Last Saturday, we brought Rise of Winterchill to Dublin Games Festival for its first ever public showcase. This is the first time I've exhibited at an event, and it turned out to be a lot of fun!
Most of my day was spent talking about the game and its mechanics. It is nice to see that (at least on the surface) there is plenty of appetite for solving toxicity, and some of the solutions we're proposing held up to scrutiny – from people who were asking good questions.
Having a zoomed-out view of the map on a big screen was super helpful for explaining how the game worked in a very visual way. I would definitely do this again!
I was surprised to see younger kids rush over to engage with the game. Some of them hadn't previous experience with the genre, so their way of interacting with it was interesting to observe. In its alpha state there isn't much "violence", but I think we'd want to be more conscious of alerting parents to the game's rating in future.
One of the best things about having an event deadline like this was it really helped us focus on playability, and we made huge progress in that area. It makes December alpha feel that much more realistic (though I emphasise: it is going to be small batches at a time getting in).
There are some things I would do differently next time: such as spawning heroes next to a lane, being generous with resources/cooldowns, and simplifying the abilities. We tried having a hero with some more nuanced abilities to show off the engine, but the UI to support those inputs wasn't polished so people got confused. Letting players get straight to the lanes and experience success hitting things deserved higher priority.
For those of you who have been following along, yes the map on display is Merrilane, and the second lane was added to provide more depth in 3v3. It will continue to evolve over the coming weeks.
It was great to meet and see many other Irish indie devs there as well; hopefully there'll be more encounters at future shows both here and abroad!