Weekly Update: November 17, 2023

As I was drafting last week’s update, apparently a number of new players were hearing about the game from¬†Splattercat’s¬†YouTube channel. As I’ve said before, as a mostly solo developer, I’m very dependent on these kinds of channels for visibility. So thank you Splattercat for supporting indie game development!

The timing was fortunate: Icarus has recently been promoted to the default build and having a large number of fresh eyes on the game is helpful to figure out how some of the recent changes improve/change the first time player experience.

The mission system has definitely improved, but there are still apparently a handful of points where players are getting “stuck” with nothing obvious to do, leaving them frustrated.

Like the game’s players, I need some clue that there’s something that needs investigating. For example about an hour into the game, the player is sent to find a missing vessel:

Spoilers En route, they receive a hint that there’s a nearby object in deep space. They can find it on their own, but if they do not, one of their crew members will eventually pinpoint it for them. But based on one player’s feedback I determined this player managed to find the missing ship without ever triggering the deep space hint. The game has anonymous analytics, so once I knew what to look for, I was able to tell that 1.8% of all players (at least who opted-in to analytics) encountered this issue. That might not seem super high, but that’s 1.8% of players for whom the game was effectively halted due to a bug that they never realized was a bug.

The game has anonymous analytics, so once I knew what to look for, I was able to tell that 1.8% of all players (at least who opted-in to analytics) encountered this issue. That might not seem super high, but that’s 1.8% of players for whom the game was effectively halted due to a bug that they never realized was a bug.

Incidentally, for new players there is an opt-in “unstable” build available. It actually isn’t very unstable at all, but has not had as much testing as the default Icarus build. It adds some QoL improvements, minor bug fixes, and experimental localization.

Until next week!
– Kevin