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PAX Day 2

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Yesterday, we had about 30 people come and play our VR wizard game. Today, it was 9. It was depressing.

The weather was CRAZY in Seattle today. We had a severe wind storm come through and massive amounts of rain. At one point in the day, I was getting rained on sideways with blue sky above my head. I think we had 55mph winds. One thing is for sure though: All of the signs I had posted on the sidewalks were completely and utterly trashed. The wind knocked them over and then ripped off the laminated posters I had used wood glue to secure to sheets of plywood. I was able to save most of the posters, except for one. I kept on trying to get my sidewalk boards to stay up all over town, but it was a losing battle. Our building also locks its doors on weekends, so people need a key card to walk in. If they try the door, it'll be locked, so to get people to come in, I'd have to be outside waiting for people to pass by and looking like they're trying to find the place. That didn't work out very successfully. I got rained on a lot and tried not to get too cold while drinking coffee. The power went out in most of northern seattle, but fortunately it didn't go down for PAX or our office.

I noticed that people would look at our signs for about two or three seconds as they walked by. I kind of suspected as much. I've got two or three seconds to catch someones attention and during that time, I have to keep it. The sign art looks pretty, but the words aren't quite right and don't have enough contrast to be visually drawing. I think that the most important words I can have on my poster are "Virtual Reality" and "Demo". After that, people want to know what kind of virtual reality demo they'll be trying. Then I should say, "Wizard game" with "Spells", or something to communicate that message. I think one of the issues I'm having is that our indie game just isn't really on anybodies radar. Aside from my signs, there is no way anyone would know about it. Realizing this, I made a few various posts to reddit and twitter, and had a few people come in today from that. If not for that, I would have probably had four game demos instead of nine. It's interesting to think about though. How do you advertise your game? Especially if you have nothing to piggy back off of (such as pax?) What is the draw that entices people to want to know more about it? Why would people want to care about what you've made? Who cares if you're an indie, or a two person studio, or have an interesting narrative, or wrote some complicated code. That's not going to stop someone on the sidewalk from going to where they want to go -- you have to have something that people will stop and say, "You know what, I know my day is busy, but this is too amazing to pass by without investigating further." What are you building that will make people do that? There's this homeless guy standing next to me outside. He's a regular. We call him the "Spare change guy" because he slurs out "Schpare change!" at everyone who walks by. Standing next to him, I realized I wasn't that much different. "Virtual Reality" would me my catch phrase. But, if you really think about it, everything ultimately boils down to a sales pitch. The homeless guy is trying to get you to give him money by earning your sympathy and pity, a pull on your heart strings. I'm trying to eventually sell a video game, where I build a product and then ask people to give me money for it. I can't just build any old product, I have to build one that people actually want and are willing to give money for. As creators of content... it's easy to get disconnected from this. We build games so that we can make money, so that we can continue making games. If you don't eventually collect money, you're not going to be making games for a very long time. If it's survival of the fittest, then those who build games and collect money the best are the best. Collecting money doesn't necessarily correspond with building good, quality games (crappier games can sell better than good ones, sadly). Anyways, that was an interesting realization I had.

I went to see the HTC Vive truck today. Here's what I learned: If you want to try out the HTC Vive during PAX, you have to go sign up on a roster at 10am. The line starts to form at 9am, so if you want a chance, you have to show up at 8am. After you sign up, you have an appointment set for some time slot in the day. So, time slots are set and filled very quickly in the morning. In other words, the line of people who want to try out VR at PAX is probably insane. If there's a place I should put my own sign, that's the place. It's like, "Hey guys, I know you want to try out the HTC vive, but you don't have to wait all day to try out VR if you just come over to my studio a few blocks away... Who's in?!"

I also learned that the Vive team works a few blocks away from me down in Pioneer Square. I'll have to go visit their office after PAX is over to get cozy with them and see what they're doing. I'd love to be able to score a dev kit to work with.

Anyways, that's my day for today. At least I didn't make any kids cry ;)
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