Wipe the vaporware out of your life

Do you know what’s the so-called vaporware?

From Wikipedia: Vaporware is a software or hardware product which is announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge, either with or without a protracted development cycle.

Interesting thing… they gave a name to most developers’ habit… starting a project and turning it into vaporware.

One of the most famous vaporwares is Duke Nukem Forever, but I must admit I am full of vaporware

Duke Nukem Forever

I have three one-week games, about 5 one-day games and at least 10 blog posts that at the time of writing are vaporware

If a triple-A game can become vaporware because of financial issues, it’s really a shame when a Flash game becomes vaporware.

What makes a Flash game disappear into vaporware?

I found 2 main reasons

1) The “I can complete it whenever I want” syndrome

2) Another more interesting game to do (that will become vaporware for another more interesting game to do, that will become…)

Remember: vaporware affects your incomes, because you worked for hours and you did not earn anything

Am I the only one affected by vaporware plague or is it pandemic?

How do you try to wipe out it?

I have some suggestions, but I will discuss about them later, or this post will become another vaporware

  • I’m terrible, loads of things start off and lead to nothing.

    But I find it useful in the end, when I build something out of everything I’ve learnt building the other games.

  • never heard of the word, but i’m a big vaporware-man(i totally just made that word up :P) xD.

    i usually get an idea – work on it for a couple of days – get bored of making it – get a new idea – repeat.

    i have like 5 unfinished games somewhere on my pc. the only way to avoid this kind of thing is making smaller games. you won’t get bored that fast and you might get a chance to finish it ;)

    another solution i’m thinking of doing is making an “experiments” tab on my site, and just post the game there as unfinished. then see if anyone likes it :) and if they do, i revisit the game and maybe complete it.

    also another problem of mine is the menu around the game.in the last game i made (ghostball, it was based on one of your tuts ;)) it took me longer to make the menu then the game itself. since then i started working with templates so i wouldn’t have to get bored of doing the same thing over and over again.

    wow i just noticed i i’m writing a lot, well anyways to conclude: you have to beat the boredom first, if you want to beat the vaporware :P

  • I must admit I am also guilty of vaporware. I agree with styxtwo. The best thing to do is start a blog like this one and put experiments and unfinished games on it to give back the community.

  • guilty.

  • Never heard of that word, but i’m also suffering with that. What I do, is just to keep focusing on the game, and whenever a game idea pops up, I think about it’s potential and if I think it has potential I try to improve the ideas in the game. Because the way I see it, I can still be working on one game, while comming up with ideas for my next.

  • Kevin

    keeps happening to me too! =(

  • I have loads of vaporware sitting around, mainly because
    a) The idea wasnt that good after all
    b) Someone else beat me to it

  • vincent

    omg i am Vaporwareguy :) i make so mutch flash and pc games but i never finish the games because of the two main reasons in your post.

  • guilty too

  • i think that all of my games except 1 is vaporware, and that is the metro siberia underground clone that i made.
    usually i start something that I think i can code but can’t, like a sort of time crisis game that i tried to make. I usually have great ideas but can’t code them. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait for more tutorials to make them.

  • Happens to all of us. Though the if you do keep going on to things then it can seem like a chore, when Flash should be fun! It’s not all about money, just make sure you’re enjoying yourself. :)

  • Well…for me, kinda…I come up with somthing, then, I make a “prototype”, then, I just stop there. Boring, right?

    But atleast I learn somthing new? You guys have to learn somthing new too.

  • Maciek

    Pandemic:D btw do u ever go on ur forums?

  • For personal projects where you don’t have a client per se, it’s much more difficult. I usually have to set strict deadlines for myself, but even then I find I get caught up in other “more important” things.

  • This always happends to me xD

  • Flasher

    My unfinished projects always come down to lack of skill. Sometimes I’ll luck out on coming up with the right look, but my implementation doesn’t do it justice. So the games sit there waiting for me to catch up.

    I think that vapourware is also known as procrastination, lol.

  • Kesh

    Speaking of vaporware, what the hell happened to on the horizon.

  • Nice speculation, Kesh, it only have one post and from the past year! o.O

  • Kevin

    ya I’d also like you to fill us in on how ballbalance did

  • Suely (Snakesue)

    I agree with styxtwo. I’ma big vaporware-woman.
    I have like 12 unfinished games somewhere on my pc, because i love draw characters, enemies, backgrounds…and i just noticed i i’m drawing a lot in all the games every time.
    I’m crazy.

