Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Don't eat our controllers- More thoughts on EGX

One of the things I like most about going to events like EGX is the fantastic, passionate people you get to meet. I was lucky enough to strike up a conversation with Zhan Gurskis lead programmer at Zaubug Games. We talked for a while about their new mobile game MindFork before I noticed a rather odd collection of fruit arranged on their section of the indie mega booth. not only is fruit an odd sight(for gamers in general) but these bananas had wires  protruding from them like the cast-off from  Dr Frankenstein experiments. A strange sight indeed, But it instantly got my attention, this, as it would later dawn on me, was intentional. EGX is loud and busy and its hard to get noticed (especially in the indie sections where you are packed in tight) but the guys at Zaubug came up with a novel way to get the punters interested: make your own controllers...out of fruit. This, it would seem was a stroke of genius as it soon attracted much more attention.

I recently asked the guys at Zaubug games to write about there experience at EGX  as I think they would give an interesting insight into the process as well as to the value of the event for a small studio

Anna Lapinsh CEO at Zaubug Games

"its always useful to get your game out there and have the abilty to talk to the public in that sort of space. We got a lot of great responses from players that tried out MindFork

Our goal for the show was to get press actually playing the game and we really achieved that. Our game does not screenshot too well, seeing it in motion is really critical. We managed to get a lot of people filming it which was ace.

The one thing no one really mentions is that that exhibiting your game at shows like this really makes your whole team motivated and lifts everyone spirits. When you have been sitting at a computer for 6 months straight you lose a lot of your passion for the product- just getting it out there and seeing people respond to it is really helpful to keep development going.

All in all, i would go back to EGX again"

Zhan Gurskis Lead programmer Zaubug Games

"EGX is a huge convention, there are endless amounts of games here and there, and so it can be very difficult to stand out
Perhaps interesting emerging behaviour is that most developers try to make their stand look more attractive as the show goes on. Our plan B was bananas, we have decided to do something different and added bananas to control our game.That really increased the flow of people wanting to play the game, suddenly we had people taking pictures, videos and tweeting about the game.In that way, it was an interesting experiment.
Going to a show of this magnitude needs a lot of preparation, and i am not talking about the way the game will be presented and promotional material like stickers and flyers, i am talking about physical and mental energy. You need to be able to present your game from 10 am to 6 pm for 4 days not mentioning parties that finish at 3 am, we hardly had any sleep, but the amount of great people we met make it more than worth it.
Over all it is a great experience, for me personally game development can get very daunting after you have added all the main mechanics and all you have to do is endless amount of polish, and a show like this is a validation of my time and efforts, it always leaves me inspired to make more games"

Zauberg Games

Anna Lapinsh - CEO, Founder
Jerry Boucher - Concept, Design
Daniel Jackson - Code, Design
Andrew Lemon - Sound, Music Design
Zhan Gurskis - Lead Programmer, Art, Design
Nicola Zamboni - Code, art, Design

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Thoughts on EGX

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of an event like EGX, all those people and all those games, but the question to ask your self as a developer is; Is this the right venue for our game? While we where there we noticed that the games that had a constant stream of people were, generally, a visual spectacle. They also had pick up and play element to them. A game like Black and White Bushido is the quintessential EGX indie game. This game plays a lot like Nidhog or Towerfall, and like those games it's just as much fun to watch people playing as it is to sit there a play it yourself. One of the great things about these types of games and, in my opinion, one of the reasons these games do so well at events like these is that you don't need instruction to play. I can sit down and instantly know what I am playing and how I should be playing. The Dev's of these games know they dont have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to controls. All they have to do is create an interesting hook (in this case the ability to become invisible if your character is against the same background colour as themselves) and good visuals, and that should make people stop and take

So what if your game isn't a spectacle? What if you have created a slow, methodical game with weird controls? Is EGX still for you? This is a question we have been asking ourselves. Vanishing Point is in many ways a slow, methodical, thinking man's game. There is very little spectacle and it needs a 10 minute tutorial to familiarize yourself with the systems and controls. This is not ideal in a crowded hall when you're surrounded by 20 other dev's all wanting attention. Another aspect of EGX that a small team must take into consideration is the cost. EGX isn't cheap. You're looking at about £1200 just for the booth and a computer and then there's the rest of the stuff you will need (cake! Always a good way to get people in). There isn't a definitive answer to this question. I think it all depends on your momentum and if you have been doing other trade shows. I would definitely say it shouldn't be the first place you show your game. There are smaller shows where you will have the time you need to explain your strange (but wonderful) systems to the people who pass by, but if you're close to launch and you want the mass exposure there is no better place than EGX.

Monday, 28 September 2015

EGX 2015

Even though we didn't have a spot in EGX this year it was still a thrill to go down and see all the indie games on display. I was lucky enough to talk to the designer of Out There (a game not dissimilar to our own). It was very interesting to swap ideas and generally geek out about Sci-Fi. We will be putting some serious thought into applying to EGX 2016. Hopefully Vanishing Point will be complete by then.

Origins of Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point (then called TOMB) started life as a 2D prototype for the Oculus Rift. We were working on it with a group of students form the Sheffield college. We never did manage to get the game in the Rift but we all agreed that the Prototype had potential. After a little bit of tweaking we uploaded the prototype to Newgrounds. We started to get a load of positive feed back on the game but a lot of people wanted to see a more finished product. We have spent the last year adding features and making the game look really smart while not compromising on the original idea of a semi realistic space adventure. We will be debuting our newest build during Game City 2015.

Play the TOMB prototype here

Game City 2015

Noskyvisible will be taking part in this years Game City in Nottingham. We haven't been given a date yet but I am assured it will be coming soon. We will update when we have the info. We intend to showcase two games while we are there, first of all there is Vanishing Point; a space exploration game that tries to take a more realistic approach to Sci-Fi. and then a multi-player shooter Called Chroma Trigger.