I am finally motivated again to develop a game. I now have an idea that might actually work, I know how I will get the assets for my game, I know how I will create levels and I have lots of ideas for lots of different content.
However, my experience has taught me that I will probably give up halfway through with a hell of a mess of code and a lot of wasted (ok, not really wasted, but still…) time. So my question is: How should I plan my project?
My plan is to first start with a prototype. Create some assets, write throw-away code, until I have something that resembles those essential 30 seconds of core gameplay that I want to create. If that is not fun and I don’t manage to make it fun - leave that project be.
Ok, so let’s say I have a worthy prototype. How should I proceed? Of course, it’s obvious that I should begin planning the project thouroughly. But how thorough do I need to be? In my experience, I often plan things out to the last detail, but in the end, everything plays out differently and a big part of the planning has been useless. Should I maybe start thinking about the first couple of systems and then try to implement those before I think about further systems? The risk then is that I might have to heavily adjust these systems because I did not think of other elements of the game that influence these systems or make design decisions that I made about these systems seem wrong.
Once everything is planned, where do I actually start? Should I focus on the art first, so that I have something that I can use in the game? Or start with programmer art and implement the game logic first? Or create the art ‘on-the-fly’ e.g. create a new monster model when I finished the game up to the point where I need that new monster? The benefit of creating art first is that I would have something to show off (and of course it’s much more fun). On the other hand, creating art is a distraction from creating actual gameplay and that is even more important I think… Should I start with the core gameplay or at the start of the game, which might be a little different from the core gameplay? Or should I maybe focus to get an alpha version out as quickly as possible? Should I rather focus on creating a Minimal Viable Product or create little, but thoroughly polished content (e.g. a vertical slice)?
I was just writing every question I could come up with down, you don’t have to answer all of them, but you might see that I am kind of lost. I now finally have an idea for a game again and I think I just need some advice beforehand from somebody who has actually been able to finish a project.
Thanks and feel free to leave any input if you think it helpful!