As we move into Monumental Failure's post-release life, Jess and I talked a lot about what sort of updates we wanted to do for the game. Our first update was a big boost in content, The Great Wall. For our upcoming update, instead of content, we are shifting to adding some new features. Today, I want to discuss how our content and play-testing has informed Monumental Failure's existing and upcoming features.
Monumental Failure's content, its worlds and levels, are relatively static, unchanging. Playing a level is the same challenge each time. This is important to understand as we look at deciding on the game's feature set. That brings me to the title of this post. It probably seems odd to compare a game's features with standing in a river and looking for little pieces of gold, but, throughout the stream of development, I have been looking for feature nuggets, small amounts of coding and UI work that will pay huge value.
Sorry for using such a tortured metaphor, but, here's the gist of it. With a static set of content I had to be constantly on the lookout for ways I can make that content multifaceted. Take the static content and through simple features, amplify its worth. Let's give a few examples.
When I started working on Monumental Failure, I had no intentions of having a co-op feature. Co-op feature was inspired by some coworkers, who when play-testing an early demo, opted to each take half the keyboard and share the single player experience. The co-op feature represented about a week's worth of work to add to the game. It ended up being our favourite game mode and the mode we leaned on when marketing the game. Talk about a gold nugget!
Hats! We knew it would be important for players to be able to form a connection with their in game characters, so a simple customization system was the solution to this. The value to be discovered was that having hats gave us something players could unlock, something higher scores could award. Welcome to value town.
Practice mode is a feature that will be coming in a future update. Practice mode allows you to instantly play, and re-play any level in the game. Practice mode was something I wanted in the game from the start, but had to push it to the side as being concerned about being able to reset the level was a burden I couldn't afford to work with. Fast-forward 8 months, the game is released, and I have a simple solution to the problem that involves cloning the levels. Practice mode was implemented in about 4 days work, most of which was UI and testing. Another nugg!
I think it's great when a game informs its own design, and by that property I think it's important for us as developers to be on the lookout for these self informed designs. Especially when it means a little work can have big payoffs.
Finally a tease. Can you spot the nugget? In Monumental Failure we have the ability to let 4 players play in the same world. We also have the ability to have 4 players each play in their own world. Hmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
More news coming soon! Thanks for reading this post.