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  • Exhibiting at GDEX 2018: The Great Postmortem

    [12.06.18]
    - Davionne Gooden
  • Hey guys! Hope you all are doing well. The year's almost over and yet so much has happened so fast... it's almost hard to believe. Can't wait to see what 2019 is gonna be like, but we'll all cross that bridge when we come to it. Either way, it's sure to be something special. Until then, I can't wait to finish off this year with a bang.

    So about two weeks ago, I showed off She Dreams Elsewhere over at GDEX 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. I had the opportunity thanks to the Cleveland Game Devs, whom I shared a booth with several other local devs (much love to them and the entire group). My main goal for the conference was to get player feedback and continue building up a fanbase, so for this round I didn't bother with hitting up any media; as far as I know, there weren't many there to begin with. I did, however, make plans to network and make connections with other devs; they were a joy to be around and I plan on meeting up with them in the future.

    This was the first time I'd shown off the game publicly to a large audience, so I was pretty nervous. I was confident in the game itself, but I was more worried about how exactly I was going to present it. JRPGs are a difficult genre to demo, especially since the game is meant to be experienced in longer, more immersive sessions and most attendees tend to bounce from game to game pretty quickly.

    The expo took place from September 28-29th, and I officially knew I would be going about a month and a half in advance. That seems like a lot of time to prepare at first, but considering I had, y'know, the actual rest of the game to develop, that time whizzes by considerably.

    My original plans were to take one of the sidequests (called "Dream Links" in-game) and have that be the demo, albeit with a little bit of content cut out. It was a pretty good slice of what the game was about, showing off the core gameplay, some of the main trio's personalities, the lovely aesthetics, and even a bit of the social commentary that's present throughout the game.

    However, the day before I was supposed to leave for Columbus - scratch that, four hours before I was supposed to leave - I made the decision to change plans. While the level was coming along nicely, it wasn't really there yet, wasn't tested, and I wasn't as confident in it as I wanted to be. (Also, I'd been up for 28 hours straight. Yikes.) So I ended up taking the opening hour of the game and splitting it into two - one for the opening party scene for those who wanted to talk to people and dive into the story, and the other for the first level for those who wanted to explore and get a taste of the battle. With a few cuts I made beforehand, both sections were around 20-30 minutes long, depending on the type of person's playstyle. They had already been thoroughly tested, and I was confident in the gameplay itself due to positive feedback from a multitude of private testers and friends.


    The original version of what the demo was going to be. Takes place in a nightclub where the trio is trying to meet a famous rapper.

    With that, I boarded my Greyhound and made off for Columbus.  I was staying with a friend who went to Ohio State University, so thankfully I didn't have to pay for lodging. (Major shoutout to Joe for hosting, and his roommates for their kindness and hospitality. Oh, and Logic and Lil Wayne's new albums to get me through that godawful bus ride.)

    So... how did it all go?

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