MAGFest 2019

Sup peeps! You may have noticed that I haven’t written a blog post for a while, but this week is different! This past weekend was MAGFest 2019, and, as Frank mentioned last week, he was unable to come. Since I ended up flying solo for this show, it only makes sense for me to touch base to talk about it!

MAGFest, and MIVS in particular, is always awesome, but this year was a little different. Frank and I usually drive down together, man the booth together, and basically work together on anything that needs to be done. With someone else there, it doesn’t seem that daunting, but it’s a pretty big task to take on alone – I feel bad for all of the conventions I’m unable to attend that Frank manages alone!

 

So It Begins…

After getting up at 4 am to catch my bus down to Maryland, I set up shop in the MIVS showroom. People started filtering in, and the convention had well and truly begun!

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Come play Where Shadows Slumber!

The first thing I noticed was that it felt like fewer people were coming over to the Where Shadows Slumber booth. At first I attributed this to the fact that it was the first day of the show, but it ended up being a theme throughout the weekend. I quickly figured out what it was – because I had taken the bus down, I didn’t have room to bring everything we normally bring to shows, including our banner. Without it, the biggest piece of marketing on the table is no larger than a normal piece of paper. Because of our unique art style, actually seeing a screenshot of the game is what makes people approach the booth – since there wasn’t anything large showcasing the art, a lot fewer people decided to engage. A lot of fellow indies at these shows lament about how hard it is to showcase a mobile game, but this was the first time that I really felt it.

That was made a little more sour by the fact that the game next to us, One Step From Eden, was really awesome, and their booth showcased it very well. People were crowding in front of it, which was both a blessing and a curse – sometimes people waiting for a turn to play would trickle over and play Where Shadows Slumber, but other times the crowd would spill over and block the view of our booth. Of course, I would never begrudge them for it – they’re fellow indies, and they managed to make a great game that people love, so I’m glad they got so much attention!

That small speed bump aside, the show was pretty awesome. Our player to bug ratio was the highest it’s ever been, almost everyone who sat down and gave the game a chance ended up loving it, and we actually had a few people buy the game on the spot, which was a new (and really awesome) experience. Overall, it’s this fact that made this weekend, and pretty much all of the shows we go to, worth it – people love the game.

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Image credit: xkcd.com

In fact, for the first time, someone came up to the booth, started playing the game, and ended up actually beating it. To be fair, she played about half of it on Friday and picked up where she left off on Saturday, but it’s still quite an achievement. Any slight annoyance I might have felt about someone playing the entire game without buying it was salved when she brought not one, or two, but three more people over to the booth to come play her favorite game of the weekend. In fact, on Sunday, before I left, she stopped by again and asked if she could have some extra buttons and cards, so she could give them to more people. I either didn’t catch her name, or I forgot it, but thanks for your help, kind stranger!

 

Lonesome Jack

When Frank found out he couldn’t come this past weekend, I knew immediately that I would still be attending; MAGFest is too big a show to give up. The reality of it – running a 4-day show by myself – didn’t hit me until I sat down to do it on Thursday morning. It really wasn’t too bad – I’ve given the Where Shadows Slumbers pitch a thousand times at this point – but there are a lot of logistics involved in these shows (making sure devices are charged, answering people’s questions, enticing passers-by to come and play, etc.) that get a lot easier when there are multiple people at the booth. One of the biggest differences was that I couldn’t really leave to get food or hit the bathroom, because there would be no one to watch the booth!

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Day 3: Look at this guy, all ready to help out

After a somewhat lonely Thursday and Friday, I decided to call in reinforcements. A friend of mine from the area was free on Saturday, and we had an extra ticket to the show for Frank, so he offered to come in and help out. Even though he didn’t have any experience running a booth, and had only played the first few levels of the game it was a huge help! After watching me talk to the first few people who showed up, he knew enough of the sales pitch to handle a newcomer if I was already in conversation with another player. In fact, just having someone there to talk to during the downtime made the day run a lot more smoothly.

I also want to throw a shoutout to Brian Intile and the team from Touhou Microgame, whose booth was immediately behind ours. We actually know them in real life, so it was fortunate that they were set up so close to us – in the stretches when neither of us had too many people to talk to, we could chat, or play each others’ games, or watch each others’ booths. Their game is also awesome (moreso if you’re invested in the Touhou Project), so if you get a chance, give it a shot!

 

Bugs and Improvements

One of the biggest differences between a show before the release of a game and one after is how we can handle things like bugs. When we’re still squarely in development, a lot of things tend to be in flux. At a lot of the shows we’ve been to previously, a bug would come up, and our reactions would fall into a couple of camps:

  • That bug’s fixed in a more recent version.
  • That bug will be fixed when we make some change that we’re planning on making.
  • That bug has something to do with X, which we’re gonna update soon, so it’ll probably end up being fixed.
  • We know about that bug, and we’re gonna fix it as soon as we get a chance!
  • I’ve never seen that bug before – if we can reproduce it, we’ll try to fix it if there’s time!

