Indy Pop Con 2015 Post-Mortem

I showed RELATIVITY at Indy Pop Con this past weekend. You might remember, I actually showed there last year as well.

Last year, I kept track of how many people played, and how long everyone body played for. I’ve stopped collecting that data now though, as it was mainly to see how long the game keeps people engaged compared to previous versions. Now, I see a significant number of people complete the demo, which is the first level, regularly.

This year, the con was much bigger. I think this was largely in part because they had several high-profiler YouTubers attending.

Indy Pop Con was three days, like last year.

This was the schedule for the show:

Friday, June 26
1:00pm – Opening Ceremony, Main Stage
1:30pm – Show Floor Opens for VIP
2:00pm – Show Floor Opens
8:00pm – Show Floor Closes, After Hours Activities Begin
12:00am – Show Closes

Saturday, June 27
9:30am – Show Floor Opens for VIP
10:00am – Show Floor Opens
6:00pm – Show Floor Closes, After Hours Activities Begin
12:00am – Show Closes

Sunday, June 28
9:30am – Show Floor Opens for VIP
10:00am – Show Floor Opens
5:00pm – Show Closes

Setup

Last year I had a table. This year, I moved up to a booth.

The con was much larger and busier this year. I remember last year on Friday, people didn’t start to come by and play the game until 2 hours in.

This year, there were people pretty much right away when the con opened.

What was really cool, was that there were several people who were already familiar with the game. A lot of people would tell me they had seen the game somewhere, but couldn’t remember where.

I think this is a good sign, because it means that the game is getting out there in a  lot of places.

There were also several people who had played the game last time I showed at Pop Con, and commented on how much the game has improved since.

Here’s a comparison of the 2 versions, about 1 year apart:

Design Feedback

It seems that every time I show the game at an event, I get one tid bit about how to change the layout of the opening level to make it even more accessible to players.

This year at Indy Pop Con was no exception. It has always been difficult for players to find the entrances to the various puzzle areas once they get outside. During a conversation with a playtester this year, I finally figured out what the issue is.

I’ll go into more detail on this subject during a livestream (which will be recorded and posted on YouTube) sometime later, but for now, it’s basically that I need to switch the entrance and exit areas.

Reboot Indie Game Awards

RELATIVITY was one of three finalists, alongside Battle Chef Brigade and Crashland!

The award ceremony was the last even on Sunday, at 4 PM.

Here’s the show as it was getting started:

Small, but dedicated audience!

Each team got on stage to present for 5 minutes.

Here’s me presenting (photo by Ross Herseman)

In the end, RELATIVITY got second place, and I got this skateboard!

Congrats again to Butterscotch Shenanigans on being a fellow finalist and to Trinket Studio for winning the Reboot Award!

(Photo by Living the Nerd Life)

Thank you again to Indy Pop Con, the judges, all the other game studios that were showing, and all the people who have played and supported the game so far! Thank you!

New team member!

Chris Wade, a local Chicago indie dev, has come on board. He’ll be working on the game full-time for the summer, helping me overhaul all the gameplay systems and making sure all the mechanics work together.

During this time, we’ll also be working on adding more visual and game feel polish.

Here’s a small thing Chris implemented earlier:

Here’s a small thing Chris implemented earlier:

The cube colors now fade nicely between active and inactive states, making the transition much smoother.

I think from here we’re going to making a lot of progress. Will definitely be posting updates here.

Also, continuing to stream on a regular basis.

here’s the stream from last night:

And here are images of the level that was made (still not completely finished yet):

E3 Post-Mortem – Part 3: Final Thoughts

For me, being at E3 was a totally crazy experience. A few years ago, I didn’t even play video games, and yet it was still one of the few video game events that I had heard about on the news. Last year, I remember watching the livestream from my apartment and thinking how cool it’d be to attend the event in person, but never thought I’d be showing my game there.

This year, I showed RELATIVITY at E3, and in the PlayStation booth no less! It’s still really unbelievable for me.

I owe a huge thanks to Sony for the opportunity. There are A TON of great games that they could have chosen to show at E3 instead.

Also, because Sony took care of all the setup, it was not only the best presentation I’ve had at a show, but also the easiest logistically. Instead of having to lug a laptop and monitor to the convention center and set it all up, I just had to show up. And when the show was over, instead of having to stick around and pack up everything, I was able to just walk away. This made it a really great experience for me.

