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How long have you been working on your yet unreleased game?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by VIC20, Sep 18, 2023.

  1. VIC20

    VIC20

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    Unity was released in 2005. How long have you been working on your unreleased projects? Most take only a few months to make a game, some a few years. Others significantly longer.

    Since more than 14 years here


    I started with Unity in 2007. I've been working on my main title since 2/25/2009 (If I will ever release then I broke the record of Duke Nukem Forever on April 9, 2023), although I started experimenting with it back in 2007, the decision to really go through with it was made that day and from then on I've made all the decisions in my life to have as much time as possible to develop. In the beginning it went fast, but then came different phases, nevertheless I keep going until I eventually finish, when by now I don't care at all. Whereby I realize in the meantime that my age also makes me slower. The worst thing, though, is when I get knocked out of the flow in a big way. It takes months to really get back into it.

    At least I learned one thing: If you don’t know when you will release but it is pretty clear that development will take a long time, then don't start to optimize for performance before the end of development. My unfinished game runs really extremely good on hardware no one uses anymore - so good that even Apple was impressed by its performance and capabilities 10 years ago.

    Currently I think it is time to switch to URP with the project because I believe the builtin render pipeline will be discontinued one day. It will be a lot of work for me because of all its custom shaders. Of course switching the engine is a thought these days too.

    Anyway I wonder which of you will beat me at this inglorious record.
     
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  2. warthos3399

    warthos3399

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    I think everyones life situation is different, and will effect the time frame. Your not doing anything wrong, started hard and heavy, but life changes, hell, projects change, lol.

    Just for conversations sake: my situation is very different. I work a normal FT job, but im single (by choice), so from 5 p.m. till about 2 a.m. its all game dev time, every day, and more on the weekends. I also do work for other studios/projects, and was teaching Unity 3d intro/beginner for awhile, but just dont have the time now.

    Was working on my 2nd game, Isle Of Carnage, but the itch of a 3d rpg, 3rd person game just wouldnt go away. And thats mostly what i work on for other studios/projects (including MMOs), so couldnt ignore the itch anymore. Like my 1st game with Unity, it wasnt small, and took a few years to release. Now im developing that 3d rpg game, and its bigger than the last, in more ways than one, lol.

    Yes age effects things too, cant stop that clock. You just keep plugging along, and the best to you :)
     
  3. My worst offender is an Invaders clone game I'm "working on" since C=64 times (middle-to end of the eighties). Obviously I'm not really working on it in the sense that I'm making any new progress.
    The story behind that that it was the first attempt to learn Basic V2. Then found out that there is this thing called "game design", so after random changes you could actually plan deliberate changes so achieve new effects with it.
    Then for various reasons (learning graphics basic, then simon's basic then getting some cartridges, so I could more easily develop assembly and demos) it went on to the backburner (well nothing-burner mostly).
    And then I moved the design and some code onto PC when I got one, it had Turbo Pascal, QBasic versions, then C too.
    Later, because of family and my daughter and stuff I had to give up on the hobby for a while.
    But after that I made it on Javascript and HTML (don't even...), then proper HTML5 later when the canvas became available.
    Then I rewrote the basics on Unity too, obviously, but never finished it.

    And I think I will never, ever finish this one. Mostly because this was a project I started together with my late father and I just can't finish it without him anymore. Obviously it's more emotional choice than any other blocker. But I make the same progress with it as it was wherever I go.
     
  4. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    I have a couple in the background. One that will likely never release (based on too much ip), and one that I still hope to release one day. I release games regularly as I do this professionally, but my project games... meh, I don't worry about it. I often the pick them up from time to time to play with new things, or make new art for them, or just as a mental break.
     
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  5. VIC20

    VIC20

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    The reason I started to learn programming in 1983 was that I wanted to write a Time Pilot clone because I urgently needed to play this game at home. After I left the "Hello World“ phase I never actually started working on it. But at the end 33 years later I really did it and released it.
     
  6. Karearea

    Karearea

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    I ‘started’ my glider sim in 2014, using Playmaker, Rewired and UnityFS to wire together basic logic.

    I couldn’t do what I wanted in a clear way, so slowly learnt enough code to modify assets to do what I wanted.

    Then I decided to code everything again but only using what I needed, and caching lots more for better performance.

    These skills then developed into paid work (I was already in the creative industries, so just did more coding along with the art I was already doing) and I went back and charted a minimum feature set, with a plan to put out something simple.

    then… my first child arrived, the sim became more of a hobby and I lost pace.

    Then DOTS came out and I learned that, and rebuilt everything in ECS. As a self trained programmer, I’ve found this so much more intuitive and on my wavelength. I think I’d struggle to return to OOP for anything like my game.

