Posted on October 17, 2006 by Doolwind

The Importance Of Finishing What You Start

I’ve been requested by Shiva to write an article on the “Importance of finishing what you start”. Whether you’re an indie developer, looking for a job in the industry or running a large game development house, finishing what you start is important for you.

1) Respect

No matter who you are, respect is something you should always be striving to receive. Look over the web and you’ll find thousands of half finished games, mods and tech demos. Finishing the game you’re working on will make you stand out and show that you deserve respect for actually finishing a project. You don’t need to make the latest and greatest game as more importantly you show that you know your own limits.

2) Income

This one is a no-brainer. If you’re planning to make any revenue from your game, then it actually needs to be finished. This is a fine juggling act of making a game with big enough scope that people will actually want to pay for it and making something small enough that your current team is capable of finishing it.

3) The boring bits

Many people get caught up doing the ‘fun’ parts of game development and then give up on the project when the tedium sets in. Unfortunately it’s a natural part of the games industry that there are boring and repetitive tasks that must be completed. By finishing an entire project you’ll not only learn which bits are boring but you may find certain areas you didn’t realize you’d enjoy so much. I never though I’d like UI coding, however after doing it myself I’ve found that it’s less painful that I first thought. It also lets you decide which areas of game development you want to focus on.

4) We’ll just patch it

This one’s going out to all the professional game developers in the world. I can’t believe it’s become acceptable that people don’t properly finish creating their game and still expect to charge full price for it. Finish what you started and THEN release it to the general public. I understand that time constraints mean some games have to come out before they’re ready, but at least follow in the footsteps of good games companies and patch it properly and completely until it’s finished. This problem seems to be a result of the way the industry is at the moment, however if we got into this mess, we can get out of it by reducing the scope of games and making sure they are finished before they’re released. The most powerful person in this situation is you! Don’t buy games that aren’t finished, either forgo the game entirely or wait until it’s been patched to completion and then buy it at a lower price.

5) It’s done when it’s done

I live in Australia, so I don’t have a lot of choice with where to work in the games industry. If I did live in the US, a big draw card for companies would be those that finish games ‘When they’re done’. What these developers are saying is that they understand the software development business, and there will be delays. They don’t want to bring out a product that’s half baked or bug ridden. These people are taking ‘finishing what the started’ to the extreme. The antithesis of this is a company that never brings out a game. Who’s going to go and work for 3D Realms? They’re the laughing stock of the industry.

So I hope that’s given some insight into reasons why, no matter who you are in the industry, you need to stop and make sure you finish what you start, it’s often easy to overlook the deeper repercussions from your actions.

Other News (Link ‘O Rama)

In other news, I have a few recommendations for books for anyone that doesn’t read Joel on Software and so haven’t had them recommended already. Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware are both excellent books and are helping me with my decisions about what direction I want to take my career in the coming years. I brought Company of Heores (which I compared to Paraworld in a previous blog) and I highly recommend it for anyone sick of the current round of RTS games in the market. Also, check out this youtube video created by a colleague at work with the art done by Shauno. The wedding and honeymoon were perfect and I look forward to growing old with Kellie :).