Next Step - Quality of Life
Antelope UP - A Memory Building Game for Young and Old Alike.
The first game out of the starter blocks is Antelope UP. Though, developing games is more of a marathon than a sprint. After years of work, we were at the point of beta testing the game at the west coast Minefaire events, thanks to the folks at Minecraft. They provided free space for indie publisher at their events.
Antelope UP is simple game. Players select a region from the map of Africa, then select the level of play. They are shown the antelope from that region. The cards flip and rotate before the play begins. We beta tested the game using Dell touch screen computers.
What we learned at each show.
Beta testing revealed some programming bugs. It was a surprise when the players started to report that random antelopes would run off the screen. This took a little time to reproduce the bug, so that the developers can address it.
The second issue was that both the male and the female would show up in the same game. Confusing when they looked alike. This was resolved quickly after the show.
Los Angeles Minefaire
With the now corralled antelope, game play went better. It gave me a chance to watch and listen to the players during the game.
The scoring system was an issue. You earned a point for each match and lose a point for each mis-remembered card selected. This meant you could possibly end up with a negative score. The developer zeroed the negative numbers out. This was fine for the older players, but the younger ones were confused.
During the two days of play, I noticed that at times, the game was more of an eye test than a matching game. The player then turned it into a guessing game. Not what I wanted. At our next meeting, I asked mentioned this. The problem was that all antelope were being populated randomly into every game, not to the assigned region. This item got checked off the to do list without verification - a ME BAD moment. It is now fixed.
Kudos, again, to Minecraft. They brought in one of their partners to improve the indie publishers area. This included providing feedback to the publisher about how to improve their game. The feedback was great. Ian, from Screenwave Media, pointed out where it was confusing - strikes for lions in the predator levels. The most important advise was how to improve the quality of life for the game.
Quality of Life for our game means pulling the information about each antelope into the game area, not stuck on the information page. Ian also suggested how to bring in stats that kids what to see as they progress through the game.
The revised scoring system seems to work. We have the score for each round played the rolls into the total. At the end of the show, we had over 500,000 points on both machines.
For everyone at the shows, thanks for playing!
Antelope UP development team
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