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Week 7 and 8 – GDC, Intel presentation, and Beard Papa.

Holy crap. I am so tired. Exhausted might be a good word for it too.

This was maybe the best and worst GDC I’ve attended yet. It was insanely hard this year to juggle around my staff duties vs my game duties, the stress from the Intel thing, there was so much to see and do this year that I couldn’t participate in, and on top of all that the family dog Kona died while I was there. In the pluses column, Andrew came out to support me, the Intel presentation went really well, many connections were made, and the response to the game was really good.

PR-IntelFirst up, the Intel presentation. Big room, around 600 people, 5 minutes. Tina and I practiced every spare minute of the day when I wasn’t at the booth and she didn’t have Conference Associate duties. This was both good and bad, we got to have a pretty good rhythm with the presentation info, but it meant that we didn’t get a lot of time to actually experience GDC, which is kind of a bummer. The presentation day came, and it all went really really well. James played the game while we talked, we answered questions from the judges like pros, and the response to the game was favorable, even though we didn’t win. We also made some friends from Drexel, they too had blue shirts and a Cory on their team, so naturally we became bffs.

404Sight at the EAE booth was at first a disaster. Apparently us pulling quotes from the internet for the opening of the game meant that we had to have internet connection or the whole thing would crash. We found this out the morning the Expo floor opened, so yay? Thankfully everyone rallied and we were able to fix the problem in 10 minutes and then we could show off the game. The rest of the time it worked beautifully and we were able to get some really useful player data. The new levels are a really good testing ground for what needs to happen in later levels. We also desperately need a tutorial level…

All in all it was a good GDC, I’m a little bummed I didn’t get to go to many of the talks, but hey, that’s what the vault is for I guess, and I only went to one party, but it was a really good, really chill party where I got a lot of contacts.

The week after GDC was kind of a bust. We had some meetings about what we learned and next steps, but the big news is we did a soft launch of our Steam Greenlight campaign. I say soft launch because we just threw up the stuff on the greenlight page, but we haven’t officially announced it on all the social networks just yet. We wanted to wait until after GDC to really get going so we don’t get buried in all the GDC stuff.

Welp, turns out we didn’t even get to the full launch. We were Greenlit in six days. SIX days, without exploiting Tina or Tony’s networks. It’s… mind blowing actually. I really can only attribute it to two things – it’s a free game (we were very explicit about that) and our new trailer is really cool:

So yeah, I’m going to have a game on Steam. That is a really weird thing to say. I haven’t really been able to process it quite yet. I’m sure once it gets closer it’ll be more real, but for now I’m just too tired.

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Week 6 – Trailer, skybox, madness, and lasagne

There’s so much going on.

Final stretch to GDC and we are making the most of it. Extra work days, late hours in the lab, everyone doing all they can to get this thing at a showable level before GDC and the Intel presentation. I was mostly working on the trailer with Brenton, I was in charge of dressing the level, textures, and getting it properly lit.

Aside from that it’s lighting levels when they’re ready, getting the new UI in (bandwidth meter!) I’m helping out wherever and whenever I can. This is one of those points in the semester where things get really really complicated for me as I’m pulling double duty between being a student and being a staff member for EAE. But, this is what I signed up for, so here we go!

 

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Week 5 – playtests, explosions, speed bursts, and green tea.

I am so tired.

We got a bunch of stuff done this week, the new inhibitor is in and looking pretty sweet.

Some new FX stuff was implemented (this particular one indicates when Ada has full bandwidth)

We had a cohort-wide playtest which was difficult to manage since the new decal system kind of broke everything, so most of the playtest was spent apologizing for stuff not working. One of the big things I did make note of was people not knowing when to anticipate a launch tile vs a manual jump. I think more rules need to be set regarding these two things to help the player expect these options. Like jump tiles need to be obviously shorter in distance than launch tiles. I’ll talk to the design team about it.

I got some new fast and slow tiles implemented, Joe wanted to go with something that would tile well and be less linear-looking as our old arrows looked. so the fast and slow lanes became these respectively:

FS2-01 V2-03

 

Slow lanes look like stop signs LOL

So two weeks till GDC. Brenton is working hard on a brand new trailer for us, so far it’s a modified version of the old trailer, but with about 100% more awesomeness. Keaton is working out the score right now, I can’t wait to hear it. Art team is working hard arting new levels, the engineers keep everything running, and we’re all just truckin’ along.

We decided to order t-shirts for the team, so Cory game up with a super cool design:

So I’m coordinating getting those ordered. I’m also doing stickers and temporary tattoos for the team, we have a lot of ground to cover this year between the EAE and Intel booths, so we are investing in some pretty decent swag.

Two weeks to go, but I’m off to take a short break, it is my birthday afterall. 🙂