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'What's the best game dev advice you've ever received?'
'What's the best game dev advice you've ever received?' Exclusive
March 7, 2014 | By Kris Graft




There's a lot of good advice out there about game development, and a lot of bad advice. Today, I took to Gamasutra's Twitter to try to get a taste of both the best and the worst.

Common themes?: Just start it, just finish it. And in between, don't forget to screw up, to fail, to iterate and to remember that falling on your face early and often is all part of making good video games.

We collected some of the best answers below, from game developers from all corners of the industry. Whether working as a hobbyist, triple-A developer, indie or otherwise, there are common pieces of advice that are applicable, no matter what kinds of video games you make.

As always, if you'd rather not be included in this story, just tweet at me: @krisgraft



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Comments


Alexandre Daze-Hill
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Best advice I had, I think it would be that it is cool to have great ideas and even good execution, but it serves nothing if nobody understands them.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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Don't be a Moneyless Modder™

Robert Walker
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"If you don't ship, you don't eat!"

Kevin Fishburne
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Finish what you start. A complete failure is better than an aborted attempt. Even a shitty game will plant your flag, and who knows, your next one might raise an army of fans.

Muir Freeland
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"Give it more microtransactions."

Luis Deliz
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"Your games will suck. Until they don't."

Wendelin Reich
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The best game dev advice I ever received was: be wary of game dev advice! By authors here on gamasutra:

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TanyaShort/20131010/201752/50_Easy
_Steps_to_Indie_Success.php

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/FolmerKelly/20140109/208267/To_Aspirin
g_Indie_Devs.php

Jay Anne
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No matter what game design it is, it can benefit from having multiple overlapping progression curves and randomized reward schedules.

Matt Heinzen
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Chess would seem to fail your second criteria, though a chess video game could be created to meet your first criteria.

Christian Philippe Guay
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Know your stuff and make games for players, right? But wait. That means if your leads give you a feedback and you then explain to them gently how that would make the product worst, they'll secretly hate you and tell others how hard it is to work with you, even if it's not true.

Maybe, you should instead make games for your leads. But wait. As you do exactly what you are told, the game becomes less fun, ultimately you are the one they'll blame for it and you could lose your job, screw up your career.

In the end, what matters is that you do what is right. Maybe you have to accept that you'd be much happier as an indie developer or on much smaller teams. And for someone like you, it could even be safer/healthier even if it looks like the complete opposite.

TC Weidner
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"you learn by doing, not by watching". True for game developing and pretty much everything else in life

Stephen Etheridge
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The counterpoint is watching tissue testers experience your game for the first time. You won't ever see those issues by just 'doing'; taking a moment to look at the bigger picture can be valuable, too.

Jorge Gonzalez
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In the forums of gamecareerguide I saw user tsloper often say "make games", greatest advice ever.
Also, Extra Cedits' "fail faster" and Rami Ismail's "Failure is generally not a problem unless you fail to learn from it" is a great philosophy for starting devs like me.

G Holt
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Been doing this for 22 years, and I always say "The key to developing fun games is to have fun making games!" My best work has always been when I really enjoyed working on the game, which feeds into the actual game, and then that feeds back into my enjoyment, and you get a nice cycle of development.

And at the end of the day, we do this because we love games!

Jonathan Murphy
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Jonathan Murphy, "Plan for failure as much as success. Learn from the past or you have no future. Pizza time!"

MrPhil Ludington
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The Best is the Enemy of the Good.

Lawrence Rice
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"Fail early, fail often, recover quickly."

Totally true!

Gary LaRochelle
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"If you don't like playing your game, your customers won't like playing your game."

Michael Brown
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Best advice for me, as with most, is "just get something finished." The worst, in my opinion, is that "You have to learn this software (UDK, Unity, etc.) or you're outta luck." The thing about that is, I wasn't even a junior in high school when I realized that they're often fads. Certainly not a good idea to base your career around them, in my opinion.

Will Hendrickson
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Pretty tough to compete with Unity right now. I wouldn't base an entire career on one tech either, but it is a good idea to capitalize on your opportunities when they present themselves. For most new developers, that means Unity.

Bruno Xavier
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I disagree. I develop on Unity since 2010, but wouldn't mind to work on UDK and alikes or any other in-house tech. Unity is great, but just a convenience.

Will Hendrickson
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Best advice: prototyping is king. Just ask the guys making a game about goats.

Worst advice: someone once told me that if I didn't make the next call of duty, there was no point. He wasn't a gamer. (does that still count?)

John Flush
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"Once you have a family, get out."

The industry still is a rough place for people that need work / life balance.

alexander hollins
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It makes me extremely sad that not a single piece of given advice has anything to do with having a quality STORY before, after, or during creating gameplay. It makes me weep, it does.

David Dougher
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May I humbly offer a bit of Biblical parapharasing?

The Golden Rule of Game Development...

“Put as much effort into quality of your game as you would expect others to put into the games you play.”


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