Some of my game development rants/rules

I was thinking about some of the lessons I’ve learned (the bad way) over the years.   I thought I’d just throw a quick list together and post it up for people to have a look at.  Over the next while I’ll expand on the points as time allows.

  • Iteration is everything
  • A renderer is not a game engine
  • A great renderer with lousy tools makes a lousy looking game
  • No team should (or will) ever seriously consider using a game engine until it has shipped at least one successful title.
  • Never license software for the features in the next release. License for the current version.
  • Most programmers are overly optimistic about the time required to build a new version of and old system, especially if they didn’t write the earlier version.
  • Depth (or complexity) in a game is best engineered through the interaction of a few simple systems which give the desired result.  Unstructured complexity is just a nightmare
  • No design idea goes straight from concept to a good game mechanic without iteration. (see point 1)
  • You are not ready for production of a game until your team can create gold standard slices of all imagined forms of gameplay.
  • To make a great game you must love the subject matter and intuitively know what does and does not belong.
  • The key to a great game is a great team.
  • The key to a great team is respect and alignment.
  • Team alignment is best achieved through an early gameplay mockup video or animatic
  • If you ask five members of the team to describe the game you are making and they all describe something wildly different, you are on your way to game development hell.
  • A game concept you cannot describe in 2 minutes without using game examples is a game which will never be funded.
  • -Trent