Rookie Mistakes!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ragpuppy87, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. WaywardMartian

    WaywardMartian Is sometimes a giant bee Veteran

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    - Trying to cram in every single feature you like to make one Ultimate Game. Great for practice, lousy for actually making something coherent. ;)

    - Asking other people what you should include/not include. There are multiple threads on this forum of people bickering because one believes you cannot have a good game without Feature A and another would rather take off their own head than ever see Feature A used again.

    - Treating every negative review as equal. Good criticism will help you make your game the best version of itself, whatever that is. It'll help you clarify plot and character motivations, tighten your battle system, give clearer instructions to your puzzles. Bad criticism is usually just 'I don't like horror/puzzles/RTP graphics/Pokemons' and, like, so what? You aren't even the audience I'm writing for, my audience loves Horror Pokemon Puzzletime.

    - Beating yourself up over not finishing something that's grown too big for you to handle, or is fundamentally broken, or you're just bored of it and don't want to do it any more. It's okay to declare something to be a practice run, shelve it, and start something new. And if you shelved it from boredom, your motivation might come back after you've spent some time doing other things.
     
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  2. Black Pagan

    Black Pagan Veteran Veteran

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    I'v been working on a Mini Game Project but sadly now I have to abandon it after putting weeks of effort into it. The reason is simple, A lot of Resources available to me just don't fit in with the Plot and Flow of the Game and it ended up feeling awkward.

    So I wish I had first gone through available resources before starting the game. But oh well, That's just another lesson learnt - Plan all your Resources before even attempting to make a Game, Not just a few, ALL OF THEM from Start to Finish !
     
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  3. Switz

    Switz Veteran Veteran

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    If collaborating with another developer, besides the obvious (trust/respect), even though each of you will have your "areas" your in charge of, you WILL be each other's main critic up until playtesting and outsiders get to start filling that role.

    It is okay to be a critic. That's how you make your game better. "Bob, in the story you have Evil King come from the other world, but what if instead he is actually not from any world!?"

    Okay crappy example, but just is, your story WILL change even if you think you have a rock hard story/script in mind and thing you are both on the same page. And you may very well be, but after a year or two in development, your game will always start breathing life into unforseen plot twists and narratives. It happens, and it's good that it happens. Embrace them.

    So with that being said, I cannot recommend this enough.

    Make a incredibly low detailed, quickly built trash version of your game. Towns that are just blocks with no windows or doors, no cutscenes using evented characters moving around, etc.

    While spending 1-2 months on this "project", you'll get more story plot ideas as you progress that you didn't even realize or think of originally.

    Eventually this becomes your scaffold for your actual game. And it's easy to edit parts not yet made in the real copy so it serves as the pace maker for your real game.
     
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  4. StaticUndertones

    StaticUndertones Veteran Veteran

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    From my personal experience, the big mistake was planning a game before I fully understood what sort of limitations there would be, either with myself or with the system, and underestimating how long even small details take.
     
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  5. Darkanine

    Darkanine ...In my thoughts and in my dreams... Veteran

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    Honestly...a few tech/wonder quotes from the Civ games really influenced my design philosophy and made me realized I was making mistakes in my games. Namely "A man knows when he's achieved perfection not when theirs anything more to add, but when theirs nothing to take away" and "achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time"

    The first one helped me realize what a ton of people already said - Don't add in features because you think they're cool and shiny, add them because you think they'll truly add to your game. One or two unneeded features can be forgiven, but when you have a lot, it feels seriously to much.

    The other can be applied to pretty much any creative project - Pace yourself! Doing to much in a short period of time inevitably leads to burn out. Giving yourself, say, an hour or or a day to work on a specific task generally helps me stay productive.
     
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  6. BURNING_JUSTICE_Games

    BURNING_JUSTICE_Games Warper Member

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    This is a big one! It's always a good idea to plan out your game so you have direction when you start putting it together, but definitely be flexible and open to changes during development! Some of your ideas might not work as well as you envisioned them, some ideas might have to be tweaked, and some might not be feasible at all!
     
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  7. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Plan everything first.

    1. You need the 10 basic plot points of any story you create. If you can't come up with 10, you don't have a story. If you have more than 10, see if you can condense them down to 10.

