Tough Love

Game development is odd. It’s so amazing yet at the same time dreary that it’s hard to find a happy middle. As developers I feel we’re constantly looking for the next thing to push us forward. The next thing to get team buy in. The next thing to motivate. Because as it turns out, no matter how good your idea is, you and your team will burn out at some point. How fast and how bad it happens I think is dependent on how good your current idea you’re working on is.

tough-loveMaui and everything that it is is a fantastic idea! But it only lasted us about a month before we started to see us as developers get stuck in a holding pattern. We weren’t making as much progress as we would have liked and we started to slow waaay down. It all came to a head when we had a internal play test of our game, and to I think literally no ones surprise, our game was TERRIBLE. Just awful. The feedback that we received reflected that and it served as a harsh reality that we’ve got to do something.

So, I took it upon my self to talk to as many as I could on the team one on one to touch base with them. To ask them what was and what wasn’t working for them when it came to the development of the game. I also took advantage of the situation and use a little tough love. When we as team members say something isn’t working, it’s not personal, we just want the game to be better. We’re saying NOTHING about the person. I was able to talk individually with them and point out some trouble spots that we’re noticing though and in the process gain some true understanding as to what is going on in their life, giving me the why to the way they’re working.

So. As a team we had a meeting and we openly discussed our shortcomings and how we can fix them. We came up with a new idea as to what we’re going to submit to IGF. It’s a fantastic idea. But I already know that in about a month we’re going to be in a similar situation. Better than where we were before but still in the same spot. If we can take what we have and find and iterative solution to our problem instead of an entire pivot (our team is a little too pivot happy) then we’ll see ourselves making significant progress. I’m really excited to see what we can add between now and the end of the program. We have a whole other semester to just add to this game and make it amazing. I think we’re in a good spot.

Kokua Games

MauiWell our team has been hard at work for a month now. The game is progressing nicely and we even have a team name, Kokua Games! We’ve only had a couple of chances to show people the game yet we have received some crucial feedback. Our game suffers from the fact that we don’t have a main game loop. Meaning, we NEED the game to play from start screen, game, win/lose state, start over. So for the past couple of weeks that’s what we’ve been focused on.

Which as a note, I’ve come to understand whey this is so important. When you show someone your game you don’t want to have to be there to “babysit” them. If you have to be there always having to get it started for them, explain everything to them or in general be there while they play it, you have a problem. We are aware of this and are working towards having the stand alone experience. It’s harder than originally thought though.


One thing that we’re knocking out of the park though is that our team is working well together. We all just want to work on the game, have a nice product and have fun while we’re at it. Team dynamic is critical and we seem to be doing alright in that department. I’m not worried that won’t publish the game. We’re going to make it and it’s going to be an awesome ride.