The GDC14 Experience
For those of you unaware, last week saw the latest edition of the Game Developer Conference take place in (very) sunny San Francisco. I think this was my eighth trip to the event, and I think a good week was had by all (or at least many).
You can read about the various sessions and the main news elsewhere on the webs, so I'm just going to talk about one particular aspect of what I was trying to get out of the trip: feedback on Bodycheck, the game we're working our wee socks off on.
Specifically, I wanted to get some feedback from other designers and developers - especially those that I only see once or twice a year - as to the feel of the game and to make sure we were on the right track. I'm not going to name them here, but suffice to say they're all people I have huge respect for.
I'm not sure quite what my reaction would have been if we weren't on the right track, but I'm happy to report that everyone who played looked like they had a good time (and I'm certain that if they hadn't liked it they would have told me so!). They all gave some incredibly useful and constructive feedback. As ever, some of that was already on my list (the magic system was in the midst of being reconstructed, and isn't balanced at all at present) but some of it opened my eyes to things I'd been missing or taking for granted. And of course, some of the things I expected to be issues weren't issues at all.
The sketch on the menu above (click for larger version) is going to be (at best) meaningless to you. It may well be meaningless to the person who drew it by now. But for me, it's the summation of a discussion about how to emphasise, encourage and support passing the ball between your players rapidly, something that already feels awesome when you get it right.
There were many other discussions, meetings and chance encounters that mean the trip may well end up paying for itself in other ways, but thanks to the chats about Bodycheck in particular, we're getting back to work this week with renewed purpose and conviction about what we're doing.