As I mentioned in the last blogpost, we did it: last weekend we attended at the first Comic/Manga/Game-Convention, the so called “MaGnology“. Here’s the thing. I didn’t like our demo we prepared for this event. It didn’t show all the things we wanted to show. We hadn’t even a tutorial for that demo. The preparations didn’t go that smoothly either, at some points I had to hard-code stuff, and there were of course some minor bugs, which weren’t game-breakers, though. I almost wanted to cancel the event, but didn’t. We were prepared to excuse the whole game/demo. In our heads we already practiced sentences like “Sorry, this is missing!” or “Yeah, that doesn’t work yet. Sorry!” or “If you die at this spot, there will be a bug with the big snowball and…just don’t die, ok?” – you know, the classics.
But in the end we had just one word for the whole thing: awesome. But let’s start at the beginning.
The probably coolest thing about this event was the organization, big shout-out to Hiro Yamada, who didn’t charged the whole bunch of indie-devs who exhibited at the event. Yep, that’s right: Independent Game Developers got their own little area to show their games and didn’t have to pay a cent. At Thursday we had to set up our little booth. We tried to be early since we didn’t know exactly how the arrangement of the booths for the devs were handled. It was basically FCFS – and since we were the first we got us a nice spot at a wall, where we could hang up our nice Sir Eatsalot-Poster.
Here’s a pic of the team. Sadly Maurice (far left) couldn’t attend the whole weekend and our second artist Albert had no time at all, but Marco (behind Monika), our Sounddesigner and Monique (far right), our artist-assistance helped us out. Thanks you guys, you’re awesome <3
Alright. Here we go. The event started at 10am. Our sounddesigner Marco got some nice little chains, so we could steady our PS Vitas to the table. (Good call, Marco!) We were all setup. I have to admit that we were a little bit on the edge, since it was our very first exhibition appearance. Not much happened in the first hours. But we saw that coming, to be honest. It was Friday in the morning. The peak time would be the afternoon, when schooltime is over. And anyway, the most visitors would come around at Saturday.
So I spent some time talking to other devs and playing their games. Lots of different teams where present: Osmotic Studios, THREAKS, CrazyBunch, SlashGames and a bunch of other teams and sole developers (you can find the whole list of exhibitors here: List of exhibitors)
I was especially eager to play “Orwell” by Osmotic Studios. Citing their website: “Orwell is an interactive thriller about digital surveillance in which the player takes on the role of the watcher.” It’s a text-heavy game, but if you’re into the theme and do like puzzle-solving this game is quite intriguing. It’s really entertaining to dismantle the profile of persons in order to get your intel on them. I mean, not that we do it already via facebook…
The game isn’t out yet, but I recommend to keep an eye on it!
Another one I really really liked was “The Adventures of Captain Corrado” by Risu Studios – a sweet, lighthearted game about a Pirate, his daughter Miley and their crazyfun adventures. It has fun dialogues, lots of minigames and puzzles. It’s targeted to a younger audience, but I think it’s really nice. Check it out!
And then the first people showed up. School kids, teenagers, (young) adults. Some of them wandered around, others played the games. Our game, too. And most of the time the first thing people said was how beautiful the game looks. Our artists were super-happy about that. Since we had no tutorial, we had to help the people a little bit and guide them. It was very interesting to observe how people played the game. We anticipated it already, but the people confirmed it: without a proper tutorial people thought the game is a typical platformer like Super Mario, Kirby and so on. We had to tell them that it is an Adventure game with a strong focus on level-exploration and that they should interact with the levelobjects. We introduced them for example to our Sticker/Minigame-Functionality, where you have to draw the outline of the creature you tapped. We implemented it in a forgiving way for the demo, but the players tried to be super accurate.
“Oh. That’s fun!” Was something I heard quite often when we told people that they could tap bushes/flowers in order to shake them and maybe something would pop out. People really liked it. Of course they criticised things we did already know like the lack of visual feedback at some points (for example you didn’t get any kind of notification that you got a sticker after succesfully drawing the outline of a creature), but it still was good to get this confirmation. Overall we had a great start into this event.
Saturday and Sunday
Much more people were around. From young ones to adults. Lots of cosplayers, too. And lots of people who played our game. Tiny young ones, adults, big boys, small girls and vice versa. And we received again great feedback: “Looks great.” “Really nice.” “Love the character.” “Fun ideas!” “Going to shake out the shit of these bushes!!!”
It blew our mind. We really thought that people would tear the game apart. Hell, there was even a little kid, I don’t know, maybe 14 years old who was like: “Is this a Beta?” “No, it’s a Pre-Alpha, to be accurate.” “Oh. Looks good to me, though.” Didn’t think that especially young folk would be that forgiving, haha.
We felt great. We expected to be depressed the whole weekend, because we would hear stuff like “Terrible.” “You call this a game?” “This shit is broken” – but not once did people say that or something similar. Well, we will never know what they think, but those who weren’t interested in the game did play it, said so and left our booth or didn’t play it at all. And that’s fine by me. Hardcore-CoD-Gamers won’t probably get much out of Sir Eatsalot, I guess.
In the end the event was a success for us, the feedback was stunning. People liked our game. Even in a state without a solid tutorial and with known bugs. Of course there were some guys/gals who were like “Yeah, that’s nice…” and stopped playing, but that’s ok. We got honest and reasonable criticism. We know now exactly what we have to do to make Sir Eatsalot a better game. I’m superglad we participated at this event, it felt a bit like a baptism of fire. With this demo we threw people in at the deep end and studied how the played the game in order to get a better understanding of how to better teach them. This was essential for our future development.
We’re really looking forward to next years’ MaGnology, hopefully Sir Eatsalot will be released in that time and we can show a new game to the public.
We also made a wild cut of the whole thing in a super unprofessional style, it’s uploading right now!