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Unity Avoiding the 5 most common (and costly) mistakes guaranteed to derail your game

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AskCarol, Sep 8, 2020.

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  1. AskCarol

    AskCarol

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    We just release this blog post about how to avoid some common (and costly) mistakes guaranteed to derail your game

    Creating games isn’t easy. It’s not just about sitting down, thinking of a cool idea, and coding it up – a lot can go wrong. Read on to learn about some of the most typical pitfalls. If you can overcome these, you’ll improve your game’s chances to succeed in a competitive marketplace.


    Please take a look and feel free to let us know if this content is valuable to share with the community in the forums :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
  2. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    So basically avoid ambition :p
     
  3. AlanMattano

    AlanMattano

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    avoid ambition = short time hot game
    ambition = a classic
     
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  4. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    Did I miss something? I didn't see anything that advises against ambition:
    • Mistake #1: Not planning your game properly from the start
    • Mistake #2: Not targeting the platform that best suits your game
    • Mistake #3: Wasting internal resources and using difficult workflows
    • Mistake #4: Inadequate profiling
    • Mistake #5: Over-engineering
    I think for #1 the author could have distinguished between planning production operations (e.g., setting limits and requirements such as budget) versus planning game design (which is typically more iterative and experimental). But, apart from that, it all seems like reasonable advice.
     
  5. AlanMattano

    AlanMattano

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    Against ambition: Ambition will pick up one of these points and omit it or distort it to achieve a particular characteristic. For example:
    • Mistake #3: Wasting internal resources and using difficult workflows
    Study and research, or quality often wast internal resources and use difficult workflows.
     
  6. JamesArndt

    JamesArndt

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    Planning the development and or the schedule of your game's development is one thing. There could be an entire segment for researching and doing market/genre analysis to see if your game is even something financially viable. Far too many investing time making games that just never recoup the investment in making them.
     
    mandisaw likes this.
  7. Billy4184

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    The blog post is fine, and each point has merit, but they are too general to be really useful. You could legitimately argue the counter-point too.

    1. Don't worry about planning your game too much at the start, get something done!
    2. Consider porting your game to multiple platforms!
    3. Don't over-engineer your workflow, just get something done every day!
    4. Don't do premature optimization!

    The key would be to provide some examples/stories of things that went right/wrong to anchor the point in some context. There are a lot of post mortems out there that could be referred to.
     
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  8. Peter77

    Peter77

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    It's easier to just make no game. Also saves you an Unity license. win-win :)
     
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  9. JamesArndt

    JamesArndt

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    Hey oddly enough I have been looking to pivot to other ideas that might be a bit more stable for passive income. Considering maybe using Unity to make cartoon shorts for YouTube.
     
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  10. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Damning It eats my draft that answer the people not getting the joke, well another time. But planning "creativity" can't be done, there is a lot more nuance on that statement I just made, but basically what I refer with that statement and the other one on ambition is that you need to be warn more specifically about some aspects of making "cultural artefacts", it's very not like utilitarian project. And stuff like artistic perfection and technical achievement have very often made or break games in the history, balancing that observation with sanity check is important, making "cultural artefact" is generally knowing how to straddle this fine line and cope with the uncertainty that creativity creates.
     
  11. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    #1 mistake. Not focusing on product market fit.
     
  12. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Corollary: you wouldn't create minecraft that way, ie don't create do "fast follow", being the best second is better than being first. :p
     
  13. AcidArrow

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    Use simpler language please, you could have just said “Mistake #3: using Unity”
     
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  14. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    Also please add another mistake which is “reading tips from blog posts written by companies that don’t really make games”
     
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  15. Antony-Blackett

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    Pretty sure notch had some interest growing around minecraft fairly early on. The key is to validate as early as possible but not too early that you get false negatives because you’re not conveying the idea well enough
     
