Last Thursday my fellow writer Timo and I dared to visit the 9th Gametreff NRW, of which I had only heard about by pure chance. Fortunately, someone in the Cologne Game House had posted that they were still looking for prototypes or new indie games, which, after the two keynotes, could be exhibited and tested in the so-called Gaming-Area.
We had assumed that it would be at least one big room where many small teams would present their games – in fact, there were only two projects, including Innsmouth. Gulp.
Funnily enough, the other project was a colorful 3D platformer. I think with our monochrome presence we created a strong contrast…
Since drinks and pizza were provided by the organizers, the event was well attended and we were able to take home some valuable feedback from our testers.
Last weekend I had changed quite a few things in the first chapter – some small effects that were missing for the final version – and, on top of that, I finally wanted to test an early version of the timer. A timer bar runs along the options when the player only has 3 seconds to choose an option (usually only 2 or 3 choices). An example of this is when the player has to decide whether to try and suppress their impulse to vomit. Yep.
Here’s the simple, still undesigned version I had built in.
Theoretically, 3 seconds are barely enough to skim 2 options and hastily make a choice – but one of our (glorious!) testers noted that they had been between the eyes by the sudden time pressure.
That’s understandable, of course. Actually, it’s all about reading through our Lovecraft insanity, relaxing and having fun. Such a sudden stress factor doesn’t fit in well with the concept.
Solutions would be
A) To announce the upcoming time event in the text a little more clearly beforehand, so that players can prepare themselves mentally.
B) To increase the time window to maybe 5 seconds, so that the stress factor is slightly lower
C) To take out the timer completely and to leave the choice of how stupid the player character behaves to the player.
At any rate, it follows: it’s pretty damn crucial to collect feedback and such small events are perfect to connect with some amazing testers!
Thanks again to everyone who tested the game in case they read it here. Yes, I’m referring to YOU three in particular. You were great, we’ll think about your feedback (and add the missing punctuation… cough) and our baboon hearts are inflamed (don’t ask, it’s a German thing and everyone’s fine). We’re full of motivation that will put us back into action.