Downsizing, scaling back—with no reduction in fun

I deleted all the #nlgs18 activities this morning.

I think there were 61. Each had a unique scoring system.

And I replaced them with six.

It’s better this way.

Instead of players having to scroll through multiple pages of titles, click into each, and figure out how to score points, now it’s simple. Next Level Gearhead Summer 2018 is focused on six core areas:

  • Clean Up Your Act
  • Connect With Other Gearheads
  • Develop Your Mech Skills
  • Experience Motorsport
  • Up Your Professional Game
  • Travel & Explore

10 points for every picture shared or uploaded, and there’s about a dozen bonus opportunities for those who want to combine activities or otherwise put on their storytelling hats.

And hey, these might make for an excellent July content plan for GBXM while I’m at it…

Pivot: A Metaphor

You know what’s really fucking hard?

Seeing something through when it didn’t live up to your expectations.

It’s easy to get excited about getting up early and staying up late to build that amazing thing you imagined when you think it’s going to bring hundreds of new customers through the doors—but I’ll be damned if it isn’t draining to press on once you know you globbed up, botched the launch, and no amount of additional effort will change that.

So here I am, a week past launch, and still easily half the #nlgs18 activity modules are little more than titles and skeletons. I wanted to have them 100% done by Friday. Life had other plans.

I could find another 10-15 hours in the next week to crank these remaining pieces out. Sure. And when I think about it in terms of follow-through and commitment, I feel like I should.

But sunk cost fallacy is in full effect, here. I’ve got a couple hundred hours into this thing already and if Nick, Eric, and Frank stop posting, I’ll literally be the only one playing. At some point, you have to stop beating head horses.

Reflecting on what went wrong, I discovered not only did I spend too much time talking up the wrong aspects of the project, I also made things way to complicated for a beta product.

Perfection really is the enemy of done.

If I end up being the only one who sees this game through to September, that’s fine with me—but I ain’t done yet. It’s time to pivot. It’s time to radically simplify this thing and make it so easy to figure out and play that it almost plays itself.

This won’t be the smoothest pivot, but it may prove to be my quickest.

I think this gif pretty much sums up the turn #nlgs18 is about to take.

How to find all the bugs

Step 1: Ship it.

Step 2: Listen.

Here’s what went wrong with #nlgs18 in the first 24 hours…

  • Players couldn’t log in.
  • Players couldn’t access the forum.
  • Players could only view the first activity.

And most people don’t even know what #nlgs18 is.

The login issue was caused by missing activation emails. An easy fix. The forum access issue was caused by an incorrect, top-level access setting. And the activity issue was caused by an unchecked box forcing strict course progression.

But that last one. Man. That’s a real facepalm moment. Talk about missing the forest for the trees.