Ask a Game Dev 2023-06-08 19:01:29

Welcome to your first major technical constraint. Most projects come across them eventually. Constraints require change of some kind, since they are obstacles in your path to project completion. As the main decision-maker on your project, you have a choice to make. You should probably gather information and weigh your options carefully before you make a decision. Your options include: 

  • Spending the development time to build out your own solution
  • Changing your design to accommodate the existing technical restrictions 
  • Researching a third option yourself

At the most basic level, fixing the problem yourself is always an option. It doesn’t depend on anyone else to have done the work for you, and you can tailor your solution to be exactly what you need it to be. It doesn’t have to be a whole detailed code system - it can just do exactly what you want it to do and no more. Sometimes a fairly simple solution exists. However, it also means that the code system is entirely on you and your team to maintain and support for the rest of the project. If you discover that the system is missing necessary features, you’re going to have to build them yourself. 


Sometimes there are technical limitations that just can’t be avoided. If you lack the resources to formulate a solution or the technical limitations are set in stone (e.g. console hardware constraints), it becomes necessary to change the design, rather than change the technology. Game dev is always a series of tradeoffs. If you can’t build the content you want with the tools you have available, maybe you need to take a step back and think about how you can achieve something similar to your goal with the tools you have available.


The last option is usually the easiest but also the most likely to fail - you go out and look for a solution to your problem. You might be able to find one - a unity marketplace plugin, for example, that may cost some money, but may also solve your problem. Or you can find a programmer to join your project and work on it with you. If you’re lucky, you can find an off-the-shelf solution that works immediately. Or you could come up empty, in which case you’ve lost the time spent on research and still gotten no closer to solving your problem. The worst case scenario is spending on a partial solution that ends up not working - that ends up wasting both time and resources.


You need to decide the best solution based on what your priorities are for your project and your own gauge of your development ability. Most game dev projects will run into obstacles like this at some point during development. Overcoming these obstacles is often both frustrating and rewarding. Such challenges are opportunities to gain valuable problem-solving experience. I do hope that you can figure out a good solution to your problem and I wish you luck.

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