This past week it seemed most teams in our cohort were suffering from a post-IGF submission hangover. Since we all worked tirelessly to make a build to submit to the competition, this week many of us came down from this hectic time and began reflecting on our games and what we wanted to do with the time remaining. I know some teams wanted not just to iterate on their submitted build, but also make a pivot. In other words, many of us wanted to revisit our game’s fundamental design to see how we could change it to make it better.
However, thank God Amy came in to speak with us producers last Thursday. Her brief lecture focused on the importance of utilizing the time we have left to complete and publish our games. Specifically, she wanted us to know we shouldn’t make any pivots, but rather iterate and ultimately polish our games. To make her point, she drew on a white board the timeline for our games from start to finish. She then roughly marked where we were all currently at in the development process. What she emphasized from this timeline is the lack of time left we have to complete our game. And because of this, we should focus on iterating on our design and polishing our games.
What I’ve learned from Amy from my time as a student and working for her as a producer is that she notes the importance of polishing. She contends that the true quality of the game doesn’t come from constant iteration, but spending a significant time polishing. Amy feels that most student games spend little time polishing but instead iterate until the day they are published. To stand out, polishing the game helps to make it standout and play much better than trying to come up with a new killer feature or mechanic.
Thus, what we need to focus on moving forward isn’t changing the overall design but spending the majority of our resources polishing the heck out of our game. This will prevent us from pivoting too far away from the original design therefore causing us to publish late. Instead if we spend time polishing so we can make the best game we can in the little time we have left while at the same time meeting our milestones.
I thank Amy for her time. Her words were the cure for the hangover we were all feeling.