Wednesday, June 3, 2009

E3: Day 1

So Day 1 of E3 finally ended. I started out by showing up to the IndieCade booth all the way to the back of the showfloor, about 3 stations to the left of the Square-Enix showbooth. Booted up Closure to level 26, where I left off the day before, and beat the rest of the game promptly before people started swarming into the place. I also set up a few stacks of business cards to the left and right of my table.

The exhibit show room was filled about 5 minutes after 12 (Western time). I sat there and played Closure (Flash version) as people started to walk by. Sometimes, if people looked interested or there was a group talking about it over my shoulder, I would turn around and explain to them the mechanics of the game.

I actually started talking to individuals at first because the room wasn't completely full yet. But I did talk to a member of Club Penguin of Nintendo, which is a kids' game based over the internet where players join in to playing the game up to 8 players at a time. Second, I talked to a lead graphics engineer from Ubisoft. He asked questions that involved the development process (blogs are good, wink wink). I answered by talking about all the beginning steps we took to refine the design of the game. A few visits by passersby later, and a lead artist from Blizzard shows up and sits down to take a gander at the game. I again explain to him a little about the art side and some of the design aspects. The whole day was great, getting to know a few people, introducing myself to the people that actually hire for this kind of stuff...It was a little strange but I got used to it after a little while.

Talking to other game developers is very interesting because you get a sense of where everyone else is coming from. It's a very unique experience being picked up by an indie-supportive company, IndieCade, to show off a web-based game. 5 years ago I wasn't thinking about how small games could possibly be recognized when I started making computer games. Nowadays, in a world where games repeat each other over and over and over and over again, developers are starting to pay closer attention to the 'little things' that people think are cool, that don't have to be mainstream to get the attention that a larger title could possibly get.

After a lot of explaining to people how we are actually releasing a newer version of the displayed Flash version, a few people were interested in marketing it, etc. We're not sure how we're going to go about selling the one yet, so stay tuned, because we're still looking at options. No need to jump into anything that hasn't even been made yet. Also, a few other guys were interested in seeing what has been programmed as far as the new version goes. I opened it from a USB drive I had with me to show them on the painfully low resolution monitor. They seemed impressed with the new mechanics and sharper, higher res. feel.

A couple interesting points were actually brought up about it. First, being, 'Do I really want to make graphics grayscale', meaning, take away all the true monochrome black and white and replace it with some graytones. We have decided that it is in the best interest of the new mechanics to have SOME graytones to bring more depth into the graphical style and level design. Fog being an important one. It will also alleviate some noise in the graphics when it's higher res. A second point brought up was a mechanic to have a timed light fade in or out, depending on how light or dark gray it gets before appearing or disappearing. This could be a cool concept and I believe it has been discussed. Buttons and gravitational balls can actually be used to achieve a timed floor effect right now.

Usually before talking to people I would ask if they wanted to play the game. At first no one really wanted to, but later in the day more people were interested in actually sitting down and spending time on it. I eventually took an hour break, and of course, that's when Daisuke Kobayashi, producer of Square-Enix(!!!) stops by and leaves his card and a promotional flyer for me on my table. The volunteer helping to demo Closure as I was absent was kind enough to save them for me, fortunately. I eventually returned after eating some overpriced pizza and taking a lap around the showroom to check it out a bit.

Most of the last hour of the show was spent letting people play test, while talking to others that were standing nearby. I didn't demo too much by myself the last hour because I was getting a lot of people that were actually interested in playing it for themselves.

Overall, we got very positive feedback from our game and it was definitely worth going today. Tomorrow, (technically, later today), I hope to fix up the new version so that it runs properly on the 600x800 screen resolution I'm using at the moment.

I hope to see you there!

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