Three Phase Interactive’s development process on Stunt Star is a mix of “fix whatever stands out most this week" and “what do we need to do now in order to reach our goals in the roadmap”. This is a fine balance, as you want to always be moving the game forward, but you also need to have the time to tackle the big problems/systems. Setting out an achievable roadmap, with the important and difficult things front loaded helps a lot. For Stunt Star, gameplay was the most important thing, so we got the core of the gameplay going with just grey boxes.
Have You Played My Game Lately?
One of the best things about developing for mobile is that you’re always carrying around the latest build of your game in your pocket. This means you can give every new person you meet a go, and casually take note of how they interact with the game. The trick is to not help them if they ask for it. Just say “how do you think it works?”. If a number of people try to do something the game doesn’t support, consider adding it. If something isn’t obvious to them, change it.
If you can’t watch over someone’s shoulder, make sure you have the analytics to do it for you. Think about what you are trying to achieve with each interaction with the player and record data to see how the game performs. Keep track of how far people play through the game and how often they fail in each level. This will tell you which levels are too hard and need more tweaking.
Divert People Having a Bad Time Away from Reviewing
This is a little trick I read somewhere on the internet. If you have a “Rate Us” button in your options menu or somewhere, have a feedback button above it, so people send you an email via a built in composer instead of leaving bad reviews. A lot of bad reviews are just people having trouble, and you can normally help them out if they just emailed instead. Also, don’t forget to take on board feedback based on how many people are giving it. If one person complains about something out of one million players, it’s probably not worth worrying about, but if you get a few emails/reviews a week, the thing is probably annoying a lot of people and should be fixed. Either way, treat people nicely and always answer their questions!