Trials in Movement! Demo version 0.1370
"Fail often! Fail early!"
I came across this motto while teaching my middle school and high school engineering classes. While working on any kind of development project where the satisfaction of an end user is primary, one needs to take their products out there for testing as soon as possible.
Taking a raw product for review and listening to people who are not liking it, being frustrated by it, and providing tons of negative comments is inevitably a sour experience. Yet, this is the stuff of progress. Those who do not get feedback early on, continue to develop in their dreams for their dream customers.
That is what happened to my very first demo, v0.1348. When I noticed that I was postponing the user tests again and again (in hopes that I would have a demo for them that they would love and not have any negative comments for) I suddenly realized that I was just avoiding hard facts about my game. My fear of hearing that my game is no good was making me keep driving without checking the map.
So I just decided to close a few loose ends and hit the build button..., then had to spend a whole day fixing compiler errors I was ignoring (well it is good as long as it works when you hit play, right?). In the end I had more than a dozen students and peers test out the first demo. I told them (with a dope of willpower) to shoot me the worst of it, and tell me what frustrates them most. It was such lovely and honest feedback. They tore my game apart, and told me that my baby was as ugly as a creature could get. Honestly, it hurts! But by the end of a week of watching testers play the game, get frustrated in front of a box not knowing what to do with it; trying to jump over obstacles they "were supposed to climb over"... I went back to my development with 17 items to change about my game. I would never be able to realize maybe 10 of them by myself, even if I had played the game another thousand times.
So here is the second demo after a week of tweaking based on hard user data and feedback. I have started to get more feedback now, and even though many fundamental issues are fixed, new ones start emerging..., those which were not being noticed underneath more dire problems.
Is the game getting better? Absolutely! I can see players have an easier time finding their way around the game level. I seem to have boosted the graphics a little too much this time, which caused a lot of lag with the lower end machines, but I will fix it in the next update.
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