Monday, November 18, 2013

Gridiron Solitaire #81: Intentions

Here's the link to the Greenlight page: Gridiron Solitaire on Greenlight.

Fredrik did a terrific job with the sequencing and audio on the trailer (and also contributed the heartbeat idea, which I thought was brilliant), and it has to be the most action-packed trailer for a card game ever.

This is, quite obviously, the longest of long shots, trying to get GS on Steam.

I'm guessing the game needs at least 10k votes to have a chance, and I don't know about you, but I don't have time to create 10,000 separate Steam accounts, buy one item in each account (which you have to do before you can vote for Greenlight submissions), and then vote for the game. Although I have to say, that almost sounded like an action plan there.

I know you guys will vote--thank you very much for that--and I'm going to be happy with whatever number of votes the game does get.

On to the "inside the game" stuff.

I'm having an interesting realization about the design of the game. From day one, I wanted to make the game accessible to as many people as possible while remaining true to the football simulation aspect as much as possible.

Someone is helping me in the final beta as a QA source, basically, and he (and his wife) are both playing the game. He's not familiar with American football--his wife, more so--and he's been an absolute avalanche of ideas about accessibility.

Basically, here's his conclusion: even with a very clear tutorial, and additional help screens available from the title screen, the game isn't accessible enough. The tutorial works very well if it's played through, but there's also an attention span aspect to its effectiveness: it takes about 10 minutes, and that's a long time for some people.

His wife would like some factoids about football to appear as one progresses through the game. The idea is a riff on how Fairway Solitaire works, and it's a clever idea, but it poses a problem (even if I had time to put it in, which I absolutely don't): which players do you want to reward?

I've spent a ton of development time attempting to accommodate new users and users who aren't familiar with American football. It's always been more important to me, though, to reward people who play the game over multiple seasons. I don't want a game where everyone likes it for the first hour, then loses interest because there just isn't enough in the game, long-term.

This game is so, so not like that.

The way that you learn about football in GS is not by getting factoids in-between games. You learn about football by playing the game. It's close enough to real football that you make many of the same decisions, using the same strategy that a coach would use.

Plus, it rewards you for playing. There are a ton of special things in the game that happen over time.

I've tried very hard to make the game friendly to new players, but I never wanted that initial friendliness to be more important than the long-term rewards for someone who loves the game and plays it often.

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