A few days ago I released a prototype version of the game to a few very close friends of mine for an early review.
There are a lot of people on the web and elsewhere that preach about releasing your game/software/service/art/comic, anything that goes through an iterative and creative process of development, as soon as possible. There are a lot of good arguments that support that approach and some that are against it. I am not going to repeat any of them here. I just wanted to share my own experience.
I understand why a person who is responsible for the development of anything that is supposed to be used/enjoyed by others, is reluctant to do exactly that: show it to anyone else.
It is scary!
When you spent so much time making a game you start wondering whether it is actually worth it or not. Is anyone going to ever play it? I mean the game is pretty horrible by any standard as it is right now. The graphics are non existent, the game design is often flawed, there is a swarm of bugs and the level of the Artificial Intelligence is below zero. Why would anyone want to play this?
I had to know. Fear aside I sent the link with the prototype to a few selected friends and asked them to take a look with the hope that one of them might at least try to win a game.
They did and they even tried different ways to win. There where bugs of course and problems but I got the impression that they were playing to win, not just to test it. And that is amazing! Like a natural stimpack, that is what motivates me to keep working, iron out the bugs, add the missing functionality and make this a great game that everyone can enjoy.
I must say I am lucky to have really good friends that have put up with my obsession to make a game for years and keep supporting my attempts. I started with the intention to make something that I would like to play myself. But that was always just the starting point. Like every game developer I want my games to be played by as many people as possible.
Thank you guys!