Better late than never. The first exhibit of Warrior Defense at the Mind Museum was mind blowing! They have this monthly event called Mind Burst in which they highlight anything related to science. For the month of March, they featured video games! That’s where we come in. I was one of the local game developers that was invited to do an exhibit of any one of my games. This is a perfect opportunity for Warrior Defense to shine. This happened last March 30.
I was totally surprised with how they made the venue. At first, I imagined that it will just be a big empty room with chairs and tables where we can set-up. I didn’t expect the festive environment at all. There were lots of gamey decorations. There were hangings of 16bit characters which one could take home. I particularly liked the iconic Black Mage from Final Fantasy but there were already 2 participants who are eying it. Just look at the pictures then.
What I really liked in the exhibit are the kids! They’d like to try the games even if they are works in progress. For a game developer’s perspective, kids are the real QA. These guys are the real testers and they come for free. I’m just glad that lots of them tried my game and stayed for a while. Wherever you are, you guys rock!
I learned a ton of things. I realized that I came under-prepared. I turned off some of the features that could be unlocked in later levels because it just broke when I made the build the previous night and I’m too sleepy to fix it. I also figured that players most probably might not stay long enough to see these features. I was completely wrong. They stayed longer than I expected and they could have seen the cooler stuff had I done the fixes.
The game broke a lot, too. If you’ve seen Indie Game: The Movie, it looks a lot like Phil Fish restarting the game every time it crashed. What’s more embarrassing is my game didn’t crash. Not once. It just stopped working like it doesn’t accept input anymore or it was in perpetual pause that it can no longer be unpaused. The only remedy is to restart the game which means that the player’s progress is restarted as well. I don’t see the player getting pissed but he’s probably disappointed at the least. Next time, I should prepare a working build two days before the exhibit day.
The kids’ sequence of choices while playing is valuable information. I could have made a system that records their play input which runs in the background. I could have read this data at a later time to rewind the play sequence. That was a tremendous amount of information loss.
I also found that running an exhibit is quite hectic. I was actually overwhelmed. I had to watch my things, I had to watch and analyze how players play the game, and I had to answer questions. I was also sleep deprived because of cramming a presentable build the night before the event. I got so tired after the exhibit. There are two things learned here. First, I repeat, make the exhibit build at least two days before the event so I could have a full sleep on the night before it. Second, bring someone to help man the exhibit. I did bring my best friend and she was such a big help.
Knowing how to get to the place is so important. I’m not a BGC guy so I still get lost in that place. I didn’t know where exactly in BGC the Mind Museum is. We had to walk a few blocks from where we got off from a bus. A block in BGC is quite long. A few blocks is freaking long! Add to that a heavy bag and the midday sun. Not knowing how to get to the place took from me a lot.
In conclusion, it was a successful exhibit overall. I had fun but also got tired. So many unexpected things happened and I learned a lot from it. I also got a lot of insights on how to improve my game. I’ll never pass up an opportunity to present my game again. It’s a rare one. I’d like to thank Mind Museum for taking the time and resources to put up Wired to Play. Can’t wait for the next one. Please do invite me again.