Working On Your First Game? Cut It In Half!
You’re working on your first game I got something really important to tell you and why you should cut your game in half coming up. What’s up guys Tim Ruswick here from Game Dev Underground, and if you’re new here we talk about marketing and motivation and lots of things that have to do with game development so consider subscribing hit the bell to make sure you get notifications when we post new videos. But today we’re going to talk about why you should cut your first game in half. And let me just tell you a quick story.
So when I when I first started on my very first game my very first game it was an FPS it was inspired by Halo it was this epic space adventure that had to do with aliens and multiple planets and multiple locations and crazy epic twists and killer robots and all kinds of stuff. And this game is called Project Exodus and it was going to be the best game— matter fact it was going to kill Halo.
I was going to do better than Halo that’s how good this game was. And I was in way over my head. It was way too big of a game that I could ever make all by myself. And despite spending years on the game it was my first game I even used the engine FPS creator like you would think that still that would be easy to make an FPS with FPS creator but, no, it was still massive project. And that leads me to the number one mistake that all new game developers make: scope.
They start a game that’s way too big this is the number one problem by far I still do this I still do this especially in things like game jams I still I’m like I’m confident that I could get a certain game of certain size done and it never works out that way. So scope is being the biggest problem. One of the most effective mental things that i’ve done to reduce scope is just cut it in half flat out cut it in half.
And first it does like well no Tim we need this we need this we need these guns we need these aliens we need you know whatever you’re saying to me I get it you need all the stuff in your game right. But you gotta cut it in half you gotta cut half the shit out. And and here’s why.
Because there’s no right way to determine what to cut. There’s no right way to determine what you should build first. Like obviously you should build the core game right the basic if you’re building FPS you got to have a dude that runs and chews enemies. If you’re building like a runner you got to have the dude that runs. You need to build that first because you have to make sure it’s fun you have to make sure it’s entertaining you have to make sure the mechanics work you have to make sure you know you want to get feedback as early as possible.
So that’s obviously at first. But knowing what to cut out of your plan of your concept of your game can be really difficult especially cutting it before it’s even built. But it’s really important. Especially and this applies to your first game right like the more games you do the more software you build the more technology you get used to in all this the better you get at understanding scope and the and your own limitations and all that stuff.
So I think this applies more to your first game so if you’re working on your first game just cut the game in half. And I know you’re going to disagree with me and now you’re going to say you can’t and I know you’re going to say you shouldn’t even say I’m wrong and I don’t know your game or your game is an exception and all those excuses, but cut it in half cut it now just cut the game and a half.
Whatever it is whatever your planned cut it in half. If you have 10 enemies planned go with 5, if you have a hundred levels planned, go with fifty, whatever it is cut it in half. Because here’s the beautiful thing about creative projects. Once you complete them you have to stop, you can add on to them.
So everything that you had planned you can add later but you can say you finished your first game. You can say you put this out there you can say finished it you see completed it. And not only that but when you finish half of your first game right? Half because you cut it in half you’ll and you show its people and you get feedback and you do all this stuff you’ll notice that sometimes what you thought was the right decision is no longer the right decision.
You’ll notice that people do different things than you expected them to do you’ll notice that people put kids on things that you wouldn’t find significant. If you’re building like a spaceship game with a bunch of different weapons sometimes your favorite weapons are not going to be their favorite weapon. So you know you might have had you might have an obsession with like rocket launchers or something so you had like 10 rocket launches lined up and when you built 5 you notice nobody used even one nobody really liked them.
So that kind of stuff tells you a lot. And for your first game best advice I can give out over and over again because I get a lot of stuff via email and Twitter especially cut in half just cut the game in half that’s it. And go from there. And again you can always modify on top of it you can always add stuff back in you can always release patches but finish your first game, half your first game whatever it is, start with the basic gameplay cut the features in half, and go from there.
And that’s it that’s how you get to your first game that’s how I got through mine. I actually had to drop the FPS by the way just to bring this whole story to a close. And one of the things we did was when I when I realized that for so long ahead and finish the game I decided to sit down and finish the game and I explained the whole story in my finish the damn game video so you can watch that I’ll link it up. But we built a mobile game and took us twice as long and we had to cut it in half because we had a bunch of features planned.
We had a bunch of enemies plan we had a bunch of stuff we cut it in half just to finish it. It took us twice as long even with the half cut version but it’s still it’s still a decent game, I’m not a big fan of the game mechanics but it you know people seem to like it I don’t know if they’re lying to me not but it’s whatever, and it was my first game and we got it out there and we did it and we finished it and for me that was the first time where I could call myself a game developer.
So it was a good feeling and it was worth it in this tactic or technique got me through that that hard period of self-doubt and wondering if I could ever be a game developer because I couldn’t finish a game. So I hope it helped you. If you’re still working on finishing your game, leave me a comment below let me know where you’re at, let me know any other issues that you have with kind of stuff or whether this helped you or not, love to hear from you guys once again I’m Tim Ruswick and I’ll see you guys next time.