Play NYC 2019 Part 1 - Expo Prep Thoughts
I promised I'd write a post about my experience at Play NYC, so here are my thoughts related to the prep side.
Play NYC was the second expo I've ever exhibited Pure at. The first was actually another Playcrafting event (Spring Play Expo) and I'd like to say both were tremendously helpful experiences. I think I was definitely a lot more prepared this time - and that still didn't feel like enough.
We have to rewind a little and talk about the Spring Play Expo. I was really sick the week of it and applied last minute. We got in! My cold somehow cleared up after hearing the news, and it was time to get to work as I had one day to prepare. I printed out business cards, banners, and planned for stickers of the demo's party. I was told that the print service I went to could print out stickers - but of course when I went to pick up my marketing materials at 7PM, they told me they couldn't.
Thus I bought sticker paper and went on a journey throughout my whole city to find a printer that could.
First stop was my parents. The stickers had weird lines in them. No dice. Next, I went to a friend's house - whose printer WAS able to print out stickers, except today it just decided not to print out anything. For some reason, I NEEDED these stickers for the expo. Needed. It just was not working out. I went home around midnight when suddenly another friend texted me saying "MY PRINTER WORKS! COME OVER!"
Back into my car I went. We spent 4 hours printing the stickers. And they looked...amazing! I walked in around 4am (knowing I had to wake up at maybe 6) and realized...
we printed the stickers backwards.
All 200 + of them.
So the stickers were blank, and the backs where you peel from had the character art. I laughed.
THEN I DECIDED AT 4:30AM to make a last minute build to fix some things. I briefly tested it, all seemed well. I bought a printer the next morning and printed them out the right way. I felt a little crazy for doing so, but I needed a printer anyway, and it has proved itself very useful to my household, so it wasn't all in vain.
The great news was, the stickers were a hit. I returned home with no stickers.
Now that that's explained, that is the reason I started prep for Play NYC much earlier. I worked on a new area for the demo and a new character(Thaddeus), allowing players to have more choices based on the demo option they played. Fire you had Zaide on your party, and water, you have Thaddeus. I fixed some issues people ran into at Spring Play - such as attacks getting stuck in a weird auto-attacking loop, and some camera angles that blocked view of the player. I had some friends who offered to play test, diligently found bugs, and gave me amazing feedback - they know who they are, so here's my shout out to them - without you guys, the current demo build would NOT have been possible. I was able to fix a good 20 or so issues thanks to them. Including a lot of funny ones. Such as characters and enemies collision ending up on top of each other (No Adamina, you cannot fight a boar when it is on your head and your hitboxes cannot touch) or where the characters would slink on over to the party leader upon game over.
On Kara's end, she was hard at work making Pure's battle theme. At the time of Spring Play, we showed the Fire Temple with a stock battle theme. The spring had been full of lots of dungeon-work for us, so the summer was our designated time to work on the battle system leading up to PlayNYC. Kara spent a month listening to battle themes from games of all genres, analyzing what gave battle themes that 'oomph' that made them so energetic. Ten days prior to PlayNYC, she started the song, and completed it on the Wednesday before the show. Funnily enough, it was so loud at PlayNYC that it was barely audible, unlike our time at Spring Play, but we hope that you enjoyed what you could hear of it!
After the theme was put in, the build was good to go, and it was back to marketing materials.
I printed out a new banner for our booth backdrop. Originally, it was going to be art of all of the characters, but I didn't finish it in time. Instead, I went with using our logo with game screenshots in the back. Apparently this was a great idea because people loved the angry otter (a collab logo by me and zeen_designs - he also did the logo for Pure).
Next was freebies to give out. People on reddit suggested candy, but I figured items relevant to Pure: BoTG would better suit our booth. I printed some buttons over at StickerMule and they were beautiful! Surprisingly, the angryottergames button was the biggest hit (followed by all of the lady party members!).
I thought ordering 300 was enough, but by the end of day 1, all we had was 7 buttons left. Thus leading me to feel I didn't prepare as well as I should've. Good thing I didn't make a build the night before again, at least!
Next expo, I'll be sure to print out a lot of buttons. They seem to be more popular than our stickers, and I do think they are super cute, so in case you didn't get one, next expo we meet, you'll be able to get them :)
Now that this was all complete, on Friday, we set up easily with the help of a friend. I ended up ziptying our banner to the curtain rods, however, I do now realize that people have hooks they use to do that. So if any other game dev was scouring google trying to find out how to hang up their banner against a pole, go with hooks and not zipties. We took a bunch of goofy photos with our booth and playtested a couple of times before we called it a day and went back home.
Part 2 incoming.