First Playable Milestone

I’m finally at point where I can show the game and get some feedback. I can call this as First Playable Milestone. The great thing about ShooterTutorial is that I’m doing it totally live, freestyle without any preparation. You will be able to see and analyze whole development process.

Basically in normal environment you should be able to get to this milestone by 2-3 days work playing only with placeholders. It took me 9 months (!!!) to get to this point as I’m doing lot more stuff than usually and 90% of my time consumes tutorials.

First Playable Milestone

In my daily job I’m producer so things connected to organization / pipelines / effective work is on top of my skillset. I would like to share some tips with you guys.

When you are starting your project first you need to focus on core gameplay. Invest 2-3 days to create first playable prototype. Don’t plan, don’t create documents, don’t do assets just create your core gameplay.

Use Placeholders

First Playable don’t need to have great assets. This isn’t the goal. The goal is to make sure your core gameplay is fun to play. ShooterTutorial is using assets because I want to show you guys how to work with assets pipelines. Normally I would use boxes, shapes and for characters template skeleton from Epic.

The goal is to have fun core gameplay as soon as possible.

Keep Things Simple

This mean your code don’t need to be special and optimized. You don’t need to invest your time to be able to balance the game using online backend. Use Blueprints instead of C++ as it’s faster to iterate. Ask yourself where is the fun from core mechanics – and just focus on that.

The goal is to have fun core gameplay as soon as possible.

Core Gameplay Means Core Gameplay

So weapon upgrades, player upgrades, different weapons, powerups aren’t things that you should focus on. Again ask yourself where the fun is located. In weapons? In shooting mechanics? In mouse movement?

For example in Shooter Tutorial core mechanics comes from enemies and patterns. They decide how player will move mouse. They decide if the game will be fun and challenging. The rhythm is core mechanics here and you should focus only on this in First Playable. Create pattern system to be able to quickly prepare rhythm patterns.

The goal is to have fun core gameplay as soon as possible.

Don’t invest more than 2-3 days

Yes, if you can’t create something fun in 2-3 days you should change your thinking as I will in ShooterTutorial. Make sure you show the prototype to others as soon as possible. Iterate as soon as you can, don’t wait for “this is good moment”. People can give you ideas, they can trigger something cool.

The goal is to have fun core gameplay as soon as possible.

Current Shooter Tutorial Stage

I presented current build to some of my friends. Basically the game suck a lot! Here you can see how people are playing:

It’s far away from how I’m playing. Test your game on others as soon as possible!

Game have a lot of problems:

  • It’s basically to hard and to frustrating, (enemies are to fast, small time for reaction, enemies have to big damage, to many FXes around that are blinding player, drones are frustrating as hell)
  • People aren’t changing weapons,
  • People aren’t using focus mode to get slomo,
  • One mistake typically means dying and this lead to frustration,
  • Restarting take a lot of time,
  • People are thinking enemies will spawn from left/right side of the screen,
  • People are thinking the game is endless,
  • People don’t know how many ammo they have,
  • People don’t reload their weapons,
  • People don’t know when pattern ends so they can have time to rest and prepare for next one,
  • People don’t know how much health they have and when they are taking damage,
  • Basically no one was motivated to play again,

Now I will focus on these problems. After First Playable you should give the game to your friends and ask them to record how they are playing. You need to see how people are playing – that’s the point of focus tests, they are always recorded so you can watch how people are playing.

Future Steps – Second Playable Milestone

Next milestone should resolve those issues and I have couple of ideas:

  • Game will be endless,
  • Player will start only with pistol,
  • It will be wave based,
  • After a wave player can chose a perk,  (regen HP, regen AIM, get rifle with X ammo etc)
  • Rifle and Shotgun will be more like bonus weapons,
  • Weapons don’t need to be reloaded,
  • Enemies will be harder by time,
  • Enemies will spawn earlier, player will see lot more than now,

Second Playable Milestone will be opened to you guys. You will be able to play the game during closed tests.

Basically ShooterTutorial is simple game and I want it to be fun. Don’t want to ship something that suck. It will take some time but I think in the end it will be great resource for you guys. You will be able to see how the game change and how dynamic process it was.

ShooterTutorial is live and freestyle development. I want to show you guys real thing. On the other side book that I’m planning to create after the game will be finished will use all the knowledge from ShooterTutorial. It won’t be so dynamic as I will know exactly what to do.

Hope you find my approach helpful!

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