13 September 2017

Senior Capstone: Initial Plunge Part 1

This post marks the end of week 2! Over the past week we’ve slightly narrowed our vision and are now focusing on three of our five prototypes: 0g, Bullet Hell, and Lawn Mower (working titles). Each now has their own playable digital prototype with which we can start getting feedback from QA. However, my main tasks this week focused on customer and competitor research. This has emerged in the form of a more robust competitive market spreadsheet while drafting customer archetypes. Both of these required me to implement my previous learning and challenged me with unexpected circumstances.

My basic competition spreadsheet utilizes organization techniques that I implemented during my Minority Media internship. Last week I rummaged through Steam and Google play to get a large amount of potential competitors. Then I sat down with my designer and we picked through them to really nail down which were competitors while throwing away those that weren’t. In addition to this I added SteamSpy statistics to give us a better understanding of the sales for each title. While the Steam Review count is a good bare assessment, if you look at the above image you’ll find some that don’t match up. Having both information about sales and the level of discussion from the community will give us a better understanding of the market as a whole later down the road.

Once I had an idea of each market I took on the task of trying to get input from potential early adopters. My idea was to go around campus and talk to students about each concept on a given day. I figured that with the amount of video game oriented people here at the college I would have an easier time finding customers instead of online or on the street. What I found was that most college students on campus in the middle of the day were too busy to discuss at any length about the ideas, let alone try out a concept. Looking forward I might try again at different times on different days to test the waters. Even further I might make this a continuous routine in order to find all the early adopters on campus that I can.

After this failure I realized in order to meet my task deadline I had to search online to get an idea of what our customers might be like or what they might value in each concept. A great source for this ended up being Steam reviews and Google Play reviews. Going over them I was able to get an basic understanding of not only the people playing these games but also what they find most valuable. One of my future tasks may be taking a deeper look into these and fleshing out the customer archetypes more.

This past week was a lot of taking all the information I have and trying to figure out the best possible answers. None of the documents I started today are anywhere near final especially since that we don’t have ideas down pat as of yet. However, for going onto next semester I believe it is better to get an understanding of both our customers and the markets we are trying to enter as soon as possible. In the upcoming weeks I can expand and refine these documents to incorporate any changes we may come upon. Additionally, I want to use the failures I’ve encountered this week to better my work into the future. With playable prototypes in hand and outlines of where we want to head I believe that we are in a solid place for so soon after the start of the semester. Next week we have a simple goal: challenge the Initial Concepts stage. For us to do this requires more paperwork than one might expect. Tune in to learn about what exactly this stage entails and what I needed to work on to meet its specifications.

Thank you for reading!