Monday, September 24, 2012

Gridiron Solitaire #22

After much tinkering, I believe that the game is finally appropriately balanced. Playing with a strong team is much easier than playing with a weaker team, but strong teams can still lose and weak teams can still win. It's also much easier to win at home than on the road.

I'm playing a season with a 2.5 star team, and right now they're 6-5. Team ratings have definitely been important, but the inherent variability in cards means that I beat a 4.5 star team at home, then lost to a 2 star team three weeks later. That's good--ratings have an effect, but they don't completely overwhelm the game.

The wild card and new  probabilities have effectively reduced the importance of the Big Play button, but as it turns out, that feels like a good thing.  The game plays more quickly, and Big Play presses seem more consequential now.

I added a few sound effects last week, revised the help screens, moved help to the Title screen instead of being on the Options screen, and several other things on this to-do list I'm working through.  There are still about 20 things on this list, but they're all relatively minor--images displaying for too long, delay in a sound effect, etc. There are no known game crashes at this point, and no known freezes.

This means that it's time to have a new round of testers. 10-15, most likely.

 I know that when I first posted about the game, you guys absolutely pounded me with e-mail, volunteering as beta testers.  And that was cool, but 4+ months have passed now, and some of you may have lost interest. So what I need to do is establish a bank of beta testers, then invite them to play the game in waves.

This is probably not the usual approach, but there's no way I can support 50+ testers simultaneously. It would be totally overwhelming, and I would probably end of wasting some of your feedback, which is not acceptable.

If you're still interested in beta-testing the game, I need you to be able to do the following:
1. Commit to playing 30-45 minutes a day for at least a week. That's 2-3 games a day (they take about 15 minutes).
2. Be willing to submit feedback both about possible issues with the game as well as more general gameplay impressions.

That's it.

I promise that even if you're not in this wave, you'll eventually get to play the game. Plus, each successive wave will play a more polished product, although I think it's reasonably polished already.

My expectations are that I'll send out the build on Friday, unless something major comes up.  That will give me time to knock off at least half of the current list, so that I'm almost starting fresh with this round of testers.

Thanks very much for your time. I am very driven to make this game as good as I can make it, and I can't do that without you. 

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