Well, I’m satisfied with the experience.
My goal when I enter the competition is to place well enough so that I enjoy all the games ahead of mine. I did this year, and that is very cool. That’s just the competitive aspect. I also want to try to test at least two competitors’ games, becauseI have to admit, I get a kick out of seeing notes that the game has been well tested. Of course, that isn’t all me, but it is a neat feeling. I enjoyed helping put the final polish for Leadlight and it’s still fun now. part of the fun for me is being able to see that someone’s game is not perfect yet, but a few sensible suggestions may help them to do stuff I hadn’t really imagined. It’s sort of relaxes me to go ahead and make my own mistakes, and it also reminds me of what I need to do in the big picture to make a game likable and robust.
For 3d, I obviously needed a lot of intelligent testers who would have varying degrees of comfort in this sort of game. I think I did a pretty good job of that, but maybe one more semi-hostile tester would’ve knocked things out. Everyone had good suggestions, though. Some of the suggestions, I didn’t see how to act on it until it was too late, or almost too late–but that’s my fault, and the fault of my timing. They found a lot. I forget when I looked back and realized the game was much bigger and more complex than when it started, but I know their suggestions had a lot to do with it. It seemed like just adding one thing here or there based on what they have to say added up. One tester, Wade Clarke, offered to do cover art and in fact did a great job of whipping it up in the last week. It even gave me some ideas for game text.
The authors’ forum was a lot of fun. I’m not sure what I can release from there-- there was some really nice creative writing that branch off from just reviewing or discussing our own games. Simon Christiansen wrote a hostile review of his own game, and I think several of us found it cathartic to add to the thread. It wasn’t to rip any reviewers but rather to write out the sort of review nobody has said yet, but you might be scared of it or you might wonder if someone could say something that ridiculous. I think it is a wonderful exercise in trying to see what is wrong with your game, and at the same time, not worrying too much about off the wall reviews. I think I have little to nothing to complain about, from the reviews I saw. I’m also grateful to the reviewers who pointed out stuff I saw and/or took time to discuss the game with me. That is always a bit awkward, because it can feel like lobbying for a score, but on the other hand, I want to say a specific thank you before I forget.