    Then I had my second child, COVID hit, and I ended up the main stay-at-home parent, so the sim took even more of a backseat. I can now fly through great flocks of AI gliders and am heading towards the game I always wanted to make, but was already losing motivation before the Unity debacle.

    I’m now holding out to see if I should just persevere with Unity and DOTS, try the same thing in Unreal Mass, or pare the game right back and do something really simple in Godot.

    To be honest I’m usually tired of anything digital after the agency work is done, so these days I spend more time in the evening making model planes (learning to airbrush at the moment!) and just drawing on paper, enjoying the tactility.
     
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  7. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Technically my project started in 2009 after I came back from Belgium, after the 2008 financial crisis took my studio with it. Since I'm caraibean, I tried to make the once in a lifetime game that would represent aspect of my culture, it was supposed to be a 3d action game inspired by zelda, based on idea that matured since 1995 when I was in school. I figured out it would take me 5 years to finish the project.

    I decided to start with a less ambitious project, basically sonic meet mario galaxy, but the movement and camera system prove to he hard to solve. After 3 years, I solved it and moved on, canceling the project and going back to the initial plan.

    Around 2012, I started concepting the current. But since it's culturally base, tuning the story was a key pillar, it proved to be harder than initially thought. But by 2014, I had a detailed outline that was good enough. I didn't wrote the story with gameplay in mind initially, because I'm confident in my designer skill, once it's done it's just an adaptation job.

    I started exploring artstyle for a year, learning 3d on my own, I was targeting low end phones such as the mali 400 as a basis. Inspired by the old short "meet buck", which was a student school project, I was going for a painterly no lighting style, something people would now say arcane like or spiderverse like, but before their time.

    But I hit a big time realization while doing so, in the caraibe, there is black people like the main character, and while studying how to render them, I realized most 3d render are very bad approximation, both for hair and skin. I studied skin rendering and hair rendering in depth, then I studied the skin and hair appearance on people, trying to document what was missing.

    Skin proved to be easier, but hair, I mention specifically 4c hair, there was no prior work on the technical level, nobody actually know anything about that type of hair. Most discussion about that hair run in circles, they discuss results, the what, but there is no 'how' on a technical level, it's like building a car from the point of view of the visual design but knowing nothing about how you actually fold the carcass and construct the engine.

    There is no way I can do a game base on a culture, if I can't represent people of that culture. Especially my own culture. I realized quickly that it would be a much bigger challenge that I can entertain, given the initial scope. I lowered the ambition of the project from open world action rpg, to a 3d visual novel with floating camera. The quality of representations was non negotiable.

    This format decreased the complexity of the execution, and allow to focus on the character's rendering issue, which is now semi realistic, for usual sequence, and various, but close, animated style for the dungeon sequences, which make sense given the story.

    Therefore I set out to explore the various problems, since it only need to be solved once for everyone. It took me 5 years to understand key aspects, and since then, I set out to innovate, to make it easier to address one of the major aspect. I end up creating a new classification of hair to capture the key aspects. I'm still in the process of solving that one major aspect.

    In total it's been around 10+ years, the latter year has been hard because math isn't aspirational :rolleyes:, people don't understand it like a nice image. I'm working on hair, but there will be no render as long the equation is not solved. AND I'm not good with math, I use artist interpretation of the problem, broke into smaller problems, then Google the closest equivalent to each issue in sequence :p, but I'm also aware finishing it might have massive rewards, for rendering in general, not just hair. I'm maybe 3 steps away from the end.

    Basically, the more uncertainty a project have, the more meandering it will be. I have a quadrant tools, with innovation (uncertainty) on one axis, and executive ambition on the other:

    - Low ambition, low innovation, these project are easy to plan and execute,

    - High ambition low innovation these are hard to execute, but planning is straightforward. You can reduce executive grind by spending time figuring tools. It doesn't REALLY count as innovation, because it's non blocking, as you have workflow fallback, any innovation will either increase quality or reduce time, not stall the project, thus these are always good to pursue.

    - high innovation low ambition. These are those I call 'artistic ambition', they can be avant garde. The issue is that, even though the execution is easy, they are hard to plan ahead, the process of figuring things out takes time. That's the headache or starving artist corner. In term of production, tools hat help narrow down the vision, by bringing structure, is key, iterations replace typical waterfall planning.

    - The final quadrant is the march of death, high ambition AND high innovation. Typically, you don't want to be there, that's a disaster in the making, even if you survive this, you won't be intact, that's the worse of everything.