    2. If you have to spend time rearranging everything in the database, you've done something wrong. Plan things out in a spreadsheet, on notebook paper... SOMETHING. You won't regret it later. You'll be thankful you've spent a few months doing some planning.

    3. Learning game theory is important as well as listening to those in the industry. However, knowing this stuff does not make you an expert. There is zero substitute for your own experience. Watching things like "Extra Credits" or anyone else currently in the industry will give you an accurate barometer for where the industry is and why it might possibly be stagnating, but it will not necessarily help you create a game. It will often help you create a game that doesn't stand out and that is "just like every other game". The gaming industry is built on copying others rather than innovation.

    4. Do not take any criticism personally. There are times when criticism will be pointed at you personally. Ignore it. Criticism is a chance to see what does and does not work. If someone is having an issue with your game or feature, you need to listen to them. You do not know everything. Not even about your own game.

    5. Playtest often. Even if you can only get 4 people to do it for you. Do not hover over their shoulder. Do not offer anything to them. Tell them "play this" and watch them play. Have them record it if possible. Watching someone play your game is more valuable than just about any feedback you may ever get. Again, say nothing to them while they play. If you are directing them on anything about your game... OUTSIDE OF YOUR GAME... then the information from the playtest is tainted and practically worthless.

    6. Listen to advice. You do not need to take all the advice given to you, but you should listen to all of it. Even if you do not agree with the advice being given, it is an opportunity to learn something new about game making or other people's perspectives.

    7. A good place to start in learning about games is to play your favorite games and then begin analyzing why they are fun to you. Quantify that fun. Did you get burned out on a game? Why? Do this with every game you've ever played and explore why you felt that way as a video game player. Then, come up with ways that to make those things fun for you. Or, more fun.

    8. Do not add in features just because of "rule of cool". Everything in your game should exist for a purpose. A goal. Do not add crafting because you think it's cool and your favorite RPG's have crafting. Why did you find it fun? How long was it fun for? Etcetera. What is the ultimate design purpose behind the feature? What do you want the player to be doing, experiencing, feeling, or remembering? What sort of experience are you crafting? "I want to make a fun game" is too broad of a target. That could be anything. What kind of fun do you want to make? Who is your audience? Put in features for that audience. Tweak those features to cater to that audience.

    9. Study human behavior. This is 100% invaluable. It will help you understand that when you do one thing, your players will do this other thing. It is not always accurate, but you can make a very good prediction if you spend time studying people. This also applies to writing characters. You are able to write more realistic characters if you spend time studying people, their behavior, their motivations, their actions, and their speech.

    10. You are going to be wrong about 50% of the time. Nope, it doesn't matter how many games you have under your belt. It doesn't matter if you make AAA best sellers. It doesn't matter if you've studied every single aspect of game design under the sun and are considered the world's most leading expert. You are still going to be wrong 50% of the time. Part of game design is accepting that you will be wrong at least this often. Nobody has all the answers and much of what people tout are things that won't be true in the next 20 years.

    11. What is fun today is not going to be fun tomorrow. There is such a thing as "gamer burnout". That is, gamers have played this exact same thing, or so similar a thing across so many games, that they want something new. Something different. Indie devs often capitalize on the "this is different from what you've played before" to make their money. Put your own spin on anything you do, including the things you are "following the trend" on. "Pong" was fun back in its heyday. It is not fun anymore. Standards for what constitutes a "good" game change from year to year. Likewise, the standards for what is considered "fun" changes from year to year. My suggestion is to be trying to constantly innovate and try new things. If you stagnate, you simply are competing with all the other stagnated companies. In a sea of clones, you're just another drop in the bucket, unless you take chances, make changes, and try new things as often as you can.

    12. If you're making games to make money... you need a business model. If your plan is just, "I'm going to make a game and then try to sell it", you're doing it wrong. You have very little hope of success with a plan that flimsy. You need to set goals. A business plan. A budget. You need to accept that your first few games are probably going to tank, but that they need to be made in order to build up a customer base and good will with an audience. If you have no idea how to start a business... learn that first. If you don't want to learn how to do run a business, my suggestion is to not sell your games at all. You won't make it, and you'll be extremely disappointed with yourself that you didn't.

