Back when I used to be a programmer, I quickly learned that you could get a much bigger performance boost by changing the algorithm – the underlying structure of the code and data – than by optimising the code.
For example, you could rewrite an inner loop in assembler rather than C and get a 20% speed-up but it would take a lot of work and be difficult to maintain. Changing the way you did it, for example, using a more efficient sort algorithm or a smarter data structure would produce a 100% speed-up. It would also be easier to support, comment, bug fix and update.
Similarly, if you dropped a feature, you could drop the code for that feature. Non-existent code doesn’t crash, doesn’t require testing, doesn’t need a manual, doesn’t need comments or maintenance. In fact, non-existent code is the best code there is. It forces you to focus on the stuff that makes the game fun rather than the code that adds unnecessary or distracting features.
It’s the same today with writing:
- Put your effort on the most important points and delete the rest.
- Change the way you structure a piece before you start trying to polish individual sentences.
- To reduce word count, cut paragraphs first, then sentences and only then cut words.
- Don’t chase features. Chase meaning.