Monday, March 1, 2010

Power of Less

I'm reading the book called The Power of Less. It is one of those books on how to get things done. In the first chapter the there is a list of six principles of productivity. They are:
  1. Set limitations
  2. Choose the essential
  3. Simplify
  4. Focus
  5. Create habits
  6. Start small
How does that apply to game project? I must admit that every successful project I have worked so far have pretty much worked the way noted above. Most of them through accident, though. Note for programmers, focus-on-everything a.k.a. "make it generic" is not included in the list for a good reason.


  1. Ah, the good old "make it generic" sindrome...

    I think it was probably caused by the tons and tons of corporate literature on reusability, future efficiency and endless abstraction layers, that washed our brains.

    Once I got started on that, I wasnt really paying attention about who writed it, all I was able to focus at the time, was the big red letters: "this is the way to go".

    At times, my mind got lost on abstractions, I think I was pretty close to becoming Buda.

    Excellent set of principles.

  2. "make it generic" -- that's my crux *sigh*

  3. Mikko... Time after time you bring up those little things that make me think... and change the way I look at things... You did it again!

    Thanks! :-)

  4. "Make it generic" is good for one thing, creating prototypes. With some set of tools you'd be able to create prototypes and then - you can implement final version in any fashion. Modify existing (take prototype, chop, cut, remove bits, modify) or create from scratch.

  5. Thanks for the comments.

    The goal of a prototype if so _validate_ an idea [1]. For that reason, it is very focused (and as simple as possible too) effort to check if something works.

    So in a way to transform the list to a game creation process:

    You first start with some guidelines and limitations of what you are creating. Next you generate ideas (let it be brainstorming or anything else), then you choose the ones that are worth the try, you try to see what is the simplest way to validate those ideas, and once you have validated your ideas you implement.

    That is quite rare in big productions with a lot of money and crazy amount of time (that is, too little limitations!). The easiest way to experience that is to have tight timeline and knife-on-your-throat budget.

    You'll see that it is the only way to finish something and keep your sane :)

    [1] This idea is evangelised by Gingold & Hecker, it works very well in practice.