This weekend I decided that I would finally finish the Third volume of the Ultimate Retro Project. The only outstanding game in that volume of the series is the final Cribbage game. I was partially successful and managed to finish the classic version of Cribbage which will be released this week. As most of the code in the game is shared between both the classic and modern versions of the game, it is quite likely that the modern version will be finished quite soon, though my evenings are going to be put towards getting texturing into Coffee Quest Revenge.
One of the problems I ran into, a problem I am going to refer to as the final 10% problem, is the fact that once you have a game running, the fine tuning of that game always seems to take forever. You find that there are a bunch of loose ends so you tie them up only to find that a new bunch of loose ends have been exposed. What I do is have a to-do list that starts off with the list of all the things that need to be done. Every time I run the game, I add any new tasks to be done to a new to-do list. Once all the tasks in the original list are done, I do a complete play through of the game which inevitably will lead to a few more entries in the new to do list. I then look at the new list and decide if another iteration of tuning is warranted.
I would like to think that if I was actually being paid to develop these games, that the "good enough" threshold would be much higher so more iterations would happen. Sadly, having worked on third party games I know that is not always the case. In real games it is often not the developers who have the final say but the managers and company executives. While one could argue that they are paying for the development of the game so of course they should have the final say. In some cases, such as with free promotional games, that is true. In most cases, though, they are going to sell the game to customers so it is really the customers who are paying for the decision.
Do I have a point? Well, there is the obvious one that if you are not paying for a game, don't complain about it, but I honestly don't mind getting complaints about my games because that helps me improve future games. I suppose what I am really trying to say is that consumers should be more choosy about the games that they buy because if they were we would have fewer rushed-out-the-door-to-make-a-quick-buck titles on the market.