It's Not Done When It's Done
One of many advantages bigger game developers have over Indie developers are the testing resources they have available. Testing on my games has been largely limited to my friends and family while large development companies have dedicated testers who spend 40 hours or more a week searching for bugs and ideas for improving gameplay. Naturally this leads to an Indie game not being as thoroughly tested and tweaked as a professionally created game.
Since Nasty has been released into the wild, it has been downloaded by over 5,000 different people. If you're looking for a test market, I'd say that's a real good one and probably bigger than most (any?) Indie game uses internally.
With that many more people playing your game, it's naive to think that they won't find new problems or have new ideas for things that might make the game better. If you're content to let your game sit as is, then you won't bother listening to all that great feedback. If you're like me, then you'll use those 5,000 gamers to make your game better.
Why should you update your game? Your initial reviews are probably not going to change and it's not going to get you any more money from anyone who already bought the game. But if someone already bought your game and got a free update with some cool new features, I like to think they'll appreciate it. And when I release my next game, they'll remember those free updates and maybe be a little more inclined to buy my new game too (a happy customer is a repeat customer). Also by improving your game, you're increasing your chances of selling the game to new customers (kind of obvious really, but something people too often dismiss), either through direct sales or by word of mouth of previous customers who like your game even more than before.
Another bonus to updating your game is that it gives you another opportunity to market your game. The initial release of a game involves trailers, screen shots, and press releases. A new update gives you a second chance to get the name of your game out there, complete with new trailers, screen shots, and press releases. A new update creates buzz about your game, which has likely faded since your initial release.
You've already invested months or years of your time into your game, why not spend a little extra time to make it just a little better? Address the feedback from actual users, even if it takes a few hours, days, or weeks. It will more than pay off for you and certainly make your customers a lot happier.
I'm currently in the midst of work on what I've dubbed "Nasty version 1.5", an update specifically targeted at feedback since Nasty has been released. The main elements I'm focusing on for this update at (in alphabetical order):
I'm currently targeting an end of September release, though the review process of XBLIGs prevents me from really pinning down a date. This will NOT be the last update to Nasty either. I have several other feedback issues to address (and new features to include) that will be pushed out in another update 2-3 months down the road (I want to let the game simmer a little and spend some time concentrating on my next release).
- Faster, more responsive jumping. People thought Nasty 1.0 was too floaty. This will help keep the action more lively.
- More bullets on screen and faster shooting. Again targeted to make Nasty more action packed.
- Three new weapons... a 3-shot gun, a grenade gun, and a wave gun. These come from complaints that the current set of power-ups are not varied enough.
- A few other random updates and level tweaks.
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