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The Final Ten percent

November 10, 2012

As most of you know, I published a game back in the early 1990s. Unlike many others who have “taken the plunge” and published a game, my experience was extremely positive. Not only did I learn a lot, the experience opened up a lot of doors that would have remained closed otherwise. However, some things I learned I had forgotten until I started work on my new game project. Namely, I had forgotten the last 10% of a game takes about 50% of the time to develop. I’m definitely running into this with my new game, Aspects of Fantasy. The last 10% has been a slog. A couple of reasons for this, at least from my perspective:

  1. The last 10% is never just 10%. There’s always something more that can be done or that you had forgotten.
  2. The last 10% is a slog. Most of the work is editing and adding items that make the game functional and marketable (like an index or an introductory adventure). Designing the game becomes less of a fun pastime and more like real work.

This is related to project planning, something I do in my real job as an IT Developer. But there’s obviously a significant difference. I need to finish my projects for work in a certain amount of time so I can keep my job; I’m really just developing the game for fun. Once designing the game becomes less fun and more like a job, it becomes a work project without a deadline – and I find all sorts of ways to procrastinate instead of working on it. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy working on the game and have a real sense of accomplishment when I complete a task, but I am having motivational issues.

That all said, here’s where I’m at with the game:

  1. InDesign Integration/Final Edit: I need to export the game from MS Word to Adobe InDesign. For a short period of time I thought I could keep the game in Word and save off as a PDF, but it’s been clear for a while now that I need a true desktop publishing tool. Unfortunately, like most Adobe products, InDesign is not intuitive and I have never actually used it (though I have access to it on my work laptop). Otoh, I am very familiar with Adobe Photoshop, so I’m somewhat familiar with Adobe’s application paradigm. I’ll be taking a couple of on-line tutorials to get me up to speed. As I place in InDesign I will also be doing the final edit. – 2 Months
  2. Need an Introductory Adventure – I was going to use an adventure I ran at GenCon 2011, but this might be too high level for an introductory adventure. – 14 days
  3. Kickstarter – I am going to put the game on Kickstarter, but only after the game is in InDesign. I do not want to make promises I can’t keep so the game will basically be done before it’s on Kickstarter. I really want to do Kickstarter because I want the game to have some very nice artwork, an expense that is outside my budget.
  4. Wildcard – At a Kickstarter seminar I attended at GenCon 2012, it was strongly agreed by all seminar speakers that you must have a video presentation along with your Kickstarter proposal. The only way I can think to do this is using Flash. The last time I worked with Flash was around 12 years ago and I only worked with it on one project so, like InDesign, I may be learning some new software. Not sure how I can get around this – we’ll see.

So my final estimate is 2.5 more months with maybe more time spent around a Kickstarter presentation. We’ll see. Time to start learning InDesign…

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