The Minimum Viable Product — Devlog 4

Extra Credits has this great video about making a Minimum Viable Product (video embedded at the bottom of this post). Basically, you build the simplest version of your game possible, before getting into all the features that aren’t vital to your game.

It's the quest for the minimum viable product!
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev

Outrun is a solo table-top RPG I’m developing as part of the A Game by its Cover game jam, happening through August. It’s inspired by the Rushing Drive Famicom cartridge cover by Philip Summers (on Instagram).  I’ll be posting updates twice a week, right here, so stick around and see the game come to life. You can find our other devlogs here: Devlog 1, Devlog 2, and Devlog 3.

Building the Minimum Viable Product

I caught myself designing POD cards for Outrun before I’d nailed down the core mechanics. What a waste of time that’ll be if my core game changes and I need to update the cards.

But what does Outrun’s MVP include? Here are my design requirements:

  1. A challenging solitaire game involving choice, with a low level of randomness.
  2. That’s it.

Here’s what the bare-bones version of Outrun looks like:

Outrun — A Solitaire Card Game

Use a standard deck of 52 playing cards. These represent gas in your fuel tank. Shuffle the cards well, then place them in front of you, face down.

Draw a card face up from the top of the deck. If you draw a red card (Hearts or Diamonds), stop drawing. If you draw a black card (Clubs or Spades), draw again until you have 3 cards face up in front of you or until you’ve drawn a red card.

You can take 1 even card and place it to the side. Queens count as 12, so they’re even. Each even card represents 1 hour of driving, and your goal is to drive for 24 hours by collecting all 24 even cards. Place the other cards, if any, in your discard pile.

Repeat the process of drawing cards and taking an even card, if any show up. If your deck runs out of cards, you’ve run out of gas and you lose the game.

Refueling: If you take a Queen from the cards in front of you, you can immediately shuffle the remaining face-up cards and your discard pile into your deck.

The Pale Rider:  The King of Clubs is the Pale Rider. Whenever you draw him, discard 2 cards from the top of your deck into your discard pile. Shuffle the Pale Rider back into your deck. You may then take an even card if any remain face up in front of you. If the Pale Rider is the last card to be drawn from the deck, you lose the game.

All the lazerpunk goodness builds on top of this minimum viable product. Give it a go and tell me what you thought.

Lazerpunk – A Definition

I’ve thrown around a few definitions in my earlier Devlogs, but here’s one worth defining clearly.

Lazerpunk: Cyberpunk with an 80’s retro aesthetic.

Outrun’s look is what I call lazerpunk — cyberpunk with an 80’s retro feel. It’s Hotline Miami and Satellite Reign smashed into one.

30% Off Pathfinder

We’ve got a huge Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible sale on. The sale’s going for a few weeks, then it’s gone.

Till next time, live awesomely.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Here’s that Minimum Viable Product video I mentioned: