Saturday, February 11, 2017

Utah Indie Games Night - February 2017

After a bit of a hiatus, we had another good Utah Indie Games Night this past Wednesday night. The EAE department of the U of U hosted it again. We had around 30 people there, so it was an average event for us. We had a bit of a fiasco at the start as we were locked out of the room that we had reserved. I finally was able to track down someone to let us, but we got a late start as a result, however things went uphill from there.

We started the evening with a presentation from Adam Corey. He talked about the moderate successes that he's had in the mobile market. He's an artist by trade and he uses Stencyl to create his games, as it requires little or no programming (at least in the traditional sense). He got his start creating lots of little game jam games and eventually he took some of those further an released them to the IOS market. LavaBird was his game in the market. It got some press and was well received, but it soon disappeared in the the abyss of the store. His next game HueBall got featured and did moderately well. His latest game Level With Me, got featured eventually and has done moderately well also. Adam made a point that that's pretty much the only way to find success on the mobile market is to be featured. He tried other ways to boost his downloads, but being featured was the only one that worked well.

He also shared some best practices for the mobile market
1. Accept the mobile world (it's not ideal)
2. Time is currency (Your game has to be understood by players quickly)
3. Prototype early (learn if it's fun or not early in the process)
4. Be honest with yourself (don't ignore the red flags)
5. Minimal marketing (Other than being featured most marketing doesn't help)
6. Prepare for the abyss (Be prepared for failure)

You can view Adam's presentation slides here.

There were a number of demos that were shown. Here's my quick take on the ones I saw.

Nummels
This is a cute puzzle platformer in the vein of Lemmings where you have to lead all the nummels to the exit. Love the cute graphics and it looks like it's coming along nicely.

Crashnauts
This is a same screen multiplayer area brawler where you try to frag all your friends. It come along way since I've seen it last and both the gameplay and graphics are looking very polished now.

Spirits of Elduurn
Curtis showed the latest incarnation of Spirits of Elduurn, a puzzle game set in the same world as Siphon Spirit. It now has a bunch more levels and a level editor so you can create your own levels.

Ancient Go
Chris was showing his version Go. It has a nicer interface than the vast majority of Go clients out there, but he uses the same servers so that you can play many of the Go players that are out there world wide.

Summoners Fate
This is a  RPG card game for IOS. I tried my hand at it, but the monsters kept summoning more monsters and I got my butt kicked pretty quickly. It was fun, but definitely a challenge.

There was another platformer game that I didn't get a good look at, and I'm sure I missed another game or two.  I also briefly showed the video for my global game jam entry, Alien Waves. It's a 360 degree wave shooter in VR, where you have to shoot red aliens with your red gun and blue aliens with your blue gun. You have to block their shots the same way. I'm hoping to take the game further and develop it into a more polished VR game.

As usual there were lots of great discussion happening also. Also as things died down Lyle and I started a game of penny hockey. I guess anything can happen at our game nights.

Thanks to everyone for making it an enjoyable evening.

Viva la Indie!