Delta Quadrant on Steam

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Challenges when play testing my indie game

Play testing your own game is not so easy. You miss obvious features or problems, which you would normally immediately identify in another game. I think it is because you know every little thing and all the inner workings of your own game.

For example... A friend recommended I add an "Enemy Turn" notification label when the enemy is busy with its turn. Usually I would notice something like that, but not with my own game. I am so concentrated on the balance and making sure the core mechanics are working optimally, that I miss the little obvious things.

Another problem is that you fall into a habit or a way of testing. I stopped looking at everything critically and didn't scrutinize every detail as I would with a game I bought. It is almost as if your subconscious mind is stopping you from seeing all the little problems.

For example...   I created a boolean to "hurry up" my enemy movement so my play testing could move at a faster pace. Playing the game in "hurry up" mode became so normal to me, that I forgot to disable it for the last TWO BUILDS! I turned this accident into a feature and added a setting in the game to toggle the mode on/off.

The fun factor is hard to rate or feel. There are nothing new or exciting to explore or discover around the next corner. If you want something new or exciting you have to add new code or features. Where do you stop adding new stuff to your game and except it for what it is. How do you judge the fun factor, when the fun is in die coding and no so much in the game anymore. Isn't that the whole point of playing a game? All the new things to learn and discover? It's a little sad that I can't experience that sensation with my own game.

I enjoy it immensely to see others play my game and so much more if they enjoy playing it. Hopefully that is the next step in the joys of game development. If only a handful of people enjoy playing the game, I would feel that I have succeeded in creating a game.

Seeing that this is my first time ever creating a game and not just little prototypes, I am very happy with the outcome. I have learned more in this last two years developing Delta Quadrant, than in all my  studies, work experience and prototyping combined.

I caught a few more bugs and buffed the high ranking 4 items, to help with the end game balance. Added the "Enemy Turn" label and "hurry up" mode. Also increased the amount of shields/hull you receive per level.

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