Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Game Dev Quote of the Week – Spit-and-Polish Edition

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 26, 2014

This week’s quote comes from an older post at Gamasutra – “The Art of Polish: Developers Speak.” There’s plenty of good advice there. Including this:

“Polish is often adding things nobody will ever notice, comment on, or appreciate, but will notice, comment on and appreciate when they aren’t there.” – Frank Kowalkowski (of Interplay, Obsidian, and Blizzard).

Kinda like housework – it’s only noticed when it isn’t done (or done right).

The trick, of course, is that it’s never enough. As they say, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and there are always more rough edges, more things that could be fixed or improved, and things that could be overhauled to provide a better experience. This is touched on in the same article, with Duke Nukem Forever cited as an example of falling victim to this endless pursuit of “better.”

This is maybe the flip side of Kowalkowski’s comment. It’s all about what will get noticed if it’s not done. And noticed by whom? Sure, somebody looking for flaws will always be able to find one more. But that’s not the person you need to please.

I can’t say I’m an expert on it – I’m really not – but I think one approach is simply watching (really watching) someone else play your game. When you see the getting hung up on or confused by something, or you feel yourself needing to explain or especially apologize for something – there’s a spot that needs more polish.

Filed Under: Design, Quote of the Week - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • McTeddy said,

    God, polishing is one skill I wish I had.

    It’s amazing how much of an impact all the little things make on a massive project. Good polish makes all the difference.