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  • Exhibiting at GDEX 2018: The Great Postmortem

    [12.06.18]
    - Davionne Gooden

  • Wrap-Up

    Overall, I'd say the expo was a success. I got more playtesting feedback than I hoped for and I'm very happy with how the game is coming along.

    Next time, I'll definitely be doing much more promo before the event, making the booth stand out visually, and attracting as many people to the game as I can (adding an attract mode, bigger monitor/TV, improved and themed décor, etc.) I'm not entirely sure yet, but I also might change the demo to the original sidequest idea now that it's in a better shape. We'll see - again, let me know your thoughts on this.


    The revised "attract mode" as seen on the second day of the expo. As you can see, it just reused the opening area of the original GDEX demo.

    Also, I'd like to have a full-time assistant for the event. For those of you who don't know, I'm pretty much the only one developing the game (aside from the fantastic, already completed score and some artwork), meaning I was the only one specifically there for my game. It wasn't a huge deal, though - if I wanted to walk around, I had the other devs to take care of things, but they weren't actually associated with the game in some fashion. If a player had a question or a streamer wanted some information, they wouldn't have been able to answer it. Plus, any time I was away from the table was time I couldn't watch people play if they were there. Apparently, a girl came through and was super into the game; so much so that she remained transfixed even as tables and equipment were being moved around her. I can't confirm this, though; I heard it from a fellow dev who told me when I returned to the booth. It would have been awesome to see that myself or at least have someone associated with the game see it. But alas...

    So, let's say you're an indie dev and you're about to show off your game publically. Here's a few random tips for ya:

    1. Stay hydrated. You're gonna be heavily active the entire time and I guarantee you you're gonna feel exhausted in some shape or form after the show. (I got a cold as soon as I came back home, hence why this post is a bit late.)
    2. Don't go alone. Even if you're a solo dev, try to bring a buddy or put out an ad for an assistant if possible. Not only do you have reliable backup, but you also have a friend to experience the expo with!
    3. Lock down the build EARLY. Like, at least a week in advance. It'll give you plenty of time to test it and make any necessary changes, but you definitely shouldn't be working on critical content the day before the expo. The last thing you need is an uncaught game-breaking bug popping up on the show floor.
    4. If glitches happen, chill out. It's not a huge deal, it happens. Unless the bug is absolutely game breaking, just take a note of it and make sure to fix it after the show. No use drawing attention to it if possible. Plus, since most of the games at the expo were indies, attendees were much more forgiving of them.
    5. If shit REALLY hits the fan, stay calm. Midway through the second day, I made a small change during the show and my computer crashed (a regular occurence for my rig, sadly...) Normally I'd be able to restart to continue on, but this crash ended up corrupting my entire game file.Thankfully, I had backups on hand, which leads me to my next point...
    6. BACK. YOUR. SHIT. UP. Seriously. Have one (or multiple, better yet) on-site and another off-site. Remember kids, if you just have one copy, you don't have any.
    7. Shut up... at least while people are playing. I didn't notice it at this expo, but at another indie gaming event way back when, a lot of developers would overly explain their mechanics, guide the player themselves and otherwise not let the player actually play the game. Chill out and observe. It's all good.
    8. Have a physical controller layout nearby if possible. It's something I noticed while playing Sony/Insomniac's Spider-Man at the expo - they had an iPad constantly showing the controls nearby, so the player never had to ask the rep or fumble around too much. Obviously, this isn't a huge deal if your game has fairly simple controls (such as mine, for example), but it's still something worthwhile to consider.
    9. Connect with other developers! Like I said before, it's always super inspiring to link up with people who are just as passionate as you are; it's a good way to make new friends and support each other.
    10. Take photos. Document and enjoy the experience; it's good to have for social media and for the sweet, sweet memories.
    11. Be attentive, look engaged. It's all too easy to just pull out your phone and browse for a bit during a lull. Believe me, I'm guilty of it too. But please, look like you're actually invested in your game (which I'm sure you are) and give out a welcoming, passionate vibe to people. If you're sitting there looking bored, people passing by will certainly notice. Stay attentive, and greet people with a smile. You never know who you might meet out there...
    12. Have fun! It is a gaming expo, after all. Enjoy yourself. :)


    Probably one of my favorite geeky pics. (That's me on the left.) Sadly, I didn't get the name of him, but whoever you are - you and your matching war-Luigi were sick.

    Well, that's about it for now! If you've gotten this far, you deserve a cookie. What do you guys think? Any other bits of advice you would add? What's your expo experience been like? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    As for when you guys can play the game yourself... Well, the next expo is... well, I can't announce it just yet. Check back next week ;)

    For the non-expo goers, though... well, the demo is technically good to go now, I just need to make a few minor changes and wait for Oliver's final art to come in. Once that happens, I'll set a release date for it. Shouldn't be too long now. I'm super excited for you guys to finally get a taste of the game, and I'm even more excited for you guys to play the full version.

    In due time, my friends. In due time...

    If you haven't, I'd hugely appreciate it if y'all would wishlist the game on Steam. Also, feel free to follow the game on TwitterInstagram or via email newsletter updates. There's also my personal Twitter or Insta if you really care about my barely active, self-deprecating ass.

    With that, I'm off to finish the last episode of The Walking Dead (Season One). I can't wait to get emotionally destroyed even more.

    Until next time, y'all be excellent to each other, yeah?

    -Davionne / Lorenze

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