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I am new to the game-dev area, although I have professional experience in programming and some other qualities like making graphics in Photoshop or 3D modelling. Currently I am learning one widely used game engine connected with another free 3D modeling tool and my problem is that from my beginner's perspective, it all seems relatively easy and I know that this is not true. Right now It seems I can find all knowledge I need in some online tutorials, courses and if something is missing I can still ask a question on websites such as this one.

I plan to do an FPS multiplayer game as my first game and I wonder what is the hardest (most time, energy or money consuming) stage of game development in 2020?

I am asking because right now I think I can make 30-50% (prototype and some assets like 3d models) of the game myself in around year period of time and maybe later get more money to finish the project, but I know it is not true and this is only my beginner's unexperienced imagination, because similar games are usually being done by a team of experienced developers and their games still have bugs, glitches and other issues and I know some other similar but amateur projects that were started by one or two people and eventually were abandoned due to unknown reason (mostly lack of time I assume). So I am wondering what are the stages that cause most amateurs to fail and abandon their ideas, is it modeling, programing, networking, debugging?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Opinion-based, but anecdotally: the other 90%. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24 '20 at 7:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Maximus Minimus I don't understand. What 90%? Yes, opinion based. I need opinions. What is wrong about that? \$\endgroup\$
    – Makintosz
    Nov 24 '20 at 7:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the 90% remark from @MaximusMinimus: There is a saying in software development: "The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.". This is known as the 90-90 rule. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Nov 24 '20 at 10:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CommodoreYournero If you think we need to change the rules and have good cases for this, you're more than welcome to formulate that proposal to our meta site for users to approve. Keep in mind that of all the questions that are closed on this site, those like this one are generally closed by 5 votes, which is exceptional; so if you decide to go ahead with this proposal, you're up for a big challenge. The main problem I see with this is "What's a good opinion request, and what's bad opinion request", how would we formalize what goes and what doesn't? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt
    Nov 24 '20 at 14:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CommodoreYournero - the close reason is specific that "This question is likely to be answered with opinions rather than facts and citations" which I think is pretty clear-cut in it's applicability to this question: people will most likely answer with anecdotes from their personal experience. Regarding your observations on other questions: just because they were allowed does not mean that all such questions should also be allowed. There are many reasons why an opinion-based question might remain open, including the simple possibility that not enough people saw it to close it. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24 '20 at 17:07
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Polishing because it's the biggest unknown. And don't forget Game Design ;)

It's generally said that the first 90% of a game take half your development time, the other half is spent on the remaining 10% (at least i was taught that at university). The hardest stage is polishing, because - as you said - creating the core game mechanics and assets is all doable and relatively plannable.

But when it comes to how exactly those mechanics interact with each other, there is just some unpredictability and it can be very hard to "get it right" and make the game "feel" right.

Performance / optimization / debugging can also be an issue here. There are a lot of well known (and arguably good) games which were released because the developer ran out of money but could have been so much better with a few more months of polishing (e.g. Stalker).

I think most abandoned amateur projects were abandoned during polishing aswell.

However, if you know exactly what kind of game you want to make and how your concept will work out (which you usually don't and probably shouldn't), or you are making a game where performance won't be much of an issue (like some 2d pixel art), polishing phase can also be very short.

Also, if this is your first game ever, try something very small in scope and focus on finishing it. Probably do a few very simple games as practice before you devote a year of your time, or do a prototype of your game containing some core game mechanics.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer! I am gonna take your advice and start small with just one map (to check graphical performance of environment) and mainly focus on game mechanics and how it's elements interact together. Testing after each new thing added in. \$\endgroup\$
    – Makintosz
    Nov 24 '20 at 10:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think most abandoned amateur projects were abandoned during polishing as well. At which point do you consider a project an actual project? E.g. if you have an idea for a game, and that idea is just about "a faucet" in the game, and you prototype "the faucet" and "it's fun", but then you have no way to figure out of "a sink" for that game and you decide to abandon the project because it will not be fun or well balanced, do you consider it a project? You haven't even gotten out of the prototyping phase. (I'm just discussing here ;)) \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt
    Nov 24 '20 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ (And I agree with the tips in your last paragraph.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt
    Nov 24 '20 at 15:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Vaillancourt My definition here: a project is something you decide to make with a clear general idea and the intention to finish it. Therefore the prototype is used to test a project idea in order generate a real project. Abandoning an idea during prototyping isn't a bad thing - abanoning a project usually is because a lot of time and resources were devoted to it already. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25 '20 at 12:52

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