Indie Game Dev Tip #8 – Go With Good Enough
Today, we are going to talk about something that I really feel strongly about. This is something that I think has affected the way that I build games in a lot of different way. It has also affected a lot of areas of my life, whether it’s with my writing, my music development, my software, etc. This idea is important if you are a solo developer or solo artist making anything. The concept is simple: DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT AND YOU SHOULD GO WITH GOOD ENOUGH.
For me, good enough is at 90%. When something is 90% perfect, that’s when I stop working on stuff. Because you can never reach perfect despite what you think; nothing is perfect. When I think it’s 80-90%, that’s when I would leave it alone and move on to something else. I found that with my game development, I can spend so much time tweaking endlessly. There are some times where I’ll tweak for an hour and then I’ll reset all my changes for the last hour I’ll just say like: “Let’s go back to how it was.”
That’s happened to me so many time. Especially with numbers and variables and stuff. lt’s so easy to just tweak and tweak and get lost in the tweak cycle for ever and ever. I have found that keeping a conscious reminder in my head that I need to move on at 90% and that going with good enough is good enough. I has helped me detach myself and to stop from holding on to some of the things that I just obsess over. There are many things that I get obsessed with until I realize that I should just move on. Build the whole experience of the game, and then iterate onwards.
This has been the topic of my blog for a couple of months now. But that doesn’t mean that I’m over it, I still struggle within myself constantly. I have to remind myself continuously. I have a little sticky note on my wall that says, “Go with good enough“, because I have to keep that in my mind.
There are going to be people that say: “Tim, what do you mean by done is better than perfect go with good enough? Are you saying that we make shitty games?” No, that’s not what I’m saying that. “Go with good enough” doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to make the best game that you can.
You have to understand that things will never be perfect and if you don’t move on at some point, you’re not going to get all the other critical systems for the game done in time. You’re going to end up in this time loop where you just build the game forever and it keeps expanding as you build it.
I know far too many developers that have fallen victim to this. I know far too many beautiful and amazing indie games that were not finished or released because the developer fell into this trap. My mission with Game Dev Underground is really to level up games and to encourage more creators to release more games because I think that indie games make the world a better place. When I see these games go unfinished or unreleased, it hurts me because I know that that is someone’s passion project, their work of art, a representative of a piece of their soul and it just gets buried for eternity and we never get to see that ever.
I know how much effort, time goes into this, how much blood sweat, and tears is poured into what we call “games.” I don’t want to see developers lose out and miss that beautiful opportunity of seeing something that you created enter the world. That’s why I think this is so relevant. If you don’t learn to understand the intricacies of getting things done, it can be very damaging to your release and to your self-esteem. When you get something done, it is like the build to ship concept.
Building to ship is such a great concept. When you build things specifically to ship, it changes the way that your brain works. You don’t obsess over all these little details, you don’t try and tweak things endlessly because the goal is to actually get it out there. And I think a lot of artists aim to create but they don’t aim to ship. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but I think a lot of people don’t realize what they’re missing by building to create rather than building the ship.
I think it’s cool when you create art on your own. However, I think it’s FANTASTIC when you’re able to share it with other people. There’s no better feeling than watching someone play my game and having a blast. It brings on so many different emotions, because I created this and I’m bringing joy to someone’s life. If you never get things out there, you will never experience that kind of satisfaction and joy.
It’s important to keep in mind that what’s really important to you. For me, it’s always been getting things out there that’s why I’ve gotten where I’ve gotten in my life. That’s why I was able to do some of the things that I have done. It was because I was able to finish things even if things weren’t perfect—even if they sucked, to be honest.
I just built the basic experience enough to push it out there—I can always iterate on it later. You can always improve it later and add on to it. Done is better than perfect and you should always go with good enough.
That is my message to all you guys out there who also tend to over obsess, that like to tweak things more than is necessary. If you have any comments on this, I would love to hear you.