So I’ve just spent the last year travelling around Asia.
61030 km travelled (approx 1.5 times around the world)
I’ve had the time of my life and met so many amazing people. Looking forward to seeing what comes next in England and feeling excited for festival season and summer!
Here’s a video of some of the highlights of my travels
So for the last 5 months I’ve been travelling around South East Asia, which has been amazing, but I have been finding myself increasingly missing making games. So a few weeks ago, while I was in Vietnam, I remembered that global game jam was just around the corner, so I signed up for my nearest jam site, which turned out to be Rangsit University in Bangkok.
I thought the idea of developing a game in another country could be a fun new challenge, I mean I wasn’t even sure if there would be anyone that spoke English.
So on the 20th, I rocked up to Rangsit University and got myself registered for the jam.
The first thing that shocked me was the scale of the Thai dev community, there were over 100+ registered jammers! Far more than any Jam site I have ever been to before. Most of the jammers were students, but there were a couple of attendees from local game companies. I soon found myself a team of local game developers.
And then the theme was announced was “Waves”. We struggled with coming up with a concept that everyone was happy with at first (the theme was very similar to one I had for Rezzed earlier in the year which didn’t help), but we eventually settled on a concept that revolved around two people bouncing waves between them by entering increasingly difficult button combinations.
As it was Donald Trump’s inauguration day, the games avatar soon become an angry shouting Trump. We managed to get the prototype working within a few hours, and I went back to my hotel for the night, my team mates had no such luxury however…
It’s probably also worth mentioning that the Jam site provided catering for the whole 48 hours for the jam, as well as free energy drinks, snacks and Coffee, they provided more food than I could ever possibly eat. It was a massive departure from game jams I’ve attended previously
Eventually we finished our game and named it “Top Trumps” after the card game. We were voted 3rd in the popular vote of around 30ish games, which was nice! Although our game turned out to be pretty silly, I had so much fun making it. It was also great in another country, the energy in the room was intoxicating and I made a bunch of new friends to boot. I can’t wait to for GGJ2018!
It was Develop Conference in Brighton last week, and as always, it was a blast. The Sofa Squadron crew hit up lots of the parties: Marioke, Special Effect party, and the incredibly popular Games by the Sea.
We had a very special reason to be at Games by the Sea, because we were showing Super Block Party in public for the very first time! GBTS is probably the perfect place to show a party game because there is a brilliant atmosphere, friendly crowd and plenty of free beer.
We set up our stand with plenty of merch, and managed to take a few photos of the crowds around our game along with a few selfies! The mood was high and we were so very excited to be showing Super Block Party to everyone.
Since Games by the Sea takes place during Develop conference, lots of the audience were fellow games developers and designers. It was rather scary showing the game to people who know so much about games design, but it probably helped. Designers are notoriously honest so we could count on having genuine feedback!
It being the first time we’ve had new comers play our game, we learned a lot about where Super Block Party is really working. When making a party game for up to eight players, it’s obviously difficult to test ideas with enough new users, so the insight from demoing the game last week has been invaluable. We learned that people on the whole ‘got it’ quite quickly, but we still need to work on announcing objectives and providing enough player feedback to make the game even more competitive. Luckily, these are incremental improvements and we know the core gameplay is pretty robust and highly enjoyable.
The event was an amazing success for us with barely a vacant controller all evening. Lots of people came to play and some rivalries began to emerge between players. In an evening of competitive fun, we heard lots of roars of laughter and friendly competition coming from our stand. It was a brilliant event and we can’t wait to demo again!
Thanks to Unity and all of the event sponsors, and extra mega thanks to Edd and the rest of the Games by the Sea crew for putting us up and hosting such a wonderful event.
Last week myself and fellow Plug-In developer James were lucky enough to be sent to Unite Europe in Amsterdam to check out what’s changing with the Unity engine and see what cool new stuff is on the horizon.
We spent the majority of our time (when we weren’t watching the various talks and presentations) checking out the Made with Unity showcase. I was really impressed with the variety and quality of the upcoming games, and it was great to chat to the other devs about their methods. It was also great to try out some of the VR games coming out the indie community.
One of the games in the showcase, that I absolutly loved, was called Pode. Pode is a puzzle platformer mixed with Lost Viking style problem solving. The visuals were cute and charming and the gameplay feels quite relaxed and zen like. Although the developers insisted the version we played was still pre-alpha, it was one of the most polished games on display.
Of all the talks that I saw over the week, my favorite was probably the following talk by Alex Trowers. It details the journey he went through with his partner Leanne Bayley to create a game before the arrival of their child. I also loved that the slideshow was an actual game, and the presentation was so personal and heartwarming.
Overall I really enjoyed my first time at Unite Europe and I’m looking forward to seeing what Unity have in store for us next year.