For those that didn’t attend, at the end of August IGDA DC hosted an indie game showcase/event called District Arcade. Around 25 indie developers demoed their games, all hosted at Bravo Bravo just off Farragut Square in DC. Through some luck and fortunate timing, a few IGDA members were part of an All Things Considered segment earlier that week and there was also writeups in various “What To Do In DC”-style outlets. Showing Slime Wars was a blast. We got a great spot right near the entrance. (And, as I found out afterwards, near the best air conditioning vent.) I was only showing the game on tablet, so the little tables and small couch were perfect for bringing people in for a 3 or 4 player match. I think the game’s ruleset (only 3 rules!) made it easy to pique the interest of meandering attendees, as did calling it “a digital board game”. Some of the my favorite curiously intrigued players were the couples in their 40’s or 50s who were there with their adult children. (Likely looking for something fun to do in town.) They generally looked a little “well this is neat but it’s not for me” but stuck around for a quick how-to when they saw others huddled around a tablet playing the game. One lady, who described herself as somebody who “doesn’t play many games,” kept getting knocked out early in 4-player games and just tried game after game until she finally won. A few people throughout the day even took it upon themselves to teach other attendees how to play as they walked up. Despite quite a few silly hiccups early on, the event went smoothly and positively. My thanks to the organizers who continued to keep it all going. (Thanks Rae for checking in on me! Also thanks to Squid from MAGfest for handling the obnoxious mega-speaker across from the booth.) After five hours of demos and music and barely enough room to move sometimes, I believe the final attendee count was just shy of 300 people. It felt like way more than that. DON’Ts: DON’T forget to make an updated build some time prior to the train ride to the event. (Dumb) DON’T forget to put the latest build on ALL of your demo devices. (Lazy) DON’T rely on public transit to get you there quickly. (I should know better) DON’T scramble to find your extra business cards and have to fall back to old crappy ones that don’t even mention the studio or website. (Smeared handwritten URLs are professional, right?) DON’T forget to charge your devices during the event. (It took 15 minutes to get a crowd built up again!) DOs: DO bring extra devices, in case one suddenly hits 0% battery in the middle of an intense 4-player match. DO take some time to be hands-off and watch people interact with your game and each other. DO collect feedback from those who are passionate enough to offer it. You may not agree, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Except that one guy. … Continue reading
Starting to get things back on track around here. We’ve been a bit quiet, but things have been bubbling beneath the surface. We’ve got two small projects in the works (Slime Wars & Star Stuff) and a larger project (Puzzle Force Go!) still simmering on that semi-permanent back burner. GDC was a blast and ideas for new projects were had. Music? Puns? Gratuitous clicking? A genre none of us have any experience creating/marketing? Sounds like a success right out the gate! And after too many fumbled replies to “what are you working on now?”, I’ve decided that I really need to polish up the Puzzle Force Go! prototype as a proof of concept. It would be perfect in a 4P cabinet in the Indie section at MAGfest next year.
As the artist on my team, the morning after LD submission means my mind is a jumble of old sketches, pixels, and keyframes. Let me puke it all up in a post so I can remember what I did! Theme to sketch to artwork Our team had so many great ideas for this theme. Haunted carnival ride, kraken, reverse tomagotchi. My favorite non-developed idea was the player controlling a vacuum cleaner that chases a dog around the room trying to scare it…anyway. Once we decided on a multiplayer fighting game Monsters…BRAWL! with monster costumes, the ideas rolled in. I wanted some recognizable monsters but also some that didn’t exist yet (See: moar googly eyes please). Here’s what the transition looked like from my brains to paper to the computer box (left). Now that I had some dudes (dudettes actually. The skeleton has a little extra rib…so it’s a lady!), I had to pick a style? Well, I made a paper cutout style and then ended up hating it. Too flat? Too poop? Yes. Very poop. So I went back and looked at some old Disney animation backgrounds and Samurai Jack backgrounds and got inspired to do 2.5 D…err…or like 2.25 D if ya wanna get specific. Major breakthrough: Using the tools I know For the characters, I did the outlines in Illustrator and the animating in After Effects. Yeah, after effects. Don’t you judge me, I’ll be whatever I wanna do. In LD 32 I used a new program and ended up nearly setting my computer on fire. With hate. So this time I did what I knew and felt like sunshine and puppies. Some LD’s are for experimenting. It’s a great place to do that. But some LD’s are for polishing the skills you already have. That was gonna be my LD, the one where I don’t almost Carrie everyone on my team. I have red hair, I’m already susceptible to Carriing. But man, I do wish I’d gotten time to do the Lovecraft cultist costume. So many tentacles….which…is weird to get excited about. Uh, anyway, finished artwork! Idle, Run, Hit, Jump, Fall, Dash…for 3.5 characters, this was the most I’d gotten done in any Jam. If After Effects was a person, a sexy sexy person, I would hug them. And give them candy and kisses. Don’t tell my husband. Crap…he’s on my dev team. The Post-it box (See: a sticker reward board for adults) It came around to Sunday and, for the first time in maybe possibly ever during a Jam, I felt like I had everything we needed to publish a bare bones game. How did this happen? On the second day, early, we all sat down and took out freaking post its and wrote every last damn thing down that we needed. Not a trello board, not an excel sheet. Neon pink freaking post-its. And when you finished something you move it to the other persons board (for me, to the programmers’ board) or to … Continue reading
We’ve been working our butts off on Ludum Dare this weekend again. It’s quite fun, of course and I’m very happy with our progress so far. I think we’re farther along than we realize and I’m pretty excited about what we can do this time. There is an update here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/2015/08/22/deedly-boppers-are-best/ that Jodi posted. Hopefully I’ll be streaming some tomorrow because why not? There’s something about making games that makes me want to share everything I do with the world sometimes. I guess I should go to bed now.
Aaaaand, we’re up and running! Whoever says WordPress is easy to use is…probably better at WordPress than me. Which is fine, cause I’m not in the business of pressin’ words. Usually. I wanted to update with arts on current development, but our next quick project is mostly kind of incredibly top secret. So instead I give you this goat from InTire, because goats are still awesome and I worked hard on making that kick happen. I mean, look at that determination. That…walleyed goat determination. Kick on, little goat.
Today we had another workday and I managed to get a good bit done today on the project we are trying to get done for football season (we don’t want to reveal too much yet). Even got the chance to add in a couple of “nice to have” features. I don’t have a lot to report, other than the fact that I failed numerous times today to take into account things that start at 0 instead of 1 (I’m looking at you, instance_find() function in GML). That’s just bad programming on my part. But I did get a lot done and I’m liking this project as it’s beginning to shape up. Micha also did some work on Soul Shepherds (really, it’s actually coming soon!), but I’ll let him post on that if he chooses to.
I just thought I’d put up a real post, so we’d have something here. Micha and I just finished up an afternoon of work at B&N. He has been working on getting Soul Shepherds ready for Ouya release and cleaning up a lot of the bad code and trash left in there from our working too quickly before. You know, doing that last 10% of game development that is so frustrating to complete (because there’s just so little payoff). I, on the other hand, was working on the more fun part of putting together a rough prototype for another game we’re trying to get together (hopefully before football season starts). I believe I reached the point today where the group has to make decisions and start actually “designing” the game, but at least we know it’s doable and have a good base to start with. I actually tried to follow good practices and kept things organized, so that should help a lot. Games that have regular “ticks” make that much easier, I’ve discovered. Hopefully we won’t have to refactor this one much at all to build on it. And now I’m off to do my “real” work.