Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Eat your own dog food

I’m not literally talking about what lister had to do: (2 minutes 30 in)

Nope, I’m talking about the phrase often used in software development, or any business these days, which means ‘use your own product’.

I think there is likely a decent correlation between successful businesses, and those that eat their own dog food. I play my games a bit, not enough tbh, although that primarily a lack of time. I’m going to set aside a few hours today to just play through some challenges. I have found so many bugs, and had so many ideas, post-release, just from experiencing my own games with the mindset of an end user.
If you are an indie dev, and there is something, anything, no matter how small that disappoints, bugs or annoys you about your game, then fix it. Fix it now.


. Tomorrow you will find something else that needs fixing, and fix that too. This is how games go from good to really good.

Of course, sadly not everyone eats their own dog food. I bought two products recently that did not. One was a picture frame with a tiny hook on the back to place over a nail. The hook was tiny, and bent easily and was in the middle of a large frame. The sheer physics of it made it literally impossible to hang it on the wall by the hook. They *never* ate that dog food.

Then I bought a TV cupboard thing, one of those ones with a shelf for all of the DVD player stuff, and a hole cut out the back for the cables to tidily go through.
The hole was too small to put a plug through, and most EU appliances now have moulded plugs you can’t remove. The hole was effectively useless. They *never* ate that dog food.

Bon appetit!

4 thoughts on Eat your own dog food

  1. I’m guessing the tv cupboard issue was a regional problem. Most other plugs are far smaller than the UK version. Guess you better get out a hack saw and modify!

  2. With some products it’s fairly obvious that the people responsible for it have just thought “f*** it; That’ll do.”
    My father is always complaining about those whisks where you turn the handle and how they always break after about three uses.

    I don’t really play my software as such, at least not for fun. I find that I know where to go and what to do so it isn’t really that exciting any more. I do, however, play through most bits of coding I do that’re linear (i.e. I’ll go through every quest in the game using every different choice I can make) but not necessarily play the game long enough to thoroughly test out some of the longer-term pieces of code like a bank interest system, for example.

  3. That also counts for API developers. Don’t just design an API. You absolutely must build a full-fledged app that uses that API before releasing it into the wilds.

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