Monthly Archive: January 2016

Sapu and the Minimum Viable Product

Recently, I learned the term Minimum Viable Product. It is highly recommended approach for creating a new product, when you should focus on creating simple product, as fast as you can, and then show it to your potential customers. In such way you get feedback about it at the early stage of development, which might be very important (and sometimes refreshing). Then you can easily iterate and improve this product according to this feedback. When I read about it for the first time, I was amazed how so simple approach can be that much effective for Sapu. For over half a year we were slowly building our game, creating inventory system or other features that are not really “fun to play”. We had incredible gameplay in mind, but yet to be implemented.

Applying MVP to Sapu

In addition to the fact that our brand/game is pretty much still non-existent on the web and we are still waiting for our first true, long-term followers, applying MVP seems to be a no-brainer. Thus we transferred this approach to our little game development world. We focused solely on creating satisfying gameplay just to build short “production demo” as soon as possible and let some friends and other players play it to give us their opinion what they like about the game and what could be improved. Make no mistake, this demo will be far away from finished game, it will contain only few main features (and not top-notch polished SFX) of the game, but I’m sure it will help us tremendously to create the best gameplay experience we can.

Sapu gameplay?

When some friends asked me a month ago when they’ll be able test our game or see some gameplay, I responded that it is a long process and at the current state, Sapu is not ready for any exposure. But hey! The inventory system is implemented! YAAY… Well no, not really.

Now, if someone would asked me the same question, I still would respond that the game is not “playable” yet, but we are working hard to create such minimum viable product, that he’ll be able to test the game soon. And it really feels so much better!

Learn from mistakes

I’m sure we missed many opportunities during the whole development process by doing not important stuff at such early stages, but it’s a learning process and I love it. I am happy that we started this blog not only from marketing perspective, but it also allowed us to better evaluate our work and take the right course of action.

Monthly Report #1 – December 2015

Today we are starting with a Monthly Report series. The series will be published every month to make a summary what we did in the previous month and show some statistics regarding Sapu’s “publicity”. As it is first post of the series, I’m sure that the overall scheme will change over time and adjust with the aim of providing updated status of our development in the best way possible. At the end of the post I’ll try to cover the most important features which we would like to add in next (current) month. So let the summary begin!

Main tasks

Start website (captain obvious at his best 🙂 )

After some positive feedback that we got from you, we are pretty happy about your first reactions. Kind people from reddit didn’t shy to give us constructive criticism and we’re working on adjustments now. The main goal is to create landing page which will explain what the game is about in nice and concise fashion. But to do that, we need some polished images/gifs and that’s why it is not implemented yet. But we changed the background and replaced this “pretty boring white” for something more atmospheric. We hope you like it!

Improve gameplay experience

In December we started the campaign for “better gameplay experience” to finally feel the enjoyment while playing. Here are some tasks that we have worked on:
• Implemented feature that dynamically adjusts camera position based on the location where player holds cursor.
• Added Camera/screen shake
• Dealt with minor adjustments with projectile spells (increased their speed etc.)
We are still not happy enough with the gameplay and I think it is 5-6 features away from being “fun”. As soon as it will feel like that, we will finally show first glimpses (gifs) from our game and I can’t wait to do that.

Complete environment for 2 scenes

Well, we didn’t finish any of these two scenes due to some continuous iteration which was meant to improve gameplay on one of the scene and quite frankly our inexperience with such processes. I’m sure that we will make up for those backlogs in January.

Other tasks

• 5 bugs fixed
• 6 animations added
• An easy way to adjust single sound volumes implemented
• A script that allow us to change transparency of object dynamically
• Visited Gdynia Game Festival, talked to other developers and attended to some game-dev related lectures. Also distributed around 60 business cards!
• Implemented a system that allows us to easily add different languages to the game

Followers

First followers report. The numbers are pretty mediocre but hey – we’re just starting! Also the fact that no one saw any screens from the game didn’t help keeping interest.

Website

330 page views and 152 users. I’m curious what will be the numbers at the end of 2016 🙂
DecemberWebsiteStats

Social Media

Facebook count: 36 likes
Twitter count: 6 followers

Main tasks for next month

Website

• Improve its look,
• Add landing page with screens!

Improve gameplay experience

• Add lightning system,
• Improve player movement
• Add absorb capability for some spells
• Add 2 new spells
• Improve ranged enemy behavior
This will allow us to seriously proceed for the next level to finally create experimental demo to showcase the game to some players and see their initial reaction.

Complete environment for 3 scenes

• Including finishing 2 unaccomplished from December

Well, that’s it for the first Monthly Report. How do you like it? Wow… I’m so excited for this year! Are you?