I was asked to write an article on diversity in tech, but I wanted to talk about our tourist visa program instead, so I just ignored Maria and Jessica, and here you go.
Kind of a crazy idea to get a visa to visit a virtual world, isn’t it? It’s even crazier that you could earn citizenship in a virtual world. So, that’s why I feel such gratitude to the people who are willing to go along with my craziness. You are amazeballs!
If you don’t religiously follow the AnnMaria section on our blogs (Gasp! You don’t?), then you may not be aware of the tourist visa.
In a nutshell, we have people who are excited about our vision of using adventure games to make people smarter, and have volunteered to help. We signed them up and asked them to do specific tasks that we needed, such as reviewing the “Camp Don’t Get Dumber Over the Summer” site to see if it was problematic for people who are color-blind, or checking our Pinterest site for any problems. (Didn’t know we had a Pinterest site, did you?)
We’re a small company with big plans and so we cannot do everything we would like to have done, and we CERTAINLY can’t do everything we’d like done right away.
We’ve received a lot of valuable help and advice from our ‘tourists’ . Some of the problems they identified we fixed right away, with broken links, misspelled words, images that were difficult to see for people who are color deficient.
Others, we added to bugzilla, which is what we use for recording bugs and feature requests. Right now, we are focused on getting out Forgotten Trail and developing Aztech, but we have several months in the spring where major revisions of Spirit Lake and Fish Lake are scheduled, so those tourists will see many of their suggestions come to life then.
Why do we wait months to do the revisions?
Because our games are used in schools. Think about this … you are a teacher using a game to teach. You’re a really good teacher and you have made screenshots that you use in a Powerpoint, where you are showing the boys and girls that you want them to click on this link to watch this video, or play this mini-game. How annoyed would you be if the day before you were going to use that lesson we changed the look of that screen? Pretty annoyed, yes?
Imagine this … you have downloaded the game on 50 computers in two computer labs in your school. How many times do you want to do that each year? My guess is, “One”. So …. we try to do very few revisions each year and make them really count.