Bugs are everywhere, and I am not talking about the creepy crawly type. I mean the ones in games, from the hilarious to the down right annoying. Over the course of my life, I have played a shed-ton of both indie and big budget games. Neither of which, believe me, are bug free.
I have had the opportunity to try out a variety of titles, at varying levels of development. It is inevitable that an unfinished game, for instance, contains a bug. Regardless, when one pops up, indie developers always seem embarrassed by it.
So to all the devs out there, I am here to tell you not to shy away from a bug!
“A Game Can’t Be Good If There Are Bugs”
Okay, so sometimes a bug can ruin a game. This is rare though and has to make the act of physically playing the game impossible. Most players will let a small bug or even a medium one go. In fact, sometimes bugs actually improve a game! An analysis of 11 million Steam reviews showed that 42% of those that mentioned bugs were positive. Only a total of 8% even mentioned bugs in the first place, showing how little players care about them.
Far Cry 5 is an example of a great game that still has bugs. And a lot of them: from little ones, such as my female character being called he a lot, to larger ones like the game cutting out a third of a boss fight. If I am willing to spend over £40 on a game I know has bugs, indie developers shouldn’t be ashamed of theirs!
Does a Bug Ever Matter?
If you are showing me a demo of your game, I won’t care if there is a bug. If I have just bought a game and I can still enjoy it, I wont care if there is a bug. The only time a bug gets automatically called out is potentially during a pitch or a competition. It is a hard life being a judge, and they have to take any and all flaws into consideration.
The only other time people will care about a bug is when a developer says they will fix it and then don’t. Keeping a community happy is in your best interests: if they bring up a bug to a you, they want a response. Sometimes bugs can’t be fixed, but a little explanation of why will keep the masses happy. Just don’t make false promises!
Be Proud Of Your Bug
Finally, there have been a few occasions where a bug has made a game better, or created a community. The frying pan in PUBG, for example, was not meant to deflect bullets. Now, it is one of the most symbolic weapons in the game.
If your game is still in development – even if you’re in the latest stages of early access – people expect bugs. So don’t panic: instead, note it down and explain what is meant to happen; what the end goal is. You’ll get to it when you have the time.
Remember, though: the crowd will get extremely bitter when a bug completely ruins the game they just bought. You can ignore minor problems as you build around them, but still make sure your project is playable in full before you hit the market!