Blinks Developer Update: PAX East, altGDCby Daniel King
Another month, another developer update. Despite the fact that only one month has gone by, there are actually quite a few things to talk about. Let’s start with recent events.
Now, this’ll be covered much more in a general Kickstarter Update later, but from the developer perspective, PAX East was a huge success for Blinks.
Priscilla McGann, of the Pirates & Lasers team demoed her game for fellow PAX attendees. Aaron Santiago and Spencer Kee, designers of PayUp, showed their game along with Carol Mertz, co-designer of Paintbrush. In fact, Carol was there promoting two other games she designed that will be coming out this year. She officially had a PAX hat trick!
Carol Mertz (right) shows Paintbrush to several PAX East attendees
We were so lucky to have several of our developers attend, and we learned that our audience loves new games. We appreciate that the game community is always willing to help you test games and suggest ways to improve and change them. If you’re worried about showing your friends, or even strangers, a Blinks game you’re working on - don’t be.
Blinks fans play WHAM in the hallway
If you haven’t heard, GDC was postponed. With that said, we will still be headed to San Francisco. Well, not quite GDC, but altGDC. Many, many game developers, including Jon and myself already made plans to be in the Bay Area that week, both in and out of the convention. So we’re keeping those plans and will be attending some of the new, smaller events that have risen up to replace GDC. These plans are, as you might imagine, still in flux, so make sure to check our Twitter and other social media to get up-to-the-minute updates on where we’ll be that week. If you’re going to be in the area, drop us a line and we’ll see if we can meet up!
The Blinks Developer Forum (continued)
I realize that this is a repeat from the last update, but I promise there’s a good reason. If you haven’t joined the forum yet, there’s never been a better time. There’s more and more activity every day, and new games are being posted ALL THE TIME. In fact, there was a game posted the day before Jon and I headed to Boston, and we liked it so much we installed it on a Blink and played it with PAX attendees! I know I sound like a broken record, but now that we’re actively soliciting games for the platform, the forum is the best way to get your game in front of us so we can help you test it, improve it, and elevate it to a publishable level. Speaking of which…
Blinks Game Publishing Submissions
As we look ahead into 2020 and beyond, it’s clear to us that we’re going to need a standardized method for you, the developer community, to submit games to be considered for publishing. Right now, the games in our Community Expansion are a mixture of GGJ participants, developers we’ve met at other events, and developers we know personally or through the forum that have proposed games to us. This isn’t always going to be the case.
In the near future, I’ll be working on a two things - a rubric that we will be using across the board to judge a games fitness for publishing, as well as a platform for submission. The platform is much farther off, so I can’t comment on it now, but the rubric is something that we’ve discussed in the office and have a rough idea about. This may be of some help to you as you work on your own games, so here is the rubric as it stands now:
- Gameplay - How fun is the game? Is it balanced for the number of players it claims to be? Is it something you can play multiple times without solving it or getting bored? Are there any confusing or frustrating elements in gameplay? Does the theming help or hinder the experience? Is this game something that is suited for the Blinks platform, or could it be played better on another platform?
- UX - Does the game clearly communicate visually? Do the button presses make sense? Is action intuitive? Is it easy for new players to understand?
- Functional Code - Does the game work? Is it bug-free? Are there any “states” the game can enter that are hard or impossible to exit? Is the codebase small enough that changes could be made without going over the limit? Is the code legible? Is the code modular, and can the variables of gameplay be adjusted easily?
- Visual Code - Is the game pretty? Does it have a unique look that can be identified at a glance, and sets it apart from other games? Are there any awkward visual flashes or changes during gameplay? If color is important, are they different enough that you can easily tell them apart? If you’ve chosen to design the game as color-blind-friendly, is it actually?
- Instructions and Artwork - Are there clear written instructions? Are there diagrams to accompany them? Could someone play the game solely by reading the instructions, without support? Is there artwork for the label on the back of the Blink?
Please keep in mind that this is just the beginning of our thoughts on this process. The above questions are the kinds of things we ask ourselves when we’re finalizing our games, and we have not formalized anything at this point. This only serves as a preview of what may become part of a submission process, and as a jumping off point for scrutiny of your own work. Like I said, the formal process is still in the works, so please continue to submit new games in the developer forum as you create them. I try to play everything that is posted and give feedback when I can, and I encourage you to do the same.
I think that pretty much wraps it up for now. Make sure to follow us on social media for more updates, including our schedule for Alt-GDC, and feel free to join the forum and shoot me a message with any questions you might have.
Games Lead, Move38
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