Card Hunter - Interview @ Gamasutra
Gamasutra interviews Jon Chey of Blue Manchu about launching an online game with a small development team. The game their refeering to is the recentlly released Card Hunter.
As a developer with a small team, what have you learned about launching an online web game?
I've been thinking about that in the back of my mind this week – how do we do this better next time? I don't actually know what the answer is yet.
We did do quite a bit of testing on this. We spent several months writing a test system. Our game is relatively simple to play, being a turn-based game – there are very few actions a user can take. We actually wrote bots to play the game. I don't think they can actually finish it, but they can certainly sit there and churn away at countless battles. We load-tested with thousands of bots playing the game.
For some reason of another, actual human behavior was somewhat divergent from the bots, and people were putting a lot more load on it. Obviously, there's no real substitute for having real people play your game. So you run a beta. And we did run a beta as well! We ran a six-month beta, but that was a closed beta.
So I guess maybe the lessons is we shouldn't have launched [when we did]. We should've gone into an open beta where we didn't really publicize it quite so much. We did two things at the same time. We opened up registration and we sent out a press release saying we launched, and ran a special offer on in-game items.
We did the traditional game launch, which is like a full-press, trying to get as much attention as possible in a short window of time. We picked a narrow window too, between PAX ending and Grand Theft Auto launching, when we thought press would have time to cover the game.
That's a very traditional game launch. And I guess that's not a good idea if you're a small developer. You can't pre-scale on the expectation that you might have 100,000 people who want to play your game.
Information aboutCard Hunter
SP/MP: Single + MP