    13. Realistic expectations are a must. Your first game is going to suck. So is your second. Your third and fourth probably will suck too. Creating games is a learning opportunity. Especially as an indie dev using the RPG Maker Engines. Accept that you are going to produce crap. The end goal is to produce a game that isn't terrible. The end goal is to take all the criticism from your crap games and learn how to make good ones. You will not grow and improve unless you accept that you are going to make crap games and need feedback to make them better. This means, you need to check your ego at the door. You are not a savant. You are not going to be the one to make a great game on their first try. Most of your systems and features are going to fall flat. As flat as other people insinuate they are going to fall. If you get upset because others do not believe in you the same way you believe in yourself... you need to take some time to re-evaluate your line of thinking.

    14. You do not need all your assets at the beginning of every project. In fact, get all your music and artwork last. Most games are never finished. There is no sense wasting a bunch of money on assets for a game you will never complete. Complete your game first. With the RTP if possible. Use things as "placeholder". Once the game is "complete", then start spending money to swap out the RTP for better tilesets. Get your hero busts. Get your music. Etcetera. You can "placeholder" everything in your game. You can swap it out much later. You will be infinitely more grateful that you finished your game first, before spending a single red penny on assets.

    15. Your first game should be short and small. 3 hours of playtime at most. The shorter your games, the quicker you can finish them, the quicker you learn, the less likely you are to abandon the project, and the quicker you can receive feedback on your finished product.

    16. Making video games is not "easy money". You will probably never make money doing it. If you get an engine with the thought in your head that you are going to make a game, make a lot of money doing it, and spend your whole life making games... You're wrong. This happens to so few people that it is more of a goal than it is a fact of life. Breaking even is usually the goal of most devs. If your passion for game making only extends to how much money you can or will make... being a game dev probably is not cut out for you.

    But, if you'd like to make some "easier" money, I suggest learning how to provide resources to devs. You can make a good amount of money selling plugins, artwork, tilesets, music, etcetera to game devs who are not following rule number 14. A ton.

    17. Make something in your game every single day. A weapon, a cutscene, a monster. Something. Open up your project every day and add something to it. If you do not do this, it is easy to let your project go uncompleted. It is easy to just abandon it. But, if you work on it every single day, even if only for 10 minutes, you will finish your project eventually.

    18. Unless you have experience in managing people... don't look for "a team" to build a game. Just don't. This does not end well most of the time. You are better off simply paying for what you need, when you need it. When you have a team, you need to keep not just your excitement for creation high, but also the excitement of your team. Unless you're simply paying them as if they were employees. Money is usually enough to get people to work consistently for you. If you have no way to offer a steady paycheck... then you're going to be stuck with needing a lot of real life charisma and willpower. You are also going to need to know how to manage in-fighting amongst the team, stress, and how to manage your team's time well. If you don't have any of these skills... Don't look for a team.

    19. Ask for help. You are going to need help at some point. There is no shame in asking for a little help. Need a recolor that only takes 2 minutes, but you have no idea how to do it? Ask someone if they can help. They can either teach you to do it yourself, or, sometimes, do it for you.

    20. Limitations are your best friend. They breed creativity. If you always have exactly what you need, you are almost guaranteed to make something fairly bland. When you look for ways to overcome your limitations, you can make something pretty grand. Many interesting game systems exist today because of hardware, software, or engine limitations. Embrace them. Work around them. Use them to create an advantage. Use those limitations to spark your creativity.

    ---

    That's... all I've got, I guess. Much of it isn't tangible. But, it's a lot of the frequent "failings" I see on the forums and YouTube with game designers in general.
     
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  8. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Tai_MT : I wish we could put #13, 14, 16 and 18 on a beginners list somewhere.
     
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  9. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @bgillisp To be fair, it probably is on a beginner's list somewhere. I rarely spout anything "new" to these forums, ha ha. Someone probably mentioned them long before I did, and put them in a tutorial somewhere, or some kind of guide.

    Wouldn't surprise me if they were in your guide... that I've never read...
     
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  10. BlueMage

    BlueMage Slime Lv99 Veteran

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    Did i mention that rookie usually doesn't drink enough of Coke/Coffee?
     
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  11. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Tai_MT : If you've read my rookie guide I'd be shocked as it's only in my head right now. Maybe I should write it down sometime though.
     
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  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @bgillisp I thought you had a few tutorials that you've written? Huh, my mistake.

    Still, might be worth compiling this thread into a guide ~_^ I nominate you to do so!
     
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