(Note: this is cross posted from Escape Factory)
Chris and I just got back from the Global Connect Asia Pacific game dev conference here in Melbourne. We entered Mole into the GDAA Independent Games Awards 2009 and got selected as one of the finalists.
As a GDAA finalist we were invited to put up a table and show off our game at the conference. Chris whipped up a few posters and I grabbed a couple of the stray laptops that I have laying around and we hit the expo.
GCAP is not a gamer expo, it is a game developer expo, so all the people there are somehow involved in the creation of games. Over the two day expo, we spoke to a zillion talented and creative people and they all played Mole, and let us know what they think.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. We had people coming back two and three times to just sit and play Mole during the downtimes. We had people who just sat down to have a quick look end up staying for 30 minutes trying to dig deeper and deeper.
Best of all however was the ability to watch people play the game. We spent a huge amount of time before the conference making sure that the core game play was solid and that the game was fun, and we were richly rewarded for that effort. However, watching people play the game highlighted the areas of the user interface that were lacking. It made apparent the places where we need to change the words on the menus or add new buttons. For instance, when you go to the upgrade shop from the end-of-dig scorecard, it is not at all obvious how to get back. Similarly, when people play it for the very first time, they run out of air and get back to the surface and don’t realize that they need to hit the ‘finish digging’ button to end the dig so they can start a new one. We even found a few gameplay bugs that we will iron out.
We are currently going through and tweaking all these little bits and pieces to try to hone the user experience before we release it to the app store. But we want people to play the game so I have put up the GCAP version online so that anyone can play it for free.
If you are into it: head over to the Mole page and hit the ‘play now’ link. You will need the Unity3d player, and you can get it from the game page.
We are planning on keeping the online version free to use, and we will be updating it alongside the iPhone version, so if you come back and notice some new tweaks here and there, that is why.
We love to hear what you have to say about the game, so send me an email, or leave a comment here!