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A few things Mark Wallace

Tag: game development

First Playtest: and the Wisdom of Starting Customer Development Yesterday

strategy game playtest

Contested!

I managed what could just barely be called a first playtest of The Game the other day. It took place on a totally unskinned, hex-constrained map that looked more grognardesque than in any way 1337, where I controlled all three sides involved in the game, and that went without benefit of probably 75% of the features I want to get in over the coming months — but I count it a success, for all that. In fact, it’s because it’s in such a rudimentary form that I count it a success, and I plan to get it in the hands of some trusted friends as soon as possible (and more and more gamers after that). Collecting reactions on a project like this from the earliest stages gives it the best chance to become something truly great, enjoyable and fun. While this kind of iterative development cycle (of building only a very early version, gathering feedback, refining, and building some more) still isn’t second nature to a lot of product developers, it has become more and more common as a conscious operating philosophy over the last decade, and five years ago spawned a pretty interesting book on the topic of customer development that you should read if the project / startup / game you’re developing is more complicated than a feature you can knock out in a weekend. Continue reading

DIMENSIONS OF THE MAP ITSELF

As this Tweet indicates, I’m currently working on creating a game. A browser-based game, that is, and a strategy game at that. (More on that below.) And by creating, I mean that I’m writing the code. Which, like all code, occasionally waxes poetic:

    G.MAPW = 1 + G.HEXA + (G.MAPSIZE * (G.HEXA + G.HEXSIDE)); // DIMENSIONS OF THE MAP ITSELF

The map itself. Probably more poetic if you’re the one writing the code, I’ll admit. Especially so if you haven’t written any code in a while and are rediscovering the man-machine integration one occasionally feels in the process. I have done a lot of things in life — freelance journalist, book author, software engineer (years ago), startup CEO, tech blogger, world traveler, international man of not much mystery — so it doesn’t feel terribly awkward to extend the dimensions of the map now to include gamemaker. In fact, given everything I’ve been up to for the last five or six years and how deeply all that has been involved in games, it doesn’t seem out of step at all. Continue reading

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