Finish Your Game

As I explain in my About page, I’ve started this blog to encourage myself to finish some game projects I’ve started. I work on game design in my free time, which is already quite busy! But I really do enjoy designing and want to make it more of a priority. I don’t 100% agree with their message (see, e.g., Chelsea Fagan on minimalism), but I appreciate the sentiment of The Minimialists saying “create more, consume less.” I spend a lot of time consuming content - listening to music, playing games, and watching TV and movies, but very little putting my own mark on the world. I notice this lack especially outside the things I create for my day job. My creative output has fallen to zero, and I’m not happy about that.

I’ve been reading some other blogs for inspiration and strategies for finishing a game. I found a link to Chris Hecker’s 2015 GDC talk where he asks the audience to “Please Finish Your Game.”. As the quotation at the top of the page suggests, at first glance the talk is ironic because Chris has been working on SpyParty for nearly a decade. But actually this talk is about not finishing your game until you have fully explored its mechanics. He rants against the culture of creating throwaway games from game jams. However, as a new hobby designer, I’m fine with creating little throwaway games to release. I’ve still got the training wheels on and would rather get my ideas out into the world for critique so I can learn and improve.

Rosstin Murphy over at Gamasutra provides more direct advice. The summary of that article is: “do the shittiest possible job that gets it done.” This motto is sort of a “move fast and break things” or “fail fast” approach that I find attractive when it comes to design. I have a bad habit of sitting on things way too long before opening them up for comment and critique. I’m actively working against this trend; this website is a way to encourage me to work on stuff and release it even if I’m not completely happy with it.

Derek Yu, creator of the acclaimed Spelunky, offers a laundry list of tips for finishing a game I found useful as well. I’m going to focus on the first five tips for which ever game I decide to work on from my current projects. I need to just get a quick-and-dirty prototype ready and test the core mechanics. Wish me luck!

Have any tips for finishing games yourself? Let me know!

Header image: The “monstre” balloon - George Cruikshank