Electro-Static Games







Developer Notes #1 - Feedback

Today, Indicia The Omnipresent is one of the most game changing cards in the Omniborg faction. However, the biggest impact that Indicia has had on Flagbearer had little to do with its combat prowess. Indicia started its life as “Top Bannana” and was the cause of the first piece of feedback we received for Flagbearer: “Banana was spelled wrong”. This was a critical moment, as the last thing we expected to hear when first demoing the game was a grammatical critique. But the lesson this feedback taught us was clear, the primary enemy of engagement is a lack of polish.

One of the reasons why I react differently to feedback now is because I understand how to identify different types of feedback. Feedback comes in two forms: natural and targeted. Natural feedback occurs as a result of naturally playing a game, while targeted feedback is derived from examining a specific facet of the game. Pointing out that “Top Bannana” was misspelled was natural feedback as the tester was not seeking to find spelling errors. Previously, we had built a deck around testing the effectiveness of Indicia. This created the feedback that much consideration has to go into playing 8 other monsters to make Indicia’s effect work, but the effect is strong enough to warrant this. This feedback was targeted as we made a whole deck with the goal of seeking this information.

It may seem irrelevant to differentiate between these forms of feedback as you could easily receive the same feedback from either source. For example, a player could incidentally make an Indicia based deck and then provide you with the same feedback regarding its usefulness. However, the primary difference here isn’t the quality of the feedback (natural feedback is just as valid as targeted feedback), but the appropriate response to the tester. Natural feedback requires an emotional response whereas targeted feedback deserves a factual reply. This is because natural feedback is triggered by a play tester experiencing an unexpected element (typically a seemingly unbalanced effect, poor presentation, or an obtuse rule), while the targeted feedback is the result of scientific experiment (how difficult is to make a deck with Indicia and what benefits does running it provide).

Something that we noticed during testing is that natural feedback is far more likely to be “feel” based. I will be talking more about game feel and game balance in next week’s post.

Printing cards may have removed the need for proper handwriting, but we still had many lessons to learn. Here is the first printed version of “Top Bannana” (Omniborg Operative) and the current iteration (Indicia The Omnipresent).

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