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

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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.