Revisiting La Croix Pan
In order to commemorate 4,000 downloads for La Croix Pan as it has now been 4 months since the game was released, I am writing this post.
Not much has changed since I released it on that ever so fateful day of June 13, 2007. I got a surge of downloads in the first week, then it appears people waited one or two weeks for me to update it and fix bugs, and then it got another surge of downloads.
After getting over 2,000 downloads in its first month, the publicity died down yet it was still getting downloaded. All but one of the reviews about the game were written in the game's first month (to my knowledge) and I haven't seen any new publicity since then.
It's a whole different feeling from releasing a game than having an infinite amount of game concepts and ideas in your head. You don't really know your true skill as a designer until you finally finish and complete a project from the idea to the release.
One of the main things I learned was that alpha-testing and beta-testing can totally change your game. It can remove annoyances that would've dropped off hundreds of potential players, and it can improve your game to another level.
Your game can always be better than its current state. It just depends on how long and how much you want to polish it. For me, that was the duration of the time I was waiting on my OH SO CUSTOM AND HOMEMADE music to be finished (which was sadly to say, about a month long). But even as I got somewhat frustrated with the development time being delayed due to late music, it helped me perfect my game over and over and have it ready for beta-testing. I would constantly revisit every room in the game, jotting down things that I knew could be improved, and adding tiny little features here and there. That extra time helped me polish every little detail so that everything was as perfect as it could be.
After the game was released, I think there were only a total of three bugs found (each somewhat moderate). I think that wasn't too bad considering what a hit-and-miss process the beta-testing was. My testers literally just ran through the game, and if they found a bug, I'd go back and fix it. After that, they'd test again, and if they didn't find a bug, that was it--game released, bugs or no bugs.
Overall, it was a crazy experience that I'm more than willing to go through again.