RECAP: Austin GDC Unveiling of Box Macabre

Perfect Dork Studios unveiled the Box Macabre demo for the very first time to the public at the 2008 Austin Game Developer’s Conference. We were fortunate enough to have GarageGames allow us to show the game off at their booth since we are using their latest XNA based engine – TorqueX.


As soon as we loaded the game up on the show floor we got some initial feedback from the GarageGames reps; they spotted some glitches and bugs we had not encountered. It shook us up a little since we were afraid that the demo would not show well because of the glitches. Well we are not ones to bow down, so during lunch we sat and feverishly rewrote some code and tweaked a few things based on the initial feedback and were able to get the game play really smooth.


We did not get a chance to show this updated demo on the show floor the first day of the expo but we did get a chance to show it off to a selective group that attended the “Not IGC” event held by GarageGames that night. Most of the attendees were Torque-users, or people interested in getting into game development. For about 2 hours we took groups of individuals to an area in the back where we had the demo running to let them play through it. It was very interesting to see peoples’ reactions. Overall we had a great showing that night and we went home feeling super good about the work we had done.


The next and final day of the expo, we were able to really push the game and had many people stopping by the GarageGames booth to try it out. Even with all the noise and commotion, we had people finishing the demo in full. I tried not to advertise myself as the game’s creator so that I could hang out and observe how people played the game and get some honest reactions from them. Without a doubt the majority of the people who played enjoyed the game and had really positive things to say about it.


When making games in a bubble, it is hard to gauge how someone will react to something. Will they think it is as cool as you do? Granted, everyone could have hated the demo and we still would have pushed forward because we believe in it so much. It is just nice to have that kind of excitement from our peers and audience so early into the project. It will definitely make some of the frustrations of development easier to get through.


Where are we now? Well we are going to be showing the demo at next month’s Independent Game Conference on November 20 in Austin, Texas. It will be updated further with some music and sound this time around and potentially some graphical enhancements. We are finalizing our designs and project goals and should be in full development mode no later than January 1st.



Specifically our AustinGDC homies: Brett Seyler, Deborah Marshall, Kenneth Holst, Matt Fairfax, Derek Bronson

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