Ahoy! Here’s your Capt. Eatbones speaking!
What an exciting 2 weeks have passed! Steam Greenlight campaign and Gamelab 2015 have been our only thoughts. While for Greenlight we’ve been in front of our monitors for 7 really dense days, for the Gamelab 2015 we moved, physically, to a wonderful city: Barcelona, Spain.
For those who hasn’t followed us on Twitter & Facebook we want to share with you our experience of the past week. So…let’s begin!
Day 0 – Road to Gamelab 2015
Every travel starts with a harbor, aehm, in this case an airport and a flight (actually, this is mine since Mex flight has not been documented ;P)
Me and Mex arrived the day before, to be sure to be ready for the next day at 8:30 am. Well, the first night hasn’t gone that smooth: we couldn’t plug in the laptop cable since the plug was not compatible! That happened at 11:30 pm so no chance to get a converter anywhere…and next day was going to be a holiday one! Great! & Panic!
Fortunately we succeeded to convert an Italian plug into a Spanish one (not really different except that the Spanish one has no “ground” pin). I suppose that, for us, every first experience pushes Muprhy’s Law to a “whale” new level ;D Here you have Mex, in our hostel room, right after the plug-almost-disaster solved.
Day 1 – Opening & a Really Hot situation
At 8:30 am we entered the Barceló Sants Hotel, on top of Barcelona train station, and applied to get our registration badge. The place is very nice and well organized. I’ve been to the Los Angeles Conference Center and I can say that it was at the same level. The Networking Room was the place where the Indie Hub has been all the time (and us in it), while the conferences took place in other Auditoriums. We got a shared Indie Table so very little space but each one of us had its proper banner right in front.
We met a lot of developers, already in the industry and several starting like us. We had the pleasure to be placed between two great games: The Guest and The Last Door. We made the acquaintance of Team Gotham (The Guest) and The Game Kitchen (The Last Door). While Team Gotham are still dealing with the publisher, they already got quite a successful start with the game on Greenlight. The Guest is a 3D graphic adventure recalling the mood of games like Silent Hill. On the other side, The Game Kitchen already got the attention of the public with the 1st season of The Last Door and at Gamelab they were introducing the 2nd season. Their game is a old-style graphic adventure dealing with a Victorian London and I consider it as a tribute to both Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
Well, with these premises, we started preparing for the big fight since Nantucket was not there to merely watch! Arr!
For this event, we prepared a build of the game to be played and several videos to play in loop. We started with the video loop because there was still few people. When more visitors started to appear, we switched to the fun part: play our game! Easier said than done! After half a hour of play, the game started to slow down a lot. Mex laptop started to overheat and this caused us a serious performance drop, affecting our capabilities of showing correctly the game. In the morning, while we were facing the “Flames of Hell”, there was a speech by Jordan Mechner, widely know for being the creator of the Prince of Persia games and The Last Express:
In the afternoon we had a thermal shutdown: the upper left corner of the laptop was on fire! We had to keep it shut for a while to let it cool down. We had no choice but to leave before the end of the day to try to buy a laptop refrigerating base. Actually, we had to renounce to the speech of Chris Crawford (but we would have had another chance later on):
Day 2 – A Fresh New Start
After Day 1 “Hot Conditions” we arrived a little late to the Indie Hub but we did it with new hope and enthusiasm (as you can see from the picture below, we got a new double fan base for the laptop):
The 1st day had been great, even with the game slowing down. We started to get feedback from developers and gamers attending to the conferences and, of course, from our neighbors indie teams. Showing videos is fine but people wants to get in touch, hands-on on the game. Our game is a slow paced one so we had to guide people while playing, when possible, or showing them us playing while explaining how it works.
The 2nd day started great. More people arrived to our table and now we had no heating problems so the game was running smoothly. We wrote down a lot of feedback and also bugs during these days. We had a meeting with Dan Raigorodsky, leader of another indie team, Electroplasmatic Games. They are a very young team made of people who recently started developing their games.
During the afternoon we noticed a slow down in “visits”. We understand why by having a look at the conference program flyer…Two Bigs of the industry were going to start talking. The first one has been Mr. Shinji Mikami, best know for creating the survival horror series Resident Evil, who received the Gamelab 2015 Honor Prize:
Closing Day 2 there was the 2nd Big of the industry: an interview with Toru Iwatani, creator of the popular game Pac-Man:
Day 3 – Closing & A Great Experience
The last day of the Gamelab has been really exciting. It has been, perhaps, the day with more people playing our game. The great thing of these events is what can happen during the play. Nantucket is heavily based on events. Now, I know lots of them but I’ve got the chance to discover several I never had seen before and some surprised me a lot, like this one:
While I was playing and showing the game in the Networking Room (where the Indie Hub was based), Mex was playing to “the little Paparazzi” trying to get picture of VIPs attending to the conferences. I must say that he seems to be quite convincing ;D Thanks to his “paparazzi” skills we got the chance to take a picture with two Very Important People, at least for us!
Mr. Chris Crawford’s book “The Art of Computer Game Design” has been my first game design book and a great one. Actually, I surely seemed like an adolescent young man while trying to tell how important he has been for my career:
Another great success, in taking pictures, has been meeting in person Mr. Jordan Mechner. I played lots of times the first Prince of Persia on my father’s 286 and envied friends who could play the 2nd on Amiga. Mex loved especially a relatively more recent game, The Last Express:
Well, the day continued with us meeting with the other Italian team exhibiting in the Indie Hub: Tiny Colossus. The team is made by Ciro Cortinisio and Ennio Pirolo who presented Fatal Error, their most recent production. They’ve been very friendly and, of course, they made us feel a little bit closer to home. We decided to spend our last dinner in Barcelona with them, eating pizza and sharing experiences.
Even though our last moments in Barcelona have been spent with Italians, we left the Gamelab 2015 with a picture of our most recent fellows developers: The Game Kitchen team who have been a very nice companion during our days there. I want to personally thank Matéo, Carlos y Enrique for their availability and kindness (in the picture, in order from the left to the right):
Day 4 – Leaving With More Enthusiasm Than When Arrived
I personally think that this kind of events are important to be lived. Not only on the “business” side but, perhaps, more on the “personal” side. The mood is great, you get to know new people and, especially, you understand that you’re not the only one who loves what is doing. This is a great lesson for everyone. Also is a great lesson of humility, something everyone has never to forget, even the greatest.
As I started with a picture of a flight, I will leave you with the other one: the way back home. See you soon here with more news about us and, of course, about Nantucket!