A Kerfuffight postmortem

Hi everyone!

Kerfuffight has been out for almost a month now and I think it's about time to reflect on the journey that was developing the game.

Development for Kerfuffight lasted for about a year, and like any project, it had its ups and downs. Before I started working on the game, I was wondering what kind of approach I should take. Making a game requires money and there's numerous way to fund a video game project.

A lot of other devs will often try to fund their projects with crowdfunding, but I was scared to try that approach seeing how many projects either fail or barely make it but then are chained to costly promises they made to their backers.

That's why in the end I decided to scale down and fully fund the game with my own money. That came with its benefits, but also its problems.

I had a lot of flexibility while developing Kerfuffight but from day 1, I was on a tight budget. This meant I had to make everything myself, from scripting to 3D modelling.  (I did pay Tristan for music because even if I try I can't compose at all.)

Being the only developer for an indie game is not necessarily a bad thing but I knew when I started that I could only work on Kerfuffight for about a year.

That's why I decided to focus on local multiplayer and simple cel-shaded graphics. In a multiplayer game, especially in a brawler/fighting game, you only need small arena type levels which are a lot easier to build than a fully-fledged linear and story-driven level you'd find in a singleplayer game. As for cel-shaded graphics, they give a nice aesthetic while saving you time on texturing.

Even though I made those choices to save time on development, creating assets took around 80% of my time during the year.

In the end, I like the final look of Kerfuffight, but it lacks the "wow" factor that draws people into your game only by looking at a picture or a video of your project.

Going forward, I would try to outsource some assets to make sure the next game I make is not only fun but stylish and good looking.

Another problem with developing the game alone and on my own funds was that I had little time and little budget for marketing. Like every other developer will tell you, marketing is one of the most critical aspects of making a game.

I tried to share as much as I could about the game via social media or other online means (like this dev blog for example) but even though I started doing that almost 6 months before release, I think I should've started sooner. Especially on Steam.

Kerfuffight's Steam store page was set up closer to release than it should have which meant it couldn't gather as much attention on than it could have.

I was scared people would look down on the game if it didn't look finished in the first screenshots. After this year though, I learned that a lot of gamers enjoy seeing games in their earliest stages and following their development from day 1.

In the end, Kerfuffight was a great learning experience. They say that your first ten projects are going to suck and that you should get through them as quickly as you can, but in the end, even though it didn't sell as much as I would've liked, Kerfuffight's reception was really positive. So even though the game didn't become a hit, I still think Kerfuffight was a success. It made me that much more aware of the different challenges that making a game presents.

Speaking of which, no amount of tutorials will make you fully prepared for the real deal. Don't get me wrong, if you want to make a game, go for it! Worst case you'll learn a lot and it'll help you make better games in the future. Just don't quit your day job for that if you can not afford to!

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Thanks to everyone who followed Kerfuffight's development. Going forward, I will still be updating the game and adding some small features that couldn't quite make it in the final build, but I will slow down with these dev blogs as there is not much more to say about the game or its development. I will also close down the Discord server since that was sadly not as popular of an option as I hoped it would have been. Though as always you can follow Kerfuffight on Facebook or Twitter to be the first to know when a new patch comes out. You can also buy Kerfuffight, available now on Steam.

Have a great day!


-Felix Laplante