So, as you guys already know, we went to PAX East this year. Like the last one, it was a very informative experience. This week, we’ll give you a little window into everything that happened, what went right, what went wrong, and what we learned from it.
Preparation and setup
Last year, we had a booth of the same size, but we decided to do everything involved with it ourselves. That decision came at the cost of game development during that time, and it took a lot of our energy to prepare everything. In addition, we only had 2 stations for playtesting, so it was very difficult to show the game to everyone that wanted to see it.
So this year, we instead decided to hire a company to put together our booth and our setup. We had 8 stations for people to play on, and one additional station to show the trailer and the new animation/locomotion system we’ve been working on. The result was a much more professional look, and not a ton of time or effort on our end to make it happen. We simply provided the images we wanted to use, and a few meetings later it was ready.
We also had to rent to computers and all of the equipment to feed all of the video from the stations up to the big screen. It was a bit complicated, but we finally found someone who could provide everything for a very good price.
Everything with that bit went right, and the booth design process was clearly a success that would capture the eyes of everyone passing by. Unfortunately, our luck with shipping companies has stayed with us, and the booth saw some significant damage in transit.
So, we arrived in Boston in the afternoon and started building the booth. It wasn’t too complicated, but it did require a lot of time. We also ran into a real life bug of the week. The only screwdriver we had with us quite literally exploded after a minute of use. Fortunately Kyle has a long history as a technician, so he keeps a basic toolkit in his car that we were able to use.
We finished the build 8 hours later at about 2 in the morning. Fortunately, we were able to hide and/or fix most things that were damaged in shipping. Our location on the convention floor wasn’t that great, but we had a great booth that would attract a lot of people walking by, so we were still thrilled regardless.
So, what did we see, and what did we learn? Well, a ton of things really. First, trying to manage two different versions of the game is clearly a bad idea. We had the current steam release on the Steam Boxes with the controller, and it worked well except that there isn’t a tutorial in that version, which means we spent a ton of time and effort explaining the game. It was also the first time we had unexperienced players playtesting the refactored version of the game with the tutorial. While the tutorial definitely needs some polish still, it seemed that when people played through the whole thing, they were able to handle the rest of the game with no issues.
Also! It was Ahmad’s birthday, so happy birthday Ahmad! (as you can see he didn’t sleep a lot)
We did discover a series of new bugs and behaviors that we’re already working on fixing as we speak. Some parts of the tutorial weren’t very clear, and we’ve already got solutions to fix that.
The good news is that, after a whole weekend of constant playtesting, the game didn’t crash one single time, and that is very, very good news indeed.
We also learned that when you’re at a convention like PAX, don’t expect to have access to the internet, even if you’ve got 4G on your phone. There are so many people trying to use it, it makes it incredibly unstable. So, we weren’t able to gather the information that game analytics could have given once someone encountered a bug. Even the QR code for Steam was practically useless.
We also showed off the new animation system we’ve been working on, and people seemed to really like it. Here’s a quick video for everyone that couldn’t make it to PAX this year.
As you likely noticed, the behavior system detects which animation it has to play depending on the size of the object the bricktron needs to grab.
Bug of the week
This come too with a bug of the week :)
Now that everything is over, it’s time to catch some sleep!
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