Game Development

Some people have to learn the hard way

I’ve been working with the owner of a new engine lately. It’s an interesting scenario: He paid a programmer to write an engine for him apparently on a contract basis. The programmer did so and went on his way. Then he then hired some artists to make content. That was done. He is now trying to sell the engine, and I took a look at it to see about integrating RakNet.

A concise summary is “Promising but won’t save you time”. Promising in that there are many libraries to do many different things, and with a few script calls you can get a lot done. Won’t save you time in that it is undocumented, complex, heavily specialized for a particular type of game, and uses macros and cast-from-void-pointer hacks to avoid having to write interfaces.

I read a similar complaint in the forums

User: “How do we do this?”
Owner: “Look at the source”
User: “The library is closed source. It is impossible to do anything”
Owner: “It is possible, you just have to figure it out.”

The reason for that is the owner is not a programmer, and doesn’t want to pay a programmer for general forum support.

So I brought this to his attention

Me: “If you want to succeed, you need to document your stuff. I can’t figure out how to do anything. Other people who buy it aren’t going to be able to use it, and will be pissed off.”
Owner: “The programmer said experienced users don’t need documentation. They just look at the source.”
Me: “It is closed source. The programmer is saying that because documentation is not fun to write.”
Owner: “I don’t want to pay for documentation. If we’re successful, it’ll have documentation at some point.”

Hopefully things come through for them, but I doubt it will.

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