Staying On Target

We develop games in a somewhat unusual way. A lot of games get designed out "completely" with very detailed specifications & requirements, and then there's a long period of implementation - then at the end some testing, iteration, polish, and then it gets shipped. Most of the time, people don't see games launch until years have been spent on their development. And on launch, they succeed or fail based on how people react, but that's that.

We launched Give Me Fuel after less than a year of work, and it showed. It wasn't polished. Huge swaths of it were "missing". But we wanted to test out the core game mechanic, and make sure that it worked.

One of the pitfalls of this approach is that it's actually really easy to lose sight of what you'd originally intended to do, because the decision that is the most obvious is the one right in front of your face. You get so focused on what you've already released that it's hard to remember what you haven't even built yet.

We had a moment of "remembering" over the last month, where we realized we had a lot of stuff that we wanted to build that we didn't have a chance to yet, and we've shifted focus to that. But even with that refocus, it's been interesting, because as we're building this stuff, we're coming back across things that we'd not just intended to do from the start, but were driving goals that we built the whole game around.

And the nice thing is that we managed to keep it enough in mind that building the features we'll need to build fits in fairly logically - both "mechanically" and narratively, because the original structure was conceived around those things. But it's strange how those fade into the background and need to be dragged back into the spotlight every now and again.

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This mostly has to do with the fact that GMF was originally intended to be a game that you play while you're not playing it, as well as when you are. This'll make sense eventually, I hope.