Alpha-testing.

Michaël Samyn, June 25, 2012

I’m very grateful that people are actually taking the time to play the alpha build of our game and share their impressions and ideas. A lot of interesting things have come up that I really would not have seen so clearly without their help.

I’m still expecting some reactions that I’m especially curious about but a few issues have already surfaced.

The collecting interaction is still not right. Moving away from explicit finding and collecting of objects on the beach was a good choice. But the current replacement of phrases gliding over the screen and standing still to collect them is just not clear. So I’ll be experimenting with different ways of doing this.

There’s a problem with using the phrases in the conversation in the café as well. Currently, you just get a list of the phrases you have collected and you select one to speak it. This stimulates a form of goal-orientation that is not compatible with my vision for the game.

The pure keyboard controls also don’t seem to be ideal, or have the desired emotional effect. Several players prefer the experimental mouse controls, often claiming it makes the experience feel less game-like.

Suggestions have been made to show the ghost of another player on the beach. Not sure how I feel about that yet. Maybe I just need to experiment with it and see.

Currently, there is no end to the beach. You can just keep going, and part of the beach moves along with you. Some people like this but others feel that, since there is nothing new to discover, you might as well make them stop in some way. I’ll have to think about this.

Some suggestions are good but would require too much work to implement. I’d prefer to keep the number of features small but polish them really well. If, however, Bientôt l’été would do well commercially, I’ll probably want to work on some of these ideas anyway and release them in a new version, or as additional content. Especially being able to interact more with another player is attractive to me.

I do realize that the people who are currently playing and commenting are a narrow selection particularly interested in this sort of game. But I’m still happily surprised by how common it has become to simply enjoy a game for its atmosphere and mood. It’s such a joy not to have to fight for the right of a videogame to not have puzzles or enemies anymore.

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