W e were notified that our game had been accepted into the International Games Day indie game showcase, held at the University of Miami, two days prior to the actual event. We had applied three weeks earlier and had almost given up hope on acceptance. For three months we had been building our game and it finally felt time to get some real world feedback from people other than friends and family. Out of the blue we get the email saying that we were accepted into the showcase and suddenly we had to have a whole set-up prepared in two days.
First though, a little backstory about our game. Our game is called BlockShot Champion and is being built in GameMaker Studio. The concept is simple, it is a 2D platformer where each player controls a block that can shoot and shield, and the goal is to be the last person standing. Despite its simple premise we have found that the game mechanics allow for a surprisingly large amount of strategy and the end result is extremely competitive. Up to four players can play at once on compact maps. This creates fast paced action with tight wins and losses that do not feel dependent on luck. The game has been programmed by one person and is a hobby turned passion that we are building a business around.
First on the list was our controllers. We had four controllers but some of the bumpers didn’t click properly and the grips on the thumbsticks were wearing thin, not to mention the fact that our battery packs were not all working. So we headed to GameStop to try to find some new controllers, only to find that even used Xbox 360 controllers were still a hefty investment if you wanted to buy four of them. Best Buy had no better luck, and we even wandered into Target to try to get a lay of the land. Still no luck. So we had to try to find another option.
We decided to retouch our current controllers as best as possible. Some detachable thumbstick grips, four new battery packs, and a surprisingly long time with isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs later and we had four good as new controllers in our possession. We printed out some business cards and signs and that’s when we felt like things were beginning to fall into place for the big day.
Things went pretty smoothly for this part, as traffic that time of morning is not really an issue. That is until a sickening sound appeared from one of our front tires. In a panic we pulled into a rest area and looked at the damage. The wheel well liner on our front right tire had come loose and was hitting into the tire. Luckily it was something that a little bit of ingenuity and painter’s tape could fix, and we were back on the road in no time.
Finally we arrived at the University of Miami fifteen minutes before set up time. We built our booth relatively fast which gave us a chance to look around and see what was going on around other booths. With the preparations over, all we could do was wait and see what would happen next.
As the day went on, people actually started to show up. Other developers were the first to play our game and us theirs, and it was a great feeling of community that we were not expecting. Everyone there was in a similar age bracket and many had the same aspirations as us. A few of the other games being shown were very impressive, with one particular mobile game, CubePlanet, being a stand out hit. The remarkable thing was, every single game developer that played our game gave us incredible feedback. Up until that moment, only close friends and family had seen our game, and seeing how other developers reacted to playing it, confirmed that we weren’t in a bubble of biased positive feedback.
All in all the day was undoubtedly a success, much more so than any of us expected. We packed up our stuff and got ready for the long trek back home, with valuable new insight and lots of new friends. We are definitely looking forward to the next time we can share the experience of BlockShot Champion with others. We can’t wait to take the next steps in our journey and continue developing BlockShot Champion into something that we can be proud of.