I've been ranting about good code a lot lately, but something I've discovered is that a few of the most succesful companies out there have crappy codebases. This galls me a bit - it doesn't seem fair! But when I think about it, it makes sense.
The most important thing is you make a game that's a hit. You do that, you'll make ten, twenty times the revenue of the companies that are making average games. You might have a crappy codebase that takes fifteen minutes to build, that breaks whenever you introduce a small change because it's so badly factored, and that slows you down, sure - maybe it takes two or three times as much time and money to ship as it would if you had a slick engine. But since you're a hit-maker, you can afford it. And then you'll have the resources to improve your codebase post hoc, if you should so desire.
That said, am I going to start willfully writing crappy code? Of course not.
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