Hello people of the internet! Our deepest apologies that we seem to have been M.I.A. for a little while. There were two major factors that led to this: first, two thirds of us were at GDC (Game Developers Conference) in San Francisco all of last week. Second, we’ve been working on getting the online Beta more playable, and it’s been a ton of work. Let’s talk about it in that order… if you just want to hear about the online updates then skip down!
GDC was awesome. GDC is always awesome. It was our second time going, and this one was equally action packed and equally tiring, but a little less stressful. Unfortunately we had to leave Alex home to keep working on the game, and Kyler and Rich (the one writing this) went to San Francisco.
Our goals for this year’s conference were pretty varied. They included:
- Meeting with companies from other countries to figure out ways to make our game known in places like Korea, Japan, China, Brazil, and Turkey
- Talking to publishers about future games
- Meeting other game developers to continue to grow our network and to find new ideas and solutions to some problems we’ve had
- Meeting with some press to show them our game
- Having fun!
Going to try to keep this short, cause falling asleep at your desk is frowned upon in our culture. The show had a huge focus on VR this year, and it seems like every project that comes up is also in VR. This might seem like a fad now, but Kyler is convinced (and I’m almost convinced) that it’s here to stay.
Another big highlight was a talk given by Russ Pitts from Take This Inc. about “Depression-Proof Studio Culture”. This talk was about how to deal with mental health issues in the workplace and how to create an environment that is conducive to helping people with issues like depression, anxiety, etc. In the video game world, there’s a disproportionate number of people with these kinds of issues and so far we haven’t done a very good job helping out.
Some of the things that quite obviously contribute to these problems:
- Crunch time and crazy working hours, especially without additional praise or compensation
- Lack of sleep as a result of these things
- A space where mental health is seen as “not a real problem” and the common symptoms of depression and anxiety are attributed to personality traits
- Working in dimly lit, crummy locations or situations
Many of the talks were great and were inspiring, but this one was an extremely important one, especially for a small studio that plans to grow and needs to know how to create a safe space to talk about these kinds of issues.
It’s really a great thing to be able to talk shop with people from all around the world doing all sorts of different projects. At every party (see: each and every night), there were great people to meet and new perspectives to be learned. There was certainly a lack of sleep throughout the week / weekend, but waking up each morning knowing that we had GDC to look forward to made it all seem, well, possible.
Some other cool highlights, outside of the actual conference, included the “Musée Mécanique” (or mechanical museum) which housed a ton of really old school arcade games, all the way back to the mechanical machines that were used in the first arcades.
We also went to the exploratorium, where we explored. A lot. It’s basically a ton of interactive mini-exhibits relating to science in some way; some were phenomena of electricity and magnetism, some of optics and illusions, some of interpersonal interactions and social issues. Here are a couple of pics of an awesome spherical mirror and a piece of glass / mirror that allowed Kyler and Rich to combine themselves.
We’ve been working on the online multiplayer portion of the game for the last little while, and have seen some steady progress. We pushed a new build of the game into the “OnlineBeta” branch on Steam, so players can play around with that. Keep in mind port forwarding is still needed to set up the game, but the major changes can be seen on our Steam forums: check out the fixes here and the list of known bugs here.
If you find anything that isn't on the list of known bugs, please let us know by filling out the bug report form! Again, thanks for the patience while we get it sorted out :)