We were really excited to have HRO included in Steam’s June “NextFest” promotion and we’re still sifting through the feedback and the observations. Eric and I wanted to thank everyone who downloaded the first demo episode of the game and especially the streamers who played online. Streamers were particularly helpful because it gave us a chance to watch real people play in real time, without our presence being a distraction or skewing the responses. It was a whole “Gorillas in the Mist” thing, except this was more like “Streamers in the Net.”
So what did we learn? Well, we learned a lot about how intuitive and effective the UI and game structure was from watching streamers navigate through the game. Generally, we watch for where players fumble and where they flounder, but we didn’t see a lot of that. It looks like the early play testing let us address most of those potential issues already. Which was a big relief. It’s nerve wracking sitting and watching players wander off the story path and get frustrated because we neglected to connect some dots.
We saw good player engagement with the story and the characters and a wide range of play styles that all seemed to work. Some players tackled the game as more of a mystery to be solved, some as a story to be enjoyed and explored and some as a series of obstacles to be overcome, and everyone seemed to find things to enjoy along the way. All the online streamers also “succeeded” in completing the first demo episode and would have moved on to episode 02 if that had been available. Yay!
This week we're moving on with content development, music composition, and voice-over casting — which is one of the most fun parts for us. We were both theatre people earlier in our lives so being on this side of the audition table is very exciting for us. Next blog post we’ll be talking about PAL (the "Personal Administrative Liaison") and how he helps orient players and move the story along within the branching and converging structure. Til then, we’ll see you in space!
Worthing and Moncrieff, LLC is an independent developer of video game stories founded in 2015.