Showing your alpha build to people

Tonight I went along to my second Norfolk Indie Games Developers meet-up. As before, it was a gathering of passionate, interesting indie devs of varying skillsets (coders, artists, writers etc) chatting about all things gaming for three+ hours.

Unlike the first time I went, this evening I had something to share. I took along the hideously unfinished and untested build of Going Up, my Twine-based interactive conversation and decided to let a room full of far more experienced games devs Have At It.

Yes, they eventually ran into a scripting error. No, an experimental text game doesn’t make for the most exciting demoing experience.

However, the writing got some laughs, the dialogue options seemed to resonate and come across as mostly believable and the overall structure interested people. The latter surprised me the most, as I wasn’t sure the project would be especially compelling given there’s very little ‘game’ in there.

It helped that a couple of other chaps there were working on procedural characters and dialogue, which led to an engaging discussion of the pros and cons of various NPC systems.

Being the first time I’ve shown my game ideas to anybody, at least in a group setting to people I don’t know especially well, everybody was remarkably polite. It was quite exhilarating to see the game played through by others, with everyone in the room offering opinions on where to steer the conversation. Definite excited inner monologue of I made this!

I’ll have to try to finish the damn thing before the next NIGD meet.

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