World destruction comes in small shrink-wrapped packages...

2009/05/17

We Could Have Had Duke Nukem 7 by now

Most developers can belt out a fairly decent game in two or three years, while others like to spend more time on their offerings. 3D Realms was notorious for taking 12 years to develop Duke Nukem Forever, starting from scratch on occasions and throwing away work that took years to create.

This wasn’t the smartest strategy in the world- not by a long shot. Not only did they throw work away, but money too.

I think they should have gotten the first iteration out which used the Quake II engine by 2000 or 2001. That could have been Duke Nukem 4. Then the Unreal engine based game could have been released by 2003 or 2004. That would have been Duke Nukem 5. Then that would have left them with plenty of funding and at least five years to work on Duke Nukem 6, and possibly time for Duke Nukem 7.

That would have given them three years each more or less to work on those games. Instead of throwing away work and money, and hopping from project to project and scrapping and starting over all the time, they could have just kept ideas aside for the next game.

Basically, 3D Realms’ way of thinking was practically like this, “Oh, I like this engine- it’s better than the one we’re using now. Let’s switch to that one. I like this concept or idea, let’s put that one in and get rid of all the other rubbish. I’m not happy with this project, let’s start over again. We don’t have deadlines, because we’re self-funded and don’t have to rely on publishers, so we can take as long as we want. We want to give the fans what they want. This is going to be the most perfect game ever.”

Wrong. Those are all horrible things to do. I can tell you that I know that writing and game developing are hugely different, but some of the same principles apply as regards motivation, goals, and moving forward and not backwards. Writing even makes a part of a game.

If I don’t like a sentence or paragraph in my article, I don’t always just delete it- I keep it in a file full of “gems”. They are like uncut diamonds- I don’t really think they fit well in the current article, but I may just use them in a later article in which they’ll be perfect. It doesn’t always pay to just get rid of stuff and not use it- like in 3DR’s case.
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