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They are a changin'. RTX 2016 is in the books. For pics of the event visit ADuelHandDIsaster.com. As usual the event was awesome, the people I met were hella rad, and the amount of data I acquired was invaluable. From my boy, Milan Harris who was dropping some mad feedback and tips on shaders and tech I could incorporate into ADHD, to my boy Cecil bringing that OG knowledge from PAX South to help obliterate the competition; these people have some dedication and as always I'm a grateful beyond fucking thunderdome. Before the show floor opened on day 3 I set a score of 173 million. I decided why not make that a "score to beat" in addition to the usual "keep the high score get a free shirt" thing. So low and behold Joshua Lee as you see in the image below actually dedicated himself to beating it and now he'll receive a free copy of the game once it's available. It's only fair and it's extremely humbling that he spent so much of his time to doing it. Thanks Joshua. You are legit as legit can be.
So what's next? Well, I spent the first half of the year brute-forcing myself into the industry by getting booth space at PAX South, PAX East, and ofcourse RTX but PAX West was entirely out of reach. I was informed there was no more "exhibitor" space available. So I was left to event submissions as usual. I'm happy to report that while I wasn't selected for PAX West proper (at least not for showing ADHD anyway) I was selected for SIX (Seattle Indies Expo) which is fucking amazing!!!! Third times a charm so they say. What they don't mention is all the work you put into that third time :) Also my panel submission for PAX West was accepted!!!! My dumbass is going to have a panel where I talk about how you should make a game not excuses!! Fucking rock and roll.
Now for the details of said panel
This is super exciting for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost is that I will be hosting this panel with my buddy Zach Aikman, lead engineer at 17-Bit. Yup the guys who brought you fucking Galak-Z. The title of the panel is "Make Games Not Excuses: An open discussion." The purpose of the talk is to discuss the pros and cons of going to college for game development. Between Zach and I you better believe we've got some opinions. See Zach graduated from the highly coveted DigiPen Institute of Technology. While he was there he learned a lesson that would crush most people and bring them down to there knees. What did Zach do about it? You'll have to watch or attend the panel to find out. How do you watch? More details on that soon ;) My side of the story? Well most of you reading might already know my dumbass dropped out of college twice so I'll just be expanding on that kind of stuff. Guys, making a video game is not easy. It's not something you can just jump into and knock it out. Unless you are fucking Galvanic Games. Those mother fuckers made Gurgamoth in about 6 months. FUCK YEAH!
But I digress, so again the times they are a changing and they are nothing if not crazy awesome times. I was also pre-selected for a Pre PAX Microsoft Event which they then later decided to pass on :( Man what an opportunity that would have been, but hey as usual pick your head up, look forward, and learn from the past. Oh and TwitchCon. I'll be at TwitchCon this year in San Diego from September 30th through October 2nd. This one will be fucking massive. A huge part of this game is Twitch integration so you better believe I've got my work cut out for me. More on that one later as well. PEACE. OUT.
First and Foremost
People at PAX South. Man did they ever impress me. I went in expecting players to dismiss the idea of controlling two ships at once. I went in understanding no one knew who Ask An Enemy Studios was so why would they have any concept of what A Duel Hand Disaster could be. I went in knowing I designed a game that was extremely polarizing and would only, maybe, resonate with a select few. What I didn't know and what I witnessed was jaw-dropping. Never underestimate the power of leaderboards or friendly competition, but most importantly never underestimate the player. Some players were discouraged almost immediately when confronted with with idea of doing multiple things at once; one guy in particular picked up the gamepad, hit the start button, and asked ok what is this? What am I doing? To which I naturally responded with "Well It's a twin stick shooter where you control two ships at the same time." He put down the controller, said "Fuck this" and walked away. Epic. Others would light up when they saw their buddies do better than them and would bring it, oh man did they bring it. A select few played for close to an hour just to get the highest score. Some even tried to pair up on one controller. While I don't outright condone this method my buddy Todd (UI/UX designer at The Grubbery) recommends players give this a shot if they feel overwhelmed by the normal single-player design. He believes it's a good way to familiarize players with the mechanics. Sure, why not. LOOKOUT!!! FIREBALL!!!
