maandag 15 november 2010

The end...

Hi all,

We’re nearing the end… The end of 2010 and our ‘secret’ water game. The holidays are coming and we aim to be done with it before we celebrate them. Last week we delivered a beta version of the water game. It includes everything the game needs. Art assets, functionality and audio. Now we’re entering what we call ‘hell’ ;) Tweaking, testing and fixing the game.

Although it can be quite rewarding, finishing and polishing a new game is a rough, tough, stressful and sometimes frustrating job. Personally, I find it quite difficult as well. It is a moment when you are confronted with your toughest bugs, issues and wrong decisions . Confronted with bugs you already know, but also the bugs you get from testers and clients. You need to keep focus on creating the best game possible without losing hope while reading all bug lists and documents.

When finishing a game I tend to list all ‘easy’ bugs (at least the ones I think are easy) versus the more difficult ones. This way I can actually reward myself with progress. This might sound weird, but I can feel quite satisfied when fixing a difficult bug and the run through a whole list of easy ones and see the game becoming better, more stable and more fun with each new iteration. I find this actually very good practice as it provides me with some incentive to tackle the really tough ones. Most of the time these bugs are challenging, but not impossible to fix.

However, the worst ones are the bugs that keep returning from the dead. They are like zombies. You put them down, but they simple stand up and reenter the bug list during another QA round. Although sometimes they are on the updated list, because people forgot to remove them. That is actually quite nasty, because I think I screwed up again while in fact it is working just fine and I am just wasting precious time.

I can track the really tough bugs in my code quite easily. When things go wrong I comment my code ‘differently’. Comments like: Hack, Stop! Hackertime!, Just Hack it!, New Hack City, or Dutch/English profanity. I have a nice anecdote about this, but I’ll save that for another post. It is sometimes fun to read those comments on a Friday afternoon with a ‘cold-one’. However, it is Monday now and while things are looking decent for finishing up this game I do suspect some laughs and frowns at my comments next Friday afternoon.

-Pieter

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