Learning In Progress #7: Changing naming conventions

Here’s a simple lesson I’ve learned: If you’re going to change the file naming conventions on your game, start doing it right immediately and make no exceptions.

Sounds simple, but we have a lot of legacy assets we inherited that have naming conventions we’ve chosen to change. We also have some assets we made ourselves that have naming conventions that eventually proved to be a bit crap. Finally, we decided on a naming convention, but now we have the really old stuff we inherited, the older stuff we did ourselves, and the new assets we’re making now. That’s three different conflicting conventions. Cool.

I would go back and rename everything, but those are extremely deep and interconnected changes that touch hundreds of files. If any one of those is inconsistent, everything will come crashing down. All I can do is patch the problem.

So, if I’m doing any kind of modification on older assets, which naming convention do I stick to?

There were two things I could do:

  1. Stick to the old naming convention for that particular asset, so it’ll still make sense in context with itself.
  2. Use the new naming convention, even though it makes the new modified asset stand out and make less sense.

Ultimately, I decided that the smartest and best thing to do would be to stick to the NEW naming convention. Start doing it right IMMEDIATELY.

Fine, it’ll stand out and it won’t make sense in the context of the old named asset, but every NEW asset I make will bring things closer to a unified whole. Every little bit I can do matters, and the earlier I be decisive the fewer the problems I’ll have to deal with later. Less to rename later, right? It’ll be harder to deal with now but this decision will pay off later.

I’m surprised I waffled on that earlier considering how simple this decision seems to be, but everything is always different when you’re actually inside the situation and have a clear view of what’s going on. 🙂

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