Tradeshows in september

Hi everyone. The last weeks I’ve shown Megaton Rainfall in 3 different tradeshows: Boston Festival of Indie Games, EGX in Birmingham and Madrid Games Week. But I don’t like tradeshows very much! Besides being expensive (flights and hotels don’t have indie-friendly prices), they are completely unuseful for promotional purposes. If I spend a week making a trailer I could maybe reach tens of thousands of people. But if I spend a week (including preparations) to attend a tradeshow, showing my game in 10-minute demos for 8 hours a day for 4 days… Well you can do the math yourself. Also, some tradeshows don’t give you a press list to arrange meetings with the press (like Boston FIG and Indie Megabooth at GDC did, but EGX Leftfield Collection and MGW didn’t), and without it the visibility you get for being there is very limited.

It would also have been cool to get an award. I had hoped to achieve the technical excellence award in Boston, given the amount of propietary technology that I’m developing to make my game, from full-Earth rendering technology to procedural destruction of buildings, but finally it went to this game Xeero, for its solid bug-free programming. Ok, everything is subjective in this life and I also like bug-free games. But in Madrid, the “jurors” at Made in Spain Games at MGW were beyond subjectivity. They gave 5 or 6 awards and didn’t even play my game. I know for sure, because they didn’t come to play and didn’t ask me for a build. It’s not subjective, it is insulting.

Finished the negative, now the positive 🙂 One of the coolest thing about tradeshows is the opportunity to test different versions of my game with dozens of people. In Birmingham, I tested 4 different control interfaces (of the VR version of Megaton Rainfall) each of the 4 days of the EGX. In fact, I developed 2 of them in the evenings at the hotel. So I know all the pros and cons of all of them (I’ll write about my VR design decisions in other post). I asked everyone what’s the best and worst of my game in 5 words. A lot of people chose the same answer. Almost 90% said the best was the sense of flying/scale/speed. There were more varied answers to the worst. In fact as a developer I’m more interested in the worst so that I can improve… I asked for the best so that people don’t feel bad to tell me the worst 🙂

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Other positive thing of attending tradeshows is the possibility to play the games other indie developers are making. It’s inspiring. There is so much talent out there. In MGW I discovered Calendula, an intriguing game that doesn’t want to be played. In EGX I found Four Sided Fantasy, a platformer with a simple but extremely powerful gameplay mechanic (why do I not have those kind of ideas?). And two rythm-based action games, Aeero and my personal favorite Thumper… The feelings that this game can convey in just a few minutes, with its disturbing music and its indescribable visuals is amazing. I finished their demo twice. Can’t wait for the full version. Oh, in Boston I didn’t have much time to wander around and play games so didn’t find anything worth mentioning there.

Finally, what I love about tradeshows the most. It happens every time. There are people who absolutely love my game. Well, almost everybody give me positive feedback. But there is some people, maybe 1 out of 10 or 15, that say that my game is the very best indie game around. Like this guy in EGX or this other guy in MGW. They are enthusiastic. Some of them come to play several times. They say I’m making something ambitious and special. Thanks to them I go back home motivated and happy. I want to make the best game I can do, so that I can fulfill their expectation. So, thank you Jordan Pailthorpe and David Hayward for choosing my game for your festivals.

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