Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Timing is everything

This is just going to be a short "So obvious maybe it's not worth saying" post, but lets face it, most of the posts here fall into that category.

The driving / crashing game I'm working on right now ( Look a couple of posts down to read very little about it. NDA's, they're like garlic to this vampire of a blog ) has a nice Star Wars wipe. I've used it a couple of times before, it's a simple yet effective transition, and it suits some games well.
In this case it fits as it reinforces the fast movement from left to right, which is what the game's all about. And you thought I just threw all these games together by blindly bashing on the keys until the errors stop. Ahem.

Anyway as this game uses box2D the results are very variable. A little tweak here and a little one there and it throws up totally different results, which in turn means a lot of testing. I must have seen the same screens thousands of times. I mean that literally.

The other day my beautiful Star Wars wipe got to the point where I couldn't take it any more. I imagine people who work in the porn industry get sick of it after a while, or a tour guide at the Sistine Chapel ( Now there's two extremes ). I'm going to shorten it to make it run quicker.

No.

Trust your instincts when it comes to the timing of things like that. If it looked great the first couple of times ( After tweaking of course. Nothing is right first time ) then it's right. Don't let your boredom get the better of you.
Many a time I've had to dig my heels in with clients where they've seen lots and lots of iterations of a game ( That's agile development for you ) where they've got sick of the same sequence I have, and suggested it be shortened.

Just say the same thing you would to a unkempt man with his arm in a sling asking you to just help him put something heavy in the back of his van, here, it's just up this dark alley. Just reach right in there and put it far at the back, whilst he stands behind you.

If you say yes to it, it will be the development equivalent of having to rub the lotion into your skin. And no, we don't want the hose again.

It's not just transitions, text too is something that it's easy to skip by too quickly. A simple rule of thumb, read the text yourself twice. Not coder read it, proper read it. Twice. Slowly. And that's how long it's going to have to sit there, no matter how many times you have to sit through it ( Before any one chimes in and says you just the reduce the time during testing and put it back to the original when the game's nearly done, I know, this is just design theory. Work with me here ).

Squize.

Comments (5) -

  • pault107

    9/19/2009 7:14:33 PM |

    I've been there many times.

    I now tend to define a developerMode boolean that bypasses anything that slows me down. I switch it on while developing/testing and switch it off before sending it out to the client. That doesn't solve the 'client getting bored' issue but it at least saves time (and my sanity).

  • John Cotterell

    9/20/2009 12:47:54 PM |

    That can work both ways.

    If a client wants a silly feature, piece of copy that doesn't sit right or just a stupid intro, make sure they get to see it a few thousands times and ask for it to be removed.

  • Squize

    9/21/2009 8:22:13 PM |

    Paul, I always _plan_ to do that, but never bother, and have to sit through my own eye-candy slowly going insane with it.

    John, that's very true mate :)

  • jason

    9/25/2009 1:48:30 AM |

    Your Silence of the Lambs reference cracked me up. :)

  • Squize

    9/25/2009 7:39:11 PM |

    Thanks for noticing :)

Comments are closed