"'Am I having fun' - but sometimes the emotion is sadness, horror or any number of others"

All games, it seems to me, live or die in terms of their immediate enjoyability on the answers to two questions: (1) am I having an emotional response to what I'm doing (usually 'am I having fun', but sometimes the emotion is sadness, horror or any number of others.  Just so long as the response isn't boredom or indifference) and (2) do I have all the information and control I need to enable my agency within the game.

This week, partly seeing as I'm planning to submit to The Pavs on Friday and partly because I got a play testers feedback yesterday that basically said "it's heaps of fun, we want to keep playing, but here are some playability frustrations" I've decided to dedicate this week to the letter J and improving the answer to question (2).

Broadly, my intentions for the week are:

  • Add notifications of important events.  "Your people are getting hungry", "Your research has finished" etc.  
  • Add a few things to the tutorial that need explanation  
  • Better highlight which action you're currently undertaking  
  • Solve a pernicious problem where it's possible to wind up with no food available, which means your people all stop working (including on growing more food)!  
  • Start working on game options.  Things like control remapping, graphics/sound options and so on.

Options and remapping is a great big lump of work that doesn't add to the fun for a lot of people, but is absolutely vital for a lot of other people, so it needs to be done to open the game up to as wide an audience as possible.  I'm not hoping to have it all done this week, but at least to open up a few options and get some of the scaffolding in.