How do I know if my game is done? What is a game? Okay, you can ignore that last one.
Like many devs, I find it hard to let go after a game is done. When I look at my finished product I still see major flaws and missing parts. How did my great idea turn into this monstrosity of a game? But, we all have to eventually let go and release our games into the wild. So how do we know it is the right time?
Truthfully, it is not like I know; I am only an indie game hobbyist and not a true pro. Vlambeer we need your help! Well for what it's worth, here is my best guess:
Top 10 questions to ask yourself to determine if your game is done:
1)Do you like playing your game?
If you find playing your game is a chore that is a bad sign. If you don't like it, who will? Think about changing some of the fundamental mechanics; make it fun to move the character around the screen. If you didn't pass this check then you have some major work ahead of you. However, if you spend more time playing your game than making it, you pass. Go onto step 2.
2)Do other people like playing your game?
Well of course you like your game, you made it, but do other people like it? Try posting it on some indie game forums. It can take a while to get feedback; I would suggest commenting on other peoples' games while you wait.
3)Are there things you still want to add?
I find the answer to this question is always yes. There is always "stuff" I want to add. However, the real question is, would your game feel incomplete if you didn't include it?
4)If you walk away from your game for a few days, do you still like it?
I like to call this question "Do you really like your game?" Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our game we lose perspective. Take a short break and step away. Your game should still look and feel good when you come back to it.
5)Are there things you still want to fix?
Don't like your animations? Does your UI look like a child drew it with crayon? Your game will never be flawless, get over it. Do these flaws take away from the overall feel of the game? Do the flaws bother you so much that you can't look at them? If that is the case, then fix them.
6)Is the game title interesting?
It is never too late to change the title. But you probably want to change it before the game is released. If people read the title they should want to play the game. Worst title I have ever made: Appteroids. Best title I have ever made: Fred the Killer Unicorn.
7)Have you watched people play your game?
So people said they like playing your game on the forums. That is just because people are generally nice when leaving comments on a computer. Actually, that isn't true, I've read YouTube comments. I find that I get much better feedback when I watch people play my game. If you have to tell them how to move the character around the screen, that should be a red flag.
8)Does your game have any bugs?
No? Are you sure? Are you really sure? Check, double check, and triple check for bugs. Try as hard as you can to break your game. If you just threw your computer into your wall you went too far.
9)Are you ready for the press?
We have made it took the big time! Well not really. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row: screen shots, gameplay video, demo, dev log, website, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever else is out there these days.
10)Are you having a hard time pressing the publish button?
Just do it! We all have to let go sometime.
Want to learn more: Makegames.tumblr.com