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Demonstrating a strategy game in a convention

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Hey,

 

We are preparing to demonstrate our game Judgment in a bunch of gaming conventions that are coming up. I'm having a hard time preparing the game for such a demonstration.

 

The challenge is that when people play games in such conventions they usually dedicate a few minutes tops to each game, specially in the indie areas. A strategy simulation game such as Judgment, however, is more complex than your standard console game and takes time to learn and get into.

 

I thought of throwing the players straight into combat. But then I'm afraid they'll miss on a lot of what the game has to offer - colony building, equiping the team, exploring the world, research, etc.

 

Another option that came to mind was an advanced colony, and letting the players experiment around. But then my fear is that they will be lost with all the possibilities that are available all at once.

 

The regular learning curve is a bit slow for such a demonstration...

 

Has anyone presented or seen a deep strategy game being demonstrated in an interesting way?

 

 

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You need to start by building an 'elevator speech'.

If someone asks about the game, have a single sentence summary of what makes it amazing. Then have a single 30-second statement if they want more. Memorize both. It needs to be short enough that you could tell a stranger while standing in an elevator.

Since you know you cannot show them everything, figure out an interesting gameplay location and have a save game at that location. Restart from that save game and allow the people at the booth to see the interesting thing at that location. Allow them to do more if they want, but have some ability to jump immediately to an awesome something.

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Interesting problem...

 

 

I think you (and frob) already hit the nail on the head; you're going to have to pick a small part of the game that's sufficiently interesting to get people interested and focus on that.  They're simply not going to get to experience everything the game has to offer, so your goal should be to pick something that's interesting enough to draw them in to further research, and to make that further research as easy as possible.  I would:

  • Make a nice landing page on your website that lists the core features of the game, with short to-the-point (as much as possible for any given feature) videos of each and concise explanations.
  • Everyone who stops by at the convention should at minimum get a business card with the url to this landing page, preferably with a QR code for convenience.  The rest of the card design needs to be memorable enough to associate with whatever you show off.
  • You might also give them a printed leaflet showing off some of the major features that may have been missed at the convention.
  • Try to build an email list with everyone that stops by.  Figure out how to make sign-up as quick and painless as possible, and have very quick and clear privacy statement ready so they know they won't be getting spammed; obviously, also don't spam them.

 

How many players do you intend to have, and how many people demonstrating?  You need to find the most exciting/gripping/interesting experience you can offer, which as you've said unfortunately may entail a bit of a steep learning curve and might swamp the players with too many options.  You may be able to alleviate the learning curve a little by personally talking each player through any difficult parts of the experience.

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Thank you both, that's good advice that I can definitely use. I'm leaning toward a minute of simulation, as you prepare to be attacked, and then the main playthrough would be one tactical combat.

 

There'll be two of us presenting, as to how many players... It's our first time presenting in these conventions so I'm not sure (the larger one is Reboot Infogamer).

 

I also posted this question on reddit and it generated some interesting feedback.

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