Game Development Reference
Games are different because the most important single determinant
of the quality of a game is the number of iteration loops it goes through.
An obsession with quality at every stage slows down iteration, ultimately
leading to a poorer game.
This is why it's often a mistake to reject imperfect work in early itera-
tions. A designer who does this is like a novelist who can't get a word down
because he needs it to be perfect. So every iteration loop is stretched out
by overanalysis as he tries to measure twice and get the perfect cut. In the
end, his fear of mistakes leads to inferior work because he only managed
a few iteration cycles.
In game design, everything gets revised and rebuilt many times
before it reaches its final quality. The work we do in the earliest iteration
cycles isn't building the final game. It is only building the platform from
which to jump to the final game.
The Fallacy of Vision
A young aerospace engineer is at his first day of work. He goes into the
boss's office with a gleam in his eye, and declares, “I've got the greatest
idea for a new kind of airplane.”
The boss is intrigued. “Explain,” he says.
The young engineer takes on a visionary expression and stares into
the distance. “The passengers board hassle-free in five minutes. Then
the plane takes off, silently, with barely a bump, as the passengers enjoy
martinis in their private booths. As they soar over the Atlantic, a young
couple enjoys the view in one of the plane's many bubble canopies, and
a cute kid gets a tour of the cockpit. The captain chuckles as the kid asks
why they can't fly to the moon. By the time they touch down, love has been
found, lessons have been learned, and everybody is ready for whatever
awaits them at their destination.”
The boss leans back in his chair and takes a long drag on his cigar.
“You're fired,” he says.
This young aerospace engineer had a vision. But his vision was of an
airplane flight, not an airplane. He described a wonderful experience, but
he said nothing about the mechanical systems that created that experi-
ence. He succumbed to the fallacy of vision .
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