Can't finish games? This is why

Game development is not easy. It gets harder the more you try because of so much knowledge overflowing that you need to know. The key to finish games is called experience, and if you’re lacking it, you won’t finish a single game (at least not entirely or with missing features you wished it to have).

Index

  • Why is experience essential to finish games?
  • Dunning–Kruger effect
  • Game Development Phases
  • So, what do I do?
  • Multi-tasking, myth, or fact?
  • Wait, but can’t I get “experience” by developing projects?

If you can’t understand the topic, just think of each category as an issue you may be facing, it should make more sense.

Why is experience essential to finish games?

You’ll probably have great ideas for every project you start, and to make these ideas a reality, you’ll need the skills to do so. For some cases, this may not be true because you can always hire someone to help you with the skills you’re lacking, but there are many problems with it.

Some problems would consist of:

  1. You don’t have enough budget to hire/pay developers.
  2. Scammers. There are lots of scammers out there that are willing to steal your assets, projects, money, and most importantly your time.
  3. Most developers do not have enough experience (they are young or recently started). If they do, they are expensive, which leads to the 1st problem, and now you have to deal with 1 more problem.
  4. Project Management. You probably have no clue how to manage a team nor a project, which might lead to slow progress or team conflicts. Some games take years to release (it should take 1-5 months for an experienced developer, depending on the game).

Dunning–Kruger effect

The Dunning–Kruger effect states that people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. - Wikipedia

Why is planning essential for game development?

Planning a game will help you realize the complexity of your project, which roles you’ll need, maintain the development team organized, and choose the right decisions.

You should definitely read Game Design Documents.

Game Development Phases

You’ll face a total of three phases, which are:

  1. Pre-production
  2. Production
  3. Post-production

Pre-production is where your imagination will overflow. You’ll store all the crazy ideas you think of for your game and start planning.

Production is where the development begins. You wrote your ideas, and now you gotta implement them.

Post-production is a stressful phase. You’ll have to deal with positive and negative feedbacks, fix game bugs/glitches, start planning future updates, etc.

So, what do I do?

Easier said than done, right? yup

What you should do is spend more time learning the necessary to start developing projects. In my opinion, you should definitely learn not just one role but a lot of development roles, like Programming, Modeling or Building, and Animations. If you can become good at doing these 4 pillars, you’ll be finishing game after game.

bUt OnL tAlEnTeD pEoPlE cAn BeCoMe gOoD aT dIfFRenT sKiLlS…

Wrong, everyone with a growth mindset can become whatever they want if they go for it, it’s all about trying, failing, and repeating to become good. It’s a matter of time, if you don’t want to try it at least once you’ll never know.

Check out growth mindset: The Most Powerful Mindset for Success - YouTube

Multi-tasking, myth, or fact?

Not sure about you, but where I came from, it’s a myth. What you are really doing is Switching tasks which lead to deconcentration. You should only stay with a single assignment till it’s finished.

Wait, but can’t I get “experience” by developing projects?

Yes, but…

You’ll be learning new things whenever you start a new project, but you might not finish them because of so much stuff to know, hence the point of this topic.

If you still can’t finish games, you’re probably lacking self-control or general personal development.

tl;dr: become an all-around developer or just make friends with different skills.

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I’ve always seen Roblox development and Roblox studio as a hobby, which made me really successful with my job, and I’m glad that I’m making somewhat of a living out of it.
you should never look at Roblox as a job because at some point you’re gonna hate it, and quit, not saying that it’s the case for every person, but it’s the majority.
starting up with an idea needs experience and knowledge, maybe you can’t find a way to make something in studio, but keep in mind that you can always search for the solution on social media and this forum.
I do encourage self-development since it gives you the most experience and it prevents scamming and having to pay others for help, especially if you’re just starting up with your own small project.

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You’ve got a point. I try to take scripting as a hobby but I take it mostly as a job/hobby.

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Very nice thread, really useful and well explained, I think the right place for posts like this is #resources:community-tutorials tho.

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True, very good thread. Wrong place to post tho

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Good thing that this has a solution. My life wouldn’t be the same without it.

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This really helped me realise why I’m falling short of my expectations as a developer, i have always made things and then just dropped them or forgotten about them, Currently, I have roughly 153 places on ROBLOX, All of them are things that i have tried or features i wanted to test, I have been programming for 1 year, But 3D modelling since 2017, I think its time I put all of my creations to gather and work on something that is stable enough and worthy for a release, Thank you!

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How can aspiring devs, designers, and creators improve their chances of finishing games? Why are so few doing it? Is this an actual problem? For who?

