I've read and watched about the MVP:
- Minimum Viable Product for RTS game?
- What should be created first in a video game?
- And of course the video everything on the subject links to
I'm trying to apply this concept to the menu-based combat game I'm trying to make as a hobby project.
This is a little bit tricky because when I started the project I did not know about MVP. As a result, I first cut my original idea significantly down to what I considered the minimum release-worthy version of my game; so that I could, in the future, release my game and then iterate on this first release. This, obviously, was far more than what would be considered MVP. Out of necessity (the game started as a project for a Uni class) I first focused on coding the stuff so that I could show my code to my Prof.
The result is that I now have a large, working though bug-ridden and unplayable mess of a game that I'd now like to try to slowly bring to playability. In order to achieve this I'm finally trying to cut the game to MVP and only work on these parts of the game that form the MVP, ignoring the other parts; then iterate on this, until I hopefully finally bring order to everything I made earlier. (I even commented out lots of code that is not responsible for the MVP-ish parts of the game.)
Unfortunately, it has proven difficult for me to determine which parts of this game form MVP.
One such difficult case is the GUI. As far as I understand, GUI is only part of MVP insofar as absolutely necessary to allow me - the dev - to interact with the game. So monsters are to be represented as uncolored squares etc.
But the problem is also, as far as I understand, I should keep polishing the MVP until it seems fun and only then add any content. But I now think that polishing the GUI a little bit more is a prerequisite of this.
Example 1: In the spirit of the MVP, I do not have health bars now. Instead, I have bare numbers on top of the empty space where the monster's sprite is supposed to be placed in the future. However, I find it not very readable to have a monster's HP represented as 3649/6000. A bar filled to around 60% of its maximum length would be far more readable IMO.
Example 2: The status console. Originally, since I only focused on writing more code, the console was a mess. Status messages were often in a counter-intuitive order, were poorly broken into paragraphs, etc. I found that this itself was making it annoying for me to interact with the game. So I started working to fix the console, and I think I fixed it somewhat, but enough to make me satisfied. I would now like to continue working on fixing the console.
Both examples show why I have feeling that polishing the GUI beyond what would be considered MVP is a prerequisite of making the correct MVP. I don't know, maybe it's a peculiarity of menu-based combat games: the menus themselves are at the very core of the game so they should be usable and information from the game should be displayed in a clear way that makes it easy to comprehend what is going on?
Am I correct that stuff like adding health bars instead of bare numbers and breaking the status messages into paragraphs correctly, displaying some of them in a smaller font, adding sleeps between more important messages can be considered a part of making the MVP? Or am I misunderstanding the concept of the MVP?