Performance anxiety

Original Author: Kyle-Kulyk

My team is currently entering the home stretch, our final month, before completion of our first title, Itzy (try the demo, plug plug plug)!

It’s at this point that I was suddenly struck by near crippling performance anxiety.  What if the game flat-out doesn’t work?  Then what?

Now, I need to step back and explain.  I am proud of my team and proud of the work that we’ve done, however, mobile games are something new to us.  We each have our personal areas of expertise.  I have the pleasure of working with some amazing programmers but in the game space we remain untested.  There are certainly some different factors at play here and despite the decade of programming experience we currently possess, moving a 3D spider around, eating glowing, animated alien fireflies and creating web meshes on the fly for our character to traverse is a different task from linking to a database, searching through files and updating information based on specific search criteria while producing user based reports via the internet.

Put simply, we don’t know what we’re doing but like a rhino in a mine field we’re charging forward.

However as I sat at my workstation the other day I was suddenly distracted by the Nattering Elf of Doubt, or Neod as I’ve come to name him.  Neod hopped up on my shoulder as I was trying to work and exclaimed “Sure and begorra…”

Neod sounds like a leprechaun.  I’m not entirely sure what that’s about.

“Sure and begorra!  Do ya not see those verts, lad?  Sure it runs fine on your PC – but how can you be sure tis not all arseways when you put it on ya ‘droid?  You daft?”

As much as I don’t want to admit it, that little chattering imp sounding strangely like a cross between Bono on helium and my regular voice in my head going on about “Videogames?  They’re gonna cut off your power!  Go back to selling mutual funds!” had a point.  We’re competent programmers and designers, but we really have no idea at this stage if our game will actually run half decent on the Iphone/Android platforms.  I’ve read so many conflicting comments about vert budgets, size restraints, texture limits that I really don’t know where we stand in the performance department.

At this stage in development our touch screen controls have not been implemented, so even if I did create a build for the iPhone/Android platforms – my spider character, Itzy, would just sit there – staring at me lazily, waiting for input that will never come and asking “Forget about something there, champ?”

We’re attempting to remain conservative and mindful of the finished platforms but for all our talents we really don’t know how it’ll end up.  So I’m left with the option of forging ahead with the rest of the team and hoping that everything will work itself out in the end and we won’t blow past our deadline so quickly I’m left staring out the car window saying “Was that the deadline we just passed?  I can’t tell.  Shouldn’t there have been a sign?  I didn’t see the sign…”

I guess that’s just the fun ride between “no idea” and “ok, we sorta get it now”.  It would just be a more pleasant journey without these damn elves.