March has been a busy (and a crazy) month. I planned on attending three showcasing events and I had scheduled to release the Alfa. Still, I had a lot to fix before I showing it publicly. If folks would be playing the Frail I at least wanted to present them the best playable but also a version of the game they could understand. After indexing everything needed for the Alfa, I went to town.
One of the main additions to the Alfa needed was a tutorial. I could explain to folks how the game works during a showcase, but it’s not ideal. So I needed to create a system that explains that, e.g. a tutorial. But there different approaches to this. Because of the complexity of the combat, I didn’t want to present a player with slides, a written tutorial a player needs to scroll through explaining every in a wall of text. My solution was a screen pause and a text overlay depending on the state of the combat. Not the easiest method, since I’ll need to create a check-in every state. But, it’s one that guides the player through the action and one I could possibly develop in this short amount of time.
DGG Network Lunch
First on the list for showcasing is the Network Lunch at Dutch Game Garden every first Wednesday of the month. I organize this event so it was funny to be on the other end of things. I went to the official motions of signing myself up and having the communication intern processing my submission and setting things up. Much fun.
Since it’s a mobile game and Dutch Game Garden provides cool retro gaming cabinets with a built-in screen, I made a screen recording of the game so I got something to show to bystanders while others could play on one of my two phones I had prepped. It helped players kinda preview what they were getting into and get them acquainted with the combat and art while not having to directly interact with the combat in-game.
The feedback on the game was amazing! I was overcome with a huge sense of joy seeing folks play and getting hyped defeating the enemies and trying to attain a higher score. I received a lot of helpful feedback on in-game user feedback, confusing parts, and so on. But the positive feedback on the look and feel of the game, calling it juicy and satisfying to play meant a lot to me. Folks mentioned they didn’t mind my placeholder characters and were eager to know when I was planning to release it!
Playdev.club is organized by Adriaan de Jongh and Aran Koning. It’s a gathering of a maximum of 25 developers showing each other their latest projects and providing feedback on them.
I attended a year ago while building Heartless. The feedback was really valuable. Having a bunch of developers there provides a different dialogue than with traditional players. You can discuss the underlying systems of a game more in-depth which offers a lot of different insights into common issues. Besides another great round of feedback, I was able to get a couple of discussions surrounding the monetization of the game and picked up quite a few different strategies that might be helpful for Frail.
Playdev.club is hosted at a different location each time around and this time, we went over to the office of Twirlbound. They recently released Pine and moves office. It’s great being able to play games with fellow developers, provide feedback, and have a slice of pizza and a beer while you’re at it.
Barcode_02 takes place in a gallery workshop in Breda. With most gaming-related events taking place near Amsterdam or Utrecht, this one was close by, and having showcased twice this month I thought it couldn’t hurt showcasing a third time. I even managed to quickly fix a couple of bugs and feedback loops from the two previous showcases.
Funny thing though, the folks from Barcode_02 organized a deconstruction workshop, providing in-depth feedback on art, design, and marketability. But, one of the judges dropped out and then they asked me(!) if I wanted to provide feedback on marketability.
While I haven’t released a lot of games, I am a marketeer by trade and have picked up quite a lot during incubation at Dutch Game Garden and through our Agency program with our Business Developer. So I thought, why not?!
I played through a selection of games, noted down my well thought out feedback, and eventually walked through my feedback that on ‘stage’ with the developer and other judges. It was great! Usually, I’m not one for being the center of attention, but in this atmosphere, with the topic being marketing and games and probably being asked at the last minute and not being able to fret on it for weeks, I had a blast!
I wasn’t able to gather a lot of feedback on my game though, but still saw a couple of folks returning to try and beat the high score and saw plenty of reactions looking like they enjoyed themselves.
As you might have guessed, showcasing was great! Seeing folks react and enjoying the game gives me a burst of joy and energy. Hopefully, I’ll be showcasing again soon, though with Corona making its way, it might be some time before physical events are possible.
In the meantime, I’ll be working on implementing the feedback and continue working on Frail 🙂