a year of development later:


    You can see that a lot of the polishing I did at the beginning was kept throughout the game, just added to.

    This is just the way I think. I just can't stand to look at a bunch of static colored boxes and circles. It helps me view the gameplay when I can see what it's going to look like. Also, it means more early on you have a playable part of the game for people. Sure it slows down the process and some would argue it's just bad practice, but it worked for me. Now I don't have a bunch of sprites and music to make all at once.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  14. Niels

    Niels Member

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    I usually do this:
    -Build a feature
    -test and tune it
    -polish it
    -start on a new feature.
    -repeat

    The reason why I do this, is because I find it hard to stay motivated at a project that looks crap and plays crap.
     
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  15. pixeltroid

    pixeltroid Member

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    If by development you mean adding features and mechanics....

    You cant spend too much time polishing one feature or mechanic without doing anything else, because you will be getting too little done. And you also cant keep developing too many things without polishing any of them, because then you will have too much to polish later.

    There needs to be a middle ground. So IMO the best thing to do is develop a feature and polish it a bit so it feels like you have a cool feature, before you move on to develop something else. But make sure to hold reviews and return to older features that you thought you were done and polish them. That way you not only advance in development, but also have a more polished product as time passes.

    In my case, I recently went back to review enemy attack patterns I did in 2016! I decided to tweak them a bit and the result was that (IMO) they were greatly improved and was thus a good thing for the game.

    Polishing graphics is something else altogether. Every once in a while I see an indie game that's so visually beautiful, I feel like my work looks like crap and I become obsessed with redoing graphics. But I know its not feasible, so I just say "enough" and move on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019 at 9:56 AM
  16. mikix

    mikix Member

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    Make a game out of your features, start over, repeat. Now you have your dream game. Polish it until it's put into maintenance mode. You have to release your games some day. :)
     

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