2 weeks of stress for 2 days of joy
Originally we entered the indieDev:Showcase competition running at the event. 10 games, one winner. Unfortunately we did not get through to the final 10 but were offered a table to show our game anyway so we jumped at the chance.
We had 2 weeks to prepare and get the game ready. CentraSphere was to have a fresh look and some new gameplay elements were planned.
We decided to add a new multiplayer game mode to bring something completely new to the table but as time drew nearer, due to some technical issues we had to hold it back and were not able to get it finished to a good enough standard in time.
A journey to Brighton
We got all the kit packed up and ready to go ready for the long drive from Bristol. Sam and Ben were unable to get time off for the expo so it was down to just me (Chris), luckily our good friend Rick (designer of the CentraSphere ship) was able to come along and help. When we arrived in Brighton it was already dark so we went straight to the hotel to check in and get everything into the room. From there we had one final test to make sure we could set everything up and get it running smoothly.
Expo Day 1 Wednesday
We woke after 5 hours of sleep, everything was already packed and ready to go from the night before, so we had breakfast and headed down to set up. We got what I would consider as a prime spot, straight ahead from the main door entrance and right next the hot bevarages. Our table was set up next to 'Strangely Named' showing their game 'Bears can't drift!?' a 4 player kart racer coming soon to Steam and PS4 which was a lot of fun.
Shortly after set up, delegates started filling the room and exploring the expo. We had a steady stream of people showing interest and getting involved by having a go. Either playing single player if they came olong on their own or multiplayer if they were with a friend. All day we were getting great feedback and also the odd bit of constructive criticism that we have taken into account. After a long day Rick and I packed up and headed back to the hotel to prepare for another day.
Expo Day 2 thursday
Thursday was a lot easier than wednesday, we knew where we were, what we were doing and also what to expect. Another great day of VR demoing. We were a bit more relaxed so got a chance to have a proper look around the expo at the other games on show and chat with people. I met with a man who said our game is the sort of thing they were looking for for VRTGO so with a little organisation we should be up there demoing a more up to date and completely re-built CentraSphere. All in all another successful day with good feedback.
Things to Take away
We met with loads of new people in different areas of the gaming industry and exchanged business cards, many of which may give us great opportunities in the future through collaboration.
One of my key missions during the conference was to talk with somebody at Sony about bringing CentraSphere to the Morpheus on PS4, this mission was a success. I was told once we had registered for sony development that I should get in touch.
Of all the people who tried our game only 3 or 4 felt a little funny playing it, even people who before had felt sick after using a rift were fine.
The main criticism for our game was the aiming for shooting targets. Although some managed to get on with it quite well, most found it very difficult and would have liked some kind of targetting reticule. We have an idea that should hopefully work nicely for this.
Another was from one of my lecturers from University who would like a better indication in multiplayer of the scores and maybe a warning when the other player has almost won. It was nice to see that she enjoyed it enough to reccomend her colleague come and have a go.
It was a very exciting couple of days and definitely worth doing. Looking forward to the next one now.