Back from Indiecade

I’m finally back from LA! I’m so exhausted I can barely stand. Indiecade was, once again, an amazing festival and conference. I didn’t win any awards with At a Distance, but I don’t care; Indiecade is something special for me, and I was incredibly proud to be a finalist at it again this year.

I was hoping, after this, that I could lock down the basic design of At a Distance and start thinking about how I’m going to release it more publically. Showing the game at Indiecade demonstrated that it’s not yet ready for that, though.

My biggest issue with the game is that it’s still kind of a “gamer’s game” (as a fellow designer described it). Indiecade is different in an important way from, say, the Eurogamer Expo – in that it’s open to the public. And seeing the game being played by people who, for example, weren’t able to jump in first person, was a bit of a shock – it was kind of depressing to see people unable to put any of the game’s concepts together, because they were still struggling with things I take for granted. I don’t want people to have that experience with the game.

Most of the time that didn’t happen, though. In fact, a few people at the festival had an absolutely perfect experience with the game, the sort of experience I wish everyone who played it was lucky enough to have – shared moments of realisation, an open discussion about the systems in the game and how they could experiment with it – when it works, it makes it all worthwhile.

There are a few more events this year I’m hoping to showcase the game at, which I’ll have more details about soon. Oh! And I meant to post this earlier, but Phill Cameron of Gamasutra talked to me at the Eurogamer Expo about the game. His write up is relatively spoiler free, so it’s definitely worth a read if you want to know a bit more about it.

* 6 Comments

6 Comments so far

  1. Jamey on October 12th, 2011

    It’s difficult to figure out how much you’re willing to bend or sacrifice to expand the market of your game. Any game should be easy enough to figure out, but there are some people who just aren’t going to get it unless you bend too far. For a concept game like this, that barrier to understanding or enjoyment might be sort of necessary, or it wouldn’t be such a novel playing experience.

  2. Terry on October 12th, 2011

    To make the distinction clear, I am totally ok with people getting stuck because they can’t work out the game, or whatever. I’m not ok with someone getting stuck because they can’t make a certain jump – which is something that isn’t even important to the concept.

  3. Tom Sennett on October 12th, 2011

    Yeah bro, I died like five times on that first platforming section, before I even had a chance to figure out the game. (Though I persevered and it was awesome.) I say just ditch the entire concept of death – let people wander and be frustrated by the puzzle nature, rather than stupid game stuff.

  4. Ben E on October 13th, 2011

    I made a new friend playing this game, so that’s good! We didn’t have movement difficulties, but based on watching other people play I think I agree with Tom.

  5. EMP on October 14th, 2011

    Sorry i depressed you! (actually, i pretty much understood the game, it was my partner who didn’t.) The game was pretty fun!

  6. Nick on October 14th, 2011

    Terry – would it not be possible to release the game in a similar form to this, playable on one PC either in split-screen or on multiple displays? As I type this I realise how much squishing the two halves of the game onto a 17″ monitor would ruin the sense of space (not to mention the lovely design), but it would surely work for those of us with more than one screen… No doubt you’ve thought of this already. Just thought I’d ask. Cheers!

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