Its been a long time since we sat down and blabbered. The main reason for this was because there was nothing much to blabber about. We are working on Asura & other projects which provides us with food to eat and now since we just came back from San Francisco showcasing the brand new build of Asura, it would be great to just to share our experience of flying to other side of the world and demoing our game. It can also help anyone out there who is planning to go to such events to showcase their game. If anything, at least we hope you don’t make the same mistakes we made and it will help you prepare better. so lets roll shall we!
What is Indie Prize?
To our brothers and sisters of battle who don’t know what Indie Prize is, it is basically a networking event where game developers showcase their game and get to interact with all sorts of people from the industry. Its mostly a B2B (Business to business) convention for small scale developers like us to catch up with publishers and other potential clients alike.
We had gone to Indie Prize Singapore a year back where we showcased the proto-type of Asura and recently we (Zain) went to San-Francisco to showcase the Alpha build of the same game.
The Merchandise, Showcase Rig and the stuff you should purchase and be prepared with for travel!
We started with the preparation for the event a month back with all the merchandise and stuff printed and ready to be distributed at the event. We had made bunch of copies of posters, pamphlets , three types of stickers and a tons of visiting cards.
We figured we would give the pamphlets and stickers for people who would come and check out the booth but the posters were for them awesome people who could complete the demo!
We tried all sorts of places or printers to get our t-shirts rolling but none of them could serve us with good quality prints. We must have tried at least 6 of them paying them some money upfront but at the end we had no choice but to go to Printo and they did a pretty nice job printing 2 t shirts in 4 days.
If you are planning to go to such events, We would really recommend Printo. They are good if you want to get few pieces printed for yourselves or the team. but if you need 25 pieces to be sold or distributed to the folks who will come at your booth, we couldn’t find anyone to do that. Printo charges a lot (rs.450 for 1 Piece) which is absurdly high cost, at least for us. The others wouldn’t take up the job for 25 piece and would ask us to order minimum of 200 pieces which would again be a crazy amount to work with. But if you are looking for something for yourselves to wear, Printo is GREAT where you can print a small amount of T-shirt for your team of 2 or 3 who will be showcasing!
Our game is for PC and as a result we couldn’t just carry a whole desktop set-up to the event because only one of us was going to be at the gig and it would have been pretty crazy to always make it a point to take the whole set-up after the event to our hotel. We can’t leave our showcase stuff at the gig itself, because there is big chance of it getting flicked. At the end, for portability sake our showcase rig went something like below
21″ Inch Monitor,
Skull Candy Head Phones,
A Keyboard & Mouse.
A PS3 Controller.
One important thing we forgot and you should not is a plug converter. We are Indians, as a result we use Indian style power outlets, which looks something like this
Don’t worry it is not some inter galactic power-outlet from Enterprise but that’s what they have and our stuff wont connect with that. Its like India and Pakistan, not compatible with each other. To make them work, you need something like this.
Its a Travel-plug adapter which i got for 30$ in US. Don’t do that mistake and get one at India itself if you are from here. Its like Rs. 250 each which is way more cheaper but we forgot about it and payed royally -_-
Also, if you have migraines or any of those chronic disease, it goes without saying to purchase your medication and go there, I got a severe migraine and had to run around with my luggage to get some tablets which was not fun!
Always do check-in online if possible. Trust us! International check-in lines are crazy. Even going to the airport 3 hours prior to travel is not enough to board the plane with ease. They had to shove me ahead at the end so that i could board on time. So ONLINE CHECK-IN is a must for ease!
Also if you can, pack two bags with less than 8 kgs and you can carry both of them as hand bags. So if you have a hand bag and a luggage with rollers just do that and you will be able to carry it in your hand instead of throwing it in the conveyor belt, because once you reach your destination, it takes forever for the luggage to come unless you are lucky. This is just a tip which most people wont be able to digest because usually people carry 10,000 stuff with useless stuff when they travel but if you are a light packer like us, it will be that much easy for you!
That is pretty much for the stuff that you should plan or keep in mind before the travel. Travelling for 24 hrs with a stop over in between is not easy and hope this helps to soothe your journey a little
Our Table-Setup and the Showcase experience in general!
