Well, I finally showed the game off publicly. Overall the response was very positive, which pleased me. Of course, the response was mostly from this group of people I have been hanging out with for awhile now, so you’re never quite sure if they are just being nice, but I think had I showed up with junk the response would have been a lot different. It’s clear we’re doing some things right here (though there is a longggggggggggggg ways to go.)
One thing that felt nice was the clear sense that I’m meeting one of my major goals, which is to make a runner that is more inspired by Mario-like platformers and such than it is by other runners. To be honest, outside of the BIT.TRIP games (which I do love) I have barely played any runners, they’re just not really on my radar much. More than one person mentioned that what they saw in my game was a step up from what they expected when they heard I was working on a “runner”, and I also received comments about how it felt different than other runners. One person mentioned specifically how runners have a bad reputation, and I’ve thought about this a lot too. I have to agree, a lot of them are really, really unimpressive. I won’t name names, but on a whim once I watched videos of the various runners available on the Wii U eShop and oh my god… except for BIT.TRIP they pretty much all look really uninspiring. Combine that with the fact that there are WAY TOO MANY OF THEM and you have a genre that has a poor reputation. I really think that I need to distance this game from the glut of mediocre one-note runners out there. I will have to work hard to control the message.
Got constructive criticisms too, which I can’t complain about because it is really the ultimate point of showing the game off like this. I should have had a way to track the critiques at the time, but I managed to remember a lot of it and write it down afterwards. I’d say the majority of the criticisms fell into the same basic category of the game failing to teach the right things well enough before requiring the player to do them, whether it was certain controls or what the different collectible do or how certain platforms or enemy types work or… well, tons of things. And of course I kind of knew this would be the case due to A. me being overly familiar with the game and thus logically having blindspots and B. the demo being kind of thrown together without full attention paid to everything that would be necessary. But it helps a lot to hear about specific examples and know what needs to be clarified for the player.
I also learned that if you make a tutorial and make it skippable… a lot of people will skip it. That’s important to know. Now, whether this would be the case if someone were playing on their own time at home versus trying to quickly check something out at an event where there are people to talk to and other games to play, I’m not totally sure, but I don’t want to risk it so I guess I should just work on the assumption that skippable tutorials will be skipped by X amount of players. Well, I never planned for the final game to have tutorials anyway, that was just a last minute way to deal with the fact that the “stages” aren’t set up to teach you the things you need to know quite yet.
I posted the build to Negative World as well, to get responses from the members there. Still waiting to see what they think!
There is a LOT left to do and I’m kind of overwhelmed at times, but I think I will take a day or two and just map out a plan for the near future. Getting this demo ready has taken up so much of my time lately that now that it is out there, I’m sort of in a “what’s next?” mood. Not that I don’t have plenty to choose from.
2017 release, perhaps?!