MAGFest 2017… otherwise known as the Music and Gaming Festival is a MASSIVE event that happens every year, and the most recent offerings have been at Maryland’s Nation Harbor at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. It features live music concerts with acts inspired by video game music and gaming culture, arcade / console LAN gaming arenas filled with literally HUNDREDS of games, merch booths catering to virtually every genre (and their associated fandoms and fetishes), and of course: MIVS (the MAGFest Indie Videogame Showcase). This years’ MIVS contained over 70 indie developers showcasing their games to hungry audiences for the duration of the convention. And did I mention the con runs for 24 hours a day!? That’s right. If you are fortunate enough to score a room at either the Gaylord or one of the nearby hotels, you are treated to gaming and related events virtually ANY time of day/night. So, if you decide at 4am that you cannot sleep, put on your best jammies and head down and play some arcades or console games with other like-minded sleepless individuals.
While I could go on and on about how awesome MAGFest is (and believe me, it is awesome, and I’m not just saying that as a staffer) today we will talk about MIVS, and specifically: Chaotic Fusion’s offering of ‘The Poisoned Pawn: A Tex Murphy Adventure’.
After making it through the various qualifying and selection rounds for this years’ MIVS showcase (which involved supplying the MIVS staff with videos, demos and other information about the title) Chaotic Fusion was allocated a 10’ x 10’ space to populate, decorate, and showcase our game in development. We were advised and assisted by the amazingly helpful MIVS staff throughout our journey to MAGFest on all aspects of booth decoration, best practice and tips (RUGS are a must, apparently!) but ultimately it was up to us how we decorated our booth.
Borrowing on the “FMV” and “Green Screen” nature of the Tex Murphy series (and not to mention Green is a very eye-catching color in an otherwise concrete jungle of convention space), we opted to have our booth backdrop as an actual green screen. We also got a bargain on 2’ x 2’ floor carpet tiles that we arranged in a “chess” style pattern on the floor (see what we did there?). We added a couple of pot plants because we wanted to add a touch of Tex’s office ambience to the space. Then of course were the standees, posters, speaker system, computer, big screen TV, and the rest of the standard fare for a booth space.
Last step was to put on our custom ‘Poisoned Pawn’ Tshirts, spread out our double sided glossy printed flyers, plug in the Oculus VR, and our booth was ready to go! Almost immediately after the MIVS hours began, we had a constant stream of folks wanting to try out the game. Many of whom who already have experienced VR and were looking to see the latest offerings on the platform, with a good handful of folks who were there to experience VR for the first time. Among those coming to see the game were folks who played Tesla Effect, or some of Tex Murphy’s earlier titles and were hungry for more. We even had a good number of folks who were big fans of the series, and really excited to see how the Poisoned Pawn was coming along.
In addition to those who were in general attendance, we got a chance to speak with other developers who were showcasing their own games at MIVS this year. We had some wonderful conversations with the developers of ‘Pig Eat Ball’ (Mommy’s Best Games), ‘Dr Spacezoo’ (by SmashRiot – who won best MIVS game this year), Robo Puzzle Smash (by PxlPlz), and had a chance to play their offerings, which delivered amazingly fun experiences, each impressive in their own right.
Karen Corhtouts, our 3D Modeller and Designer came all the way out from Belgium to experience MAGFest and to man the booth at MIVS. She did a fantastic job representing Chaotic Fusion, educating the masses about our game and helping to provide insight into our game.
‘Some people were saying [The Poisoned Pawn in VR] makes a lot of sense, being a detective [game], having this extra connection to the world around you, and that more of these games should integrate VR’, Karen observed. In fact, these were the same thoughts Shane Luis from RerezTV had when he popped by our booth. I have been watching Shane’s YouTube channel (which has over 100,000 subscribers at https://www.youtube.com/user/RerezTV) ever since I first met him through the GOG.com stream team back in 2015. At the time, he had just completed a play through / review of Under a Killing Moon on GOG’s Twitch channel, and I was looking forward to hearing his thoughts about The Poisoned Pawn. “This is the first full featured game that you need to play in VR.” Shane commented on a tweet shortly after visiting our booth (https://twitter.com/RerezTV/status/818153907348127744). We were happy to have him pop by and enjoyed his ongoing commentary about his experience with the game. We are all looking forward to Shane’s full review when the game is complete!
Aside from the amazing comradery from fellow indie devs, the wonderful support from the MAGFest MIVS staff, and sheer positive feedback and support from players, what we were most blown away by were the numbers! Karen observed that at any given time, there was always someone lined up next to give the game a try, and on many occasions, there were queues of folks.
Major Kudos to both Darren Sebire and Holger Kreetz (our lead programmer, and lead level designer respectively) who worked closely with us right up until the 11th hour to ensure the game was ready for MIVS. Both helped not only to polish the existing demo we created, but to add TWO more locations to our showcase, optimize for performance, and ensure it all worked butter smooth for both standard 3D AND VR. A special note to Darren, who managed to fully implement controller support in the mere hours before the event went live on a last-minute request.
Sadly, The Poisoned Pawn did not win any of the awards offered at MIVS this year, but we feel like huge winners overall for having reached so many gamers, and met many other awesome Indie Devs at this year’s MIVS! We strongly feel confident, based on the feedback we received, that The Poisoned Pawn is on the right track and can’t wait until the end of 2017 where (fingers crossed) we can bring the game to you!