In the last post we introduced our latest work in progress, Richard Reed’s Space Krieg and talked about how we are taking our turn based tactical dog fighting MOBA on tour to get some answers to the many questions we have going into this project.
Not only would this be the first time any form of Space Krieg had been played in almost 8 years, but it was also the first time we had demo’d a multiplayer title at a live show and it would act as a trial run for Nordic Game’s indie pitch competition – more about that in a little bit. There was a lot riding on this demo working and the reaction it got from attendees. Oh and it was also our first time at Insomnia! If you have never been to an Insomnia it is a very large LAN party with an expo, we would be taking up a booth in the expo Indie Zone. As an event that bring in a lot of MOBA and eSport fans we thought it would be the perfect place to test Space Krieg.
We had a 2v2 version of the game set up as we only have 4 monitors to demo the game on and a 2m long booth, we had to get a bit creative with how to fit all the monitors in – thank goodness for IKEA and the MAMMUT stool. Also we added last minute controller support when we realised there was no way we’d have room for mice and keyboards – and as it would be running over PCs and Macs we also had to use Xbox and PS4 controllers. But whats taking your multiplayer game demo to a consumer expo if there’s not a bit (lot) of duct tape holding the whole thing together eh?
And the result? People loved it! The game worked, well mostly. There was a few tweaks to be made here and there – mostly to the session length as games were lasting too long and we had people wanting to play! By the third day (of four) we were done making edits and now it was just about watching people play and quizzing them afterwards on what they liked/did not like.
It was brining in the crowds, people were coming back for more turns and everyone who played asked us where/when they could buy it! We left i60 buzzing, people ‘got it’ and more than that they had a blast. But Space Krieg is a long way of being ready to release, like a long way off and our next priority was getting the game ready for Nordic Game.
Nordic Game and Develop
This represents the ‘entering Space Krieg into competitions’ section of the tour.
Nordic was actually the final stage of a pitching competition that started for us at Konsoll in Norway the year before. It became very obvious to us watching the other pitches on stage in Malmo that we were far to early in development compared to the other titles, and whilst disappointed that we didn’t win in the end we were not surprised. But the on stage pitching competition was only half the story – the other was the spot in the expo we had to set up. Important tip if you are ever using a Scandinavian keyboard and trying to set up a networked game – the period on the num pad is actually a comma. A few hours and one crazy Alex later we had the game set up, running and ready to play.
Nordic game is far smaller in scale than Insomnia but the audience is almost all developers – and whilst we braced ourselves for far more critical feedback what we got was a whole bunch of people coming back for more plays and wanting to know why they couldn’t vote for our game in another competition that was taking place with the other games in the expo. Huzzah. Another show, another crowd pleased.
Back in Blighty and over to Brighton next for Develop and another couple of competitions – the Indie Show Case and the Big Indie Pitch. Just like Nordic, Develop is industry facing event, unlike Nordic this time people could vote for our game! Being part of the Indie Show Case meant we had already beaten a lot of very good indie games to make it to the expo, we were really hoping to take home at least one of the two trophies on offer – the Peoples Choice or the Judges Choice. Sadly it was not to be, but then there was the Big Indie Pitch.
The Big Indie Pitch is a lot like speed dating for games pitches to investors and press. After all the pitchers have pitched to all the judges they deliberate and a winner receives some Steel Media goodies. Well. We took home first prize and got some amazing feedback from the judges and those who stopped by and played the game at the expo, so it wasn’t all a loss. Also Leanne won the Develop Gamer Bake with her Dark Souls cake!
Insomnia – again
After our first time at Insomnia we were keen to go back. We had made several tweaks and improvements to the game since our first trip based on a lot of the feedback we had been getting.
So with all the experience we had gathered so far (and a far better stocked and robust Booth Kit) we headed up to Birmingham once more to unleash Space Krieg on the masses and try our hand at running a tournament.
Again we had a blast at i61, a lot of new people got to play Space Krieg and the tournament got them bringing their friends over from the LAN in the other hall to have a go! We also learned that if you’re going to be in an expo between Block Ships and Robot Wars you’re going to need a portable mic and amp (3, 2, 1, BLOCK SHIPS!).
We still have a lot of work to do with Space Krieg. Introducing different classes and defining roles, implementing game modes, a more intuitive UI, more art, more explosions, a tutorial, a lobby the list goes on. But we have a lot of willing testers lined up thanks to Insomnia and a thirst to get this game in front of people again soon.
We had a lot of questions going into the tour, mostly we just wanted to know if there was an audience out there for Space Krieg? And the answer is a resounding yes, they are out there and they are waiting.