Last February we had finally finished our first project, Aaru‘s Awakening. It was a strange feeling to finally finish something that had our full focus for three straight years. Starting a new project was oddly exciting, but finding a new fit was becoming hard. We had so many ideas for projects, some were short, some where even more passionate than three years and we had a flurry of prototypes floating around the office. One day we were set on a specific project, and the next we were set on something completely different.
At one point we started puzzling together a couple of prototypes we had and started to envision them all together within one game – a game full of mini-games. We started to follow that path a bit further and applied some temp art into the game. When we had set up a prototype with characters, levels and backgrounds we felt we really had something. Playing around together at the office with the prototype had us laughing and yelling at each other – it was incredibly fun and yet only a simple prototype.
This was the birth of YamaYama, our insane, whacky, crazy multiplayer party game. After having so much fun with the prototype we started to look around and introduce ourselves to the market. See which party games were coming out and what they were doing right and wrong. It immediately stood out that there was a lack of party games on the market. Nintendo was making a new Mario Party annually – while PC, Playstation and Xbox gamers were getting none of the action. Don‘t get me wrong, there are loads of fun local multiplayer games out there on these platforms – but not really in the mini-game galore Mario Party style. That made us even more excited for this project, hopefully we could deliver a product that these gamers were starving for!
Our Early Access/Steam Greenlight trailer for YamaYama
So the next step was to check out how the game was received outside of the office walls – after all, we are our own worst judge. So we decided it was time to invite playtesters to have a try. We made sure of getting completely impartial people in, because we wanted to be sure that they represented gamers - not our friends. After gathering people that had no ties with us at Lumenox, we set before them a list of questions and emphasized that we were in very early development and we encouraged any and all criticism. It was exactly at these playtests that we realized that we had something special in our hands, with YamaYama. Even before reading over the questions and having a conversation with the playtesters after the playthrough – we could hear the laughter roaring through out the offices and friends literally yelling at each other for what was happening within the game. As we got more people in we were literally forced to limit these playtests to evenings and weekends by other people at the office complex, because all the laughing and yelling was disrupting their work peace.
From a recent playtest in Harpa, Reykjavík
After that we were convinced of our new project and that this would be what we would be devoting our lives to for the next year and a half. The playtests continued throughout the whole process, about once or twice a week - and are still going strong to this day. The next step is Early Access, where we will continue this process with a larger group and let them decide what we should focus on before our final release next fall.
I hope to speak more in-depth about our playtests next week and talk a bit about the process, feel free to ask any questions in the comments! If you want to learn more about YamaYama you can read about it on our Greenlight page and give us a vote if you want to see us on Steam!
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