On Friday we had a friend from Paradox (Hearts of Iron II) visiting us. It’s amazing how similar “indie” developers are.
We showed him around our cramped offices and showed the latest internal stuff we were working on with Galactic Civilizations II. We both talked about long-term, unannounced projects. In other words, very open and transparent in how we do things.
And later on, I was thinking about how small developers are very different from larger ones. The big publishers/developers are much tighter lipped about projects.
The Master of Orion 3 project, for instance, had a closed beta with everyone under NDAs.
With Galactic Civilizations II, not only will we have an open beta but we put out weekly developer journals: http://www.galciv2.com/Journals.aspx
This is to let people see what’s going on each week in development.
For example, this week’s big internal debate was over how the ships should “look”. Simulation like? Or more game like? Or something in between. That resulted in this journal entry:
Which begs the question, it seems to me that game developers would benefit from being more transparent with their fans and potential customers by letting them in on what’s going on early on.
Qt3 is full of game reviewers. I ask you this - how many games have you reviewed where you ended up not liking them because of something that could have been tweaked/changed relatively easily? Some little thing that overwhelmed the rest of an otherwise decent game?
It just seems to me that the way around that is to get the people who would play your game involved as early as possible. No code available yet? No problem, put up what you’re working on. Show them the issues you have going. Build a raport with the game community.
I know there are other developers here who probably disagree with me. That security and NDAs are important. But it strikes me that the game industry is relatively unique in that because we’re striving to make something with an intangible quality “fun” that we should be trying to bring gamers in as early as possible.