Today, for the first time ever, I released part of my game for beta testing. It felt kind of weird.
I’ve been messing with game design for awhile, but really I haven’t until recent months really started to go public with it. I’d like to think I have a good footing with what I’m doing… but the truth is, I still have a lot to learn. I want to deliver high quality products when it comes to games.
And I suppose that’s why I feel weird about the whole beta test thing. At first, it was exciting to think I could get some feedback in the early stages of my game. Now, it just sort of makes me feel vulnerable. I know that I didn’t send out a complete product, nor should it be. That’s the whole point of early beta testing. But I understand as an imperfect product, its probably going to come under some sort of fire. So why does that bother me?
I suppose to a degree I am striving for some form of perfection, and until my game gets there, I don’t want people to see my game just as “skin and bones”. I kinda feel the same way about this blog I just started! There’s not much to it right now and it probably is not all that impressive and fantastic. In fact, I almost sort of felt the same way even talking about this post’s topic in the first place!
Sometimes we want to believe we are above error and criticism.
But that’s just downright stupid. I know that and a lot of you probably know it too. And in order to get to that high level of game design, you have to be willing to listen: listen to others, consider tough criticism, and not be a crybaby over stuff like “Bobby said he didn’t like the control scheme!” You have to be able to weather the hard hits; that’s part of how you grow in the first place. If the only place you can view your game is from your own little fantasy island, chances are your game won’t get that far. I say I want feedback, but do I really mean it? Am I looking for honest feedback, or do I just want others to fan my confidence and ignore the faults?
I need to be willing to change my stance. I need to be willing to shoulder some blows and come back stronger for it. I need to be willing to learn from those who have been doing this a lot longer than I have. I can’t forget to keep my sense of uniqueness and style, but as a rookie, heeding the mighty elders of video game crafting is something I ought to do! In fact, feedback from any skill level can be helpful. More counsel from others can mean a safer, stronger process moving forward. Listen listen listen!
After all, aren’t they the audience for the finished product?