Nearly exactly two weeks ago, we finally had our presentation at the Indigo-festival. We did a mad dash the last days before it, to polish our prototype. I think it paid off – Indigo was a great experience.
And we had success in the press too – we were chosen on the Dutch gaming news site bashers as one of the “13 special games of Indigo 2011” – so we made the top 43.33333333333333 percent!
I’ll share some first impressions here. And since our team members haven’t all been there at the same days, we plan to meet up next week to revel in the praise and laugh about all the critics. …well and maybe talk about how to implement any feedback they had. I’ll then write up the second part with a bit more about our battle plan.
First off it was great for us to join the Indigo showcase. It forced us to make a presentable, playable version. We had to add menus and add some small tweaks to allow players to quickly test the game. The often little changes make a big difference – it also helps us, as it makes our testing experience better and more fun.
And of course it is always good to hear some outside opinions. They really ranged from icy-frozen facial expressions to excited “awesome” screams. The game idea and the setting were often mentioned as great – the size switch of the ball was a positive surprise to many. Everyone liked the physics and many asked about who made the music.
The gameplay in detail was often criticized: The ball has long stretches of being out of reach of the player. The paddle was hard to control. Some things we didn’t even notice anymore did confuse the testers: For example the pink light blobs that fly from the objects to the paddle. While one could say it is the points that fly to the player, it is more distracting than helpful right now.
I also found some assumptions from the gamers interesting. Many moved the paddle in a flicking motion, trying to give the ball a spin like in table tennis. Maybe it would be a good idea to put it in, so that the natural expectations of the players are met. More on any changes in the next part.