Game Devs: Never delete a project

Hey everyone,

I wanted to give a bit of unsolicited advice. A few years ago, when I was more naive, I had just finished and released my first mobile game. I was very excited about it. In hindsight, that game was complete garbage. It was during the height of the Flappy Bird craze, and I, like many others, hoped that my crappy, poorly made game would see some of that success.

I was wrong, naturally. The game completely flopped, and I think it made me about $2 in ad revenue.

Later on, I went through my Linux phase, and wiped my computer. I was stupid, and didn’t even bother backing up my data. About a year later, I found that my game had become a bit more popular. Searching for it’s name in the app store had caused that game to show up at the top, rather than 50+ selections down. A few people were leaving comments saying that it could be fun if I changed a few things.

At that point. I didn’t have the source code or data for my game anymore, so I couldn’t update it. Also, the Revmob package that I had set up on the game was outdated, so banner ads stopped appearing.

Since I had carelessly wiped my hard drive without backing up my old projects, I couldn’t even follow up and try to make this game more of a success. As such, it now sits in the Play Store, unimproved. That tiny burst of new players faded out and nobody has even found the game since.



I learned my lesson

Of course, every failure story should be accompanied by a success story. After this all transpired, I went ahead and set up cloud backups. For smaller games, you could even use a consumer service like Google Drive or Dropbox. The last time I was working on a project, I was working side by side in Godot and Unity engines, trying to evaluate which one was better. I’m going to write another article about choosing game engines, but let me give you a preview here:

Which game engine you choose DOESN’T MATTER.

I got so frustrated trying to make some elements in one engine work in the other that I threw my hands up and said “I’m done”. I stopped working on the game, and that was it. Months passed. After much frustration with other aspects of life, I began to wonder what could have happened if I had just chosen one engine and stuck with it till I completed the game.

So, I booted up Godot engine, and saw that my old projects weren’t there. However, after digging around in my cloud backup, I managed to find them. I loaded them into the engine, and there they were, like I had never abandoned them.

That was a spectacular feeling.

 

So, tl;dr, no matter how frustrating or trivial your current project is, don’t delete it. Back your games up. You never know when you’ll want to pick them back up in the future. You may even want to look at your coding from years ago and see how far you’ve come.

Thank you very much for reading,

Harrison N

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