This week, we finally hit a huge milestone in our development on our newly announced game WildLive)! We released our first playable demo to a small group of internal testers! Wooo!
We wanted to get feedback much earlier in the project’s life cycle than we did for previous games, to help determine which design choices work, and which features may need to be scrapped or retooled.
We’re also trying to involve a broader range of playtesters. Since accessibility in games is important to us (and hard to do well!), we want to focus on it from the very beginning rather than try to shoehorn it into an already-finished game.
While we anxiously await their feedback and take a day or two to breathe, we thought we’d update you all on what this milestone means.
The demo consists of the game’s opening tutorial, about 15-20 minutes of gameplay based in the “production studio”. This environment acts as WildLive’s central “hub” from which players will be able to plan their journeys to more exotic locations, return, and assemble their various footage into a wildlife filmmaking masterpiece!
We purposely designed the tutorial to include a bite-size morsel of each major gameplay system: character movement and interaction with the environment, accepting and completing “quests”, talking to NPCs, editing videos… and of course filming cute animals! This all meant a LOT of heavy backend programming for the past few months.
For narrative and practical reasons, we wanted to start players close to home before throwing them out into the wider world. While the main objective– i.e., “film some birds in your garden”– may not sound as thrilling as trailing tigers through mangrove swamps, we’re hoping it’s a fun and easy way to introduce the world.
Not to mention, we have a lot of love for the backyard critters here at our own little studio 🙂
Going forward, we plan to incorporate feedback from our testers to further refine the systems, particularly the tutorialization and user interface in the editing room, which has been a big challenge.
The game is also in a very early stage of art style development as you can probably tell from the faceless character models 😂.[Note from Erica: the tutorial is also shockingly light on bird facts. Expect more bird facts in our next update.]
Hope you enjoy this peek at our work so far, and keep an eye out for further news!