First Exhibit of Warrior Defense

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 didn't expect the festive decorations
I didn’t expect the festive decorations

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.

See that Black Mage?
See that Black Mage?
History of gamedev, anyone?
History of video games, anyone?
Some busy crowd
Some busy crowd
These are vintage now
These are vintage now
These exhibitors are from Ateneo. Kids these days...
These exhibitors are from Ateneo. Kids these days…
My area
My area

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!

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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.

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Smooth and Shiny Weekend

People might have already forgotten, but the One Year Game Challenge program is still ongoing. It’s an IGDA program that I handle in which developers pledged to complete their games within one year starting July 2013. The catch is they would pay a certain amount not less than P1000 to get into the program. If they release their game within the year, IGDA would return their money. Otherwise, IGDA would consider it as donation.

There are already lots of game jams and hackathons but there are only a handful of projects from these events that get revived, polished, and released. I think it’s time that we have an event for completing existing projects. I organized this experimental event called “Smooth and Shiny Weekend” that happened last Saturday, March 29 at Globe Labs. It’s a 24-hour event where developers gather in one roof and together will make polishes to their game projects. It’s kind of like a game jam but for polishing an existing game project. That’s why it’s called “Smooth and Shiny”. For now, I only invited the participants of One Year Game Challenge as it is still experimental.

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The first Smooth and Shiny Weekend evaaar!
Cool poster eh
Cool poster eh

A big big thanks to Globe Labs for letting us use their place. They were really nice to us. Only 5 out of 16 of us came up on Saturday (I am a participant of 1YGC as well). Two more guys caught up on Sunday. The turn out was, well, disappointing. I shout out to those who didn’t attend. I miss you guys! But the reviews I’ve got were great. Someone mentioned that this kind of party is needed as it is hard to work on something when you have the option to procrastinate. The participants are willing to do it again even if there was a fee like maybe for food and stuff. But personally, I don’t want any form of fees. It’s just extra work for me. I like the way it is.

It was such a relaxed event. There was not much pressure, no free food to prepare, no money sponsor to satisfy. When it’s time to eat, we ordered pizza and ate together. There were lots of junk food and juice drinks. Questions were asked and answered. Some needed help and got it right away. It was a good experience, overall. I hope the participants made good progress to their projects. I certainly did. I was able to fix some bugs and prepare a presentable build for my Mind Museum exhibit for the next day. So yeah, I didn’t really stay for 24 hours. I had to head home and prepare for my exhibit (like taking a bath). Sorry guys =) I’ll make it up next time. I would like to thank Gwen for leading the event during Sunday.

So who’s up for the next Shiny Weekend? The next one would certainly be open for all.