Minecon 2013 was a whirlwind weekend full of gamers, gaming and game devs, and yet totally empty of sleep. I’ve been to my fair share of cons, but this had to be by far the best experience I’ve ever had.
I’d recently attended another expo, one where a one hour timeslot, no audio, and a remote demo space had all made things a little rough. I was totally unprepared for how completely awesome Minecon was going to be and it was much, much grander than I expected, too.
The entrance was shrouded with glowing purple fog and the doors opened to reveal organisers adding the final touches to voxelish installations like a barn, a tree and dozens of Minecraft animals.
Reaching the indie pit was a relief. After flying (I’m terrified of flying) all the way to Florida on Halloween (What? I missed out on Halloween!?) I was thrilled to see that we had a generous booth area. It was wide enough for us to set up our newly minted Cannon Brawl banner and the fancy parapeted table decoration that Pete had prepared. It had game stations to accommodate up to four players and also room for the tchotchkes I had painstakingly crafted. I’d been learning how to cast plastic figurines, though that’s something I’ll get into in another post.
We also had buttons, toys, magnets and copies of the game to sell. Having never done any kind of merchandising before, I really had no idea whether people would think any of this was cool.
Turns out we had a ton of players through the duration of the con, and the reaction they had to our game was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve experienced since setting out on my wild indie adventure.
We constantly had a line of kids all waiting for their shot at the game, each one convinced they knew a combo that was OP. The game seems perfect for them, I suspect because the approachable, cartoon style draws them in and the strategy ramp holds their attention. These kids had so many ideas about what they wanted to see in the game that the two days were a flurry of really, really fun game dev chatter.
Maybe I don’t hang out with enough (any) kids these days, but they were holding conversations about advanced game mechanics and making logical design arguments that were super-impressive. One parent told me his kid, who looked no older than seven, was already coding Java. Many of the parents were encouraging their kids to get into game development themselves, and I was happy to give them some tips on getting started. On the second day, we had parents complaining that their kids were up all night playing Cannon Brawl, keeping everyone in their hotel rooms awake. I couldn’t help but be thrilled to hear that. We sold more copies of the game over both days than we have at all other cons put together.
Then there were the other indie devs, who were all ridiculously cool. We seemed to bond right away and enjoyed lots of fun shenanigans. We all bought the same hideous swim shorts and wore them to the con the next day. We took over a room at Tier nightclub and filled with it couches stolen from wherever we could find them. I didn’t get a chance to play all of their games but the ones I played, such as Dungeon of the Endless, Maia, Nuclear Throne and Treasure Adventure were fun and showed promise. Aaru’s Awakening, although I didn’t play it, still looked gorgeous.
Looking back, I’m extremely grateful to Mojang for including us and other indie devs in the event. Even though my wallet was pickpocketed at the nightclub on the final day of the event (and I lost all the money I made on game sales *sob*), I had a fantastic time. Thanks to John Polson for being such a great organizer, and to Mojang for inviting us.
Hey guys, Theresa and I are going to do a weekly livestream every Tuesday.
The first livestream will be this very Tuesday at 7pm PST. We’ll be playing online multiplayer and talking about development, and we welcome everyone to jump in the game and join us. If you’re looking for opponents for multiplayer, this will be the time to play!
Here’s our twitch channel: http://www.twitch.tv/cannonbrawlgame
Looking forward to seeing everyone this Tuesday!
Pete and I will be flying out this week to show Cannon Brawl at Minecon in Orlando, Florida! If you’re going to Minecon, give us a holler and come play our game! We’ll be showing the latest content, including a fancy new world map, as well as Nightmare Mode (DUN-Dun-dun)! Can’t wait to hang out with you, Notch, and the Mojang gang!
Gamer Thumb posted a Cannon Brawl Preview.
“Cannon Brawl is Worms… meets Starcraft… meets Plants vs Zombies… Decision-making is therefore called upon more than any other skill in Cannon Brawl, and as previously mentioned, you’ve got to be damn quick about it.
Turtle Sandbox is onto a winner, and for just $10 you can enjoy a relatively complete game and help guide the developer towards a polished final release.”
Check out the full write up on Gamer Thumb here!
Cannon Brawl was selected to show at IndieCade! Come play a match in the digital darkness of the Night Games.
We’ll be showing in the IndieCade Village at 11:00pm (yep, drink some coffee) on Saturday October 5th amid a great group of games that show well under the cover of darkness.
IndieCade is in LA, so if any of you are local, we hope to see you there!
PAX 2103 was awesome. I was super bummed to have missed showing last year when we made it into the PAX 10 set. This year didn’t disappoint.
Pete and I worked the mini booth with some other awesomely quirky indie games including Lost Toys, Rimdkapsel, Escape Goat, and more. Between demoing the game, mingling with other devs, parties, and squeezing in some board games here and there, we didn’t end up getting a whole lot of sleep. It was totally worth it, though. The turnout was amazing, and we got a ton of great feedback.
I have to give special props to eroind2 for showing up in a custom Cannon Brawl tee shirt. That totally made my day.
It was surprising how many kids picked up our game lickety split and were kicking butt with it. The best were their visceral reactions, since they don’t all have the “gg” polite-win thing down, and they don’t hold back their victory fist-punch-air reactions after pummeling me in a match.
If you guys are ever up in that area, I highly recommend Card Kingdom, an amazing game nirvana, where you can cozy up to a board game and a beer at the same time.