“Feature Creep Pop”
If you’re an aspiring game developer and have yet to show your game to anyone, you’re inevitably going to experience what the rest of us are now used to. Invariably, your friend or relative that is the first to see your labor of love will give you five hundred ideas of how you can make the game better or more interesting.
My friend Josh was the first person to ever play my game and he was my sole play tester for the majority of development. Josh had a lot of ideas and I ended up spending a lot of time implementing those ideas.
I later found myself at a little get together with friends and my girlfriend urged me to show everyone my game. I was admittedly shy about sharing the game at this point but showed it to them. My buddy was laughing his ass off at the chicken flopping around on the screen. If you played my game, you know that the first level has a drone enemy. My buddy said I should make it so the chicken gets caught up in the done blades. I thought logically about how I would accomplish this task before exclaiming I didn’t think I could pull that off.
Near the end of development, I shared the game with a small group of friends so they could play test it for me. In came a flow of ideas. Josh, now being my salty play tester, and I discussed this. He laughed and referred to my game as “Feature Creep Pop”.
Feature creep indeed. My game, up until that point, was supposed to be about getting the highest score. Due to the fact that my game had levels, my friends were instead focused on progression. The game still plays as it did then. You can get to space, but when you die, you start over. This ultimately lead to me adding a whole new level and an IAP for people obsessed with progression. It was an important lesson for me to recognize that I shouldn’t try to stop players from playing the game how they wanted to.
Another big lesson was to be wary of feature creep. I never intended ChickenPOP to be as big of a game as it became. As my first game, my plan for it was to be simple. It eventually morphed into something much bigger… and took much longer development time.
By the time I set up my childhood friend Craig as a beta tester, I dismissed all of his ideas (probably rudely). For each idea he gave me, I imagined how much longer I would have to delay release to implement them. I reminded him that he was testing a finished product for bugs and that there would be no additions to the game until after a stable release.
Maybe a better thing to say is, “Good idea. Thank you. I’ll add it to my list of possible future enhancements.” Get used to saying it though. You’re in game development because of the allure of taking an idea and bringing it to life. Everyone is enchanted by that feeling, even your play testers.
Notably, there were two recurring suggestions that I will continue to ignore:
1) Add a penis character to the game and rename the game Floppy Cock
2) The game is too hard.