Doing Early Access for your game can be a daunting process. However, the phenomenon is not new and that thankfully means that we can analyze what others have done, to better understand what we can do ourselves. The goal is not to make a “one size fits all” solution but rather a set of tools, each of which can be deployed individually or in combination, depending on what fits your production and personal preferences.
In order to make this list of tools, I’ve carefully selected a handful of games and studios that had great success – either in their Early Access periods or their general community interactions (post-launch as well). That is why you will find one or two games like Deep Rock Galactic, which were not in early access but should still be considered cornerstones in good communication and community management, during the game’s continued support and development.
The PDF is split into three parts:
- An overview of the games, why I picked them and a list of sources
- The practices deployed
- How you should look at your own processes to implement similar solutions
For a quick reference before downloading, here’s the table of contents:
The most important takeaway is that while marketing and community can be handled by one person, it is truly a team effort to align development milestones and iterate with the player feedback in mind. What I present here are ways to not only increase people’s awareness of what you are making, but to improve the quality of the game in the process.
The biggest one-two-punch that you can do as a developer, is to both be transparent about what you are doing, while simultaneously acknowledging feedback directly in how you build and balance the experience. Even if you struggle with your initial design, community growth and engagement, this form of involvement and building the game alongside the people who want to play it, is an excellent way to identify design possibilities you could not have thought of yourself. All the while the willingness to listen and adapt makes your existing playerbase more prone to talking to their friends about the game.
Good luck! Feel free to reach out to me for help and answers: