Observing Players

One of the most important parts, all through the development cycle is watching people play your game. Often it’s easy to mistake verbal feedback from a player and assume they are telling you what the actual problem is. While what they are saying may be true, what you’ll often find is watching them play unlocks the actual secrets to where your game needs to be tweaked.

 

I had the opportunity to view new people playing Feud for the first time in a long time at our event at E3. It was refreshing to see everyone having a good time, but at the same time I noticed people having problems with various bits of the game.

 

If you see a wide selection of players have a problem with something or hit a frustration point, it’s likely an issue. While you can write off a one time/one player incident to “they probably didn’t get that” when you get up to the greater than 50% of players range it’s time to start paying attention. This helps you sift through what is really important, the objective is to make intelligent changes where possible to make your game better not wildly change things on a whim.

 

When it comes time to make adjustments take on the problems carefully. Many times what appears to be the easy solution will not be the right one (sometimes it is though – take it if you can). Getting together with the team and reviewing the problems often presents multiple solutions – you’re generally looking for fixes that don’t break other aspects of the game.

 

For us it was a couple days of changes that made massive improvements in the game – not weeks of adjustment that caused havoc and forced re-evaluating the core design. The only time you want to get into that is if you find yourself with core mechanics that are fundamentally not enjoyable, but that should be sorted out in early testing.

 

Best of luck in your game efforts.

My Favorite Area at E3

E302 E304

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we just got done unveiling Feud at E3. It was a blast. Before we went to the OGA/MIX event I had a bit of time to walk the show floor. While I enjoy seeing all the big new games I find myself over in the Classic Arcade area every year. For some reason it’s my favorite part of the show.

 

Back then gaming was pure and crazy. People would come up with wild ideas and see them through. Just looking at some of the consoles, shirts, old cartridges and the rest of it reminds me how the founders of the industry were explorers. Purposefully located nearby was the Indiecade which is home to a new age of explorers. I could say the same for the event where Feud was unveiled. It’s there you can find the gems that don’t fit into the FPS/big action adventure game mold and where you may even see an early look at potential genre creation in its infancy.

 

Hats off to all the independents who are still pushing the line and recapturing that original magic of game creation. Despite my love for the big games, I always feel more at home when I’m close to the old school games and free thinkers.

What is Going on Here?

I have fought against doing this kind of thing for years. Those who know me well, know that i prefer a low profile where I can get my head down and make games. A wise person, who is another accomplished creative, recommended creating a site and had a long list of good reasons. I decided to listen.

The purpose of this place is for me to share my thoughts on game design, general geekdom and my miniatures work with you in a positive way. You may find a passionate rant or two, but negativity has no place here.

For the budding game designer I hope to share a few things I’ve learned over the years. As much as possible I’ll pull from the non glamorous side of actual game development. The nuts and bolts are where the actual magic happens. Much like a movie set is different than a finished film, game development is vastly different than the final product. We’ll get into the guts here!

For those that like geek stuff, I’ll share what influences me most along with some links to the great people I’ve had the honor of working with or learning from over the years. You can find all that in the Geek Stuff area.

If you like miniatures, painting them is what I do in my spare time. It’s restful, fun and it lets me focus. There’s a gallery of most the work I’ve done here and I’ll be adding to it regularly over time.

If even one person finds one cool thing or bit of knowledge that they didn’t have before – mission accomplished.

I live and breathe the creations I’m involved in and it’ll be my pleasure to share them with you.

– Matt