Lessons Leading to Today's Release
TODAY is the FIRST big release day but the truth is there will be a number of big days. One thing we all learned after a few frustrating weeks is that it’s not just difficult for a 9 year old to create, commit and execute a story line and long-term plan (with long-term being anything beyond 2 weeks), it’s mentally and physically impossible!
Fortunately Philip Tan, Creative Director at MIT’s GameLab suggested (ok, ardently advised) Kenzie limit her scope and stay focused on meeting deadlines and establishing a schedule to successfully DELIVER a game. And given the scope of Kenzie's vision for the FULL Truth & Trolls story, we opted to break it down into chunks and release the game in a manner that's consistent and predictable but truly gets better over time with new characters and an evolving story line with real depth.
Like books brought to life through television episodes, Kenzie's building and releasing the game in chapters over time with each chapter essentially being a 15 minute mini-game with it's own sub-plot and story line. The hope is this leaves the player satisfied, curious and eager for the next chapter. Most importantly, this gives Kenzie the ability to apply what she learns, experiment, make mistakes, CHANGE HER MIND and not constantly go back and start over because she learned something new she wants to work into the game. As a player, the hope is the experience gets richer and more dynamic with each chapter and you'll share your thoughts and insights with constructive feedback Kenzie can learn from which we suspect she'll also incorporate into the game.
We hope you'll agree this is the best way to release a game that gets done in chunks versus a large undertaking that never actually gets finished. I'm sure many of you have unfinished games that linger for various reasons. For a 9 year old, we wanted to create the sense of accomplishment and as Phil continued to point out, the goal is to deliver a game!
A special thank you to every single Kickstarter backer - especially those that sent encouraging messages reiterating expectations that this is the first video game made by a 9 year old. It is NOT from a professional gaming studio or a group of contractors with Kenzie as Project Manager.
That being said, we were fortunate to work with some amazing individuals that needed a shot and some help to get their skills to the next level (and I'd imagine some bills paid). You'll notice their work throughout the game with the most obvious being the games cover art. So while Kickstarter doesn't allow charity or donations, in lieu of established gaming and design shops, we chose to use the money in a way that would have a far reaching impact and directly change a few people's lives including some well-deserving kids because, after all this is a 9 year old's game.
Though I'd love to scream their names from the rooftop, the team prefers anonymity at this point given the original backlash. But as the episodes unfold, we're hopeful players enjoy the game and once the full story of Truth & Trolls is told and the final chapter released, we anticipate their names will headline the final credits.
P.S. Kenzie's actually enjoying the beta testing and tweaking so I don't suspect you'll receive your email with a link to the game until later this evening, but it will be July 31st!
Below is the cover art designed, drawn and colored by A. Dingo based on the full Truth & Trolls tale (so be sure to look closely at the details if you're interested in what might be coming....). A. Dingo designed and created the original characters and cover art. All rights are reserved by Truth & Trolls.