BIC Fest 2018

In mid-September, I went to South Korea for the BIC Festival (Busan Indie Connect, not to confuse with Casual Connect) with a little detour in Seoul. The first thing that happened in Busan was the “Make Play Jam”, a game jam before the conferences & exhibition. There, I had the change to meet Zak (programmer at 11-bits studio) and Wolf (part of Poppy Works). Each of us got separated into different teams as we were mostly the only programmers. The novelty for me was to make a game with people that barely spoke english, which was challenging in a way. We were communicating through Slack to exchange informations. I was also sick to death, so I was happy to buy laxative.

 

We finally did a small platformer game called Happy Dog:

After the jam, there was one day (13.11) for conferences, with high quality talks from Chris Hecker, Tyrone Rodriguez (Nicalis), Casey Muratori, Nick Suttner and others. Even though the day was full, it seemed pretty short of a lineup compared to events like Reboot Develop, Respawn (before Gamescom) or other smaller conferences events (not like GDC).

Then the day after was Business Day (14.11), it was the occasion for press to test the game before the consumer’s days and to pitch to publishers (mostly sponsors of the event). I got the occasion to pitch the early prototype of Soup Raiders to Nicalis and Devolver Digital to get feedback (there was also Humble Bundle and Epic Games).

Of course, the two days following where the exhibition open to the public. The festival organization did a little game where developers gave stickers to players when they came to their booth, motivating them to test as much game as possible. Because it is a indie game only festival, there was no too much noise (compare to Taipei Game Show for example).

BIC Fest would be what it is without talking the Beach parties. every evening, after dinner, was probably the best networking opportunity with beer and alcohol. This is the place I met some developers from the Kyoto indie game scene and other.

In the end, the BIC Fest is a nice stop before TGS, without the crowd and noise, but with the high quality developers.

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Taipei Game Show 2018

After some months of production hibernation, we showcased Splash Blast Panic at the Ludicious and the Taipei Game Show on the Nintendo Switch. The game is running great and we are in the final phases before release. There are still things to do like localization, age ratings, setup the consoles stores, etc…

The Taipei Game Show was a final opportunity to check if players that do not know anything about the game still like the final version. For that, it was a success:

We were in the corner of the Indie House zone, which was clearly not the best location, even though people were coming and were playing, but there is a clear problem with the repartition of the booths and the neighbor booth was HyperX and there were doing annoying loud noises with their chinese female speakers all day long, probably worse than TeamSpeak at Gamescom. After an event like Pax West, where all the booths are respectable loudness-wise, it makes me wonder if the indie booths should also have really annoying loud sounds too to counter, or that a sound limitation policy should be implemented.

Overall, the Taipei Game Show was a nice event, but I will probably not go back next year, because of the noise and the very consumerist aspect of the festival, oriented for free-to-play and without any interesting goodies, except Sony Playstation t-shirt for $30 (same prizes as in Switzerland).

I also took one week holidays after the conventions and went to visit some nice sites:

It was a nice time, Taipei is a nice city to spend some holidays and change your mind, especially because I did not take holidays in the Christmas holidays to work on Splash Blast Panic.

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Pax West 2017

After the Numerik Games, we prepared our luggage and flew to the United States of America to go to Seattle for the Penny Arcade Expo (Pax West). We were supposed to get a booth with big company that I will not name here, but they canceled the deal. Of course, we already bought our flight tickets, so I did boldly contact the organization of Pax West to get a booth and we managed to get a booth at the Pax Rising booth. It was completely unexpected and both Kevin and I were suprisingly happy by the turn of events.

Right after the Numerik Games, we took the plane for Seattle and landed on Tuesday evening. Just the time to get a sandwich (Which Wich) we went to sleep at Kevin’s friend place. We had the PS4 we tested at the Numerik Games and we went on Thursday to setup the booth. In the jungle that is the setup of a game convention of this size, we found our booth:

Our position was perfect, just next to the people flood of people and close to the entrance. The booth was big and we got food and drink every day during the convention, sponsored by Facebook. We were just behind Slime-san, with Fabraz that we already met at Gamescom. So of course, it was to be expected that starting Friday, there would always be someone playing the game: Except at the very beginning of the day, when everyone was running to their favorite games they wanted to absolutely test, people were curious to test our party game. But Pax West was not just exhibiting for us, we were switching exhibition time Kevin and I to wonder around the convention center. We went to buy goodies, and I also bought a computer keyboard (the US layout being useful for programming) and a new headphone.

Pax West is also about meeting other game developers. On Friday, I went to say hi to the developers of Owlboy and bought a plush of Otus, the main character of the game, signed by them. I also met Christophe Galati again after the Tokyo Game Show. Because he waas alone at his booth, I went for him to get an Otus plush too and say hi to the developers again. On Saturday, I met Aurélien Regard and the nice people at Playdius.

It’s always funny to meet people that live at less than 1000km meet at the other side of the world. We went to eat a nice burger and drink some tasteful whiskey. We exchange on various subjects like education, publishing, marketing, indie games and more. Compared to GDC, people are running around to their next meeting and often don’t have time to stop and to other gamedev. Here at Pax, gamedevs are happy to be there and meet their peers and fans. On Sunday, I met Sean Velasco from Yacht Club Games and I made him test my gameboy homebrew rom Soup Raiders: Jailbreak. We exchanged on game development and Shovel Knight of course:

 


Overall, this Pax West was a huge success and it would be amazing to have a booth similar to the Poland one, with a compact lineup of hig-quality games:

I was interviewed by Mithical Entertainment about Splash Blast Panic. Bear the stuttering and the mistakes, I did my best with how much tired I was. Pax West is amazing and we hope we can join the lineup for Pax East in April 2018. Meanwhile, I leave you with the interview:

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