We’re back from DevGAMM. It was a great experience because we showcased our game at a conference for the first time in the history of IriySoft!
Day 0 — Pre-Party
We went to Minsk by car — it was a whole day trip, we arrived in the evening and were a bit tired, but went to the pre-party anyway. There were 3 of us — the others didn’t want to go.
Sometimes when you come to a free game conference party you find no food and little drink and/or huge lines (especially if you’re late), so we didn’t have high expectations, but it was not like this! It’s not like I’m a fan of free food and drinks, but it creates the proper atmosphere. We were late at the pre-party, but still we could grab some food, and free beer was unlimited and easy to get (at some point the waiter even brought several beers to our table!). People with beers were walking around and chatting — it was an awesome party!
Day 1 — Games
Next day was the first conference day. Our showcase was scheduled for the next day. Unfortunately I didn’t find any interesting sessions so I skipped almost the whole Day 1. Since the conference focus had shifted from Flash, a lot of the sessions became irrelevant to what we’re doing in IriySoft. Our focus has shifted from Flash games too, but in a different way. For example, there were a lot of music/SFX and localization sessions, or sessions from big companies, like Wargaming. There were also a lot of sessions dedicated to Unity, that we do not use.
So I decided to check out the other games that were showcased at the conference. I made a list of the games I wanted to see beforehand and it saved me a lot of time. The games that I played during Day 1:
- Goliath — a 3D action adventure game. Was nice, but some people (and me) were unable to reach the first quest point because the level configuration was a bit too complex. The game looks nice though, I’m pretty sure the devs will fix it.
- The Horde — from the guys who made a couple of games for Catch App — it’s a zombie game where you infect people to increase your team of zombies. It’s a mobile game controlled with swipes. You walk in the city that consists of square blocks, so you can go in one of four directions. There are also humans with guns. Overall the game looks too complex for a Catch App game but too simple for a bigger game.
- The Final Station — I wanted to see it since the video was very promising. It’s a mix of a platform game and a train simulator. To be honest, I was disappointed. I could only play the platform part. It looks good and all, but somehow it didn’t impress me much. I didn’t find how I could ride the train and the developer was busy chatting with some game designer who decided to share his vision 🙂 This game won the grand prize btw.
- OVIVO — an action game with gravity switch mechanics. There is a black and white level and you can switch the side and gravity. The mechanics are fun, though there were some glitches that made you lose despite you did it right. The guys plan to create more levels and release the game soon. Hope they will make the controls more responsive.
- Dragons: Create And Fly! — a simple game for kids. You assemble a dragon from several parts, color it and fly. You can’t die, so it’s very simple. These guys had cool stickers as promo materials 🙂
- CodeName: Weapon Trigger — I was impressed by the huge boss on the video, but I found that it’s a quick prototype and there is no much to see except for the boss fight. It’s made by the guys who created Divide By Sheep.
A lot of games had joystick as a controller, even if it didn’t fit well for the gameplay — looks like it’s a trend. Or they all plan to have a console release too. And all the games were multiplaform.
I tried to learn from the others what works and what doesn’t work during the showcase, so here are my points:
- Don’t hesitate to say ‘hey, come play my game’ to the trespassers, because some people hesitate to come and play
- Don’t hesitate at all %)))
- Make your game info sheet visible — some tables had it placed so that I couldn’t see the game name
- Take a mouse pad with you — the tables were made of glass and the mouses didn’t work without mouse pads
- Talk to the players, help them, but do not be too intrusive
- Ask people to take your promo stuff, because some people hesitate to take it
- Don’t stand between the players and your game %)
- Have a paper with game info to give to the players — it can be a simple piece of paper with facts and pics — we didn’t have it 🙁
- Have something on your table that can catch the player’s eye — we had a box with the gems that Armorgames made to promote Cursed Treasure 2
- Make notes of what’s happening when the players play and record their feedback
By the way, the conference stuff made a special list of tips (in Russian) for these who showcased their games — it was really helpful.
There was an after-party on Day 1. Unfortunately, it was not fun at all — the place was overcrowded, the food was already gone when we came and there was a huge line for free beer — we left it 5 minutes after we arrived and i saw several people who did the same.
Day 2 — Showcase
The first session (10 am) on Day 2 was a panel with several indies dedicated to indiepoclypse. They discussed what worked the best to make their games successful, or at least what they had done to make a successful game. The focus was on marketing — nowadays it’s one of the most important aspects of the game development. If you’re making a game, you’ll have to do marketing. Even if you have a publisher, you still better do marketing too to improve the chances of your game to stand out from the crowd.
Another session we visited was about the evolution of Shadow Fight game. The session was pretty interesting — the speaker was the creator of the original «Version 0» and he was the producer of all the sequels, including the latest installment that is not released yet. Shadow Fight is a great example of a game that started being small and have being progressively improved to become a huge and cool title.
After that I checked the showcase again, there was a couple of new games that I wanted to see:
- The Mooseman — a nice puzzle/adventure about a shaman who can switch to the world of spirits and back. The creator of the game was interviewed by the journalists on camera while I was playing.
- Summer Catchers — I thought it’s a tilty/bike game when I saw the trailer, but in fact it’s more like a runner with upgrades. The game is really well-crafted, they won the Excellence In Audio prize.
- One Day In London — to be honest, I didn’t check this game, because I thought it’s a hidden object game. At the end of Day 2, during the Award ceremony, a girl sitting next to me won the «Best Of Showcase» award so I talked to her and played the game. It’s an interactive story with a really nice art — seems like my type of games!
The second half of the day was our time to showcase Cursed Treasure 3! Here’s how our table looked:
As you can see, the company name on the info sheet is wrong — we noticed it only when we came back home, hope the players didn’t try to remember it and took the business cards, hehe.
It was a bit scary in the beginning, but then the players started to come and play, they were interested and I had a lot to say to them, since the game was still in the Alpha stage and some things did not work. And there was no tutorial at all yet. 3 hours passed like 3 minutes… There was no crowd, but there was somebody playing almost all the time. Some players just played silently, others had a lot of feedback, sometimes irrelevant, but I made notes of everything they said. Everybody liked the pocket calendars 🙂
The meteor spell was free (no mana) in this version of Cursed Treasure 3 and most of the players started to launch meteors one after another as soon as they realized it, so passing the levels was not a problem at all.
One of the players was the creator of Defense Zone — Artem, it was really nice to talk to him, and we hanged out later during the final after-party too.
The guys who made Divide By Ship also came by and we talked a bit about Cursed Treasure and other games made by IriySoft.
There was a girl who played and had fun — I believe it’s a good sign 🙂
One of the players spent about 15 minutes playing (that’s a lot) and told us that he didn’t like tower defense games, but this one was fun.
One of the players wanted to take a gem, and we told him not to touch it!
One of the players found a bug — an enemy could get stuck in the ground and become invulnerable.
It was the end of the conference, besides everybody went to Game Lynch that is more like a fun show rather than a contest. So we finished earlier and spent some time at Game Lynch too.
Then there was the Awards show. It was pretty fun and in English for some reason, despite of the fact that most of the visitors spoke Russian.
After the Awards show there was the final after-party at the same place. I liked this one a lot, because there was a lot of easy-to-get beer, we met a couple of friends and the atmosphere was really great. People were hanging around and chatting. We had a chance to talk to Lerika and Alex, who make DevGAMM, and they promised even more fun during the next DevGAMM in Moscow 🙂
It was cool, hope we’ll do it more often. Oh and the attendee package contained a very cool fridge magnet. You’ve played Battle City, haven’t you? O_o