For the uninitiated A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher is, like any score based game, a game about getting the highest score possible, however the only way to keep your score is to leave the level when you decide to keep it. That's what seems to push players to the edge of insanity. My sincere thanks goes out to everybody who spent even a minute of their time either in the queue or actually playing the game. To Michael and David who found the bug in the scoring system it has been fixed. Both of these guys, father and son no less, were determined to break my design by cheesing the low health/critical damage bonus which allows you to earn massive points and extremely fast when the Reclaimer's health is below 10 percent; the thing is though you are also extremely vulnerable. They pulled it off the first time but learned the hard way a couple times after that the design isn't broken that's how the game is meant to be played. Next time suckas!
Riley, Luis, [E]Mad_Hoots, Brad Hamm, David Pham, Kyle, Seth and his bro :) were all super rad fellas to talk with and there's a reason I remember these names. These guys continued to come back and devote time from their day to play ADHD. They were at the top of the leaderboards pretty much everyday. There are a ton of you guys that I missed either due to being busy describing the game to people, interviews, or just too shy to talk. Don't ever hesitate asking me questions on the show floor. I'll always try my best to answer them or as I did with most of you just talk video games in general.
So as for the experience of going to PAX South as an exhibitor/game developer
First I have to give massive thanks to my girlfriend Kelly <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3
I'm sure she had no idea what she was getting into. A solid wave of folks straight to the booth 8 hours a day for three days. While I tell her I could have done it alone if I absolutely needed to, it was without a doubt a million times easier with her there by my side. Any amount of credit I give her is not nearly enough. She woke up with me every day and walked to that booth and back to the hotel without complaint just amazed that people were even showing up and returning multiple times a day. She's my rock, or gibraltar as she says, but I still have no idea what the fuck she was saying with that. Rock, rock man, you are my rock.
The first day (set up day) was an absolute fucking nightmare. I was confident the show was gonna go horrifically. I can't go into specifics due to NDAs but I had a massive problem getting the game up and running the day before the show floor opened. I was ready to start kicking teeth in. It wasn't anyone else's fault but my own. It essentially involved a need for internet which was non-existent on the show floor unless you plan to sacrifice an arm to pay for it and amplified by the fact that my Razer Blade "EXTREME GAMER" laptop doesn't come equipped with an ethernet port; that's not the only issue with that laptop and I would never recommend buying one, ever. Regardless, I digress that catastrophe was averted and a huge lesson learned for the next event. Aside from that the show pretty much went off without a hitch. I was catercorner to Iron Galaxy, had my booth label signed by Dave Lang, made friends with my neighbors at XGamerPC, a PC building superstore local to San Antonio, and the boys at Digital Precept with their VR game Sanity Razor. I didn't get to walk around and play much of anything but luckily most of the games I saw were games I'd seen at other events like IndieCade and SIX.
The fucking awesomeness
I've explained my run in with Garnett Lee at last years PAX South before. It lends tremendous weight to my opportunity to show ADHD on the official Twitch stage. I am just at a loss for words at how amazing that was. In addition to that I was also able to show it on the Indie.Xsplit stage with Chris Slight. That guy is a fabulous chap. Both of those highlights are here.
So yeah. That was PAX South in a nutshell. There are plenty of other cool things that happened I'm just not a liberty to discuss those just yet. However, I'm now in the process of getting ready for El Paso Comic Con and PAX East. I have plenty left to do but it's finally starting to feel like it's all coming together nicely. I had plenty of people ask about betas or early access. I'll have more on that front soon. I promise. I said 2016 would be a crazy year for Ask An Enemy Studios and it looks like I'm well on my way to proving that. Hugs for everybody involved. Everybody.
I'll be showing A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher at PAX South 2016 from Friday, January 29th through Sunday the 31st. Then in April I'll be showing the game at El Paso's own Comic Con from April 15 through the 17th. Since both events are quite a while away I'll post more details as they become available in the meantime I need to get back to work on meeting the deadline for IndieMEGABOOTH submissions for PAX East in Boston. Man that would be some crazy shit if PAX South, East, El Paso Comic Con and GDC 2016 would come to be. All four events in the first year of 2016 would be astronomically awesome for the company. Fingers crossed, pedal to the metal; not iOS Metal but rock and roll metal. Metal Muff.
I'll be showing A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher at E3 - IndieCade Showcase Booth #601, South Hall, LACC Wednesday from 4-6. Stop on by. I'll be the one shitting my pants.
More to come soon.