I think there is a discussion worth having here. I honestly believe delivering “game-worthy” interactive experiences is one of the hardest things you can do in tech. Anyone who does it should feel proud.
Game development can quickly pull you into the hardest problems in an incredibly wide range of different disciplines.

I don’t think this is the discussion happening in this thread - This is why

  • Y’all are talking past each other.

Ukendio. brah. You made the best points, but many people will never see them because your reply is more reaction than response.

prime_kavv, you wouldn’t have gotten this reaction if your post was titled
“I found some ideas on how to finish games. How do other people do it?”

That’s the rightest thing you said on the topic. If you are practicing writing click bait titles and light reading articles to post on tech blogs, you nailed it. You said things that were objectively true and some that are going to stoke debate. This kind of content is bound to get lots of engagement and help grow your brand.
I also think your writing is good. It’s clear, fun, and you’ve clearly got a great handle on language and presentation.

Skip ahead bottom for my thoughts on “can’t finish games? This is why”
I have one last note on what happened in this dialog.

My fan edit of Ukendio’s post goes like this:

My initial response to the post was a sigh and a quick eye roll. It registers as spam to me, and as expert advice given to people who might really need it, but by someone without the credentials to back it up.
prime_kavv, you’re a good writer. I really wish you had more directly posed the topic as a question, and put less emphasis on the prescriptions you laid out as the suggested correct answer. There is a good discussion to be had here. I will say thank you for acknowledging your credentials and ending with a call for feedback, even if it was bound to be an argument.

I don’t think Ukendio is invalid for being frustrated by questionable info being posted in the forum in what looks like authoritative voice - especially if it seems like fishing for clicks and views.

It’s tiring. The pandering to the Attention Economy the norm, it’s what we learn, and maybe it’s just reflex for OP at this point?

Anyway. My actual thoughts:
You probably can’t “finish” a game until you stop trying to make whatever you’ve dreamed up, ruthlessly focus on shipping something, then accept whatever you shipped as “finished”.
You can make it better later.

If you need your game to fit a specific vision or set of features and get nearly all the bugs out before it’s “finished”, you’re probably going to need 10 times the time, hours, and budget you could even possibly imagine before finally whoever is funding you tells you to ship what you have before they cancel your game.

Game dev has so many of the hardest problems in software engineering, product design, and user support. It’s rough

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That really resonates with me, but it’s been more like 30 years instead of 3 in my case.

I think Ukendio is 100% right that you don’t need money, collaborators, experience or management to ship a game. Shipping a game is it’s own discipline that you don’t need any of that for.

Anecdotally, my professional experience:
I’ve been coding literally every week of my life since 1988. I’ve got experience. I’ve shipped websites, apps, services, a product or two. I’ve started tech ventures from the ground up. I’ve worked in banks, nuclear power plants, and just about every market sector. I’ve been paid to do this work for 25 years.

And I have every skill on the gamedev wish list, well outside of general software engineering,

Meanwhile, as of May 2021, I’ve made over 30 game tech demos over the last 30 years in dozens of different platforms and languages - and shipped zero games.
As an example - Here’s one from 2007

I’ve always done game dev as a hobby, and pretty reliably something big comes up elsewhere in my life within a few months of starting (usually my day job, or family stuff), and the project I started gets shelved.

As a person who has shipped other stuff and done a lot of game dev without shipping, the answer is a pretty simple 3 step process:

1. Decide if you want to release a game
or if for now you are learning about the tools and playing with ideas so one day you actually can make a game closer to your vision. Or maybe just having fun. There’s no wrong answer.
If you really want to ship a game (ever), you need to:
2. Strip it down to the simplest idea possible
You can target a Minimum Viable Product if you are focused on making money from what you ship, but if you’ve never shipped before, it’s a good idea to get some experience shipping anything at all because you’ll get better at it and get better and releasing a product people will respond to
3. Don’t get stuck. Don’t do anything that doesn’t ship a game
If something isn’t working, or you need better art, sound, etc, either find someone who can do it, find another way around, or literally drop it. A cleaner UI will not ship your game.
Don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough.
If you are stuck, make your idea simpler. If you don’t like the way it looks, literally lower your standards. If your original idea ends up being harder to do than you thought (it will be), figure out what is fun in what you did make, and release that game.
Simplify. Go back to step 2

And that’s why I’m on Roblox now.

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I cannot finish games because I have major motivation dips periodically which causes me to loose all interest and once I get motivation back I’m focused on an entirely different task. Ironically my motivation can fall so low down and I become so moody I end up making something. I am good at all the pillars due exuding animation which I am only “decent” at yet even then I’m unable to finish a single project.

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