Well… It’s been almost 3 months since the last Month in Reflection update, and while we hate making excuses, there is a good excuse; we’ve been busy.
As in super-busy. Busy with builds, busy with the business, busy with our work for hire, busy with our side jobs, busy with contacts from GDC and PAX, busy figuring out how we’re going to move ahead after the recent Australian budget and Screen Australia announcements. Busy, busy, busy.
So it’s hard to keep up the social face when it’s just the two of us juggling all areas of running a studio. After pulling a long day of development, writing emails, or drafting applications and reports, a seemingly short blog post is actually hard to crank out. And it becomes especially hard to find contet to write about when our day to day work bleeds together so seamlessly, and we have to step back in order to see the big picture of our real progression.
But despite all this whining, Blurg is coming along. Fantastically. Slower than we’d have liked, but it’s coming along. The only reason I can think of for a lower velocity than anticipated is because it’s changed SO very much. The playable we have now is nearly unidentifiable to the one we showed just 3 months ago at GDCPlay. Everything is tighter, simpler, more engaging, and we still have a long way to go improving the UX. While the gameplay has changed dramatically to feel tighter, more engaging, and more powerful, the spirit of Blurg remains untouched; it’s still all about an innocent, cute green ball of carnage and destruction.
We’ve still got some major challenges ahead though. How we will monetise is yet to be tested, and while we have some hypothetical models that both follow and deviate from the standard models used in F2P games, we have no idea how it will all tie together. What to push or pull, tweak or scrap, add or minus. It’s very much an unknown mystery, but we’re lucky enough to be working in the fantastic environment of support, advice and expertise that is the GDAA’s ‘Arcade’.
Production rant aside, Blurg is looking and feeling great to us. And we’re doing our best to get relevant, useful playtester feedback that we can use to enhance the user experience. This is probably the biggest challenge we’re currently dealing with, as we’re very good at making complex mechanics; which is bad. But it’s a struggle, deciding whether to reduce something to a point of homogenization, or to brute force some kind of learning curve or UX feedback to try our darnedest to make players comprehend a new mechanic built around supporting a particular playstyle or strategy. It’s so easy to develop it, and it makes perfect sense to us, but that’s because we have all that behind the curtains knowledge. How the mechanic was designed, how it works, what it’s for, when best to use it…
So since day to day changes are hard to see, what has actually happened in the last 3 months? Quite a bit, it would seem.
We got our teaser trailer completed, thanks to the awesomely talented Sun-Studios. You can watch it here .
We attended GDC as a GDC Play Exhibitor, where we had a wicked little booth, met some amazing developers, made great contacts, and represented Australia along 9 other GDC Play exhibitors. We had a lot of interest in Blurg, not just as a game, but as a character and as an IP, and that’s awesome to see. It really boosts our confidence that we might actually have something here.
Nial attended PAX East, where he showed off Blurg every chance he could, while rubbing shoulders with the renowned indies of the globe. Blurg’s USA Trip is somewhat documented on Blurg’s Facebook page.
And that was about the most exciting thing to happen during the 3 months. We made some great contacts that excite us, and will hopefully pay off, but after the USA trip, it’s been heads down. Working away, iterating builds, tweaking designs and mechanics, finding areas that need simplifying, scrapping or feedback. The laborious everyday tasks no game developer really talks about. But even that is nearing an end, as we approach the infamous “crunch time” that every project ever undertaken in history has inevitably gone through.
So it’s looking to be a very quite month, followed by a very, VERY loud month, as we push Blurg out into the wild of the marketplace. Fingers crossed. Well, fingers uncrossed; we have work to do!