Coding: How time-consuming is it?


Hi folks,

I’ve been mulling over a couple of ideas for a game that I’d like to write.

I’m new to coding, and just wondering how time consuming it is.

For example, if you were to sit down one evening and code for a couple of hours, how much would you expect to get done? Are we talking a chapter, a scene or just one or two choices?

Writing the narrative shouldn’t be as much of a problem, as I can do that on the train to and from work.


That’s impossible to answer I’m afraid.
It’ll vary from person to person, much like writing does. Some people can write 50,000 words in a month, others might write 20,000 and some none at all.

The same goes with coding, depending on your mindset, experience and of course, what you actually want to code, it’ll take a varying amount of time.

You’ve also got different ways of coding, different methods of testing code and all that which will also add overlooked time onto your rate of production.

What I can say is that in a standard/typical game, writing and designing will be 80% of the game, coding being about 20%.

If you’re going for something a little more complicated script wise, like the late chapters of @JimD 's Zombie Exodus, @Vendetta 's Vendetta or @AlexCosarca 's Red Moon - It’s going to be more 50-50 and coding will begin to take up a huge chunk of your time, not least as you’ll often find yourself recoding a lot of different bits and bobs to get them to work exactly how you want them to.


@Protagonist The only thing I can think to add to that excellent reply is that, for a non-programmer, learning ChoiceScript can seem difficult and time-consuming to begin with, and we see many on the forum who just give up (sometimes without seeming to really give it a fair shot). In short, expect it to be slow going to begin with, then you won’t be disappointed. It does however get much, much easier with time & experience, and eventually becomes second nature.

It also wouldn’t hurt to make your initial project something relatively small; perhaps a short story with a simple game system just to gain some scripting & design experience. It can be very hard going at times otherwise, if tackling something too ambitious for your first project (*whistles innocently*), and that way your second project would benefit considerably from the very start.


I try to shoot for 2,000 words a session, since that is a general mark for other forms of writing.

When learning Choicescript, I kept the coding real simple. If you read ZE, the early sections are extremely basic. As I grew in comfort with coding, I expanded features of the game. The real time sink for me is testing. The more complex the code, the more will go wrong. So keep that in mind.


Of course despite the authors and their testers best efforts it can all still come undone (just like with mainstream a list games, unfortunately) when the publishers (such as Google) do not adress any shortcomings on their side.


I’d like to hear from people who learned ChoiceScript as their first coding language. How long did it take to wrap your mind around the whole concept of writing code?


Not that long a few minutes for basics at most an hour for advanced stuff


Is there something hiding in the white space? :smiley:

Anyways. To answer the main question, I’d like to echo most of the above that it’s mostly, if not always, a YMMV case. After some time since you kicked off you’d know your own pace on how fast you can further your familiarity with said task. Don’t beat yourself up by positioning yourself on a benchmark, at least not if you’re just starting out.

Another thing I can share is that people who are *really* new to coding would likely benefit from getting a big picture of the general workflow (I’m running out of word here) first thing in the learning curve. Most of these things (looping, condition check, etc) are of pretty much the same concept regardless of what lingo you write in. You can always worry about syntax and rest of the details later.

@HoraceTorys I’d say I am exempt from that. Was exposed to retro programming since grade school while never really mastered one single language, even today I am not really a coding person, just know enough to get things work how I want them. All this are proved useful though, because like I said that most of the fundamentals are transferable. Also the fact that CS has been devised as such relatively user-friendly is what helps me pick it up. The last thing I want to see is CS turns into Javascript as it expands in terms of feature/complexity (like what happened with Flash Actionscript).


@HoraceTorys, learning the basics of ChoiceScript took me about an hour or two (choices, indentation, *set etc.), but to learn all the commands and their functions took me some days (basically, experimenting with them got me to understand them better). But probably it was easier for me as I’ve learnt some Java before (Java, not JavaScript).
Back on the subject…
I agree with @CJW as if you’re purely coding systems, those can take a while just to get the logics working. While this takes a lot of effort for less “words” written, I feel more “rewarded” when I look back at the systems I’ve coded.
Coding storyline though takes less time as you barely need to code (except the usual *if to check some stats, and *set for modifying them according to choices).


learning all of the basics took me an hour and the advanced iam still learning it will probably take me a while


Thanks for the advice, everyone!