Finally released after more than a year
I've done it. In two weeks, I've taken a project that failed all of my initial goals (including a 6 month development plan) and turned it into something anyone can play in a browser:
The result is still not as much fun as I'd like. The way the light cone immediately changes when you move instead of smoothly rotating, the still-troublesome light cone width, and persistent animation issues, are too distracting for me to fully the enjoy the game. However, I consider Punch in the Dark to be an experimental prototype, so I can live with these issues for the time being.
My original concept for "Project Splatter" was very different, and was intended to be far closer to the game Splatterhouse in execution. However, the result wasn't very interesting, and my recent experience on Shoplifting Godot showed me I could do better. So, I decided to try limiting the player's vision, which the Godot game engine makes very easy, and I liked the result enough to name it.
The next step for Punch in the Dark will be the same as Shoplifting Godot: I need to find a way to get people to give me feedback.
I'm learning that getting a few people to play your game isn't hard. Itch.io provides wonderful free analytics, so I know that, to date:
7 people have downloaded Shoplifting Godot.
1 person has played the browser version of Shoplifting Godot.
6 people have played Punch in the Dark.
0 people have left any comments.
In terms of comments on these games outside Itch.io, I've received exactly 2 for Shoplifting Godot. This is nice, and it helped me fix some initial issues with Shoplifting Godot, but it's not enough to get a sense of whether people are enjoying my games or not. Game design thrives when you have access to players/testers who can give you detailed answers, and I'm feeling the absence. I can't tell if the disinterest is from something I'm doing, from the lackluster art of my games, from the gameplay people see when they search for my games, or something else entirely. And, at the moment, I'm not really sure how to make up for it.
I notified people that Shoplifting Godot existed by posting on Twitter, the PlayMyGame Reddit group, and Facebook to notify my friends and family. For Punch in the Dark, I managed to release the game on Saturday and tied it into the #screenshotsaturday campaign. I also posted links to it in additional Reddit groups.
It's possible there might be other sites where I could post my game and get a greater response. For example, I've been hearing positive things about Game Jolt for awhile, and I plan to post both Shoplifting Godot and Punch in the Dark there to see what happens. It's also possible there could be other Reddit groups or social platforms I can try to get some attention.
As things stand, it's clear at least a few people have enjoyed Shoplifting Godot enough to say something. As a result, I plan to develop Shoplifting Godot further into a full game starting next year.
I'm going to take the rest of this year for personal development. What does this mean? Well, I've got goals to meet at my day job, Python things to do, there's something I'm calling Project Neotokyo that I need to do alot more research for, and there's the 3rd prototype I started not too long ago I'm calling Project Wrecking Crew. Hopefully, I'll have something new and significant to report before the year is over.
I'm quite pleased with my basic menus, so next time I'll break down how I've been making them. Until 10/4!