On the 22nd and 23rd of November, Caromble! will be playable at Game in the City as part of INDIGO on the Road. If you are around, don’t hesitate to try out Caromble! at this event in Amersfoort!
Tag Archive: indigo
The main things we want to figure out now is how to move on commercially: We all agree that we would love to make some money out of it. Maybe early investments (not just after we’re done), so we can put it in the development.
We also want to try some more gameplay tweaks – we have the chance now to still test around. The main mechanic is too simple, we should at least allow more interaction for better players.
Taking aside the problems that result from presenting a prototype (missing content and features, lack of consistent quality, not much guiding of the player), here are the points we agreed on from the feedback.
- The good:
- It is already a lot of fun, so the basic idea can stay. In my experience early prototypes are often more of a drag (because of the mentioned shortcomings) – Caromble is a positive exception.
- It ran really stable. After some trouble setting it up, I don’t think we ever had a crash or performance problems.
- The art style can stay. Also the decision of the scenario with the cities got really positive reactions.
- The music worked well.
- The bad:
- The art is too inconsistent. The idea with making it comic-style is not getting across enough. Funnily it seems I put too much work into it. All the assets I rushed for the event got the most positive feedback. I could write a whole article about the state of confusion and dilemma that puts me in – but I spare you.
- The sounds: There was not enough variation. They were not convincing enough. But we knew it, since it was a bit rushed but still there is much work ahead for us.
- Several things caused confusion, that we ourselves didn’t even see anymore: The pink blobs that fly to the player. We should remove them or make them useful. We have to add walls to the level, to make clear what the ball reflects from.
- The slogan has to change – heh I liked the joking “yet another breakout” – but some people took it seriously. So we’ll have to come up with something more positive. No ideas yet.
So the plan: Fix the problems, add a deeper layer of gameplay and get the level editor going. Then we can test around more, and create a playable version with more levels. Once that all works, we can show it to publishers or even publish it as beta on the website.
Nearly exactly two weeks ago, we finally had our presentation at the Indigo-festival. We did a mad dash the last days before it, to polish our prototype. I think it paid off – Indigo was a great experience.
And we had success in the press too – we were chosen on the Dutch gaming news site bashers as one of the “13 special games of Indigo 2011” – so we made the top 43.33333333333333 percent!
I’ll share some first impressions here. And since our team members haven’t all been there at the same days, we plan to meet up next week to revel in the praise and laugh about all the critics. …well and maybe talk about how to implement any feedback they had. I’ll then write up the second part with a bit more about our battle plan.
First off it was great for us to join the Indigo showcase. It forced us to make a presentable, playable version. We had to add menus and add some small tweaks to allow players to quickly test the game. The often little changes make a big difference – it also helps us, as it makes our testing experience better and more fun.
And of course it is always good to hear some outside opinions. They really ranged from icy-frozen facial expressions to excited “awesome” screams. The game idea and the setting were often mentioned as great – the size switch of the ball was a positive surprise to many. Everyone liked the physics and many asked about who made the music.
The gameplay in detail was often criticized: The ball has long stretches of being out of reach of the player. The paddle was hard to control. Some things we didn’t even notice anymore did confuse the testers: For example the pink light blobs that fly from the objects to the paddle. While one could say it is the points that fly to the player, it is more distracting than helpful right now.
I also found some assumptions from the gamers interesting. Many moved the paddle in a flicking motion, trying to give the ball a spin like in table tennis. Maybe it would be a good idea to put it in, so that the natural expectations of the players are met. More on any changes in the next part.
The warm-up before the final spurt to the Indigo release: Not even two weeks to go – but good progress so far. The game runs very stable now on different machines. All objects have some basic textures, and we’re nearly ready to open the next area of the level. That will need me to make new objects, and hopefully I can still tweak the skybox a bit.[SinglePic not found] [SinglePic not found] [SinglePic not found]
Yesterday half of our team went to the Dutch Game Garden – to show the current state of Caromble. They are an organization that supports game developers in Holland and holds an Indie-Game festival called “Indigo” in May.
They liked our little baby – so here we go:
Caromble will be at Indigo in Utrecht on May 13 and 14 2011!
Come by and play our prototype level! Friday May 13 is invitation only. Saturday May 14 is open to everyone (who registered at their webpage). They expect 1.000 visitors, so we better deliver.
We will have to optimize our level a bit and make a list of features we definitely need. A little game menu might help for the presentation – hm, anything else? And I’m starting to think we might need business cards or flyers or something. Maybe a nice print of some of the concept art.