A lot of these cases have a decent amount of guesswork, and the majority of them don’t actually involve going home and fixing the bug directly.

Once the game is actually released, however, it’s a different story. There’s really only one camp that the bug can fall into:

  • We didn’t know about that bug, but we’ll fix it as soon as we get back!

Since there aren’t any big changes forthcoming, and there’s not a huge amount of work that we’re doing day-to-day, it’s a lot easier for us to figure out what’s causing the bug, we know our fix isn’t going to be invalidated by a future change, and we have more time to actually fix it! With that mindset, I kept a list of all of the bugs that I saw over the weekend (along with any places where the level and/or visual design could be improved), and I’m gonna start heading back into the code and fixing them! Fortunately, none of them were game-breaking or heavily impactful, so we don’t have to rush out a new build.

 

In Summary

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Players love Where Shadows Slumber!

All in all, MAGFest was a great show, even if I was the only one of us who was able to enjoy it. It’s well-run, and it has a good crowd – I was glad that we were accepted to the Indie Videogame Showcase, and I would totally recommend that any other indies give it a shot for 2020!

 

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Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Jack Kelly is the head developer and designer for Where Shadows Slumber.

Champagne Supanova

My business trip to Australia is winding down! By this time next week, I’ll be home on the frosty mean streets of Hoboken, and Where Shadows Slumber will be available on Google Play. That’s quite a change from the hot, humid, Android-less weather here in Brisbane.

I’ve enjoyed my time away from the U.S., and I can safely say the Where Shadows Slumber “World” Tour was an official success. Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to the past two weeks, as well as a look ahead at our next event.

 

Double Supanova In The Sky

From November 2nd to the 4th, I attended Supanova Adelaide. From Nov. 9th to the 11th, I was at Supanova Brisbane. Although the events are part of a series, they felt quite different. Both of them were comic conventions, but Brisbane was much more heavily attended and my table was in a much better location. Even so, both gave me the opportunity to expose Where Shadows Slumber to an audience that otherwise would have never heard of the game. Some people even bought the game on their iPhones right in front of me!

I’m very glad I went – not just because I got to see two beautiful Australian cities, but because it was a chance to bring a bit of joy and mystery into people’s lives. If I had the chance to go to another Supanova, I might dress the booth up a bit different to match the “comic con” theme. But it was still totally worth it! Look out Supanova Gold Coast

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As always, the best part of these conventions is getting chummy with the artists to your left and right. Go support Keelan over at Killustrate (Keelan + Illustrates, he’s not a murderer) by buying some of his cool hand painted artwork! These are not made in photoshop, they’re actually painted and then digitally scanned! Keelan was next to me at Supanova Adelaide, and he’s totally not a bogan so go buy his stuff.

Then, if you’re feeling lucky, grab yourself a replica Ace of Spades from Halifax. I met the whole team at Supanova Brisbane, and got a chance to hold the weapons myself. They feel great in your hand, and you can even paint them yourself if you buy the kit version. Plus, if you’re not a Destiny fan, they’re working on a whole bunch of new guns from classic series like Halo and Devil May Cry. Go vote in their Instagram poll to make your voice heard!

I want to thank everyone I met at these conventions, dealers and customers alike. Everyone made me feel very welcome in this foreign land, and I’m so glad you’re all running around with Where Shadows Slumber pins on your bags now, hehehe. Hope to see you again next time I’m in Australia!

 

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Going To Gameacon?

Gameacon NYC is this weekend at the Resorts World Casino in New York City, which I believe is in Queens. Gameacon was one of the first shows we ever did, though we went to the Atlantic City version. The show has since expanded to NYC and Las Vegas. It’s hard to justify the trip out to some of these places, but since this Gameacon is in our backyard it was hard to say no. Plus, the event manager took $50 off our price since we’re alumni!

Sadly, I’ll be in Australia during this show and Jack will be away. Fortunately, Alba and Noah, our talented audio duo, are here to save the day!

Thanks to Alba and Noah for filling in here – if you’re going to Gameacon, be sure to say hello. And if you’re looking for two awesome freelance composers to bring onto your team, show them your game… I’m sure PHÖZ is looking for a chance at their next masterpiece!

 

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One Week Until Android Launches!

We have just seven days until our global (sans China) release of Where Shadows Slumber on Google Play, so we’re both excited and a bit terrified. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong with our iOS release went wrong, so I have no idea what to expect. This is either going to go really smooth, or go terribly wrong in unimaginable ways. In either case, download the beta for free right now so you can fill us in on any problems you’ve experienced!

If anyone knows how Google Play’s stupid promo code system works, please email me at contact@GameRevenant, comment below, DM me on Twitter @GameRevenant, or throw a brick at my head with a note attached to it. I sent a code to Robert Adams of TechRaptor, and it didn’t work! This poor man has been dying to play the game since Play NYC 2017. He must think I’m trolling him. But apparently Google Play’s promo codes don’t work if your game is unreleased. We may need to go into some kind of Closed Beta just so journalists can play the game a few days early.