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  16. neoshaman

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    I was there when it happen on the tigsource forum, just saying infiniminer didn't have the same interest and notch lift its main mechanics straight from it, also notch basically invented early access with the infdev and the indev double version. But the point is that he didn't planned an audience to make decision, at all. It grew organically sure, but with the market logic you wouldn't start with the whole concept, the idea was to make a 3D dwarf fortress basically, with the elements of block editing of infiniminer, rogue like was like niche within a niche and he drew a lot of inspiration from them too, even the retro style was not mainstream at the time, and was under a lot of backlash and seen as "lazy indie dev". (trivia: notch didn't named minecraft, Paul Eres did, based on the name warcraft to evoke familiarity)

    The thing is minecraft took a lot of obscur mechanics and made them mainstream by luck, ie youtube helpt a lot because it was at a point where the algorithm favored let's play of games, Yogcast notably really spring the game to a mainstream audience and skew younger, while before it was a curiosity for an indie crowd looking for innovation.

    The end result is that these niche genre that had no traction(and method like PGC) became slowly popular, the big interest in crafting, survival, rogue like/lite, procedural generation games, open (wandering) world with no goal, it all comes out from that one game. It was also one of the first indie success to turn indie from avant guard hobby games to full commercial venture, by demonstrating market can be big. Even fortnite can obviously be trace to it.

    Minecraft was an event like we see only in a decade.

    And some fast follower did good too (terraria for example, ditch the super mario engine to repurpose into 2D minecraft)

    Anyway that's what I say with coping with the uncertainty of creativity, that's one technique.

    But the main important thing is to know what's the main "ambition" is it financial or is it creative, those are in conflict.

    - If you go business, don't have too much creative ambition, hence the "fast follow", market review, use genre as guideline, "creation" is "faked" by variation on known popular idea, etc ... you try to predict the future from the past, you can create pretty stable company with that, creative minded people will be depressed. Player don't like EA or Activision but that work financially, so it's practical and sensible advice.

    - If you go "creative", yo need to be stable yourself to begin with, notch had a job and doing great, making games was a hobby, which is why the game had retro style graphics, because he was alone to start, when the game picked up some pace (not yet at mainstream level) he tried a bit to hired an artist to make higher quality cuter model (rana), but then decided against because block was more cohesive, which could have been market suicide. The point is that he could do whatever he wanted to fit his vision and not have to hurry, because he had the backing, there was no stake, so all the mistake above were moot, that's very important.

    Creative in the context of this discussion is "road less taken" and "far from mainstream". Minecraft is as much as a collection of idea from elsewhere as any games in mainstream genre, but without the mainstream part. This was a huge mitigation of risk, it only had to copy stuff he knew would work for him, infiniminer already prove block editing could be fun, biomes and pcg comes from dwarf fortress, etc ...
     
  17. Antony-Blackett

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    Financial and creative ambition do not need to be in conflict, thinking that they have to be will result in you believing it. You can do both at the same time perfectly fine. You just need to think about it more.
     
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  18. neoshaman

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    Well i don't to believe it when i live through it. But like i say it's a nuance and ambiguous discussion, for example the wild card is what constitutes creativity, it's deeply culturaland personal and people will feel offended if you say their generic fiction isn't creative, it's all relative. Also going safe doesn't always guarantee return, it's probalistic.

    But basically the point is it's only matter in term of managing uncertainty. Else when you say to look after the market wouldn't make sense, thinking about it has a cost, it mean you have too compromise the vision based on anticipated reaction, or you can fall into the trap of artistic perfection to sell the idea.

    For example, i want to make a game about how it feels to be caraibean, this objective mean than typical popular representation are in direct opposition of the goals, there is a huge set of expectations to destroy, and new to set to establish, there is a set of technological challenges never tackles in a satisfying way too, and there is a great deal of touchy subject to navigate around. It took me 10 years to narrow down what's essentially a very simple story, just to avoid the typical hurtful trap, i still have to narrow the gameplay to support it, and i struggle to represent some visual due to neglected aspects of current technical methodology. Turns out documentation isn't free when you are the world rounding error, it's not as simple as googling around, not everything isn't on internet. I tried 10 year prior to go the safe road, only to realize that's simply not possible.

