So it's been a couple of months since we first let the public loose on Bullion at GEEK, and given we are still very much in a pre-alpha-preview state, the response was overwhelmingly positive: third place in the indie awards at the show was the icing on the cake, and since then we've seen a few write ups either of the event (with Bullion mentioned), or about the game itself (this one is probably our favourite).
However, as every game dev crew is aware, the chances are that when you let the public loose on your game, a whole load of bugs you never saw before will come up. By taking the pre-alpha of Bullion to GEEK, we decided to embrace this; not only would we get feedback on what people thought was good and/or bad, we would also be able to find and hopefully kill some bugs before they became real problems.
... or at least, that was the theory. And while there were no real showstoppers on the day, there were certainly a few more deeper-rooted problems than we anticipated - the infamous "teleporting dead cow" bug, for example - and Ben managed to cover most of the back of the pop-up banner with post-it notes detailing bugs.
So we have had to take a step back and are currently in the process of re-working some large chunks of the game: not just to fix the bugs, but also to clean up the code, get rid of the blatant hacks that were put in to get us over the line for GEEK, and make things more maintainable going forward. Ain't agile development fun?!?
But this is also giving us some great opportunities too - for example, alongside the big code refactor, we are also looking at game's "heart beat" - an engine that we hope will make the game respond to how the players are playing, and possibly even give us the foundations for a single-player campaign mode.
And the crew has grown too! Last year we were joined by audio designer Ben Hill (yup, another Ben, just to add to the chaos), whose sound effects and epic title track added a huge level of life and depth to the game, and following this year's Global Game Jam, 3D artist Winter Mraz has signed up to work with Matthew in giving the characters and world of Bullion their distinctive comic flavour.
There's still loads to do, but given the response we've had so far, we've got high hopes for the future, and GEEK 2018!