Tales from the Dev Team provides direct insight into the game development process, directly from the developers.
Dear friends of Alice,
We are starting this article series to provide regular updates and keep you informed about the ongoing development of My Neighbor Alice! Here are the most important happenings of the past month or so:
Sadly we cannot show you very sexy screenshots here, as the tools that develop the game look like spreadsheets and flowcharts and are not things that you will ever see as a player. But for the design team, we love tools! A very important and famous man whose name I have forgotten, once said: “If you give me one hour to cut a tree I will spend 55 minutes sharpening the axe.”. ‘Sharpening the axe’ is what tool development is all about. The tools that we are developing allow us to easily translate My Neighbor Alice to all languages. This same tool (which essentially is a very big spreadsheet) now also allows us to design the stats of all the in-game items, like carrots, trees, plants and what have you. Another important tool is the Bolt visual scripting tool. Visual scripting is programming for people who would rather use a mouse than a keyboard. The Bolt systems help us to easily make more interesting characters in the game and to explain the mechanics of the game better to the player.
Control Scheme Playtest
All of this development is great, but we are not doing this just to keep ourselves busy. At the end of the day, players have to play My Neighbor Alice.
One of the very important design decisions that we are making at this moment is the way that the game controls work. The game controls are the main way that the player interacts with the game. It is of the highest importance that the controls are easy to learn, powerful in their actions, and “feel” sweet and enjoyable to use. So here is what we did:
One of our programmers made a prototype where we could try out two different control schemes. One control scheme was inspired by RPG games, and the other inspired by FPS games. When we tested it with a member of our target audience (casual female gamers aged 18 to 38), we found that the RPG style controls were much more appreciated. They were easier to learn, and clicking on something to interact with it felt more natural than pressing a key and having to remember what key corresponds to what action. This shows how important early end user testing is: Without it, we may have implemented a control scheme that was less enjoyable to use, leading to decreased engagement with our game.
Testing at Large
This year, the plan is to develop the whole game feature by feature and all of those features must be extensively tested. You can expect a series of large scale tests this year, just like the one in August of 2021. Next to the external testing events there will also be regular internal testing events like the one I just described, where we try out the first iteration of a feature. If you are interested in being the first to try out new parts of the game and help us with making decisions on which direction the game should go, let us know in the comments below and we will get in touch!
Thank you all very much for being on this journey with us!
About My Neighbor Alice
My Neighbor Alice is a multiplayer builder game, introducing blockchain to millions of players. Anyone can buy and own virtual islands, collect and build exciting items and meet new friends.
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