Indie game development: 80-20 formula !

We have recently completed our first 3D project Mrityu – the terrifying maze. We received a lot of positive and some negative feedbacks. Overall we are happy with our efforts and outcome (considering that it was our first 3D project & budget constraints)

We started working on this project in December 2016 & released it on 26th May 2017. It was very good learning experience to all of us.

We read or heard about 80-20 formula in indie game development. It says that 80% of your game is ready in 20% of total project time & remaining 20% of game takes 80% of total project time. We experienced it (approximate if not exact) in the same ratio.

In the beginning we planned to release the game in first week of April and according to timelines our game was on the track till end of January 2017. We completed almost 80% of work till then, but then we started to realize that we need to improve our quality a bit more.

indie project timeline
Mrityu an Indie project case study

We did replace few graphics assets, background musics, sound effects etc. We changed the user interface completely. Changing the interface was not an easy job. As far as coding efforts there was no more change than just replacing the image file of respective button or control but selecting a right image was a challenging task. Our graphics designer did design at least 20 variations of UI elements. Finally we selected the 2nd design which he designed out of the other 20 designs.

So we learned that it takes more time for finishing of the product than its actual development and I guess same is being experienced by indie game studios/developers around the world. ( I am not talking about casual or re-skinned games here)

We had to deal with our budget constraints while going through this phase. It was very challenging to keep balance between available resources, funds and quality of the product. We gave priority to functional stability of the product in most cases. We did not spend much time & funds on designing cinematic for which we got negative feed backs. We tried our best to reduce the final product size on android platform. We experienced lags on few android devices so we decided to reduce quality of graphics a bit for android version. As it can be seen that application size on google play store is around 250 MB and on App store its around 650 MB which means we took some efforts to reduce the size on android platform yet we got criticized for size of the app by android users and no iOS user criticized us for 650 MB size. (Number of iOS downloads are around 300% more than the number of Android downloads)

I feel that this 80% of time is actually related to developer’s fear of getting negative feedbacks. No developer wants a negative feedback, not even one! Therefore he/she puts a lot of effort in this 80% time to improve the quality of product. It’s very important for developers to stay calm and accept the fact that no one can develop a product which can satisfy 100% users!

 

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