Archives for posts with tag: AVCon

Hiya, welcome back to the Kana Quest Devblog. And this week we are looking at what went down at this year’s AVCon.

I went to AVCon last year, and it was the first event I ever took Kana Quest to. And I had an amazing time. If you have a game that you’ve been working on, and you want to show it off I cannot recommend AVCon enough. It’s a friendly crowd, its in a great venue, Adelaide is a lovely place and what’s more the barrier to entry is exceptionally low. Most events cost money to attend, but not AVCon. They do have a right of refusal, but they don’t mind if your game is a bit rough around the edges. Both times I have gone, I’ve seen student games as well as game jam games being exhibited. So, if you are in Australia, and can afford tickets to Adelaide, along with accommodation, do not overlook AVCon.

So this year I went with my mate Reuben. He helped me exhibit at PAXAus last year and is doing some contract programming work for me for Kana Quest. We both met up at Melbourne Airport for our flight on Wednesday. One small piece of advice is to get to these events early. You do not want to arrive on the day of set up and run to the event hall. Because we left on Wednesday, we had all of Thursday to patch bugs and double check everything was running smoothly. Another advantage getting there early is that we had time on Friday to buy supplies for the booth. If you are EVER running a booth at an event like this, here are some things you should have.

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Water (a lot of it)
  • Snacks
  • Decorations for your booth.
  • Strepsils / Some other throat lolly
  • Anything that brings you joy in dark times.

You will be surprised how much talking you will do during these things, if you don’t have ample water, and strepsils you are going to lose your voice. You are also going to burn through your energy reserves very quickly so make sure you have snacks to keep you going. This year there was a printing error in the booklet that said the indie game section would be open until 7 and not 6. Reuben and I had all these provisions, and yet we looked like this at the end of day 1.

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And never underestimate how much just a little bit of decoration will do for your booth. We had a small printed poster from Officeworks, some fairy lights, some black backing board, and some dark blue fabric we bought from Lincraft. Which took our booth from this.

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to this.

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See how much of a difference that makes? This wasn’t a super fancy setup either. Everything was being held together by gaffer tape. That backboard was literally being propped up by surplus water bottles that we had. Remember as long as the audience cant see the bugs, you can pretend they don’t exist.

But how was the event its self?

Well it was pretty good, we had lovely neighbours next to us. We had The Caves of Atman DX on one side and Spacetug on the other. We also had Brief Battles and Primordial’s Fireborn across the isle from us. I hadn’t met most of these devs before, but they were all lovely and we had a blast chatting to them and playing their games throughout the weekend (Although I had met one team member of Fireborn a week or so prior). Please check out all of their games, they are all super cool and tonnes of fun!

We also had a bit of media coverage, which I am never going to say no to. Once their articles are written up I’ll edit the links into this blog post, but until then we will just have to wait.

But honestly that’s about it. We went to the convention centre, people played Kana Quest, we talked a bunch, and then we collapsed with exhaustion in our Airbnb at the end of the day. All in all, I love do love AVCon. Hopefully Kana Quest will have launched by the time AVCon comes around again and thus I probably wont be exhibiting next year, but its always a good time. But before I leave you have a selfie of Reuben and I on the plane home.

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So.

AVCon just happened.

My head is buzzing a bit still. My voice is shot to hell (I don’t sound like myself anymore). And boy am I tired.

But I had an amazing time. Getting to see people playing my game for the first time and genuinely enjoying it was incredible. And getting to become friends with game devs from Adelaide was a blast.

But this is supposed to be an update on Kana Quest and its development, not just me gushing how much fun I had. But as a result of AVCon, I honestly can’t remember what I added to Kana Quest leading up to it. So instead I’ll give a list of things I learnt from this weekend.

  1. Presentation is super important at these conventions.  All I had was an A2 poster behind me to tell people what my game was. My presentation was… lacking. But as a result of seeing my poor presentation I now have a really good idea of what I want for future events.  What I will want is a nice big poster that is as big as I can have it to catch people’s attention. But I also want one big screen for the game to be played on so that people walking by can see what the game is and what its like easily. However once I have my one big screen I will want several smaller tablets/laptops/phones running Kana Quest so that more than one or two people can play the game at once. Lastly I would like some small decorations to give my booth more personality. I’m thinking some nice print outs of the Kana tiles and a table cloth with stars on it would be great.
  2. My logo is not good enough. People who don’t know Hiragana didn’t know what my game was without me telling them. Thus a bunch of people would probably would have liked my game didn’t play it because they couldn’t tell what the game was about from the logo. This is a huge problem from a marketing perspective. I will have to change my logo a bit to fix this problem. And a smaller thing about my logo that I hadn’t noticed until someone pointed it out, the Na in my logo is drawn incorrectly. It’s not super obvious but its a small thing that needs to be fixed.
  3. The game is stable. Holy crap the game really is stable. I know that shouldn’t be a shock. But every time I have taken it to an IGDA meetup, at least one game breaking bug has been found. I’m guessing close to two hundred people played Kana Quest over the weekend and only 3 people found a major bug. They all found the same bug that when moving tiles in a certain way could cause the tiles to not move properly and thus cause a weird positioning error. Now of course I would prefer it if there were no bugs, but a bug that only three people found (one of whom was helping me exhibit) is a huge improvement.
  4. Tutorial still needs work. I knew this going into AVCon and its only been further confirmed after it. Now in fairness, the current tutorial is the best iteration yet as about 40% were able to play the game only using the tutorial and have a good idea of what was going on. But 40% is less than half. Better than it was (previous iterations had a 0% success rate). But less than half. Is. Not. Good. Enough. Thankfully some of the other devs who were there gave some good advice on how they would improve it.
  5. I’m on the right track. I know this one is really self congratulatory but I can’t help but feel as though I’m making really good progress. Kana Quest has had a total of fifteen playtests to date. And of those fifteen, from my perspective only the last three or four have been genuinely fun. I’ve been really worried that everyone would play it and just go “This is a cool idea, but its really just meh”. Instead I had people genuinely crestfallen that they finished the demo and couldn’t play more. I had people come back and play again, just so they could get gold medals on the levels they couldn’t get gold medals on. I had people upset they couldn’t pre-order the game from me. None of this would have happened four months ago when I started making Kana Quest full time. And it makes me so happy to think of how far I’ve come.

Anyway. Until next time!

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