Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Des Moines Game Dev Meeting == Totally Cool. Dinowaurs play testing

Mike, Josh and I(Greg) scuttled down to Ankeny for a developer meetup that the DSMGG held at a local gaming place Cyber Ops Gaming Center. I got there a little late, but everyone's projects were really cool and the whole tone of the place was really exciting. I suppose anytime you get a bunch of passionate, smart people in closed quarters together we start feeding off each other.

Like I said, I got in a little late, but I was able to catch the last half of David Duke's presentation on his sweet trajectory shooter prototype, Mini-World Wars. It was super simple, but those can be the best prototypes. I keep seeing a bunch of these gravity-body mechanics coming out post Mario Galaxy, and it's really interesting to see the influence that's had. It's definitely a good thing. David's prototype was sweet because not only did it involve mass-based physics but also took into account the mass of the orbiting moon, which affected me in my trousers as well ;) We all want to play ASAP!

Later we were lucky enough to run a few play testing sessions with the guys that were able to stay longer. It was certainly an interesting experience, it being our first run through of the game with other people. I would say overall, while it wasn't what I hoped for, we uncovered a few new bugs, some UI issues, and a consensus amongst the room about the villagers. We've got a fair bit of work ahead of us, but that's good, we've built the stone now it's time to shave it down to a pretty marble dino. Hopefully the next time we play test we'll be to focus more on the fun and intricacies of the gameplay itself.

It was great to get some of that inspiration last night. Sometimes living in Iowa you feel a little isolated from the "happenings" of game development, and while there's TIGSource and RPS and so on, there's no substitute for real human interaction with developers. Just the slightest bit of someone else's project, or hearing about real development issues others are facing can help a great deal. We all left pretty wide-eyed and ready to plug in for another go 'round.


torncanvas said...

I wouldn't say that Mario Galaxy influenced all of these kinds of games. Surely there were a lot of influences, and I'm sure Mario Galaxy could have been one for some of them.

For me, the first Ratchet and Clank game influenced game ideas like that much more than Mario Galaxy. And that game came out like 5 or 6 years ago or something.

d. robert said...

I've also noticed a few spherical-world games since SMG, most recently the finalist Day of War
My main thought at the time was "how can I make Scorched Earth but without 'edges' to the playing area?". From there it was a no-brainer make the landscape circular. I suppose the next step in this vein would be a doughnut world with the landscape on the inside.

Ben Hymers said...

When I see orbital gravity physics like that I always think back to WarKurre, and its unfinished (but much nicer) sequal WarKurre 2. But then, I'm strange.

Incidentally, you guys happened to meet up with one of my chums, Will C (or DecipherOne) at this event, which is pretty cool. Hope you liked his game ;)

Chris said...

Gravitee on Kongregate did that a while back too...