Grief has been out for about two and a half days now, and having received a good amount of feedback from various sources, I think I can safely express my personal thoughts on what went right and what went wrong.
Starting with what went right: A lot. Unlike Bun-Dun, the game was released with very few if any bugs, and none so crippling as the one that plagued Bun-Dun on day one (ie. the one that I woke up at 12 am to fix). I have to thank the intensive beta testing phase of development for this, as well as the testers themselves. We managed to squash a few issues that would’ve been, well, bad. Thanks to my new router, I was able to upload Grief to the various websites relatively quickly, which I think was helpful in terms of synchronization and name recognition. This game was our most polished and best executed yet, and I think that really shows. We aimed high, but not too high so as to crush our aspirations. We found the perfect length, and worked our asses off to bring the game to life.
The bad: I can’t really call these things bad, per se, but I can say that they’re things we need to consider for future releases. First of all, a lot of people had complaints about the movement speed of GG and the lack of a saving feature. While both of those were design choices, I learned that not everyone shares such ideals as I do. Although, frankly, I still don’t understand the whole “She walks too slow”. Maybe the game is just lagging for a lot of people, which leads me to item number two:
Game speed. Currently, we tested our game on a handful of computers, but most of them were quite new. I think testing the game on an old computer would be a good idea for future releases, to get an idea of what our requirements are. For all I know, half our audience is lagging and doesn’t know it.
Advertising: The first day Grief was released, we didn’t get as much exposure as I’d have liked. Sure, maybe such thoughts are unrealistic at this time, but I believe we could’ve done a bit more pre-hype on various websites, instead of just posting on our blog and assuming the entire internet knew where to look.
That’s about it, honestly. I don’t have any heartwrenching tale of betrayal or hard work for naught. Development went smoother than I could have hoped, and our team grew throughout the entire process. I picked up a few useful tactics regarding project management, and I think that we’re a lot more in-tune than we were before.
Looking back, I find it funny to think that this entire game spouted from a single comment made by Tangleworm about, and I’m paraphrasing here, “A game that changes depending on whether you’re happy or sad.”
Seeing a game come together is always a delightful experience, and if anyone were to ask me why I loved programming so much, that would probably be my answer. Sure, copying and pasting line after line of code can be tedious, but being so involved in the development process and knowing that every action you make will directly impact how a part of the game functions is such an empowering feeling.
We’re still waiting to hear from a number of websites/sources (such as jayisgames, indiegames, the escapist) and we’ll keep you updated as Grief’s release plays out. Until then, go tell all your friends about the game! After all, isn’t that what friends are for? Shameless plugging of products.