Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Utah Indie Games Night - January 2008

We had another good Indie Games Night at ITT-Tech in Murray. Attendance was down slightly, probably due to the weather, as it was snowing pretty hard down in Utah County, at the time we started. It was hard to see the lines on the road at times when I was headed to the event, so I imagine that the snow kept some people away. We had around 30-35 people there last night.

I’d definitely have to say that one of the highlights of evening was the food. ITT-Tech brought in some wonderful Mexican food from Red Iguana, one of the best Mexican places in the valley, and maybe on the planet too. It was a very nice change of pace from pizza, and no one went away hungry. Thank You again ITT-Tech!

We ran into some technical difficulties with the Link Realms presentation. There wasn’t any way to anticipate this, but apparently ITT-Tech has some ports blocked, to prevent the students from wasting time play games like World of Warcraft. And of course, these were exactly the ports that Link Realms is using. So in a nutshell, Herb wasn’t able to actually show the new version of the game in action. He still managed to give a good presentation, talking about the MMO industry, and showing some game play videos of an older version of the game. He also showed the editor that users use to create their own “Realm” within the game.

While the Mythyn Interactive guys and ITT-Tech were attempting to fix the issue, Jay and I presented a few games. I showed off Antibody (my “in the body” shooter) again and to fill some time I also showed the cool prototype Crayon Physics done by Kloonigames. It showed how some simple elements, like boxes, circles and some simple physics, can combine to create some emergent behavior that can make for many different solutions to a puzzle. Even more than a designer may anticipate (sometimes good, sometimes bad). Jay showed off some more additions to his Frayed Knights RPG. There is now a large fountain in the game that looks suspiciously like a toilet bowl (this is a humorous RPG after all).

Towards the end of the evening, we had a few guys that decided to show a couple of different projects that they’ve been working on, but we ran out of time, so hopefully we’ll get to see these games next time. I’m looking forward to see them. One of them was WoogiWorld, which is a game to help teach kids how to use the internet appropriately. It looks pretty interesting, from what little I've seen so far. The other game is in its early stages, and is a sci-fi “Zelda-esc” shooter/RPG of sorts, where you have to use your rover to defeat some morphing alien blobs that are taking over a space ship. At least that’s what I remember.

I had originally planned to limit the overhead projector presentations to 30 minutes, and then break-out into smaller groups after that. However that didn’t happen, mostly due the technical difficulties that arose. There were two machines in the room, but only the one with the projector ended up being used. Despite these challenges we still had a good evening. There was good food, some good discussions, some good info presented. Hopefully no-one went away disappointed.
Thanks again to ITT-Tech for hosting the event. Thanks also to Thomas Millen who put together that cool poster above advertising the event.