Developers, gamers, musicians, A/V technicians, writers, and other generally intrigued folk were amongst those assembled for what was to be the final Playup session at SK Games – a sombre note to an otherwise jovial night, celebrating the unique space which had been an introduction for so many to the Perth indie development community. As local devs took the opportunity to show their wares and gain vital feedback from players, others took the time to share creative ideas, make new friends and join in the genuine merriment!
Vectonic – Bob Hayden
Front room attention grabber and ‘4 player love affair’ Vectonic featured some psychedelic procedurally generated map effects, with a look reminiscent of Tron. We spoke briefly with developer Bob Hayden: “The general response was good, though I tried to lay low through the whole thing to let people play the game without any of my biases lingering in the air. I got some amazing feedback later in the evening regarding the control layout and camera in particular which I’ve already acted on and have noticed an immediate improvement from. I had a pretty long talk about the game needing a certain ‘something extra’, what that was is hard to pin down exactly. That said, the response I received has given me a huge drive to innovate going forward.”
Final Days – Michael De Piazzi (+7 Software)
Final Days is a fast and furious multiplayer shooter set in an apocalyptic future, featuring ‘quasi 3D flying gore chunks’ and a top-down style inspired by games such as Super Smash TV, Gauntlet and the original Grand Theft Auto. Michael: “I got some great feedback from several people, and a list of things to tweak or change arising from the night.. nothing really major, just small tweaks and improvements, but still important to the overall experience. In regards to recent changes, I’ve made a lot of changes over the last few months, and I’ll be making a lot more in the coming months. My general impression of the night was very positive overall. I’ve been to a couple of Playups at SK before, but this was the first time I brought my game along. I was surprised by the amount of people that wanted to talk to me and give me some feedback on my game. I actually felt a little overwhelmed to be honest… but it was fantastic to get this type of in-person feedback and I’m really glad I finally brought my game to Playup.”
Rogue Blitz – Wez Lamont (Raez Games)
Aptly described as a table-top interpretation of a fighter-pilot top down shooter, Wez Lamont’s Rogue Blitz already boasts an appealing board design and some highly polished player pieces, with observer references to top down arcade classics such as 1942 and Raiden. “Feedback was somewhat limited as the game is fairly involved and I was only able to get a couple of games in (it’s got a pretty large learning curve but easy once understood). I had some good feedback from Marcus Holmes who commented on it online and requested more info, which he wrote up for me. I had a game with some new players and started to see how the complex learning curve could be be a bit of a put off for new or casual players. Some others absolutely love the game and hunted me down to tell me so, which was really nice. On the downside I see how much work I still need to do in overhauling various components.”
Starlost -Hoodwinked Games
Chris from Hoodwinked: “We went into Playup Perth without really knowing what people would think, as we’d had so little feedback before the event. In general we asked for feedback on movement control, we also received some tips on visual effects and how to improve what we have already. We were pleasantly surprised as feedback was unanimously positive, with players commenting on both the art style and gameplay, and since we’ve spent a long time on those that felt really good to hear! Before the event, we pushed out some changes to the HUD/GUI, and added in some manually-activated weapons/abilities (our normal weapons are automatic). These were well received though I’d say hardly anyone had played the previous version without these additions. The night was interesting to us – a bit of a peek into the game dev scene of Perth, which we never realised was so large and vibrant. We’d definitely go again!”
Desert Child – Oscar Brittain
Described on the developer’s blog as a “racing/shmup/rogue-like game”, Desert Child is set in the year 2116, after humans have abandoned the Earth. Oscar: “The response was really good. People really liked the menus for some reason… haha. A few people said there was too much going on, so I might pull back a little on the screen-shake and particle effects. People were into the art and stuff which was cool, though I’m a little [miffed!] people didn’t criticise it more. I wonder if it’s because they know I can’t take it… haha! Not much else to say really, it was a great night and lots of fun!”
To a warm reception from all attending, FTI’s Kate Raynes Goldie and Jessie Yeo announced the new location for Playup Perth at the Nostalgia Box – Perth’s first gaming museum, with both highlighting their enthusiasm for supporting the local gaming and development community. Brendan Ragan from Stirfire Studios took the opportunity to announce the group’s upcoming showing at Japan’s indie game event Bit Summit, as well as their recent transition to a full-time game studio. Jon Hayward also announced this year’s Perth Games Festival – to be held in October at the Perth Town Hall, with further support from the City of Perth. All in all, a fine farewell to host SK and another successful Playup event, with plenty of promising developments for those at the heart of the Perth Indie development community.