    My project started slightly in the high ambition low complexity quadrant, that was basically just grind. I reduced ambition, by shifting the style to 'painterly and no lighting' initially, to make it possible. But the appearance of hair and skin issues, after the visual test, increased drastically the innovation needed, that put me in March of death. Therefore I lowered the ambition, because of the innovation needed, ending up in the headache corner such as, when the innovation is solved, I can treat myself with easy and smooth execution.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2023
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  8. Deleted User

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    I feel you, I keep watching my game, on YouTube, still amazed that Unity could do this on mobile. It's ready to go, I never released it. Why. I really don't know, not good enough?.. But it does bring back warm feelings about Unity, mobile terrain and my journey learning game development.


    Another one, that I actually liked to play, A lot of work went into this one!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2023
  9. devotid

    devotid

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    I think I am going on 7-8 years now. I started "The Coin Game" in 2016 on a whim just to win a woman's heart. Its been on EA now for 4 years making decent money with no real date for "full release". I will prob never stop working on it. Haha.
     
  10. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Good, the game rules.
     
  11. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    I started mine a little before Unity 4 was released. Wrote my own custom shader because I hated how Unity's legacy diffuse shader + no post processing looked.

    Still going. I'm shooting for 2035 for an alpha release.

    I'm just a hobbyist so I only work on it in my spare time.
     
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  12. VIC20

    VIC20

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    Yes, besides the effort that goes into the art and technical development side of the game, there are other things that can be very time-consuming.

    For my game the research for correct historical and technical details and the demand for realism is an enormous time factor that I previously underestimated. My target group is very demanding and I want to serve them accordingly. In doing so, I have met a lot of experts on the subject and even contributed a little to a book that is entirely dedicated to the technical aspects of this historical topic.

    However, I had no idea that some spend such a long time on the rendering of hair and that this is a key issue for certain projects.
     
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  13. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    FOR SURE, I'm not even going for the realism, I'm using myth logic, but even then I also greatly underestimated documentation as a labor. Plus the colonial era in the caraibean is such a gory history, I had a lot of 'oh!' moment when I had realisation that's why people act the way they do now, there is direct link with history, even if in the present people forgot about it, and how much problem of then continue now under new forms. I had to tip toe so much to stay true to teh "feeling".

    But While doing so, I also conceptualized how to avoid that labor in the future: space opera lol
     
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  14. Trigve

    Trigve

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    I'm making (still) the WW2 (for now) tactical game (company - battalion level) WEGO style (in the beginning I was planning to make it WEGO, than realtime, than turn-base and now I'm back at WEGO:)).

    I've started it while I was at uni at around 2003 with pure OpenGL, OpenAL, ... . Then I moved to Ogre3D. I've also tried Irrlicht3D (if I remember the name correctly :)) plus couple of other engines and finally Unity. The main problem in the early years was to find out how procedural terrain works, how to move vehicle around the terrain etc.. Now, you have unlimited resources to find almost anything. I've also tried Unreal, but it lacks some functions that Unity have (or at least I haven't found a solution for it there). Anyway, I'm still using some code/algorithms from the early stages. I do plan to finish the core mechanics (to be able to make some demo) in 2 years (bot, remind me!), but it depends on my free time.

    Wish you all the luck with your games!
     
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  15. Xaron

    Xaron

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    There's one project I started 2005 in BlitzBasic, moved over to Irrlicht later on then Unity and now we have 2023. :D

    Beside that I'm working mainly on Sea Power for almost 4 years full time now (Unity SRP). Next game probably won't use Unity anymore for reasons we all know...

    @VIC20 I seriously hope you can finish your dream. it's a niche but I'm sure it will really pay off for you! Insta buy for me on day 1!
     
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  16. IllTemperedTunas

    IllTemperedTunas

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    Longer than I care to admit.
     
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  17. VIC20

    VIC20

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    This is not a problem. You don't have to say anything in your first post in this round. You can also just listen to the others.
    Maybe next time you'll say "Hello, I'm IllTemperedTunas and I've been developing a video game for so-and-so years" Then we'll all nod our heads in understanding and compassion and say "Hello IllTemperedTunas".
     
  18. I am clean for more than a week now!
     
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  19. VIC20

    VIC20

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    Great! You will get a green coin for that. God grant me the serenity to accept fees I cannot change, courage to change engines I can and wisdom to know the difference.
     
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  20. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    On my personal side, I usually built systems, and loved experimenting and prototyping. Always something around procedural stuff (I.e. L-Mayer growing forest, Neural-Net car racing and shooting tanks, Utility AI based population behaviour etc.). That was more satisfying for me, than making and chasing actual released game.
    However, I got two projects, which are close to be a game rather a set of systems, which I had started few years ago, and past two years never had time to touch them, as I know they are very time involved. Each one is worth many months of work. I hope one day I can back to at least one of them, or someone will do that for me. :cool:
     
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  21. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    I’m probably the worst offender because I have no intention to in ever releasing anything.

