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As an indie developer, I am inclined to release the game as soon as it is 'finished'. In hindsight, most of my games could have used more balancing. I know that there is no fixed answer to this question, but as a thumb rule, what percentage of total development time should be dedicated to game balancing?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Anko, bummzack, Sean Middleditch, Byte56 Sep 18 '13 at 23:49

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Fundamentally the same question as… – Tetrad Feb 28 '12 at 18:50
Thank you for pointing me to a relevant link. Did not come across it before asking. – ApoorvaJ Feb 28 '12 at 19:12
+1 for being a good question, and not deserving of -1. – Carter81 Sep 15 '13 at 13:36
up vote 8 down vote accepted

The most important thing you can do is polish your game, and balance as you polish. I say this because polishing can often encompass balancing. A polished game attracts a lot more attention because it feels and looks better, and shows that the developer paid a great deal of attention to detail. To give an example, Braid could have been called 'finished' in terms of mechanics and puzzles in just the 9 days that Jonathan Blow took to prototype it. The next two or three years were spent improving the art, tweaking and adding puzzles, and refining the mechanics. Each of those things relates to both polishing and balancing.

Depending on what kind of game you're making, balancing may not overlap with polishing as much as that example. Still, I would suggest polishing first, and if you have raw numbers (such as in an RTS game) that need balancing, then go on to do that last.

The amount of time it should take is however long you'd like. Usually once your play testers are satisfied and cannot pick out any broken or overpowered elements, you're set to release. As an indie developer, you have the benefit of setting your own deadlines.

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This should have received best answer, as it's the only one that actually answers the question- and answers it well. +1 for not getting more points than the other (crappy) answer, which IMO is not even a real answer. – Carter81 Sep 15 '13 at 13:36

You should aim to balance the game as much as you have to in order to make it fun. While doing so, you should be conscious of the development cost (whether that be in real money or in opportunity cost) in doing so such that, if need be, you can decide that it is "good enough" to ship and still make a profit.

Trying to distill the process down to a numerical rule of thumb is, in my mind, disingenuous because the process will vary widely between developers and games.

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Man, even if we break this vague question down to "balance it to make it fun", there's still alot of vagueness here, because, f.e., if you're making an rpg, it's fun to blast stuff with completely overpowered AoE, for the first hour, then it's dreadful, same if you need to summon and maintain a horde of monsters, eventualy it'll feel like a chore. This question is so unspecific, different kind of games require completely different amounts of balancing, some games want player retention whether you want them to buy extra content or other, then there's a whole new level of balancing needed. – dreta Feb 28 '12 at 17:35

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