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Game Development Time

Discussion in 'PC Games' started by HangTime, 2 May 2006.

  1. HangTime

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 25 Oct 2002

    Posts: 28,300

    Location: Hampshire

    Been reading a few threads just now and it struck me that relative to the speed at which technology is progressing, the development cycle for some games is quite long. It's not that uncommon for games to be in development for 4 years or more, and so many titles get delayed beyond the initial projected release date that it makes one wonder quite what the point of announcing them so soon is, beyond what the cynics might feel is an attempt to generate hype and preorders.

    Now, the reason this can cause problems is that if games are in development for a long time, the engine can quickly become outdated or at the very least needs to be tweaked throughout the development period in order to remain up to date and competitive. If you look at a game like Duke Nukem Forever, it's nearly 8 years overdue and has undergone numerous engine changes/rewrites. OK so that's an extreme example, but there are plenty more titles like STALKER:OL, HL2, Oblivion etc which have taken several years to develop and have slipped well behind schedule. In some cases we have seen much hyped games endure a long development and then have a luke warm reception when finally released. I think quite a few people have been let down by games like Deus Ex:IW, Daikatana and stuff like that.

    So, moving forward I can't help but feel that maybe publishers should be adopting a more aggressive stance and offering less support to developers. Games need to be rushed out the door a bit quicker even if they aren't completely ready rather than always striving for perfection and delaying things futher. Nowadays 'everyone' has broadband internet and so patching games isn't that big a deal. Heck, even games that are delayed by years still end up getting patched anyway.

    This is quite a controversial standpoint, but having seen various titles flop that have adopted the 'when it's done' strategy, one can't help wonder if it is worth spending 4 years developing an average game when 2 or 3 would have sufficied. To be honest I think half the problem with games being released 'too early' is more a question of them being pseudo-ports of console(xbox) titles, the problem isn't a lack of development time, more a lack of focus.

    I guess I'm not wholly behind the argument I have put forward here, because in the past I've often said that I'm not bothered about delays in game production, since there is a huge backcatalogue of fantastic titles I am yet to try. I also think that due to the complexity and amount of content present in modern games, it is inevitable that dev time will be higher than it was during the mid90s. But I thought I'd throw it up for discussion, anyhow.
  2. clapton is god

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,202

    we as pc gamers need to concentrate on less of eye candy so devs can spend less time wasted on feature creep and get games out when they are ready, fun and *stable*.

    dev= 3 years making game, dx9. card announced, dev,oohh that card now can do this and that.....kewl man, lets do this, right, but currently working on source engine game, then decides source can't do all of the fancy tricks devs heard dx9, cards can do.
    then hears about unreal 5.0 engine game, which can,,,,,which has knock- on effects to dev time and eats tons of dosh....sounds like a duke titled game poss....ooh err that's due out at E3 lol :)
  3. Wee


    Joined: 25 Apr 2006

    Posts: 130

    Location: Scotland

    The reason games tend to get such an early release point is either because the retailer pressures the publisher, or the retailer themselves just sticks a date on the game.

    I'm not to sure i agree with you that games should be pushed out the door, buggy or not. It's hard to please people, and even if the majority of people took that stand point of getting games out quicker and patching them, they'd still probably end up complaining.

    You also have to take into consideration the cost of keeping a development team on after a game is release to work on support and instant patches. It could turn out to be more expensive than to take that extra time and 'perfect' the game.

    I wouldn't say i'm the most patient person, but when it comes to forking over £35 for a game, i'd like it to be in a fully playable state out of the box.