How NOT to release a game in three months
Published in Games. Tags: indie, unity.
Drop. Idea of this game came to me in the first days of April. I had no opened projects that time, so I immediately started creating it. The first commit is dated 2nd of April. Final gameplay prototype of the real game was ready by the 7th of April.
Then I’ve started adding some social sh*t, which is usually added to mobile games. For me it was just an odd code. In the first versions player could gain only one additional life for watching video ad. But I wanted more, so I added Facebook SDK and wrote sharing code. From that point, player could share promotional post and gain second additional life for that, seems good? And I thought so. This work took me 2 days.
And someone gave me another idea for game: leaderboard. OK, why not. I’ve started learning GameSparks and how to deal with backend in mobile games. As most of the players don’t want to remain unnamed in the leaderboard, I tried to attach auth with Facebook. But it wasn’t working for some reason. I gave up and made simple anonymous login by Device ID as login. Also Player could choose beautiful name when posting new record to the leaderboard.
By the 11th of April, whole prototype worked perfectly, so I’ve started making graphics and updading UI stuff. It took some undefined period of time.
And then I’ve forgotten about game to deal with some university stuff. I returned to work in the end of May.
Try to guess what all that “Updates” mean. Yep, fixes. Whole login process stopped working. Game worked perfectly in the Unity Editor or Desktop build, but not on the real device. Catlog showed nothing useful. Finally, I understood, that problem lies in the backend, because I couldn’t find any of login requests in the GameSparks’ admin panel.
Whole backend service stopped working in Russia. However, it worked with the proxy or VPN, but who needs such game? As I live in Russia and most of my users are from there. And who knows if game works in Africa or Australia. I couldn't release the game with such error.
And then I had burnout with this game. Such small game, but it’s development seemed to require years before releasing it. I’ve gave up on releasing it.
And the same happens with most of my projects. It’s my illness. I’m a programmer, not an artist or writer. That’s my problem, I can make prototype of mechanics I wanted in a few days or weeks, but I have no skills for making actual content, which is needed to release completed product.
Games can’t have only mechanics with stolen graphics and lack of storyline. It would be awful game. And I just switch to another idea.
Need to mention, I don't play mobile games, I don't like them. That's why I don't know how to make proper mobile games, where you CAN make a game without storyline or with simple toony 2D sprites. But I don't have any ideas or experience with such mechanics or games.
I forced myself to return to this game during June. I removed all social and GameSparks code and left only Unity Ads for additional life. And didn’t release it, because I thought that I don’t have enough PR and Marketing. Poor I…
I wanted to wait for some time, while posting some stuff about game. I never did it. Now, I think that Indie GameDev isn't about myself. After finishing education I should find a job in real studio, where bold senior will tell me what to do each minute of my working hours… Such stupid life.
So. Why I’m writing this?
Because I’m bored of this sh*t. It’s my life, by blog, my games, my rules. And if I made awful game I’ll still release it. Why? Because I can. And noone cares about. Do you want to blame me for that? Go ahead. I don’t give a fuck.
But… If you want to say something… something good or promising to myself or about my work… I need you. I like you, guy. Just for that.
Take it. Play it, if you want. And don’t play if you don’t want to. It’s your decision. And releasing this game was my decision. Don’t even try to injure me for that.
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And, yeah, I could make it better.
Small advice for newbies
If your game is 80% ready – publish it. As beta or in early access – it doesn’t matter. Just. Publish. It. And then receive feedback. I can guarantee you, that other 20% will be the best part of your game.
What I'm willing to do next: Take a few of my older prototypes and create complete games with simplest graphics and storyline. What about 2D platformer with portal mechanics?
It's time for stylish ending.