The Importance of Demonstrating your Game - By Tim Auld

As game developers, finding new people to play our game, and watch them do it, is incredibly valuable. You have to remember that we have played our game for months or years. We know it inside and out, so we are often blind to or compensate for deficiencies in ease of use or clarity. Friends and family are roped in when possible, but we quickly use up this resource. The big shows such as PAX and EGX are awesome, but are expensive, time consuming and exhausting.

So the Game On symposium, a one day local event where the general public pass through, is considered gold. These are also people who may not play as many games as those willing to go to a big event. If we can make learning the game good for them, hardcore gamers will be a push over.

The 2016 event was the second time we had attended. The venue change from QUT to The Powerhouse seemed to have increase the attendance. There was a steady stream of players enjoying Forts, and as we have found at other events groups of young boys would get hooked on it and come back for more. We gave out cards and chatted with interested folk, getting their feedback.

Unfortunately we can't test some things in this way. With such little time, and so much noise and distraction it's difficult to play through the interactive tutorials. We have to provide some verbal guidance. Each of us evolve our own little tuition script. At the bigger events you need to make this as short and clear as possible to save your voice.

The experience at Game On gives us a chance to refine our presentation. At the first major event we attended last year, PAX Aus, we made some custom maps meant to reflect the typical 1v1 gameplay. The AI is generally too difficult to give new players a fighting chance, so much of our time was spent telling people to put out fires and restarting the map. Finally I had the epiphany that what we need to do is just give new players something to blast apart. I made the AI fort larger but crippled their firepower while giving the player all the weapons. This was a lot more fun and made it easier to teach.

We're already looking forward to next year's event, rubbing shoulders with some of Brisbane's finest indie devs.

This was first published in the November 2016 issue of Brisbane Byte magazine. Subscribe below to get future issues delivered straight to your inbox.