22. Early access, what's that?
Early Access (EA). How would you define it? Think about creating your game. Naturally it’s the best game you’ll ever make. Always the next one, as it should be.
But you don’t have the resources to complete your vision and do everything in 10 months. Not especially when you’re releasing on Quest, Steam and PSVR.
So what do you do? You concentrate on the core. Separate the essence of the game you are creating from the more superficial things that are coming along. Basically ask yourself: what are the best features in your game and what you are willing to delay. Put the core on display in your Early Access.
So, Early Access should demonstrate the idea of your game, have the basic gameplay in place and give the player the direction where it’s going. Then you get the players involved, get their feedback and include them in the development while adding content and features.
For example, Noita (another finnish indie game and one of my all time favorites) did Early Access beautifully. They were in EA for a year and a half, started off with a working game and just kept adding more content and mechanics, even after no-one had any right to expect more. If I can follow their example, I’ll be justly satisfied, and so will our audience.
Cave Digger 2 Early Access will have x number of biomes, tools and enemies. The numbers do not really matter. Think of it as a magician’s trick – a hook to get you in our gang while promising for more. If we do our work right, you will be hooked right from the start.
-Kharan (Jaakko Asikainen)
Random development quote: “Harri joko ne reiät tyydyttää Juhoa?“