When you are planning to start a game project, there are many different questions to consider. Some of them can be answered on your own; others might require qualified advice from experienced developers. For now, let’s focus on the questions from the first category, which are:
- What are your goals with the project?
- How big is your budget?
- Is time an issue for you?
If you are planning to enter the industry or make a name for your company, then a custom-built game is a must. You cannot just take a premade template and pretend it is going to be a unique product just because it has original visuals and mechanics. The audience will immediately notice that you are trying to feed them the concept they have seen already, thus feeling you are trying to fool them. Think of your reputation as a game-maker before daring to pull such a trick. Some tried and got burned, effectively shutting down all opportunities to redeem themselves. Just take it as a fact that even good templates won’t do for big games that seek commercial success. Every huge project today is custom-made.Budget.
Money is one of the main limiters in development. You may have a cool vision and may know people who can realize it, but whether all those features will come to life or not depends on your budget. We believe that even a partially completed custom game with unique ideas is approximately ten times better than a copy-pasted template clone. When funds are limited, consider making at least a section/act of the video game in all its grace: with full functionality and visuals that would represent the quality of the finished product. Showing people a fragment of something genuine is much better than presenting something bland in one piece. Look at the Star Citizen – announced ten years ago, accumulated more than $400M to date, and is still in development!Time.
Creating an innovative gaming experience consumes it mercilessly. The more elaborate mechanics you want or, the more sophisticated art style you require, the longer it would take. With a custom-built game, you are certainly taking the “scenic” route, but the final result will be worth the effort. Especially when you can take a shortcut by hiring more specialists to speed up the development (note: the option is primarily for multimillionaire publishers that care much less about game budgets). The “better safe than sorry” principle works in this case perfectly. Meaning you should not rush with development and don’t take questionable solutions that are not guaranteed to work or have certain limits.