Arcade Thang Retrospective 3 - Its shipped!

well its not shipped but its out in a week, but you can wishlist if youd like! im doing literally 0 marketing because ive left most social medias so my marketing strategy is to Manifest it into peoples heads and then im assuming 1000000$ will appear in my bank account

🎉💥⚠️🩷 🩷⚠️💥🎉

wowww it actually only took 2 months instead of 3 months! this was made over 8 busy-ish weekends, so about 10-12 working days of time. making Permuter has been a breeze. i'm happy it's complete and shipped without much struggle, its got me feeling much more optimistic about gamedev as a hobby

ive made an effort to talk about my games more with friends & post about it more. ive always been a bit nervous to tell irl friends about my games but... they have been extremely supportive and have all wishlisted it >:3 DESPITE it being poopyshit

the game Permuter in my Steam library, there's my sona over it saying 'so official'

one thing i took very seriously on this project was playtesting WITH OTHER PEOPLE

i playtested the 3-day prototype with dozens of people, every batch of new features i playtested again with another dozen, i released a shitty instantly-playable web version so people could playtest easier, and i took all feedback dead seriously

playtesting has been completely indispensable.. this made me confident that my game was worth something, and also showed what part of the game to put the most work into. lots of people had lots of different ideas, but importantly, when testing with a lot of people, you notice trends. ideas and criticisms are good, but they don't hold much weight when the sample size is 1.. but when everyone agrees on something, you can be confident that it's the right thing to do

another thing i took seriously was polish

making a polished game is a neverending pile of minutia that you dont really think about when you make stuff for like, i've never needed an accessibility settings menu for a jam game, nor had to care about controller support for menu-driven games, nor had to give a fk if the mouse is still visible on screen after you plug in your controller

by making this game, i've learned a lot about polishing a game to a steam-acceptable standard, and the experience making it has been really worthwhile and id like to bring my other games up to this sort of standard. i think feel-good minutia goes a long way

also - in getting this game shipped asap - ive made peace with not including everything i wanted. ive scrapped a whole narrative idea which i was quite attached to. telling myself "ill save that for Permuter 2" has got me through this project far easier and prevented going too far over the line of diminishing returns

i also tried to take management seriously in this project, primarily to prevent project-killing scope creep, but also to maximise how good i feel about progress. my #1 killer lately has been my mental health (which is crushing all of my hobbies atm) so making this as easy and feel-good as possible is a priority, and it's done wonders

a big proponent of that has been this one gigantic Whimsical whiteboard where i track every stage of the project with kanban boards (i know its a meme but the physicality of it feels good) and have progress bars for everything. every single task felt great to complete when i knew i could come back to my board, shuffle some cards to the "done" pile and inch the progress bar along. its a little instant gratification reward for my small brain, it all felt like forward momentum! and even better, since it was all in stages, if i scope-creeped and had new ideas, i would put them into the next stage. when the time came to start the next stage, i could filter down to just the best ideas and discard the rest, and then strongly stick to the tasks that i chose

highly recommend setting up a silly feels-good system for your projects!!

the final whiteboard for Permuter, full of kanban boards

but ya hm... my final thoughts on the game itself...

i think its a bit unimpressive. im a little embarassed about this project because i know i can do much much better, which i think is a good feeling to have

with this project being made so quickly, and with it being easy to manage and fun to work on, im confident my next project can be more ambitious

mid-way through making this project, i made a love story about love which has felt like wringing my brain thorugh a wire mesh to get all the gunk out

i feel so much more secure after making this project and seeing the rly lovely reception (🩷 thank u). i think making it sorta re-centered my compass to the values i had before i started gamedev as a job..

i have much more fun if i dont think about an audience when making games or art

i mean that in a lot of senses - i want to be more self indulgent with what i make, be less frightened of being authentic, but also.. i want to give myself permission to make some totally derivative trash game, because theyre fun to make!!! all of the design problems are solved ahead of time by other people and you can just focus on making it look and feel good!! Permuter was set out to be a completely shameless clone at first for the sake of shipping something without worrying about innovation, but i ended up meshing so many ideas together i think it reasonably stands on its own..

so in future..

id like to make something more open-ended. my greatest value in games is making something which lets other ppl express themselves. not even just in a minecraft-way, but like, fighting games are also quite expressive. id like to figure that out..

idk! ill keep experimenting, making more 3-day prototypes and see what's exciting

yayaya!!! thank you all for being so supportive of this game! its inspired me to take it easy, have fun, and scope very very small

have a nice one! 🩷

the game Permuter in my Steam library, there's my sona over it saying 'so official'
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