I can't even begin to describe what a whirlwind the past few weeks have been.
Our team was on crunch time for the lead up to Melbourne International Games Week. We held a couple of playtests at our office to polish factors in the game and to get the team of developers used to getting people into and out of the game. Exhibiting a VR game on Vive holds a significant number of physical challenges, and our team are developers, not expo staff so getting them used to dealing with people is a thing in itself.
MIGW Round Up:
GCAP Loading: So we arrived on the Sunday and we pretty much went straight out to a student/industry consultation night at the end of the GCAP Loading conference. The "Loading" refers to the student focus to help boost them into the game industry. Oh yeah- Game Connect Asia Pacific... Hey, there was free booze and delicious cheese there, I spoke with numerous students and caught up with old friends. It was a good night and it started the love-in of MIGW.
UNITE/GCAP: UNITE is the Unity conference. Unity is the middleware we most commonly use for our products (including Symphony and D3BUG), so the artists, programmers and producer did their thing and I went and hung out and played games in the showcase. I played Damsel
and this is definitely in my list of Indie games to watch in 2017 because it's %#&ing beautiful. I didn't get a chance to try American Dream
and doubt I could because of my VR motion sickness thing, but it looks like a pretty amazing game too.
I met Innes McKendrick who is a programmer on No Man's Sky- a game that I enjoy most days and have played a ridiculous amount. I am perfectly aware of the controversy of it and it's foibles, but whatever. During my gaming time, I play whatever I want and I love this game. I might have fansploded in front of the very shy Innes.
GCAP was the usual swirl of panels, lectures, keynotes and emotion that it always is. This year was a record turn out of some 800+ attendees, most of which are developers, but there are a few students and industry types. I had my photo taken with a group of friends with Innes (we all shared something in common) and kinda apologised.
AGDAs: I went to the Australian Game Developer Awards night because it's fun and it's always great to see what the industry rates for the year. Gritfish and League of Geeks cleaned up. If you haven't played Killing Time at Light Speed
, now's a good time to start. I was chatting with some random guy- as is the networky nature of the night and this compact, very well turned-out woman in her mid-thirties entered the conversation and introduced herself as "Brie." I recognised her as Brie Code, the lead programmer and AI person on the first three Assassins' Creed Games and Child of Light etc. Maybe I don't have as much personally invested in those games, but I held it together and she was really nice and we had a good chat.
PAX Setup Day/WIG Lunch: So this was the hardest setup we have ever had to do for a show. Ever. And we were as prepared as we could have been short of making our booth in our office and transporting the whole thing (expensive and stupid). The expo fixtures company tore our main signage and had to reprint it, our TVs did not arrive until 4pm and I got the call while in a JB Hifi about to spend $1200 on two more, we had colossal tracking problems with our HTC Vive headsets because of all the others interfering and the EM bouncing around the venue itself and then one of the headsets stopped working at 6pm during testing. Luckily HTC were there and came to our rescue with a spare headset. With the tracking issues, my business partner and lead tech was there until 10pm. I was still doing media stuff at 11pm.
I sat down at the WIG lunch, which is a networking event and a frumpy, middle-aged man sat down in front of me. I checked his name tag. It was Ron Gilbert. Internally I rolled my eyes- this week! Ron Gilbert is responsible for Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and so many classic Point and Click adventure games that I grew up on, I had an internal
fansplosion but held it together. As he's a developer again, he's quiet and a little awkward but we got into a funny story session and he's also hilarious. Also I was telling Ron Gilbert,a Spielberg of our industry, funny stories. Thank god he was laughing.
PAX: PAX is an onslaught if you're exhibiting. There's no other way to describe it. From a media perspective, Risachantag (our artist lead and creative director) and I must have done so much media over the course of the weekend we could recite the answers in our sleep. The reception for Symphony
was huge. Everyone loved it- I don't think I heard any negative feedback all weekend. The sets were constantly in use, the crowds were massive. On Day Two, Innes came by our booth and told us that our game is beautiful. I nearly floated away.
Our D3BUG alpha went off too and we now know precisely what to do with that game. I must have had so many hugs over that weekend, I was a mess by the end of it. And then on Day Three, I bumped into Katherine Cross, one of the most iconic journalists in gaming of whom I had met earlier in the week. She was telling me how many wonderful games she had played and I laughed and said "well, you haven't played mine!" She came to my booth shortly after and exclaimed she could not play it because she suffers motion sickness in VR. But so do I and we have extensively playtested to eliminate it, so with some convincing, she played the game. I'll leave the resulting Gamasutra articles here for your perusal (just bear with me and read them if you have time):
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/2850 ... corner.php
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/2850 ... s_Week.php
So much love.
PAX over with, I got my aching body to the Megadev post-PAX Indie developer afterparty and proceeded to get trashed. Huge week, so many emotions and then back on Tuesday and I have been struggling a bit since.
Now I am working on our major capital raise which is going to power Stirfire for the next three years.