Video Game Prototyping is an emotional roller coaster. Two months ago, I started hammering at a totally amazing game idea. Every day was a coding frenzy. I couldn’t wait to get the game in people’s hands.
After a week, the first playable was ready. Players were excited by the gameplay, but wildly confused by the touch screen controls. I took a step back, and simplified the game controls from 8 buttons to 3 buttons. As a result, the game lost some of its strategic depth.
Another playtest took place. Players found the game easier to play, but also less interesting. Feeling humbled, but not discouraged, I set out to find the new fun factor the game needed. I spent days churning out one game mechanic after another. I felt completely in my element, putting all of my skills to the test.
As the days went by, none of the mechanics stuck. I felt this sinking feeling that maybe I can’t figure this one out. Each day became more difficult, each mechanic less fun, and after 8 days I ran out of ideas. My confidence hit an all-time low. Why was I even wasting my time on this?
The next day, an innocent thought popped into my head. The Bullet mechanic was fun, but lacked strategy. The Bomb mechanic was strategic, but too slow. What if… the bullets were also bombs? And a skillful player can strategically detonate them?
My confidence started climbing. This tiny layer of strategy enhanced every aspect of the game. Play time jumped from 2 minutes to 10 minutes. Laughing and trash talk ensued. The game was back on track, and even better than before.
This is an ongoing project. My mind is buzzing with ideas. Hopefully I can share it with you all soon!