Our new goal for Siphon Spirit is to have it finished by Jan 28th, just in time for indie game night. What's the hold up? Why isn't it finished? Feature Creep.
Yes, Feature Creep. The tendency of a product to keep adding more and more things to it. It was really hard for me to say no to any of the features that popped up for one simple reason. They were all good features that would really improve the final game. So what's better, getting a game out early, or getting a game out later than you said you would but making it better? According to the Duke Nukem Forever team, getting the game out later but better was the best option. After 12 years of full-time development the company finally ran out of money and the project was canceled.
Of course, getting games out too fast is also bad. E.T. for the Atari is well known as being the worst game ever made. I actually owned this when I was a kid. My main memory of the game is "What am I supposed to do?" I was thrown into the game without even a hint of my objective, and no clear direction of where to go. Why was it so bad? Critics blame the fact that it was only a single programmer working on it given only 5 weeks. Now, I'm sure that if Peter and I were able to work full time on Siphon Sphere we could have it done in 5 weeks and be a pretty darn good game at that. But this was the Atari 2600. Programming wasn't nearly as developed as it is now, so the programmer had do code every part himself where I am able to use objects that other programmers have made.
Another famously bad 'game' is Animal Soccer World. The animation is so bad that if I had a few weeks I could probably learn to do it myself. Don't try watching all the videos in that link. I only managed the first two before I felt myself slipping off into a coma. The worst part is that no soccer actually happens in the game. Aside from those cut scenes it's just some kind of coloring book. The developer, Phoenix Games Group, seems to be quite happy with their monstrosity. They claim "Ordinarily the average development period for a game is 18 months, whereas Phoenix need a mere 3-5 months." Here they clearly are trying for games that are popped out quickly rather than trying to make a good game.
I hope that we're in the middle ground. Peter and I don't want to put out any games that we don't ourselves enjoy playing. But at the same time we actually would like to put a game out. Hopefully we'll get Siphon Sphere out on time!
P.S. I did another guest post at RampantGames which can be read here.