When you harness the talents and passions of your comrades, and come up with a dorky acronym to describe the process, anything is possible.
We were quickly approaching Content Complete – the point where you move from making the game whole to making it polished. Lucidity was beginning to feel like a real game with a start, middle, and end. With the basic gameplay and story frameworks in place and beautiful level transitions being arted up, we were close enough to the milestone to know that we had something cool. And that’s when panic struck: Brett, our Systems Designer, threw down the gauntlet when he burned through the game in under an hour. We knew that was way, way too short.
Now I’ve heard rumors that one tester at LucasArts got KotOR down to 8 hours after playing it 167 times in a row – it’s part of the gig. And to be fair, Brett is kind of a freak of nature when it comes to beating games, even compared to other designers. Then there’s the matter of replayability: hitting 100% on firefly collection is definitely compelling for those of us who have OCD tendencies or are Virgos. But still, we had Brett’s playthrough time staring us in the face, and we didn’t want to take any chances.
Throw spare designers at it? Nope. We’ve got other stuff in the hopper, and are on a fixed budget. Add more time? Not an option. So we implemented this thing called the Bonus Level Outreach Program, which in typical non-time-wasting game developer fashion, we took to calling the BLOP. And, in the spirit of “rewarding hard work with more work,” we nominated Brett to be in charge of administering it.
But let me get back to work. We’ve still got a game to get out there after all.
Maybe I’ll come back tomorrow and finish the story. Yes, that sounds good.