    The thing is i felt immensely creative when all i was doing was permutations of existentialist donjon and dragon thing. But start tackling subject beyond the box and you get humbled very fast. Before i wouldn't believe when people said it wasn't creative, that's relative but their were still a kernel of truth in their assessment.

    The further you go from the established, the more costly it become, the lower the potential return and potentially you might overstretch and break. We have the hindsight of art history.
     
  19. bluwuu

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    mistake 1,2,3,4,5: not beeing able to get license on unityhub
     
  20. chrisk

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    Mistake #0: Stay away from Unity unless you make clicker games or have a deep pocket. Or risk having cancer.

    I recently moved to Unreal after a long struggle with the clunky Editor. It was more like fighting with the Editor instead of making games.

    Mono is the root of all evil and we all know Mono is pretty much dead. Unity has no future unless the Editor is moved to .Net5 asap.
    I tried to reason but I failed to convince them. I can only blame myself for choosing Unity in the first place.

    I vowed not to piss toward Unity unless Unity proves worth making a game, and I won't believe the empty promises anymore. I've been bitten hard by it when I first heard about the bright future in 2018 United Copenhagen.
    The year 2019 has been such a mess and 2020 not very different. The legacy continues.

    Yeah, congratulation on IPO. Now that Unity went IPO, we will hear lots more empty promises down the road to please the stockholders. Unity always has been a business-focused company rather than an engineering company. End users will matter less and less.

    Oh well, I've been saying the following to summarize Unity in 3 words in the past.
    Unity is Stubborn, Lazy, and Incompetent. It will probably most accurately describe Unity.
    And wow that they Exited(IPO), I expect they will become more so.

    So please stay away from Unity if you can.
    My two cents.
     
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  21. neoshaman

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    There is plenty worthy game made with unity, that's not the problem
     
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  22. AcidArrow

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    I feel like he means Unity Technologies making a game. (if not, yeah, you're right)

    It's one of the problems that arise when the name of the company is the same as the name of the product. It's another bad design decision :)
     
  23. EternalAmbiguity

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    I think there's value in, every time a blog post is created, automatically generating a forum thread with the title of the blog as the thread title, the blog's highlighted or enlarged-and-emboldened first paragraph as the thread post's content, and a link to the blog post itself.
     
  24. radiantboy

    radiantboy

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    I think Unity could be good if they sat down and fixed all the bugs... just too damn buggy to make anything large in. Refuse to reply to any of my emails and even the bug reporter crashes, the irony.
     
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  25. AlanMattano

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    La Sagrada Familia is an example of planning creativity that also works if the artist is dead.
     
  26. AlanMattano

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    Who makes More can create more errors. Looks like they are trying to fixe more bugs this 2020. Frustration making bug reports? Is there any particular bug you want to point out?

    Your acid jokes make me laugh.

    In general, when somebody teaches something or we do not agree, self-esteem of who is listening goes down, (because it takes it out from their comfort zone, the brain start thinking, suspends breathing, hard start arrhythmia, stress level go up, etc ) and the immediate reaction is to escape by using a joke in the way out to void deep thinking concentration.

    @EternalAmbiguity helps the author of the post to receive feedback.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
  27. AlanMattano

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    Let apply this
    1. Concept
    2. Prototyping
    3. Greenlight
    4. Preproduction
    5. Production
    6. Launch
    To the Unity game UI
    In Unity, you can't turn on a candle my making a standard UI button Prefab
    How many of these points do UI fail?
    Also, number 7. longevity
    There are also long terms of values related to quality.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
  28. neoshaman

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    What the frack are you trying to say?
    You could have commented on the extra explanation I gave below, because it's not an escape, there a rational, it's a warning to test resolve. Creativity is risky and using factory like management can be counter productive, that's why we use agile rather than waterfall or six sigma, factory management style methodology is all about reducing variations, creative style management is about maximizing variations, which obviously create tension with execution by producing waste if we are thinking in the factory methodology. The way the tension is resolved is separating conceptualisation from execution by using cheaper proxy we call prototype. Which is something I waited the discussion to go Instead people got fixated on the literal definition of ambition. A prototype is functionally less ambitious than the final production, that was one of the many layers of my "joke".

