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Feature Cuts: Woe Are They To Any Project

Last week I touched on creating more project structure for Eclipse Perilous, and that I had started to use HacknPlan. It's a web-based project management application that markets itself as streamlined for game developers. For the most part, it looks like any other project management app out there, give or take a handful of features.

What does differentiate HacknPlan from the rest is the fact that you can have your game design document in the project itself. This is pretty damn handy. I have been using XMind to create the design doc, which has been a serious blessing in regards to organization.

The downside to seeing everything associated with a chunk of time is the realization that cuts absolutely have to be made. There's just too much in there as it is, and releasing a fully-realized game isn't in the realm of possible.

For example, I have three main Ability Trees planned for the base game: Corruption, Engineering, and Psionics. However, simply looking at how much work needs to be done reveals that one of these skill trees has to be cut for the base. I think Psionics is the one that needs to be cut.

It wouldn't just eliminate the Tree; it would be Psionic enemies, equipment, traps, and so on. In the end, delaying Psionics is for the best. Doing so puts a nice big dent in the project; all that's left is to figure out what else can be delayed.

This also fits quite nicely with the planned monetization method of releasing the game in paid chapters. This allows them to be packed with more content, which gives them more value. At the same time, it alleviates feature creep for the initial release.

Meaning getting a working game on the appstore in months instead of years is a real possibility.

Fingers crossed.


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