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  • Tips And Tricks To Manage Open Game Development

    - Yannick Elahee

  • Content Philosophy : A bit for everyone

    In game design, you have to make features for every path of the game : short term, medium term and long term. Your game needs to be good for the beginners, the intermediate and the veterans. This way: everyone gets fun!

    That's something you use in open development as well.. On every update, if you can add content for those 3 kinds of players, your current players will be happy! It's a good constraint as well for making creative decisions.

    Now we've seen the big lines, let's move onto smaller tips!

    Example of Hades update, with courtesy of SuperGiantGames. Just to be clear: we didn't work on Hades! They had a pretty cool update picture so I wanted to show it.

    Tips #1 - Name and theme your update!

    If you call your update Patch 0.17.0, players will think : "what the fuck is this shit?". That look like a very basic advice, yet few people do it! You don't have to give every patch a name. If it's a monthly update with a lot of stuff in it, find a theme!

    Finding a theme also empowers your creative decisions and processes. For instance we had a "Ingame Seasons Update". This way, all the team knows that what they're updating are to improve the sensation of Seasons.

    It has beneficial side effects. You patch specific parts of the game, for instance you can make a "Good Tutorial Update"!. We did an update called "Agriculture & Sound Design", where we revamped the whole sound design.

    Another good side effect is that players will understand what's in this new update, why they need to get back into it.

    Tips #2 - Progress must always be visible!

    In game development, it's easy to get lost in backend optimization and tools! You gotta make sure that you always push something players can see moving and play. It doesn't have to be the whole update with new stuff, but I'd say at least 25%. For the player, tools and optimization can be very abstract. For instance, a player that already had a good computer won't see the changes

    Tips #3 - Vacation Month

    A "Vacation Month Update", where you ship nothing is actually super interesting. First, you can take some rest (remember "Your community looks like you and your game"). Then, you actually have more time for the next update. It allows you to have several members of the team on different vacations time. You can also take the buffer week from Month N-1 and Month N+1 to make a bigger update.

    Sum-up: Discuss, Work, Build Hype!

    I hope you enjoyed the read, let me know if there are specific things you'd like to know about open development!


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