Time saving tips for game developers

I’d like a thread of a compilation of time savers when it comes to making games, here’s some to start off.

-Link the main character between scenes, this way if you need to change the character’s logic you can do so in one scene and it will be done for all the others.
-Link mesh data between common objects, this way if you need to edit the mesh or change the texture you can do so and it will change for all objects, you can also edit one of the object’s UVmaps and it will be edited for all other objects.
-Take use of the replace texture function to swap out placeholder textures for better textures, oftentimes you want a better texture so that’s when the replace function becomes very handy.
-If you need objects in 100 positions to have an IPO that goes from left to right, select all of them and set their IPO’s at the same time.
-Take use of the copy attributes menu, for copying properties and logic bricks

Not exactly the same sort of things you’re talking about, but:

-Watch yourself. Make sure you’re not spending half an hour playing the game for every ten minutes you spend working on it.

-Take use of the replace texture function

Where is this function??? is it python?? I’ve never seen it…

I belive he ment when replacing a texture you better use “replace” function rather than “open” a new texture.

It’s in the UV texture window under ‘image’

  • Make small tests to make sure the features you need actually work.

-Make small tests, so that you can see if your ideas will work or not.

-Have a general plan before you begin,( After you have tested everything)

-Pick a version of blender you want to develop with.With every new version we also get new bugs, and features get crippled. Test like I say above, and stick with the version untill the project is complete.

-Dont copy and paste script you do not understand.

-Dont copy logic bricks into your game that you do not understand.

-Listen to developers that have actually made games in the past, there are lots of “know it alls” out there… make sure they are credible before you blindly follow with your valuable time.(The GameDev.net forum is full of them)

-Dont make lots of models, and expect people to join your team to texture and rig and animate them… Part of modeling, is learning how to UV map and texture, and rigg… The idea of having “modelers, texture artists, riggers, and animators” is a bunch of bullcrap, the game industry gave up on that idea a long time ago, now they want guys who can do everything.The only time you see them wanting specialists is when they are a new company , or the guys they hired in the first place are lacking skills.Passing the models and textures back and fourth between people is really time consuming , especially when communication breaks down, and people start making mistakes.

-Read game development books to find out how “the pros” did it in the past.

-Make a mod of a commercial game so that you can see how the pros do things. (Re-inventing the wheel is very time consuming)

-Pick your tools wisely , If your game requires lots of logic, or lots of high definition textures, or huge landscapes of rolling hills covered with trees and grass with little butterflies floating around, be sure to make a test scene before you do anything.
I try to make the test scene 2 times more demanding that I actually need.If the game engine you are using cannot handle it, try something else.(change your plan or get an adequate engine)

-For buildings make your textures before you model anything… make everything on one image so that it renders fast.This will also speed up the modeling process, because you can UV map things that need to be duplicated.

-learn how to use groups,the out liner and layers to help you keep your sanity and to speed things up.

-learn how to do everything yourself… the idea of getting some winning team together, just because you made a forum post it not good.The best team leaders are the ones who actually know what is going on.I have found it much easier to just work alone and at my own pace.Managing people sucks, it wastes lots of time and most of the time teams tend to just de-solve for no reason…

-Dont make fan games or clones… It takes quite a while to develop a character, If it is your own model and your own ideas, then you can even sell it!! To take all that time and re-develop something that is a trademark or copyrighted will take you a lot of time and effort. and in the end it still is not yours, and you run the risk of a lawsuit.

-Learn how to do things the “hard way” … using things to cheat like the make human meshes is really a bad idea, you will learn very little, and end up with a sub rate product in the end.Same goes for the automatic AUV and GUV uv mapping in Zbrush. If you do not know how to UV map you are not going to go very far in the wide world of CG art.

-Always be willing to learn, Wait until after you have made a game / demo to start helping other people out on the forums.Every day you have not learned something new is a wasted day.Focus on your game rather than impressing others with your wisdom (or lack of).After you have completed a few projects you will find that you do things very differently from when you began.At this point your information will be of greater value to others.(pointing out a manual/tutorial to a newbie is still cool, just dont write any until you know what you are talking about)

-Always have in the back of your mind “how can I do this better,faster, more efficiently” while you are doing all your tests… then when it comes time for your final project you will have all the “kinks” worked out, and a very efficient way of doing things.

-Do your player model and animations last… it is the most visible in all your game, and should have all the best animations, mesh, and texturing. Practice on all your scenery and bad guys first. Then at last, when you are all elite from all the other models do your games centerpiece.

-Do not rely on luck,prayer, or chance… if you find yourself on your knees , talking to yourself, it might be a good time to pick up the manual, and try re-reading some things.
You are the one making the game,if you cannot do it without the help of others means that you need to learn a lot more.The main thing is that you do not give up, and help yourself.

-Drugs and game development do not mix, you need a clear mind, and even then it is very difficult. Caffeine shuts down small blood vesicles in your brain, you might think you are working faster, but it is all an illusion… Good sleep, and eating right really helps save energy and time.

-Try to use applications that are multi purpose, like blender and GIMP. The fewer times you need to import / export your data the better. In the past I did all my texture and bump mapping work in Zbrush… now that blender has the normal map baker, and some semi-functional painting tools, I have been able to leave Zbrush out of my pipeline.I just use gimp to pick up all the loose ends for the diffuse texture, some normal map tweaking, and my specular maps.

-Try to pick times when you have an hour or so free for development… I have tried it in short bursts in the past, and all I end up doing is confusing myself, and making a mess of things.Wait until you have enough time to follow your idea through to the finishing point.This will save you time from re-doing things, and un-confusing yourself.

-After you have all your tests done, and your outline all drawn out, try to break the out line down into little bite sized pieces, that way while you are working it will not seem overwhelming and huge. Even the most simple games can be complex as hell to make, take your time, and try to have fun… remember it is only a game :smiley:

Name logic bricks. It helps alot.

If you hate using the mouse for textures, buy a graphics tablet and paint directly onto your Blender Models. It is much faster and the only things you might need another application for are straight lines and filling large spaces with a single colour