Game Development Personal Development

Thousander Club Update: February 25th

For this week’s Thousander Club update:

Game Hours: 409.25(previous two years) + 8.25 (current year) = 417.5 / 1000
Game Ideas: 710 (previous two years) + 15 (current year) = 725 / 1000

I’ve been journaling about an appropriate EULA for the game. While the source code could be licensed under the GPL, the actual game data doesn’t need to be. An example of a game that uses a different license for its data from its source code is the well-known Dangerous Rooms of Death: Journey to Rooted Hold. It is obvious that it can be done, but at this point I’m not sure if I even want to keep the data proprietary. The art and sound effects were quickly put together to be placeholders so I could work on the game mechanics. I was planning on replacing them with better assets, probably outsourced or otherwise not made by me.

Since this game has taken me so much longer to make than it probably should have, I just want to release it and move on. Still, I could retain the rights to the data, requiring that if you want to redistribute my game, you would need my permission to do so unless you replaced the data with your own. In the future, I may need to release a game with proprietary data, and having the experience now can only help. Even if I only release the game for free, having the data licensed separately from the code leaves me with more options. Besides, releasing the data under the GPL or a similar license really doesn’t make sense.

I’ve been thinking more about the process I’ve been following to make a game, and it’s not going to work out. Essentially I’ve come up with an idea and then worked toward implementing it. Maw!Soft’s humorous Thousander Club Update from November of 2006 documented a list of prototypes done throughout the year. Since then, I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of creating quick throw-away prototypes. Gamasutra documented the prototypes developed by the creators of Tower of Goo, and back in 2005 I’ve written about the interview with James Gwertzman of PopCap in which he claims that the development process is “extremely prototype-heavy”.

I still want to get to v1.0 with Killer Kittens to have a finished game under my belt. I was thinking about going back to work on Oracle’s Eye afterwards, but I think my time would be better put towards prototyping ideas. Oracle’s Eye is not exactly a well-formed idea, so I could just prototype with it, but the point is that I want to make a good game next, and it is clear that creating prototypes is the best way to figure out if an idea is a winner. I mean, it works for PopCap, and not doing it clearly doesn’t work for major publishers. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have billions of dollars to invest in a project for three years before finding out that the game won’t sell enough to recoup its costs.

[tags]game design, productivity, personal development, video game development, indie[/tags]