Lessons from a Game Convention

On July 7th, we made our first public play session of Kraden’s Crypt at the London Anime&Gaming Convention. The knowledge we acquired from this experience ranged from general convention preparation (which we talked on this reddit post) to specific gameplay issues, which is the scope of this post.

The first problem we found was a bug that made the fullscreen resolution have a different aspect ratio of the screen we used. The bad thing about it is that it was introduced by last time changes. We were aware of the potential risks, but we wanted to test some important concepts in that convention (like the bull boss and the random level generation).

Regarding the boss, the most important lesson we learned was that he could get stun locked when he fighting against many players. This led us to change how stunning works in general, so that each weapon has a different stunning power, and certain enemies can be more difficult to stun.

The game isn't easy, but we made sure everyone would get a prize.

Real badges! Yes, we made sure everyone would get a prize.

Not all of our difficulties were unexpected, though. One of them was the learning curve for the gameplay. We didn’t put any tutorials in, since players could join the game at any time, and it was not difficult as other games like Overwatch, were you can get OW guides online to help yourself. Therefore, we let Sam and Peter teach new players as they dropped in. This experience was very valuable, as we learned what were the difficulties that newcomers would face, which we are considering now that we’re designing the tutorial levels.

Another expected issue was the lack of damage feedback — both with monsters and players. It’s not that we just neglected it, it just wasn’t there due to lack of time. Since we already had audio feedback hits, we didn’t prioritize this feature in the last days before the convention. It ended up being a lot more important than I expected, as the sound effects were not very audible due to the convention environment.

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Context sensitive health bar

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Damage display

With all the feedback we gathered, we decided to improve the state machine, add damage feedback and a tutorial level. The resulting build was submitted to the SBGames indie game contest on July 30. Check out our submission trailer below:

Currently, we are making the preparations to a kickstarter campaign, which will go live within a few days. This means that our first alpha demo will be available soon, so make sure to follow us on twitter (@kradenscryptpey) if you want to be the first to get it!

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