    So do you have anything interesting to add to move the discussion or do you want to continue flexing moral superiority :( without adding anything to the discussion?

    If anything it reinforce what I'm saying above and implied, that is there is two phases in a project life, gestation which is the risky part as the whole structure is uncertain, then execution, my guess is that the project was fully gestated before, therefore there was no critical creativity left to define, allowing execution to proceed relatively smoothly. Another example is movie, the actual production is well oiled, but the script, that is the cheapest but more critical part, as it define the content to assemble, can linger for years and have many revision, very often more longer that the movie realization itself.

    A counter example would be the game anthem, they didn't have a fixed vision until the video reveal at E3, a single video allow them to zero in what the game should be, but there was not enough time to deliver a quality product. In fact it's not uncommon for game to have a mid project creativity crisis where the first half of high production value assets get discarded for a new better direction, just look at all the bioshock infinite trailer, the way mirror edge pivoted mid Dec, etc ... The same happen for Indies, we are still designing the car while constructing it on top of driving it. A recurring advice to beginner is to start small, so they can tackles problem in manageable fashion, basically making early project as prototype of later project.

    If anything we should have a mistake 6 that say, don't forget to do quick prototype to validate your idea, before investing resources into unproven idea. That automatically takes care of artistic purity and technical perfection. Most of the time Ambition leads you to immediately jump into realization, that's a major mistake, I'm a big fan of MVP and horizontal slice, I think vertical slice are a mistake because it doesn't let you test the development and pacing of games.

    To take an example, my project started as an open world game, something I'm comfortable with. However the subject matter mean one big pillar of the project was to have good representation of the people, which is a group that isn't well represented in media in general, after reviewing the landscape of representation I realize there was no useable resources. Therefore I downgraded the whole project from open world to basically a 3d visual novel, is it emphasizes story and visual, which are the aspects that I needed to focus and innovate on, that prevent it from cannibalising the other part of the project if I were to make something more complex, VN are trivial to make, I don't even need unity html is more than enough. So you could say I look the ambition, but the joke is that it's a double sided speak, we could say the ambition is to innovate on some representations.

    So basically it's a tongue in cheek warning that's about being warry of what you wish for, don't be anthem, but you can be Mario 64 ( actually the dev of that game was running in cycle for years, they made all the level in a few months in the end, so much crush the main programmer left the industry after that project). Assassin's creed similarly tried a bunch of gameplay that didn't translated into a game until someone was send to wrap the project into 3 months, that the game was so repetitive into it's structure. I can continue naming high profile project who were in trouble because of chasing art and technical, and even more that failed because they took the safe approach, telltale and her interactive being casualty of their success turned into safe factory production. Creative and cultural product are different from utilitarian product, the failure of Amazon and Google despite their resources is proof of that.
     
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  29. radiantboy

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  30. AlanMattano

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    @neoshaman nice summary.
    Yes,
    "for Indies, we are still designing the car while constructing it on top of driving it."
    I remember playing an early (Mario?) making pipeline C64 and was boring (then evolve).
    Feels like Italian fumettista the nose was from Giovanni Piccardo father making prototypes for a sweater string publicity that triggers "La Linea" original Italian author Piccardo ~1943-48~. In my case, I experience that In very difficult times, ask for 150 or 200 drawings or tone of prototypes. Notice that the last drawing is the best one.
    I deal now with the UI button and the latest new prefab system.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
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