I got some time to upload some images from the recent IGC event in Austin.
Jason Hughes, founder and president of Steel Penny Games, was present showing of his first game for WiiWare – “Bruiser & Scratch” – NOW ON SALE.
Joshua “Yoshi” Seaver can be seen promoting GameSalad, Gendai Games’ new easy-to-use engine for iPhone and web applications.
Aaron Murray got a lot of attention for his browser-based rpg – “Domain of Heroes”. Aaron and I spent a lot of time at the conference brainstorming ideas for co-developments between his company, Tandem Games, and Perfect Dork Studios.
For more info on IGC check the earlier post.
During the Independent Game Conference held in Austin Nov 20-21 (2008) we got a chance to show an updated version of our Austin GDC demo of Box Macabre at DEMO NIGHT. It was a great experience and we met a lot of other great local indie developers (more on them further down).
Since we are creating Box Macabre with the aid of the TorqueX engine from GarageGames it was really exciting (and intimidating) to meet one of GG’s own, Davey Jackson, at the show and having him play the demo. He seemed to really like it and had a lot of great feedback for us. We hope he went back to Oregon and talked us up with the rest of the GG team.
Overall we had a wonderful reception of the game. Even the ladies love little Box and the majority said that he was adorable. That was an unexpected side effect; initially I just wanted to make an iconic character that was super basic. I did not expect girls to be drawn to the game because of the cute factor. One thing that is conscious is the effort to keep the game gender neutral.
Our designer, Brit Baker, ran our demo table and I believe he never got a moment’s rest. From doing interviews for TiVo and Gamepro, Brit had his hands full demoing the game for players and journalists alike.
During the show we met Aaron Murray of Tandem Games. What a great guy! He was showing his recently released browser based rpg, DOMAIN OF HEROES. His previous efforts include an innovative puzzle game licensed by VMC Software through Critical Mass Interactive called CRUNCH TIME (which is available for free on his site). Keep an eye out for a potential upcoming team-up between Perfect Dork Studios and Tandem Games!
Also worth mentioning is Gendai Games’ Joshua “Yoshi” Seaver who was demoing his team’s new iPhone development environment, GameSalad, that will allow casual game developers to create fully functioning apps without needing the years of coding experience. Yoshi was a part of a panel discussing iPhone development and the various ups and downs that come with it. Also on the panel was GarageGames’ Davey Jackson and Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software (creator of Enigmo, CroMag Rally and Bugdom).
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM IGC:
-I met with Rusty Buchert of Sony and got a chance to show him the Box Macabre demo privately. He gave me all sorts of info on how I could get the game on the PSN. This is not an official announcement, but it is very likely that we will be porting the game to PSN once the XNA and PC versions are released!
-I sat in on a great panel discussing diversity in games, featuring my friend Donald Harris. I am now much more aware of the lack of real diversity of cultures and genders within the mainstream gaming circle and how we can begin to change that. Donald and I spent a lot of time at IGC discussing potential projects together so don’t be surprised when we eventually move forward with one of them.
That is all for now. I hope to post another update soon so check back in a few weeks!
I wanted to announce that Andrew Sigler has been officially signed to produce the musical score for Box Macabre. Read further to hear the story of how we came together…
While wandering the showroom floor at Austin GDC I took some down time to play PONG at one of the booths. I grabbed both paddles and played by myself until I had a random partner come join me. We spent a good five minutes playing, with no regard to points, just having fun and making witty remarks. Mr. Random then introduced himself as Andy and casually mentioned that he was a composer. My ears perked up since I was in need of music for Box Macabre.
After the show I visited Andy’s site (which you should all do) and was sold. This guy is good! More specifically, he really has great storytelling sensibilities through his sound. I got in touch with Andy and he offered to create a short test track for the Box Macabre teaser trailer just to get a feel for the game. He pretty much nailed it. Watch the trailer and hear for yourself. It wasn’t a tough sell for either party; we knew we had the start of something good and now Andy is officially onboard and ready to rock and roll. Keep your ears open for preview clips as development continues.
For more of Andy’s work visit: www.andrewsigler.com
PREVIEW LEVEL MUSIC FROM BOX MACABRE:
I wanted to announce that Perfect Dork Studios is working with Helen Zhu to create creature and enemy designs for Box Macabre. Helen And I met at the Austin GDC while demoing Box Macabre at the GarageGames booth. One look at her portfolio and I was sold. She has a very good eye for biological detail in making her designs believable and functional. Her contributions will add a lot to the quality of Box Macabre, no doubt! Take a look at some early sketches and visit her website for even more examples of her work. I will post more designs throughout development.
At the Austin GDC we created about 100 or so folded paper versions of Box Macabre, the character, to place in really random areas around the show. It was an experiment in viral marketing in a sense. We noticed throughout the three-day event that people would pick them up out of curiosity and then go on with their day. It really paid off the days of the expo, though, when we had people walk up to the GarageGames booth where we were showing the game and say “Oooooh, THAT’S what that is”. We hope that we have created a fun and memorable character in this seemingly simple box. Click the link below to download your own worksheet to build a paper 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.
THANK YOU GARAGEGAMES FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT
Specifically our AustinGDC homies: Brett Seyler, Deborah Marshall, Kenneth Holst, Matt Fairfax, Derek Bronson