Ah. One of my many, self-imposed deadlines that made almost a sighing sound as they wooshed by. I guess that’s something to be thankful for. As an indie, no one is breathing down our necks to meet a deadline, pounding on our desks and demanding that we make games faster, especially not our ever-understanding and loving wives. It’s a good thing too because any progress goals we set ended up being absolutely meaningless. The truth of the matter is, as we put the finishing touches on our first title we really had no idea how long anything was going to take us. We thought we did, but we didn’t.
I remember not that long ago (has it really been 8 months?) sitting down with the group, putting together a task list and estimating how long each task would take. We then threw the entire list up on Accunote as we all started tracking our progress, making sure we weren’t stepping on each other’s toes (or scripts) and away we went! We had roughly 100 tasks to complete before we could launch the game and I was optimistically shooting for a late Aug, early Sept launch.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. Scope creep or laziness. We’re indies, after-all. If we weren’t lazy, we’d be employed, so we must be lazy. To you I say “Nay!” We’ve been working our asses off and neither of these ended up being our particular hurdles. As dangerous as scope creep is, we didn’t fall victim to it. We’re now 8 months into our game’s development with 100 tasks in addition to the 100 we thought we needed to complete the game at first. I was asked after a presentation how our team handled scope creep. Right from the word go we had a set vision for Itzy3D, a set list of gameplay functions and add-ons and we never strayed from what we stated we would include. I had read often to “Watch for Scope Creep”, “Scope creep, like the rhythm, is gonna get you”, “Scope creep ate my baby”. There was no way we were about to be hindered by scope creep before we ever started. So we knew pretty much exactly what functionality was going into the game at the start.
So why are we now 8 months into the game with none of us seeing a pay-check yet? What happened to our late Aug, early Sept – no Oct, no..early Nov…surely to god in time for Christmas launch? Simple. We didn’t know how long anything would take. Basic tasks and simple concepts while developing our game proved to be much more involved than even the experienced programmers on our team estimated originally. My advice to other indies concerning timelines would be this: Unless you’ve done this before, don’t expect to have any inkling into how long development is going to take. You won’t know what challenges are going to pop up until they’re staring you down. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set goals and targets, but when you miss them make sure you learn from that experience.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. Itzy Interactive will have a completed game for you shortly. Maybe next month some time. Probably by the end of February. You know what…it’ll be done when it’s done.