Our table number was 1083 if we are not wrong, besides amazing games like Bierzerkers ( Sheild Break Studios), Inner Space, Dub wars( Wobble) and Clusterpuck99(PHL Collective). The first day was amazing with all sorts of people checking out our game. One positive feedback we got was that the controls were very intuitive . Even a lay-man could pick up the controller and hack ‘n’ Slash through our game which was really thrilling to watch. It feels epic when you have been creating a stuff for so long and people just pick it up and play. Some hated the Rogue-like system the game had to offer but they understood it when they actually played it. The other devs would stop by to play the game and we got a ton of feedback which we had missed completely
From second day on wards, the public who came to play reduced a bit and one annoying thing we felt was the ad/ Monetization people visiting our table only to show no interest as soon as i said it was a PC game. The least they could do was sit and play the game for the sole reason of having fun and checking out instead of strictly keeping it business. But again, it was a B2B convention and as a result one cant expect much consumers to be at the gig.
Some of the amazing games at the show!
It was an honor to share tables with amazing people from Sheild Break Studios ( Guys from blizzard), PHL Collective ( Indie devs from Philadelphia), Puuba( Devs from LA) and the best part was that all these guys had passed through Steam Green-light or had a game already released on steam. If they where free, i would just annoy of these guys with tons of questions and queries regarding development, design and release in general and they would share a zillion advice and opinions which were all amazing and priceless!
Its sad that I could only play the games which were around me and not the stuff from the whole convention because i had gone alone and had to make sure i dint leave my stuff.
Here are some of the games we played!
Bierzerkers by Sheild Break Studios
They are developing a multiplayer game kinda like TF2 with rpg skill system. The devs are all veterans in the industry for 11 years, and have worked at Blizzard, Activision etc etc. The game is still a WIP and you can get it in early access. It looks really crisp so far and the game is fun to play! Man, the art is so epic that i drooled all over their table. Pure awesomeness. They also won the Multiplayer award at Indie Prize!
Dub wars by Wobble
A top-down space shooter arcade style with a super twist. The spaceship shoots according to the drops in the dub-step music playing in the background. You see amazing weapons fire and particles fly all over the place as the beats explode behind and it all looks so cool that you cant help but groove while playing. The controls are really simple, left analog stick to move the ship and the other stick to rotate it for accuracy. It is in early access and if you are a music freak or are into arcade space shooter, you can grab it here.
Steam Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/290000/
The Weapongraphist by Puuba
Oh man! These guys where amazing to hang around with. We both had Rogue-likes being showcased at our tables and theirs were so amazingly funny and over the top that i literally had a blast playing with the ridiculous amount of weapons they had to offer. It even has crazy weapons like a Tuba which you can destroy enemies with. You basically play as Doug Mcgrove, a demon hunter who is on a mission to get rid of …. yes you guess it right, DEMONS!
Steam Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/329240/
Clusterpuck99 by PHL Collective.
If you like local multiplayer games where you can dish out with up-to 8 of your friends, look no more, I guess I stumbled upon one of the best arcade/Party/Multiplayer sports game in the industry. The game is basically you and your friends trying to shoot the puck in each others goal but the amazing variety of levels, the awesome but simple controls works like a beaut! Mix it with the editor which i have not yet tried myself but i guess it is one of the best things we can all ask for.
Bren was showcasing the game alone with all his charms and boy, usually his hands or i rather say controllers were full with people playing the game. People were going all crazy trying to beat each other and it was very cool to sometimes just leave my table and enjoy the game. You should definitely check it out and grab some controllers with your friends. Trust me, you wont be pucked !
Steam Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/337960/
Inner Space by Polyknight games!
Inner space came into the floor the second day. Eric couldn’t show up when the show started but I got to play it and it is a serene experience. It is an exploration game like Journey where in you are a cartographer in maneuvering a flight and flying around this very relaxing environment trying to explore and reveal the map as much as possible. During the showcase, they had the flight controls and some early environment assets in the demo and it felt amazing so far to fly around the world. You can either fly in the sky or dive down to the ocean to explore and find artifacts. Eric and me had some very cool discussion on design and it was blast sharing ideas with him. The game was a kick-starter campaign and they were successfully funded. It is shaping out to be an amazing piece of interactive art and I hope they reach the finish line soon that we can grab it !
You can check out the kick-starter campaign that they successfully destroyed here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2074789246/innerspace
The Detail by Rival Games LTD
This is for those people who dig heavy narrative based games from Tell tale. It was very difficult to check out the game because it a story based game and I could only skim through for 5 minutes but for the time we spent with it, The Detail looked amazing. They have in-cooperated this graphic style art which looks really crisp and serves the setting of the game amazingly. If you are into narrative based games then you can grab it at steam over here or you can if get it for your Handheld devices here. Check it out!
