Side by side

At a distance is finished! It had it’s début last Thursday at NYU Game Center’s No Quarter Exhibition in New York, which I attended. Some very minor opening night bugs aside, the game worked out just as I’d hoped it would, with people talking about it over the course of the night and piecing together its logic. I couldn’t be happier about it!

If you wanna hear a bit more, two New York journalists Stephen Totilo of Kotaku and Cassandra Khaw of Indiegames.com also attended the exhibition, and were kind enough to write a bit about my game! (There are some spoilers in those links, but nothing too serious.)

Since the exhibition, a lot of people have been asking me when they can play it – honestly, I’m not sure. It’s very much built for this particular setup, with two computers side by side; really, I don’t think it works outside of that arrangement. And I don’t expect a lot of people to go to the trouble of setting that up.

I could just throw it up on the internet now as it is, I suppose, but what I think I’d rather do is take some time to consider how I might expand it, how I might make it accessible to more people. I’m really proud of this game, and I want more people to play it.

In the meantime, if you’d like to play this or any of the other No Quarter games, the exhibition will continue to run in NYU Game Center for the rest of the month. I won’t be there, but if you do go check it out, let me know how you get on!

Oh! And if you happen to be running an event that you’d like to show At a distance at, get in touch!

* 21 Comments

21 Comments so far

  1. Rikki on May 18th, 2011

    Can it not be adapted to run on a 2 monitor set-up on 1 PC?

    If not, I guess the solution is to run one of the PCs on a VM on the machine that the other is running on, although I’m not sure how that would affect performance.

  2. Terry on May 18th, 2011

    I suppose it can technically work that way, but it’s far from an ideal way to play the game… (In any case, you need two controllers.)

  3. Rikki on May 18th, 2011

    Are the inputs keyboard and mouse, or a USB controller? I guess if it’s the former it gets more tricky (though still possible: http://blog.rahady.com/2009/10/running-2-oses-with-separate-mice-and-keyboards)

  4. Gregory Weir on May 18th, 2011

    This is a sort of brute force solution, and not that simple to implement, but it looks like it’s already networked multiplayer; could you give each player a picture-in-picture view of the other player’s view, with the option to temporarily make it fullscreen? That plus voicechat might get you most of the way.

  5. Terry on May 18th, 2011

    Picture-in-picture is probably the best alternative solution to online networked play, yeah. It would probably also be a good idea to support a split-screen option so that people could play it locally with one machine… I’m not particularly happy with either of those compromises, but I’m not sure there’s anything better I can do.

  6. David on May 18th, 2011

    For the record, I would recreate your setup in a *heartbeat* to play the game the right way. I’ve got a laptop, my friends have laptops. It is *no trouble*.

  7. Allan on May 19th, 2011

    It takes away some of what makes the game special, but I think a single player would be able to complete the game if they were able to switch between both sides of the game. Also there’s a lot of downtime for each player during the game so I’m not sure people would have the patience with a network solution. There’s a difference when you’re not in the same room.

  8. dyngo on May 19th, 2011

    David beat me to it — it’s easy to find two laptops to play with. Could probably find two monitors and plug them in if you want bigger screens…

    Finding controllers is probably harder. I’ve got a PS2-esque USB gamepad myself.

  9. StephenM3 on May 19th, 2011

    I was so happy to get to play this on opening night. It was such a cool experience. Congrats, Terry, on getting all that ready by the deadline!

    I’m still in New York for the rest of the week, and I’ve dropped by No Quarter a couple times to see if I can catch people playing At a Distance — I’m very curious to see how it goes down in a less hectic environment. (but unfortunately my timing was bad :P )

  10. Mortar on May 19th, 2011

    At any rate it’d be fun for LAN parties

  11. Terry on May 19th, 2011

    @StephenM3: Was cool meeting you in New York! Thanks for playing through the game :)

    @David, dyngo: Thanks; I appriciate you going to the hassle of setting it up – it’s just that I don’t expect a lot of people in general to do it. Hope it won’t be too long before you’re able to play it!

    @Allan: Sounds like you’ve played it already, heh. Were you in New York?

  12. Eric Mill on May 19th, 2011

    Why not do both? Release what you have now for the dedicated people who will set it up, and then (with helpful feedback from the broader audience who got to experience the original) release a broader version.

  13. Terry on May 19th, 2011

    I dunno. Might very well do that (gonna have to wait until the exhibition finishes up, in any case)

  14. Andrew on May 19th, 2011

    Terry…I have 2 computers in my house…I can make this happen…WE…can make this happen! (Frothing at the mouth.)

    But seriously, I’m so glad to see this finished and I hope to see more of it!

  15. Allan on May 19th, 2011

    @Terry: Yes. Well, I watched people play through most of it. Still entertaining from the sidelines. Probably better for me since I’m a klutz with a controller.

  16. Terry on May 19th, 2011

    You should have said hi!

  17. Paul McGee on May 21st, 2011

    Count me down as someone who would get two laptops in a heartbeart! ;P

  18. pubjoe on May 22nd, 2011

    Argh. It’s so frustrating. The curiosity. I can’t play it but I also can’t read or watch anything about it for fear of spoiling anything.

    It sounds like a show or social environment is the best place for it. Even if I did set up two computers at home (which I definitely would), would it still be as good an experience?

  19. Vítor on June 14th, 2011

    I’ve watched Totilo video on Kotaku..but I watched it without sound to avoid spoilers…I wanna try to figure out the game for myself like he had to.

    I’m eager to play it!

  20. Terry on June 14th, 2011

    Hopefully it won’t be too long before you can :)

  21. [...] strangest and yet oddly delightful moments was when Paolo (of Molleindustria) and I helped set up At a Distance – with Terry on Skype. A Greek developer living in Germany and an Italian developer living in [...]

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