    I had a big push to release a game for a charity I used to work for, but don’t think I can now knowing what I know about them.

    I hired an artist and paid them a couple thousand. It’s where my pic comes from and I probably should change it.

    But these days I’m jumping between multiple projects that are mostly for fun.

    A Metroidvania FPS,

    A Zelda/Darksouls/Mario 3d land game

    An diceless ARPG engine form multiple games
     
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  22. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    At some point I started to wonder if I'd ever release anything either. That's why I made my youtube channel. I can make tiny incremental projects that are too small to be worth playing but I can still show them off in a 4 minute video, maybe.
     
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  23. DrMeatball

    DrMeatball

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    Started Feb 2022. Hope to release by Halloween 2024.
     
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  24. forzabo

    forzabo

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    Current project is at least 2 years in the hopper.
     
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  25. CenobiteShadoweaver

    CenobiteShadoweaver

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    I started playing less and developing more in 2018 just before the COVID19 pandemic, while i have acquired a ton of assets while working with 3 editors on a newly built machine for the purpose of game development, i still haven't even got a working program as versions keep killing my process, one works while another fails to work, i have waited 12 months for a fix at times and it's finally arrived, so much blocks progress, many barriers to indie development, lack of funs, lack of time, lack of employees and machines that could make jobs easier and the whole process smoother, i could have all the A.I help in the world but there simply isn't enough processing power for it to do anything other then what i'm currently doing. I'd have to total upgrade, buy more computers build a mainframe for it all run my own development network of computers.

    I'm like a hobbyist creator maybe one day i'll get a full working game built as its just a dream of mine i had since i was a kid, just a bucket list item i want too kick before i shuffle the mortal coil build a working game that i actually want to play...

    I was going to release small creations as i developed my 3 main games, one fantasy game one sci-fi game and one cyberpunk style game, all relating back to my past of pen & paper role playing in the 90's and early 2000s, big influences on me were things like D&D or G.U.R.P.S pen & paper systems and before that it was TimeZone Coin Op's of the 80s with Sega & Nintendo console super powers that ruled our generation of gamers back then.

    When Nintendo first released Mario brothers i couldn't afford such a new system i had to play the game at the shopping centre display! now i build my own.
    This game just took all my money as a kid...

    The local fish & chip shop made heaps of cash off us kids back then. Remember this S*** before and after school people!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2023
  26. CenobiteShadoweaver

    CenobiteShadoweaver

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    And did you get that Date off the Woman? that's the thing all that effort did that pay off or are you still working on that too.
     
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  27. devotid

    devotid

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    Yeah. I married her. She is the love of my life. :)
     
  28. VIC20

    VIC20

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    That’s great.

    But I guess the reverse is more common. Divorced because you developed a game.
     
  29. McSwan

    McSwan

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    I was a RAD (Rapid Application Developer) for a while and we started a new project every 2 weeks, and over 5 years we made hundred off products - about 90% weren't used (a lot were prototypes) but the 10% that were, well they were bangers.
    Probably the best strategy these days is to release early, get feedback and hate, and have a good game 3 years down the track - ie Balders Gate 3 - I remember people getting it and hating the first version. People like a come back story. After 13 years, it'd be interesting to see what you made.
     
  30. CenobiteShadoweaver

    CenobiteShadoweaver

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    I understand this completely from the customer point of view but now understanding more about the development side, games like Balders Gate 3 i had play tested when first released as alpha and had always said needed time to cook but most of the kids and young adults don't listen are in a rush and really don't understand many of the development issues so they complain when they buy an alpha and it's missing half the game for years, particularly if they had worked in the I.T industry for large well established & funded companies that help employees with many services like training, you just don't get this knowledge if you're just trying to give this development business a crack from knowledge you had acquired just from years of gaming, the editor uses sophisticated software that makes full use of hardware so some knowledge about both software and hardware is required more than the usual employee that just turns up to work turns on the machines and if there's an issue another tech fixes it while they move to another work station, I don't have this as a solo developer on a low budget with limited time.

    Even with more powerful computers most my time is spent waiting for things to load or compile shaders, you make an adjustment sometimes you're waiting awhile just to save a portion of content that has changed various parts of the code.
     
  31. VIC20

    VIC20

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    The wait, the hardest and worst part of game development. Sometimes you do not do certain things for a long time just because you don't want to wait.



    Besides, a sluggish editor is the worst thing there is, because you just don't want to have to use something like that.

    It is also quite unbearable when apps do not adhere to the usual macOS standards and you have to work with inferior menus, especially when it comes to file management when saving. Also terrible are apps whose 3D navigation doesn't work like Unity or Maya and where you can't set that in the settings. That makes them almost unusable.
     
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