Game Over, Man!
One thing is for sure, as much as you think you know, you always have more to learn. As is typical in life, you learn more from mistakes than anything else. At the end of each game, I always reflect back and try to hash out any problem areas in the hope of not repeating them. At the end of each game, however, there seems to always be the same set of issues. The Mighty Ritualistic Hexagon has invited me to write about some of these lessons… …so here ya go! This is only a quick dispatch, so if you are indeed interested in this topic, please get a copy of the March issue of Game Developer's Magazine. Scott Alden, our esteemed bit jockey, wrote an incredible article on related events and SiNful things.
Don't Get Crunched
What sits topmost on my mind about the life cycle of a game's design, …actually, I still today have side effects even months after SiN was sung… …is that crunch time lasts way too long. Actually, I still have emotional scars from Duke Nukem. We start to dig in hardcore far too early and I personally am completely wasted and almost useless for the last 3-4 months of a game's design. Making a game is like a marathon race, not a sprint, and you really have to pace yourself.
Postponing crunch time isn't easy and it is one of the bad aspects about having a cool job that you enjoy doing. What I want to do on the weekends, in my spare time, is always game-related. Worsening the addiction, the first part of a game's life cycle is the most exciting and therefore most capturing. I know now that I have to force myself to NOT work on the game during the weekends until it really is necessary to pull the 7-by-24s, but I always seem to get hooked in too early. I also realize why every major religion in the world has at least one per week that God (the ethereal, not Mike Wilson and Harry Miller) said you must not work. This is what God said.