Next week is GDC, and it’s going to be my craziest one yet, which is saying something. I’m doing a bunch of interviews about the release of Offworld. I’ll be trying to catch up with all the people in the industry I only get to see once a year. I’m going to be doing five new Designer Notes podcasts, with Bruce Shelley, Chris Avellone, Jamie Cheng, Nels Anderson, and George Fan. Finally, I am on a panel late Thursday afternoon on Early Access games, with which I now have direct experience. Hope to see you all there!
A Thousand Voices: Open Game Development
Chris Avellone | Creative Director, Obsidian Entertainment
Jamie Cheng | Founder, Kei Entertainment
Adrian Goya | Co-Founder, Squad
Colin Campbell | Senior Reporter, Polygon
With the advent of Kickstarter and Early Access, many teams are now developing their games in the open, providing beta, alpha, and even prototype builds to any player willing to buy in early. In this panel, four game developers who have direct experience with open development will share their experiences with this method.How often should the players be updated to the current version? How best to communicate changes and new features to players? How does the team filter the waves of online feedback? What happens when players express displeasure over a change? How important is it to remind players about what is still missing from the game? How do the project leads ensure that feedback from the players is heard and valued while making sure that the developers can still do their jobs? Once a game has been publicly available for so long, how to ensure that the actual release is still an important event?
Open development is a powerful tool for making better games, by breaking teams out of the feedback vacuum that leads to wasted time and misguided features. Developers don’t have to release games while holding their breath anymore.
Anyone interested in how open development could improve their own games would benefit from the hard-won experience of these four panelists.