Next Level Conference: The Conclusion

We’re back home. The “Next Level Conference” is over and though we’re tired, we look back and smile. The clash of culture and art, science, education and business in games was well implemented.
We could listen to some panels about the video game industry, game design and other topics. But of course you could and should play games! The organizers hooked up a lot of projectors with SNES-consoles in order to get to play some classics on the walls:

I love Super Mario World.

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(Speaking of, we can’t wait to get our hands on the WiiU game!)

Two guys having fun with Street Fighter 2

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(we played it, too, Monika beat me…)

There was also a Retro-room, were you could play different music-oriented games across different old console-systems. We were introduced to a PS1 game called “Vib Ribbon” which we never heard of or played before. It has a very minimalistic look and also plays that way. You control a small bunny and have to surpass certain obstacles by pressing the right buttons. On top of that the bunnys speed matches the speed and rhythm of the music. Timing is the essential thing in this game. It’s a hard one, but we liked the minimalistic art style and the feature of the usage of your very own music.
Here’s gameplay-video:

Here are some other impressions of the event:

We don’t know why, but there was a Piñata!

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There were also some Current-Gen/Next-Gen consoles(or should I say some Last-gen and Current-gen consoles?), so Monika grabbed the PS3 controller and played “Rain”

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Monika also tried out this interactive installation.
We didn’t exactly understand what to do, something about matching the speed of the two pictures by rotating.
But Monika liked the rotation, so, it was great!

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And of course we could show some people the (Pre)Alphaversion of our game, which was for us the most important thing to do. It was very interesting, since our Alpha only contained the very first two level of the game and the background-music.
No enemies, no Quests, no Endboss. You could only move Sir Eatsalot through the level, nothing more, nothing less.
Usually you wouldn’t show something like that to people. But we wanted the feedback by all means. And all people liked what they saw. They emphasized the details in the background and the funny character. Though they liked this early look and feel of the game a lot, some of the people couldn’t give further constructive criticism, because of the lack of possibilities.
We were aware of that and explained in detail what the game is about and what else you can do in this game.
So the general feedback was great and gave us of course a motivational boost.

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But we also studied the people playing the game and detected something really interesting.

People had some issues with the Controls. The alpha was fully functional in it’s core, no bugs there. You had all the movement-buttons and could move and attack. The Inventory-Button could be pressed to in order to navigate through the Bookmenu.
Same applies to the Pause-Button. Just to get a better idea, look at this screenshot (an older screenshot from the gallery, not from the alpha, but everything looks the same way):

Screenshot1_Level1

We thought the usage of symbols like arrows would be enough. Still some people didn’t even notice the Action-Buttons (Attack and Jump), some tried to move the character with gestures or even tried to shake the devices. The Alpha hadn’t a tutorial, so we had to explain the controls. Of course we planned even before the event to implement a good tutorial,
but after seeing some people having problems with the controls we will put more thoughts into the tutorial of the controls.

Overall it was a great experience and a good and nice field test for us. Of course we were jumpy and thought nobody would want to play a game in this state, but the general great response inspired us to work even harder on the game in order to create the “Sir Eatsalot” we want the people to play.

With that said we thank the “Next Level Conference”, all the people we met and who played the game. We had a great time!

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