Two years ago today, I started thinking about scrapping 7 months of work on a zombie game. It just wasn’t fun and I couldn’t make it fun. I kept the core engine code, left everything else to rot in my source repository, and spent a month writing the prototype for Banished. I think that was a good decision, even though I’ve spent way more time building it than I expected, and the game is much larger than I ever envisioned.
Sometimes I look back and wonder where the time went. Have I spent days doing nothing? Since it’s the two year mark for Banished I decided to go looking back to see just where my time has been spent.
Let’s see – currently the game has:
- 4002 external resources (that’s meshes, sounds, materials, textures, object configurations, ui’s, etc).
- 3.3M of C++ code in 915 files
- 1.35M of typed resource data in 1397 files
- 694 submits to source control
I generally don’t work weekends or holidays, so per work day, that’s an average of about 8 resources, 9.5K of typed text, and 1.3 commits to the source repository. I know I spent at least a month of time backpacking in the mountains, worked a few months doing nothing but contract work, and spent time getting the website going, so those numbers are probably a little low.
I suppose that can be considered productive. It still seems slow. If you decide to make a game on your own and write all your own tech, multiply your time estimate by 3. Really. Seriously.
Here’s a pictorial view of how the game matured…. (dates are approximate, build dates on screenshots aren’t always right)
April 2011 Wait, wait wait. In 3 months I made my own game engine with zombies chasing you through a town and you could scavenge food and bullets from homes, board up windows and doors, and find safe places to rest? Why am I not this productive all the time?!?
August 2011 Everyone is doing zombies. Mine aren’t fun. Let’s try rocks and trees and characters that are a single box instead. After the prototype was built I went backpacking for a month and really considered if leaving my job to make games on my own was a good idea…
Decemeber 2011 The prototype was nice so I decided to keep going. I rewrote a lot of code, added nicer terrain and rivers, and added a forester to manage the woodlands. Apparently I am also unable to make prototypes with stub art. Skyrim came out in November. Progess was slow for a while.