dev diary #9

The practise Greenlight pitch went poorly. A good carpenter never blames his tools, but I do think it would have gone slightly better if I’d known that pointing at a slide would cause it to click to the next one, and that “swiping left” would not return it to the slide it was on previously. I must have skipped seven of my slides trying desperately to return it to the place it was on, which ultimately led to my pitch finishing far faster than expected and with most of my content skipped. I guess it’s a good thing that everybody understood my premise despite this problem. Several students have asked me questions about the concept since the pitch, but they’re the probing sort that means they get the core concept and want to know more. I was seriously considering scrapping Medical Necessity and choosing a last-minute replacement idea, but for now I think it’s performed better than I expected under the circumstances and I should be able to make a decent pitch out of it.

I am bummed I didn’t get to test my method for showcasing the gameplay. The two ways I’ve seen people explain their core loop is through parallelisms to other games and with screenshots of other games, or through gameplay demos displayed as videos or GIFs. Neither really worked for what I was designing (a puzzle game with a bit of a learning curve, but fast rounds and infinite tries) so I wanted to verbally walk through a sample level, describing the player’s actions and repercussions while clicking through screenshots that displayed the level in slideshow format. Unfortunately, these slides were the ones skipped during my projector issues, so I’ve only been able to test the format on tiny groups of 1-2 watchers. So far it seems to work well enough. Akshay liked the format so much he said he’s gonna use it to showcase how his game works too, so it can’t be a completely wrong direction.

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Joey asked if I planned on having icons like this in the final game. Honestly, I originally was, but maybe I should switch to top-down humans, like Hotline Miami. I also should add a gif of Hotline Miami gameplay in case someone hasn’t played it in the audience

I’m also working on whatever changes I might need to make to The Just Us League before pitching it to Ford on Friday. I’ve playtested the game with a group of people who have never played it, and I kept silent so they had only my instruction sheet to go off of, and they were having a rollicking good time by the end of it so I’m pretty convinced the game is ready for Ford’s perusal.

Speaking of playtesters (the focus of the ninth and final assigned chapter), the book helped me through a big problem I had (aka finding playtesters for running the mute playtest). Since everyone in the class knew about the game, I wasn’t sure where to turn after that. But then the book specifically mentioned roommates, and I realized I’d never playtested anything I’d ever made with my roommates! It’d also be nice to see them play it since they aren’t game designers. That playtest went great too, so I feel confident I’ve made the best possible product I could. Hopefully Ford likes it!

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