Since we had the basic framework of the game working as a prototype, it was time to talk about each level.

My basic idea was to have the player progress through what’s essentially the same level, but each time through, they get to use a different failed payment recovery technique that’s more effective. They get more powerful as they get further along.

Hopefully that will help players to come away from the game with a better understanding of failed payment recovery methods, which is the goal. Recovering failed payments isn’t the coolest problem in the world, but it’s a very important one, and the more people that understand it before they get too far along in their business, the better.  Failed payments are much easier to deal with before they become a big problem.

Here’s what our developer Scott had to say about that:

Morning folks! thanks for the feedback. Glad you’re enjoying the prototype. One thought and one question:
For the beast, there gets to be some downtime when all the remaining payments are not going to be recovered because your tool isn’t good enough. When the “timer” (Not in place yet) reaches zero (or maybe sooner), the beast will do this “inhale move” and I’m going to throw all the payments towards the beast to eat. This will speed up the inevitable process and perhaps make the beast more villainous.
Secondly, lets talk brass tacks on projectiles and thus level count. Feel free to correct me, but here is how I think it goes:
Level 1 Ability: No Plan!
We think it would be fun to make your turret be a puff of smoke, almost like a sigh, kind of a sad reminder that you are trying, but its futile at this point, as you are unprepared. After some timer that no other level has, the beast will just do its inhale move on repeat until all the payments are gone. No other level is like this. Between this level and the next is a good time to remind people what they just saw was failure by design and illustrative. The lead in copy should probably also let them know they were going to fail.
Level 2 Ability: Email
Level 3 Ability: Targeted, Custom Email.
This is about the strength / effectiveness I feel the prototype’s projectiles are.
Level 4 Ability: SMS
Level 5 Ability: In-App Notifications
And lastly…We think it would be fun if the player’s turret was a tugboat or little stubby boat. (with roof) and in the back of it on deck was the current active projectile icon.

After that, we had a really good discussion about what the projectiles for each level would be.

Hello!  I wanted to pitch my ideas for the various level abilities to you:

Level 1: Nothing
A sad puff of air is all you can shoot while you watch the beast devour all the payments

Level 2: Untargeted Emails
Similar to the current prototype weapon, but with a 20% or so chance to “bounce” off of a payment and ricochet somewhere else on the field. The ricochet is a new projectile and may hit a payment.

Level 3: Targeted Emails
Will home in on the nearest clicked payment when shot, otherwise works much like the current prototype projectile.

Level 4: SMS
Will pop in the air above the payments, spawning mini projectiles that seek out nearby payments. Mini projectiles will behave like the Level 3 projectiles.

Level 5: In-App
We’re not sure! We’re still thinking on what the ultimate technique could look like. My current favorite idea is a “cooler” boat shows up and helps, and is really good at what it does.

This boat of course is branded. The cool boat is so effective that, while you can use your projectiles, and they work nice enough, you can just play this one hands off, Stunning will take care of you. I think that nails the whole point this game is trying to illustrate.

level 1 sounds great.

level 2/3, i like the abilities as described here, but my worry is that in real life, the emails aren’t really untargeted, they’re un-personalized. it’s generic, default emails that all look the same vs emails that build urgency, give the customer more information about what they’ll lose, etc. maybe that can be explained between stages. i just want to make sure we’re not getting too far off track from what i actually want to teach and confusing people.

level 4 sounds neat!

i like your level 5 idea a lot. now i’m thinking maybe we need one more level. my thinking was that the level after SMS would involve the user throwing in-app dunning bars.

and then maybe the last level is what you said for level 5, because stunning actually has a few automated features that would fit in really well in a scenario where we come in to help.

things that work in the background just because you have Stunning connected, such as smart retries and backup payment methods

Yes, Tyler and I were discussing if we could accomplish the Stunning boat and in-app in the same level or not, and a level 6 came up between us as well. I really do think Stunning showing up and taking over the tasks would really sell the point.

i really like that!

i’m probably way out in left field now, but

i love pacific rim. probably more than anyone should.

what if stunning was uh

I like where this is going.. =]

jaeger inspired

Hah, let me run this past Tyler. I think he’d actually be super into this. We may have to tune the aesthetic a little bit before we get too far into the direction were going. I think our beast would fit the kaiju look, but I want to make decisions along the way get all the art in line with that.

i specifically was talking about stunning coming in at the end as a giant robot vs a boat, to be clear. whatever works best though!

Sorry, yeah, that’s clear. I just would want the beast to appear to be “of that universe”, and all the other art too, if not overtly. I’m sort of going for a “stardew valley” sort of lightheartedness with this. I’m trying to not get too violent. I want everyone/thing to be helpful. This totally doesnt rule out a jaeger showing up and saving the day. 

At this point, I was basically falling out of my chair with excitement! Everything was coming together.

Next time, we’ll get into the art! Tyler was working hard in the background the whole time to define the look and feel of the art in the game, and it’s almost his time to shine.

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