White box first, pretty later

You are falling into the early-access trap where Steam users don’t understand “alpha” and demand polished content. To keep them happy, you’re adding pretty fluff that will cost you dev-hours later. Finish the mechanics first–not the venus flytraps.

A good example of this is the “scenery=>large plant” menu. You have to know by now that each of the sub-types (10 different mushrooms, 10 different cacti, palms, evergreens, etc) will ultimately get nested together–otherwise building worlds will be extremely frustrating using a single “large plant” menu full of 500 different trees. That mechanic is a deal breaker; without it your game will fail. Adding dozens or hundreds of new pretty things for people to play with now significantly increases the time required to go back and alter the backend after that mechanic is coded.

Another missing GUI element in the same menu: none of the trees have rollovers. No one has any idea what they’re plopping. Adding the rollover GUI mechanic now after you’ve created 100 trees means you’ll have to waste time going back though all 100 trees to add all the rollover names. If you had built the rollover mechanic first, yeah it looks ugly but you’ll add the rollover names as you go along–saving you hours if not days of dev time.

Make it ugly to prove it works, then make it pretty to prove it sells. That’s my advice for this game.

1 Like