Developer Diary #14 — Ohio Game Developer Expo

Last weekend my wife and I attended the Ohio Game Developer Expo. The OGDE is a completely new event which was held on Ohio State University’s campus in Columbus Ohio. This was our first event like this, so we approached it with a bit of anxiety. To make things interesting, we had just finished a week of grad school finals. We had zero opportunity to catch up on sleep before waking up at 4am to make the drive to Columbus. Friday morning, we had nothing ready for our trip. After our last final, we managed to design business cards, a poster, a table layout, and desktop configurations of two tablets and a laptop. I also created and exported stable builds of each game in a few hours the evening before. Then: packing, booking a hotel, sleeping a little, loading the car, driving off into the dark, and suddenly we were setting up.

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The expo was a huge success. It turned out to be an intimate affair, with about 30 booths and a steady flow of traffic given the space. We had the opportunity to meet and talk to a bunch of great people who live only a state or two away. Living in the Midwest can be isolating as a game developer. It seems the big-kid clubs are all in California, New York, or some other coastal region. It was unbelievable to meet real people who made and played games. To all of those who we met at the event: I’m so glad for your presence. It was a true joy to meet you.

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As you can see in the photo, we showcased Precarious Potions at the expo. I made a special build which reset all save data when the game was started so that players got a fresh experience, every time. I have heard more than a few times to make sure your build is ready for public consumption before a show, so I took time to get things ready. In spite of this, I expected problems. The best way to find all the ways your game is broken is to show it to real people, after all. Yet, we had none. The hardest part of the event was keeping my introversion in check with coffee.

I now feel very prepared to launch Precarious Potions. The feedback was incredible. I kept fishing for critique, but no one could (or would) say anything against the darn thing. One woman described it as “pleasantly frustrating.” Another compared it to Cut the Rope, which is absolutely what inspired me at the start. No one needed instruction, not even children. In fact, the kids learned much faster than the adults. One kid ran back to his mother’s booth after playing and presented me with free merchandise from their table. In general, people played much longer than politeness dictated–and some played a very long time. I left the event excited and ready to wrestle with multiple ridiculous submission processes.

Which is what I am going to go do right now. Expect a release early January!

-Ryan