sábado, 20 de outubro de 2012

Brasil Game Show, a little about the experience

As previously said on this post, I was from October 11th till the 14th on Brasil Game Show, the biggest videogame fair of the country, participating on the third national Game Jam. For two days, our team developed a game based on the theme presented to us on the beginning of the Jam. Those were two days filled with problems, ideas, learning and lots, LOTS of work. Everything you hope for from a first game jam.

And even though we didn't take the trophy home, it was an amazing experience, as fun and fulfilling as it was stressful. The kind that remembers me why I chose to work with game development.

But even with my feeling of self realization it is impossible to deny that the event was in many different points badly planned and structured. From the availability of internet and water to the preparation of the support team.

Going in a different direction than the last years, the third Brazil Game Jam (this year called AMD Game Jam, due to sponsors) wasn't an event separated from the fair, with a place reserved for the developers to work and rest, the place designated for the competition was a transparent stand in the heart of the fair, superexposing us in a not wanted way when you wish to make something serious and well finished in 48 hours.

Noise, curious people and inconvenient reporters (a filming team invaded the dorm and woke up one of the groups) were only some of the problems caused by the awful choice of the stand as the base for the BGJ.

O theme wasn't very inspirational either. Conveniently chosen by the sponsor of the Jam, the theme was the slogan of the most recent advertising campaing of the video cards maker: "Without AMD, I'm outta here". The fun part is that this theme became ironic in many moments of the development, specially when one of the computers of our team presented the blue screen seven times. Besides that we had a few other problems: No water in the stand, only one internet cable per team, no information from the techinical support (they shut our power down twice in the night) and lack of respect from AMD to the event (they let teams of e-sports use our computers in the last day, overcrowding the place).

I blame Globo, a national tv station famous for their ignorance. But I do that with reason. Apparently the original idea was for Globo to make a reality game jam and show it on Sunday, but they cancelled in the last minute.

Long story short: we were left with AMD's poorly prepared team.

Having expressed the profoud irritation that I acumulated on the two days of the Jam, let me write about what really matters: Why it was absolutely fucking awesome, besides all the problems.

A lot of myth surrounds the process of game development, "It's too hard, it's boring, it takes too long, it's complicated, you can't just do it", are some of the excuses I hear from unmotivated colleagues at college. And they are all true.
But above it all, making a game is possible. And AMD Brazil Game Jam was a strong reminder of that. Going through all the development stages, from brainstorm to beta testing in 48 hours fighting to stay awake is a low price to pay if you want to see something you created from nothing working and making people smile.

Our youngest fan.
On Brasil Game Show's last day, our stand was open for the public to play and vote in the best game. It was the most tiring and satisfatory day of the event, hundreds of people playing, laughing, talking and overcrowding the stand from 11 a.m till 5 p.m.
Some of the most memorable moments, among so many others, were: Carl, one of Unity's evangelists (whom I not coincidently met at Unite 12) laughing while playing our game, a four year old kid playing absorted, a girl whose feedback was gratifying (Thank you so much Lucy), visitors asking to play one more time, and the surprinsingly positive general public reception.

We didn't win, but our long journey was worth it on the fun each person that played our game had.
So, with no more delay, I present you: AMD Resolution Boy!

It's an arcade game where you control Resolution Boy, a computer sad because he doesn't have a good resolution, so he goes on a journey to collect AMD video cards to improve his hardware. Using his super coolers you fly through the level dodging generic video cards and collecting AMD's. Every time the player collects the right hardware the screen resolution and the score improve. There's a ranking by the end of the game.

To play, click here.

And of course, there was the rest of the fair.
Besides walking by the empty Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and other stands before dawn, I was able to play, during the day, games like God of War: Ascension, Injustice: Gods Among Us, When Vikings Attack!, The Unfinished Swan and a lot of others yet to be launched. Unfortunately I wans't able to play the Wii U, whose line size was insane by 9 a.m.

I also had the opportunity to talk to amazing developers, among them the great Gilliard Lopes, producer of the FIFA series and member of the PodQuest, and Ebbios artist and designer of the surprising Futuron. Both amazing people of solid opinion about the brazilian game market.

And at last, but not least, there was Omnium's stand, a parallel project I've been working on as a programmer. Developed on UDK, Omnium is an FPS with RPG elements situated on a cyberpunk universe on 3100. It is a commercial project with launching date to be about next year.
And as expected there was a lot of movement on the stand of the game, with a lot of meetings and bussiness proposals (some a little exagerated, like a guy who offered to work for free). It is a very interesting project, wait for more posts about it in the future.

Measuring the positives and negatives, I would say the result was very positive, with some observations for the next time. I hope to have the opportunity to participate on the BGJ again but I also hope the structure is a little more well planned. The challenge is to create a game in 48 hours, and not create a game in 48 hours under unstable conditions. If not for the Game Jam, I will return next year for the fair itself, which was actually very good.

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