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Friday, April 15, 2016

Final BYOC at Penn College

     Last Saturday I submitted Battle Gem Ponies to the Game Expo and I got a lot of nice feedback from the random players who decided to give the game a try. Look below for the gist of what else happened at the big gaming party of the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Advertising on the school rock.
Some pretty cool prizes were given away this year. I won a nice Logitech gaming headset.
     The party was a nice way to spend a Saturday. I played a bunch of games with old friends and strangers, Got 3rd place in a Pokken Tournament (found out how tough Suicune is), survived a couple rounds in a Smash Bros tournament before getting my butt handed to me in Melee, I found out just how skilled people can be in Injustice, played an indie card game called Coup, and had my own game tested out by a bunch of curious gamers. I'd say my only regret was not entering the cosplay design contest where people drew sketches of the theme. This year's theme was to design the best looking Pokemon Sun and Moon villain outfits.

I'm kinda curious of what I could've come up with. My gf's is the 3rd on the top.
Maybe I should just start drawing things on Saturdays for fun.
     The Game Expo was the big event my developers club was running where we had our games set up on school computers for people to play. There were feedback sheets next to the computers for players to fill out to tell the developers what they liked or didn't like.

     There was a nice big stack of forms by the end of the party, but lots of people only bothered filling out sheets for 1 or 2 games. 5 reviews were written for my game while a lot more people just stopped by to play but didn't feel like writing anything. Like with previous contests, the games that got played the most got the most feedback and those were the polished works made by PCT GameDevs club members. First place went to James Temoshenko for Something Something Apocalypse, second place was Mike Miele's Summoning Stones of Ratreyjan, and third place was me with Battle Gem Ponies.

     Making the game expo into a competition is always going to be a bit unfair because you can't get enough people to play every game. Most people come by just to play their friend's game and help them win. In response to that kind of behavior I suggested to the next PCT GameDevs president (and BYOC 2016 Expo winner) that we just make it a relaxed, optional showcase where people can simply drop a piece of paper into a jar for the game they liked most. If the feedback sheets are optional, trying out the games won't seem like a chore and fewer folks will get scared off.

     To nullify chances of cheating or other forms of chaos, prizes should no longer be given out for this either. People can work really hard year-round on their game project and an unfair win of a tangible prize that could help a gamedev along really leaves a sour taste in one's mouth (and I know that taste firsthand). The grand prize should be bragging rights and improved self-esteem. Winners should move onto making their games fully fleshed-out products to release online for the world to see. If they're truly hot stuff, the money should come pouring in and be a fair prize.

    I won't be around for the next one, so I'm glad I got to help shape the Game Dev Expo at Penn College one last time. I can't wait to hear what the club evolves into over the years and I hope I'm remembered as the one who got the ball rolling for this thing. The club was founded to assemble the most passionate game developers at our school so we could amplify each other's talents, share knowledge, and make connections that'll get our feet in the door.

I'll always be willing to help out someone who's serious about making games.

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