After showing last month at Playcrafting NYC I got some really good feedback and so have been working hard to implement it and get the game in a state where I can send it to people to play. I just finished sending out the first batch of emails with links to a build of the game and hopefully will get some good feedback back from those (or any feedback!)
The stuff I’ve been working on has been fairly nitty gritty and not super exciting, stuff like Xbox 360 controller support, a pause menu and tweaking the difficulty curve. It’s sobering to realize how much work goes into creating what we often thing of as a basic, working piece of games software and how little we think about stuff like pause menus, sound options, etc. There is a lot of work in making a video game beyond making fun game play.
I’m also starting to try to nail down a release plan, something I’ve been toying with but not really committed to. At the moment the basic plan is to try to gather some feedback through a closed beta and then put it up on itch.io to do an ‘early access’ style open beta and get some feedback from players in the wild. One thing I set up was some simple analytics using the Unity Analytics beta to report back basic game statistics. It’ll be interesting to see how that works and if the variables I’m tracking are useful. The ones I’ve got in there so far are:
- hitpoints at start of level
- hitpoints at end of level
- time to complete level
- enemies killed
- mutagen resources collected
- player level
My hope in doing this is that if people check out the build and don’t give feedback I’ll at least be able to gather some data. I saw a cool talk from the guys working on SubNautica (which I haven’t played yet but is on my Steam wishlist) about getting players to report how much they’re enjoying things, send screenshots and give other notes about the game. You can watch that here:
Moving into this stage of the game’s life where it’s getting closer to being finished and needs to start entering into the world is pretty terrifying. I’m feeling a lot of psychological internal resistance (aka fear) at each step. At these kind of moments I wish I had a partner or collaborator to talk through this stuff with and to help keep spirits up. Working on your own it’s easy to feel insecure about what you’ve made. My girlfriend has been pretty helpful in pushing me forward and boosting my confidence. That combined with the fact that I really need to try to monetize this project after putting almost two years into it! Regardless, I’m happy I haven’t given up and am taking myself through all of these different parts of the game making process.
If you’d like to get on the closed beta list, please send me an email! I’m mirrorfishmedia AT gmail DOT com.