  • I have several projects in varios stages of completion as I get stuck and move on to another I can ussually find a answer to the previous problem. But mostly I just move around them and need to complete them.

    My wife suggest I make a project for all the games I am working on and should keep track of the project and time in the project and time to finish the project. she says it would give me a better idea of total tie spent on a project and number of projects I have going on.

    I have the board but it is a project to hang it and to add my projects. :-p

  • can i see your drawings Suely ?

  • Guilty as all developers I reckon.

    Main reasons are:
    – get bored, even if the thing ( site, game, … ) would be cool, you need to add those extra details that bother you ( all the challenging part has been done already )
    – working on personal project, you can’t stop wanting this be done better. So keep redoing it till you die…
    – starting something really too huge to work on by yourself, and giving up ( but not really, still trying to keep going :) )

    So yeah I’m a big vaporware, especially for the second point :)


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  • Grifo

    Pandemic as said above. You can think of Grifo as the character Smoke of Mortal Kombat. I’m a 3-Year flash Vaporware Dev. And a perfectionist.

    Guys, look at it this way:

    All of you certainly have grown better each time you cast vapor-magic over your projects. It’s not that bad.

    And there’s more, but I guess you all will figure it out in due time. ;)

  • I have a habit of vaporware as well… many of my “projects” in the past never even made it to a demo. My current project COULD go the way of the vapor, but I don’t think it will. I am taking a month or 2 break form it to do smaller projects (it became apparent to me I need practice), but I don’t have any plan on giving up on this one.

    I found the best way to overcome the problem is to not look at the big picture. Don’t see the game as a game, see it as a task… that way, you don’t spend hours working on gameplay design when you’re missing even a basic engine.

    Flash is different, though, so I can’t say that will work. There is very little in the way of an “engine” in flash, compared to 3D games in C++, but that view may still be helpful.

  • I am the worst about this! i have about 25 files in my ‘Flash’ folder and two are released

  • Frederik J

    Hi guys.

    I’ve made tonsens and tonsens of vaporware, and it’s nothing I am proud of – but if we look at the other side, vaporware is needed for you to be a good developer/programmer, because everytime you made a vaporware you’ve learned something new.

    How I try to avoid vaporware, is only developing games based on classes. When I make vaporwares I always have one function that works, for instance a movement function. If you have a class for that, you can just use it for another purpose and you don’t need to develop it again, therefore you’ll made lesser vaporware in the future.

    I won’t call it vaporware, though, but instead idea sketches because you sketch your idea down, and you can ALWAYS return to it and finish it! Just my input.

    Frederik J

  • Emanuele Feronato

    oh… “idea sketches”… nice try, Frederik…

    … but you are guilty anyway…

  • brart

    I also have loads of unfinishd games/sites/java apps on my pc

    I think I learned so much from these projects, that it doesn’t matter they aren’t publish.

    But I still have no idea why I stopped with Pizza returns and my runescape hacks


  • Costa-Rica

    You make good game, i’d like to buy some of them but need light update. Contact me.

  • Eddy

    I used to be big on this. Now I find that the more stuff I’ve developed the easier it is to continue with your ideas – you can look back on previous stuff and see how worthwhile it is to get everything finished.

    I’ve got the opposite problem now; continuing with projects even when it becomes clear that they’re taking far much longer than they’re worth.

  • On that general topic, the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen is really good for wiping the vaporlife out of your life

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  • vaporware- interesting term. geeky yet light.

    my basis for turning out vaporwares are the lack of understanding of how some of the stuff works.

    i don’t care if you believe it or not but i have started about 5 games in the past and i am still featuring 0 on mochi, IE: not published a game yet.

    my basic problem was that i started work on games that necessitate extensive coding and/or level design. i usually ended up banging my head on 1000 line classes or a wall of technical issues that i have no experience with.

    but after 8 months of cool down (pro as3 experience with: data management, highly modular programing, 1 search engine, 2 full flash sites, a 3D builder site, a 2D builder site witch loads 1200+ images …) and a great weekend of box2d i am finally back on track.

    the most important of them all is planing experience. my boss did not liked the methodology that i have used (3w project 2w nothing visible) works quite well. since then my head don’t hurts.

    so, pay more attention because after a while vaporware becomes a gold mine.

  • I might add:

    H_2O vapor is steam. steam if it’s joined becomes a cloud. if you have a big enough cloud a thunderstorm is imminent, and you can’t stop coding.

    … and you also destroy 2 keyboards a month.

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