Quite a bit to cover this time.
New title. I’ve decided to change the name of “Why Am I Dead 2” to “Why Am I Dead At Sea”. It’s not a huge change, but a lot of thought was put into it. I came to this decision primarily because this project really isn’t a direct sequel in many ways, and I wanted the title to reflect this. In addition my hope is that this game will be able to reach a much wider audience than its predecessor did, and I don’t want anyone to think they will need to play another game to understand it. It really is a project that I hope will stand on its own…so tacking on a number at the end didn’t seem to fit!
Though I feel it’s a bit on the wordy side, I went through innumerable potential titles and could find nothing else that more accurately described the spirit of this project than “Why Am I Dead At Sea”.
Beta testing. Though development time has exceeded even my wider estimates, I can happily say that I will soon be ready for closed beta testing / play-testing.
Given that the weakest area of my last project was the amount of bugs it had on launch, this is something I’m taking very seriously. The last time, the only play-testing that my game had was from fellow developers on FGL.com, a website for other free browser-based games. This was a big mistake! While I’m eternally grateful to everyone there who helped me out, I should have really used it in conjunction with other sources, as I didn’t get enough feedback on the game to smooth everything out.
For instance, the reason there were game-breaking bugs at the end of the game is very simple: out of all the people who played my game before it was released, I think only one person who gave me feedback actually reached the end! And then when the game was launched and I was scrambling to push out new fixed versions, I didn’t have anyone but myself test those, either…so they sometimes ended up creating new bugs. It was a mess!
This time I’m going to be much more proactive in getting feedback, gathering a wider pool of testers, and putting the game through play-testing longer. My plan is currently to find volunteers who would be interested in the type of game I’m making, and offering incentives for their help (obviously a place in the credits being one of them, but ideally other things as well).
Marketing. Around the same time that I start beta-testing, I will have enough assets to feel comfortable in making a serious effort to publicize my game. This will mean a teaser trailer, a website launch, a Greenlight page, and loads of other stuff.
My plan for publicizing the game is a two-parter, since I feel the game is in a bit of a grey area. It has a lot of elements that I think would appeal to a smaller, but more dedicated audience — which means that the sooner I start talking about my game, the more likely I am to reach that audience. But my game will also be very cheap and on the smaller side — which says to me that most people will only give it their attention once, and if it isn’t available then, they won’t pursue it later.
So my compromise is to release everything I can to publicize the game as early as I feel comfortable, with the sole exception of a free demo, which I will reserve for the day that the completed game launches.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I’m definitely reaching an exciting stage now where the game is taking shape. Hopefully by my next post I’ll be able to show a teaser and the game’s dedicated website.