Steam Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/319970/
Road Redemption by Dark Seas Studios
I don’t think this game needs any introduction due to its already set fame in the gaming scene. It is spiritual success to Road Rash, yes that game which thought us to loathe the name “AXLE”. Dark Seas Studios has or is making an amazing sequel to the legendary bike brawler and it feels great to punch and kick other bikers. You can even execute a grappling move which i was not that successful in executing because of my noobness, but when i did do it, things got ugly and fun! The game is in early access and you can check it out here.
Steam Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/300380/
Also got to meet Evan Smith, one of the founders and creative guys over at Dark Seas Studios and it was obviously amazing to chat with the man!
The games from APNA BHARATH!
Most of the guys had brought the games which we have already played since it has all released already and which are really good of course like Underdogstudio’s Skatelander, Seven summits studios Avion etc etc but in the midst was Super Nano Jumper by Himanshu Manwani which I personally hadn’t got a chance to check out and i got to play it and it was brilliant ! It is basically a nice mobile platformer meets super meat boy. I almost threw his phone though
Although we were not the part of the delegation and went over to San Francisco on our own, Nasscom had done an amazing job supporting the indian devs which they had selected. The delegation was offered 50% or some part of the travel cost, which i think is amazing for the studios to reduce the expenditure and Shruti Verma, the super woman was running all around the place to help them with meetings and stuff. We hope everyone of them had a blast and got some good business and publisher deals going!
So how was the over-all experience?!
I say it was EPIC! We got so to meet so many amazing people from developers to some consumers and also watched them play our game. After everything said when you see the stuff you have been working hard on being played and enjoyed by people, it is definetly an amazing feeling. We had a 10 year old who rocked the first boss of Asura although with tons of curses and anger but it was great!
Here is some points on who should definitely go to Indie Prize!
1.) If you have a mobile game!
2.) If you are looking for a publisher for your mobile game!
3.) If yours is a free to play game and you are looking for Ad/ Monetization stuff, you just abso- freaking – loutly go!
4.) If you are a service based game studio who provide art, development etc etc, you can definitely find clients but make sure you have working game to showcase or you could even just be a visitor and hang around the venue showcasing your portfolio at the gig!
5.) If you have any kind of game and are not confident whether how it will work, you should just be there. If nothing, you will at least figure what the problem is by watching other people play!
Some points to add in your to-do list before going to the event!
1.) Book a hostel or hotel early but check out the reviews before doing it so that the place where you will bunker up would be a safe and a location near to the gig. Trust me, it will save your sanity, time and energy!
2.) Check-in your flight online
3.) Try to get all your merchandise, and stuff produced alt east 15 days prior to the gig so that you can do correction if any!
4.) Try not to go alone to such events but take your team mates. I say 3 people minimum should go. One will serve at the table, one will sit in the talks and other will grab people from the floor to check out the game. I understand that more people equals to more expenditure but it will be worth it as you will be able to juice out more awesomeness from the event
5.) Try to get an extension cable for your headphones so that people wont have to fight with the length of the wire. I know this is not a great tip, but it helps!
The overall experience was amazing and San-Francisco in general is a beautiful city with amazing weather. I din’t have much time to see it since i was either busy with meeting new people, spreading awareness and building new contacts in the process. I can definitely check out the city next time i visit as i am pretty sure the buildings or places don’t move, but people come and go and you never know whom you meet. Also, we have a tight budget at the movement, due to which I have to live a frugal life as if it was not obvious!
I dread taking photos, especially the group selfies, but here are some of the images i managed to grab from my phone. I should have clicked some pictures of myself with the amazing developers and people i met, but i was so dazed by their work and awesomeness i completely forgot about everything else. So here are some pictures anyways.
Also the very first day i reached the hotel, the rooms where not ready until 3.00 pm so i had 4 hrs of free time to check out the city, i asked someone for a game store around and the gentleman pointed me towards a general direction of a Gamescape store, these are the stuff i found over there.
That is pretty much it and hope you had a good read. I know that the blog was really long but i wanted to cover every single game which i could lay my hands on. We hope that this helps you guys plan your showcase events better as that was one of the main reasons I blabbered so much. We are working on Asura as hard as possible and it is shaping at a very steady pace. No release date yet but its coming along! Have patience……
Thanks for dropping by and hope you have an epic day!