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You are spending too long making your game

April 3, 2018

4 min read

Watch on Youtube by: Jake Birkett (@greyalien)

Money/Hour spent optimization

  • Question: what about value based pricing?

#A casual hit

A high dollar/hour spent on the game itself (guessing this doesn't count past investment in engine)

  • kept a small scope
  • worked for the target audience
  • money spent on art (quality assets appealed to audience)
  • it was localized
  • 7th match 3 game (allowed him to work quicker & build off previous work)

Make a lot of smaller games rather than one bigger game:

Roll a bunch of dice, not just one big die.


His most recent 2 year long game project (shadowhand) didn't pay off nearly as well in dollars made per hour as some of his smaller match 3 titles. Jake says Shadowhand is definitely his best, most polished game, but thinks his dollar/hour metric proves this doesn't pay off.

Reign in perfectionism in areas that players won't care about, focus on quality where the player cares.

Try shipping first chapter/season/base game before adding in additional content, like DLC after the game has proven worth.

#Ways to reduce dev time

  • Reuse engine
  • Don't make a 3D game
  • Get help from experts
    • Artists (audio & visual), its more cost effective to pay them for what they're good at doing quickly (and better)
  • Keep a polish list
    • Keep any feature that is non essential on a secondary list
    • Does this item still feel important a week later?
    • If any customers comment on them after launch, fix it then
  • Be aware of wasting time
  • Build using inverted pyramid
    • Adam Saltsman 2016 GDC talk?
      • I think it's mentioned later on in this one
    • build a small shippable piece, then keep building a bigger layer on top, where you can ship at any point on the pyramid
  • Productivity
    • Monitor it & try to improve your metrics

Be Realistic