I have had to update and change a few things lately, and will be changing a few more things, and it leads me to use on the fact that I generally do NOT change things and how that is *a good thing*.
Due to changes to the pricing of cpanel, my server (yes for historical reasons I still have a dedicated physical server for all my sites) has to switch to a different physical box, and that means a lot of checking, and fiddling with hosts files, and rechecking, and panicking about php and so on…
Also recently my company bank changed their user interface and made a total and utter hash of it, that has caused me no end of admin hiccups and annoyances getting everything to work fluidly again…
…and me and Jeff (co-coder on Democracy 4) will shortly be switching to use git, as a mutually agreed source control system. This will cue no end of gnashing of my teeth and moaning that I don’t know how it works…until I get the hang of it.
In general I have found that from a productivity POV, change is BAD. It is REALLY bad, and you don’t realize how bad it is until you have gone multiple years without changing anything. Production Line is developed with my same trusty engine as years ago, in directx9, with visual C++ 2013, perforce for source control, visual assist, and nothing else changed for years other than my monitor, and my PC a few years ago. I use the same sound engine middle-ware as I use for most of my games, without change, and no other middle-ware at all.
With a certain level of code experience, and a rock-solid stable setup that *never changes*, making video games i actually kinda EASY. Its just typing. Literally just typing. I started typing for fun around age 8, so you would be amazed how stupidly fast i type now. My wife thinks I’m being sarcastic when she hears me typing but thats the real speed.
When I hear people talking about how an (unwanted) update to their middle-ware has broken their game, or how upgrading to a new O/S or maybe a new dev environment has lost them a day (or more), I just wince. Thats totally unnecessary pain. You do NOT need to port your code to the latest engine, or the latest operating system version, or the latest API. Unless you are working on the frostbite engine, this stuff should not bother you.
I don’t have a vulcan API path for my games, in the same way I don’t have a ‘mantle’ code path either. Why would I? Why would I even use directx 10, let alone 11 or 12. I make isometric strategy games or iconic top-down games. I don’t need ‘ambient occlusion’ or ‘subsurface scattering’. I’m not 100% sure what they are.
Nobody will buy your game because it uses the latest API, or because it uses some cool graphical feature (unless…frostbite). Nobody will buy your game because you developed it on the latest IDE, or using the newest coolest system. And your in-house productivity tools? did you change those too? did you start using slack? why?
I chat to Jeff using skype or *gasp* email. When I work on spreadsheets I use Microsoft office, the old school purchased version from 2010. Tell me what features are in the new cloud-based tools that you NEED to make better games… BTW my software subscription cost is trivial, just malwarebytes and….oh thats it.
So my top tip from an old grizzled but stupidly productive game dev… Find a dev environment that works *for you* and then look at changing it maybe once a decade. If you HAVE to. That goes for everything. Get a decent office chair and you will have it for a decade. Get a decent keyboard and you will have it for ages. Don’t change anything, don’t install anything, don’t even move anything, just TYPE :D