3 min read

⚔️ 3 Game Dev Bosses

3 Game Dev Bosses

Making games is hard. All of it is hard, but especially the bosses.

There are many, but here are three of the most devious, cunning, and difficult game dev bosses that we gotta fight to make our games:

  1. Game Engine Boss 🚒
  2. Scope Creep Boss 🏔
  3. Finishing Boss 🏁
Let's talk about these bosses and how to defeat them!

Read this article, watch the video, and/or listen to the podcast. 🎙

📺 Watch the video

There are surely more than 3 game dev bosses, but this is a good starting point.

🚒 Game Engine Boss

Every game dev needs tools to make their games. There's a huge sliding scale here! You can write your own from scratch by hand (possibly installed on a dead badger), or you can magically automate away as much as you want.

What makes this boss hard?

  1. So many choices (C++? Rust? Unity? GameMaker? Unreal? Something else??)
  2. Even more decisions! (Cost, platform support, interface, workflow, etc.)
  3. Engine lock-in (Once you're in, you can feel stuck!)
  4. Fear of commitment (I've been married 11 years but still waffle on my engine!)

How to defeat this boss

  1. Try a bunch of engines (one should "click" with you, and feel good)
  2. Simplify (pick the one that seems easiest to start running with)
  3. Just go with the most popular (can't go wrong with Godot!)

🏔 Scope Creep Boss

Us game devs have a tendency to dream big. We like to have our heads in the clouds, and something about game dev keeps our heads up there. It's hard to be grounded while making games. (Maybe because the physics always defaults so damn floaty??)

Beware of Scope Creep

What makes this boss hard?

  1. You get so many cool ideas while making your game.
  2. You want your work to be spectacular and feel vast.
  3. In this context it's easy to say yes.
  4. ... and it's hard to say no.

How to defeat this boss

  1. Make a manifest: list all your content/features by importance (then CUT).
  2. Practice saying NO (play your favorite games, list what you'd cut).
  3. Move a chunk of your TODO tasks to your "save it for the sequel" list.

🏁 Finishing Boss

Get ready for the final boss!

Finishing is probably the most critical game dev skill, and almost everyone struggles with it!

What makes this boss hard?

  1. The finish line is arbitrary. Fake. Totally made up.
  2. The finish line is a moving target.
  3. The finish line always feels closer than it is.
  4. Life tends to move the finish line farther away from you over time.
You VS the final swarm boss (finishing).

How to defeat this boss

  1. Put a date on the calendar and commit to it (I know! Just do it!!).
  2. Focus on the MUST tasks (stop working on "should" or "could" tasks).
  3. Push forward: resist the urge to restart, redesign, or refactor.
  4. Keep the finish line in sight at all times.
Game Dev Map rough sketch v2 by Matt Hackett
Is this enough Finishing yet?

🎙 Listen to the podcast

The 20-minute podcast includes a Pixel Washer update and a section on coping with solo development. Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Amazon Music.

Make the Game: Gamedev Bosses & Coping with Solodev (20:20)

📙 Read more about these bosses in my book How to Make a Video Game All By Yourself

In case you missed the gratuitous images above that link to my book, here's a little section about it! You can make your own game. You really can! Let's get started.

This trailer is over a year old! Is it still good or should I roll a new one?

So what other game dev bosses do you know about? Are you fighting one now?

Coming soon: devlogs, pitch decks, publishing, & more. Stay tuned!