The New Year is time for rebirth and we here at Legacy Games are taking that very seriously. Just before Thanksgiving, we sent The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes 2 out to our loyal customers for beta testing, and boy, did they have a lot to say.
We got tons of great feedback, mostly positive, but also some negative. We view the negative feedback as an important part of the development process because it allows us to make the necessary changes to make a game players actually want to play. Thanks to our beta testers, we have been spending the last few weeks making the game prettier, harder, easier, faster, slower and less buggy; responding to every comment we received.
As a designer and producer it is sometimes hard to step back from a project you’re working so closely on and see its faults for what they are. You invest so much of yourself into making the game that it can be difficult to change your mind and move in a new direction. That is why we appreciate our loyal customers so much.
After viewing the feedback we had some obvious fixes to make such as making the game more colorful.
We also had to make some bigger changes, most notably, how we display our stories. Some users were annoyed that there were so many pop-ups throughout the game. We sat back, looked at our work and agreed. There were just too many dialog pop-ups! Our solution was to streamline the story further by shortening the dialogue text as well as putting it in a less distracting box that does not cover the entire screen. Now the dialogue box just appears at bottom of the screen. That way, if you want to read all the juicy details and motivations of the criminals, it’s all there for you, but if you’re the type of gamer that just wants to play the game, you can play it that way too. Pretty cool huh?
Last, but not least we looked back at some of our more difficult to understand mini-games and made vast improvements. See our Hindu Statue game as an example. The object of the game was to align the arms into the proper position to unlock the drawer below. In this case, not only was the goal unclear, but also the arms were too hard to interact with. We redesigned this statue three of four times before we got it right.
As you can see, we added a color code to visually help the player understand their goal without being too simple or direct. We also reordered the arms so that the biggest items were in the back, rather than in the front and middle (which was how our reference model was made). Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that realism does not always make for fair or satisfying gameplay.
Thanks to our beta tester’s comments we were able to see our work through their eyes and make changes like this throughout the entire game. Not only do we benefit from the data they provided, but most importantly, you, the players reap the rewards of a better, more polished game. So for that, we here at Legacy say, thank you!
Read past developer diaries here:
The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 2 – Developer Diary #1