I got a tremendous amount of press during the event. Below is just a partial list of some of the coverage the game received during E3:

Canadian Videogame Awards - Willy Chyr’s RELATIVITY

PlayStation Universe - E3 2015 – Relativity PS4 preview impressions with gameplay footage

PlayStation Nation - E3 2015: Hands on with ‘Relativity

GamesRadar - Relativity is the mind-bending cousin of Portal and Echochrome

PSNStores - Relativity Coming to PS4 in 2016

Multiplayer.it - LA RELATIVITÀ È RELATIVA

Multiplayer.it - E3 2015 – SCOPRIAMO WILLY CHYR’S RELATIVITY

IndieMag - Relativity, l’héritier spirituel d’Antichamber !

I would say that the one thing about E3 that was very different from other game events I’ve been to, is how few indie devs there are proportionally. At GDC and IndieCade, you’re constantly running into familiar faces, and other indies you know from the web. At E3, most of the people I didn’t recognize.

It’s also much more international. There were people from all over the place at E3. I met developers from Costa Rica, journalists from Peru. It was a really cool atmosphere. In a lot of ways, definitely the biggest game event of the year.

E3 Post-Mortem – Part 2: Wednesday and Thursday

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday was super exciting for me. At 2:30 PM, I went on the PlayStation E3 livestream to chat about RELATIVITY with Anthony Carboni:

Carboni was super cool. Really nice guy and a great host. He actually came by the booth on Tuesday before the show started and played through the demo to familiarize himself with the game.

The original plan was to have me play the game on stage, but there was some lag with that setup so it didn’t work out. However, Justin, who does social media for PlayStation, was able to step in last minute and be the driver (that’s the term for the person playing the game). We got him to play the demo about half an hour before we went live, and then he played the game live just off to the side while I was talking to Carboni. He definitely saved the day. (Thanks Justin!  Beer!)

After the show was over, I headed over to Glitch City for demo night:

It was packed! Ran into lots of cool people there.

THURSDAY

Last day of E3. By then, I was pretty exhausted, having been on my feet and talking for 6+ hours each of the previous days.

What was very exciting was that RELATIVITY got a “Best of E3″ badge from PlayStation Lifestyle!

That pretty much made my day.

Here’s a pic of me next to the game at the end of E3:

E3 Post-Mortem – Part 1: Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday

Back from showing RELATIVITY at the PlayStation booth at E3… Boy, it was an incredibly exhausting week!

Going to try to remember everything that happened, as well as some of my thoughts about the event while my memory is still fresh.

SUNDAY

I arrived in LA just a little before noon. I made the mistake of not looking into transportation from the airport before my trip. Internet wasn’t the most reliable for me out there.

I got a shuttle to the hotel just outside of the terminal. It was $15. I’d recommend booking a spot in advance just because it’s possible that the shuttle would be full at that time. I was able to get a spot with Prime Time Shuttle (there’s another company there called Super Shuttle). There seems to be a shuttle around every 20 minutes or so.

I actually rode on the same shuttle as the devs from Salt & Sanctuary (hello James and Michelle!) – they were seated behind me and I heard them talking about E3. It turned out they were also showing their game in the PlayStation booth and staying in the same place!

After checking in at hotel, the day was mostly spent picking up the exhibitor badge and the Sony press conference badge. There was a bit of a confusion, and I ended up getting sent to another hotel about mile away to pick up my exhibitor badge. After I walked there, it turned out my badge was actually back at the original hotel… It all worked out in the end though.

MONDAY

On Monday, I had to be at the booth at 11 AM to do a booth walkthrough and check that the game was working. I had submitted a build to Sony about a week before E3, but then had put together a new build of the game with a few additional levels that I wanted to show. I brought the build on a USB and was able to get it running on the PS4 testkit just fine.

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After running through it a few times and making sure that there weren’t any major game breaking bugs, I proceeded to walk around the PlayStation booth checking out some of the other games, knowing that I wouldn’t have any time once the show started. One game I really enjoyed was Thumper.

At around 4 PM, I headed over to the PlayStation Press Conference.

Here are some photos of the pre-conference reception:

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At the conference!

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TUESDAY – DAY 1 OF E3!

On Tuesday, the show started at 12 pm. I got to the convention center around 8 AM to do a few more runs of the demo to check for problems, and then had a look around the show floor.

IMG_9730A ton of people were already waiting outside watching the twitch stream:

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I visited South Hall (PlayStation booth was in West Hall), and made sure to pay respects to our alien overlords:IMG_9752

Once the show started, it was pretty much GO GO GO from there. I was booked the whole day with press interviews.

Lots of people tried the game as well, and the response was really positive.

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All I remember was the show started, then I was on floor talking to people, and then before I knew it, it was 6 pm and the security guards were asking everyone to leave the floor.