We’re closing out on Week 7, and I’m somewhat comfortable calling what we have here as “Alpha”. Next week will be the last week we have to finish the game, then its on to exhibition at the Protoplay Festival. The result of our presentation there will determine whether or not we will be nominated for the BAFTA’s Ones to Watch Award or any of the other prizes.
We ran a playtest on our game late last week on a number of kids from a local summer program. We learned a lot about our game’s new player experience and how learning navigation of first-person space works for young people. A lot of that probably comes how a lot of these kids grew up playing games like Minecraft and how they attained their initial literacy in games through it. We’ve made a number of changes to our game because of it. I hope we’ll have time to complete all of the changes we need to make in the next week and a half.
We ended up being featured in VICE Magazine’s The Creators Project, and that interview got us quite a bit of buzz over the last week. I just finished up an interview with Develop Online which should go up in the next few days. Hopefully, we can sustain that momentum to Protoplay, as the judges seem to factor our behavior and outside interest into account when interacting with our games.
This week, the team has been mostly focusing on gearing the game towards a festival context. We have removed stages inappropriate for new players and gave players a pre-game sandbox to run around in and get accustomed to controls and space. Alec has been working on a new UI system that would be more usable than what we currently have now. The number of stages, which used to stand at around nine, has shrunk down to five, allowing us to focus on adding representational elements to levels to give them a sense of context, place, and fun. I’ve been implementing sound effects as they arrive and cutting together a trailer for the game, focusing on communicating the mechanical and aesthetic uniqueness of our game. I’ll post that once we’re happy with it.
We’re in charge of handling a budget of 200p at Dare to be Digital, roughly $350. We’ve allocated almost all of that money towards our booth for Protoplay. I’ve been to Indiecade and Glitch City parties before, and there’s a unique social context in that kind of event/festival setting that I really want to leverage. Killer Queen does this really well, as does Sportsfriends, and Spin the Bottle. Only at a festival can you play with complete strangers and bond with them over games in a social atmosphere that’s both celebratory and community-building.
So we want to construct an inviting booth that meshes well with the dichromatic aesthetic of the game. A “living-room-in-a-expo-hall” where people can drop by, have a great time, make some friends, and chill out in a social context that many find exhausting. I saw a lot of that come out of the Mild Rumpus at GDC, and with our limited budget, I hope we can achieve something unique there.