Sunchasers Developer Diary #9: Finding the fun

It's been a couple of weeks since the last post, but I promise that it's not because of laziness! Instead, I've been letting people play the game on my phone, and I've reached an interesting conclusion:

Sunchasers isn't fun (yet).

I've lately been focusing on polishing and finishing the game: replacing art placeholders, fixing bugs, adding menus, etc. The goal of all this was to package the game up so that I could call it 'done' and have an actually finished game.

What I've come to realize by watching people play for the first time, however, is that the secret sauce which brings together all of a game's elements into a fun, addictive package isn't here yet.

In Eric Ries' seminal entrepreneurial book "The Lean Startup", he discusses the importance of building a Minimal Viable Product and getting it in front of its intended audience as quickly as possible in order to measure and find what works and what doesn't before time is wasted on the wrong parts of a product.

This blog and the weekly builds that come along with it were established in part to do just that, but looking back now I realize that I've only actually been doing the first half of the rapid iteration / MVP cycle. I've been putting Sunchasers in front of people on a regular basis, but I haven't been measuring the right responses.

As a result, I'm going to be taking a closer look over the next couple of weeks in order to try to find the fun.

If it turns out that there is some fun to be had somewhere in this idea, I'll report back happily and hopefully bring a better game to play.

If there's not, I'll put a nice bow on the top of Sunchasers, call it a successful experiment, and move on to the next game idea in my bucket. I'll be sad to see it go, but I also feel much better equipped for the next game :)

Wish me luck!