Hidden in Plain Sight FAQ 1.0
My game has apparently reached some sort of critical mass, and I’m beginning to get a lot of the same questions over and over again, so I’ll address them here.
1) Online multiplayer?
No. I’m not going to update this game to support online multiplayer. The answer is a little complicated.
When I started making this game, I was targeting the Xbox Live Indie Games platform, and just making a somewhat experimental, hobbyist game. I had no idea that it would be as successful as it would eventually become. I figured I’d be lucky to sell a few hundred copies. So I didn’t anticipate a big player base, which is kind of necessary for an online game, if people want to just jump online at a random time to play.
But making an online game is HARD. Really hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise has never done it before. It really would have made the coding 100x more complicated, and perhaps is even beyond my technical ability. Because of those reasons, I led with a local-multiplayer-only approach.
In that decision, I made some specific design decisions that centered around the game being on a shared screen. Obviously, there is no indicator about which player is controlling which character. This was necessary (for obvious reasons), but also has turned into a core gameplay feature. People who are better at recognizing and finding their character early have an advantage in the game.
But the nail in the coffin, and what I haven’t been convinced of otherwise, is that the vast bulk of the FUN of the game is specifically BECAUSE it’s played in a shared space with friends and family. It simply wouldn’t be as good of a game if it was played by individual players in their own little rooms. Maybe if all the players had headsets, it might work, but I simply think there is some magic in the room when the game is played that wouldn’t translate into an online space.
This doesn’t preclude me from attempting to make a similar online game in the future, or even taking individual game modes and trying to make them online. But I have no plans to update this specific game to include online multiplayer, for reasons technical, design, and philosophical.
2) Bring this game to (PSN/Wii/etc)!
That’s really more of a demand than a question, but whatever. Here’s the thing. I’m a hobbyist game developer. This means that I have a real-life job, and not a whole lot of time on my hands. It also means that I’m doing game stuff for fun, rather than profit (though I like profit!)
I will bring the game to any console that makes it easy for me to do so. For example, Microsoft allows us to pay them $99, and all of a sudden we’re game developers. You can make a game and put it on their marketplace (as long as you follow a few simple rules). Recently, the Ouya console came out, and they were even easier, allowing me to publish on their marketplace for free. PC, obviously, has many free outlets for distributing amateur games.
So the game exists on those markets: XBLIG, Ouya, and Windows (via http://www.indievania.com/games/hidden-plain-sight)
I looked at the signup page for PlayStation to become a registered Sony Indie dev, and they wanted me to submit a 6-12 month business plan. That was enough to scare me away.
Xbox One doesn’t appear to have a XBLIG analog, so I’m not sure if the game will be available for that system or not. We’ll just have to see how they decide to treat hobbyist devs.
3) Why is the game not available in my country?
I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind it, but Xbox Live Indie Games are only available in certain countries, and blocked from other countries. I think part of the reason is that the games are unrated, and some governments don’t allow that. But it’s not up to me.
You can always try the Windows version, but it’s still local multiplayer only, and requires Xbox-compatible controllers.
4) This game is like Spy Party!
I address that here. Read the comments, too.
5) This game is awesome! I want to pay you more for it:
You can use this donate button, if you think the game is fun and you’ve played it for a long time.
Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions, or just want to say hi. I love to hear from people who have played the game!