GameDev Protips: How To Deal With Failure And Unfinished Projects

Game development is a difficult endeavor and sometimes simply trying your best is not enough. You and your team may have reached a point where morale may be at an all-time low and certain members of your team may have already quit. Your game is a mess and there is nothing you can to fix it. You may need to give up on the project and move on… and that’s perfectly fine. Who knows, maybe you will be able to return and finish one day. Teaching yourself more advanced skills necessary to complete your project (or coming back with more grit) is not completely out of the question. Remember, it’s perfectly okay to put your latest project on the backburner to work on something else. But keep in mind, when you decide to work on a new project, it is best that you only focus on one project at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to put multiple projects out at once only to fail at all of them.

If you feel overwhelmed, then, with your next project, try to do a little less than before. This may sound counterintuitive, because you may want to do something highly ambitious to boost your morale, yet, if you scale down just a little and actually complete a new project, it will give you something to show and prove to you that you can finish something. Start light and work your way up to building bigger and bigger projects.The hardest part of making a game is finishing it. While it seems as simple as writing a conclusion paragraph on an essay, it’s a culmination of all the work you have done. The game may be finished, but there are bugs that need to be worked out, marketing to be done, and countless other tasks to complete before you can release.

Whatever the case may be, trying to get your game as close to perfection as possible will be the most frustrating part. There’s no such thing as perfection in indie game development, and QA and playtesting can take as long as the game’s actual development — many developers don’t factor that into the game’s intended scope and end up overshooting the planned development time. Actually finishing a game is a complex and difficult endeavor. On rare occasions, you manage to finish a working prototype quickly without any interruptions, only to find that the game isn’t actually very fun once you send it off for playtesting. Sometimes, a project might be delayed for years as other things get in the way. Either way, it’s perfectly fine to move onto your next project if you feel that it’s the right thing to do. Just don’t be the person with over fifty unfinished prototypes with nothing released — that’s a bit much.

Important Takeaways: Game development can be a very difficult endeavor and you might not be able to finish some projects. This is perfectly okay, as you can always table a project and come back to it later. This is a better idea than taking on multiple projects at once and never finishing. Finishing a game is the most difficult part because it can take a great deal of testing and tweaking before the game is ready to be released. Even if you have all the art and code done, it is important that you make sure the game is well balanced, well paced, and has few bugs. Always try to finish your game, but if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up. Just keep moving forward, even if it’s an entirely new project.