We’re also preparing for an Amazon launch, which is basically Android with a different online marketplace. Diligent readers of this blog will remember that we won a Developer Spotlight Feature Thing on the Amazon App Store at last year’s Mobile Games Forum at the end of October 2017. Sadly, the contacts I had for that prize have dropped off the face of the Earth, so this week I’ll be doing a little investigating. If we’re not on your Kindle by November 20th, it’s because we’re waiting for a promotion from Amazon.

Keep your chin up, Android users! We’re in the home stretch. Soon, you’ll be able to taste sweet shadowy goodness. In the meantime, tell your friends about the game, download the beta, download the beta, tell your friends about the game, and download the beta!

It’s only a matter of time now.

 

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Where Shadows Slumber is now available on the App Store! bit.ly/WSS-iOS

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, or Twitch, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

Happy Halloween! Get Where Shadows Slumber for Only $1.99!

Today’s blog post will be brief, as I am headed out the door in a few moments for a three-week excursion to Australia. While I’m there, I’ll be showing off Where Shadows Slumber at Supanova Adelaide and Supanova Brisbane as Jack toils away in the Android mines back home here in Hoboken.

If you’re on our email list, you’ll get a more detailed roundup of all the Where Shadows Slumber news your heart can take in a few hours. But for now, feast your eyes on two glorious pieces of news: our awesome Halloween trailer and our awesome Halloween sale!

 

Our Game Is Just $1.99 For Halloween!

Check out the trailer above! We didn’t just do it because we love Halloween – it’s because Where Shadows Slumber is available at a special price for just a few more days. If you purchase the game on the App Store before Halloween ends, you’ll save $3! After Halloween, the game returns to its original price of $4.99. It’s a steal! (But not a trick) So grab it while you can…

(You can watch the trailer on YouTube here)

 

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We’re Coming to Android November 20th

After the darkness of Halloween, comes the light of the sun – our game is coming to Android toward the end of November! There’s a more formal announcement to follow at the end of the week, but as a reward for reading our blog, we thought we’d let you all know first.

Mark your Calendars, charge your Androids, and throw your Kindles out the window (kidding, kidding) because Where Shadows Slumber launches on Google Play on November 20th!

Don’t forget to try the free beta on your device first to make sure the game runs smoothly. Over 25 people have responded to our survey, and currently 3,500 people are “in the program” on Google Play. We’re capped at 5,000, so get in there while you can! It fills up a bit more each day, so I can’t guarantee your spot. Thanks to those of you who have already helped us crush some Android bugs!

 

 

Upvote Us On Reddit!

We’re enlisting you, the blog army, in one small task… please go to the posts linked below on Reddit and upvote them! It only takes a second, but it will keep our post on the front page of these respective pages and allow people to see our game.

/r/MobileGames
https://www.reddit.com/…/where_shadows_slumber_halloween_s…/

/r/IndieDev
https://www.reddit.com/…/9shv2m/we_made_a_halloween_trailer/

/r/Unity3D
https://www.reddit.com/…/after_35_years_where_shadows_slum…/

/r/MobileGaming
https://www.reddit.com/…/ios_where_shadows_slumber_hallowe…/

Some jerks actually downvoted us! Can you believe that? Why… why? I don’t even know. Counteract their negativity with your positivity! Upvote us for great justice!

 

OK, that’s all for now – gotta jet! Literally I have to get on a jet plane and fly across the planet. Share the game with your friends while I’m at 30,000 feet! Stay tuned for updates about the trip…

 

 

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Where Shadows Slumber is now available on the App Store! bit.ly/WSS-iOS

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, or Twitch, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

Summer Tour 2018!

The month of May is nearly 50% complete. Where does the time go? As we’ve been hard at work finishing Where Shadows Slumber for all of our patient fans, I’ve begun planning a summer tour of interesting game conventions. People always ask us if we have any shows coming up, so hopefully this blog post will serve as a good link I can toss at them. Note that none of these shows are confirmed yet – we’re just considering them. (Or, in the case of PAX, they are considering us!)

Maybe we’ll see you at some of these events?

 

 


 

 

 

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Playcrafting’s Demo + Play Showcase (June 12th)

We’re considering signing up for Playcrafting’s free Demo + Play showcase next month as a way of getting some last-minute testing in on the game’s final few Levels. Since this event is free for developers, we wanted to mention it here in case anyone reading this blog is also a game developer. You should come to this! Playcrafting always does a great job with these free events. The fee for customers is really cheap, so you’ll meet a lot of large families and get the chance to test your games with players of all age groups and skill levels.

 

 

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Returning to Play NYC (August 11th – 12th)

Now that submissions are open for PLAY NYC, Jack and I will of course be applying again. I have a call scheduled with Dan Butchko, the CEO of Playcrafting, set for later this week. From his website:

“Play NYC is New York’s premiere dedicated game convention for creators and players alike. Featuring the latest releases from studios large and small, and from developers old and new, Play NYC celebrates every facet of gaming in a way that only the Big Apple can.”

Play NYC was a blast last year! They had their inaugural show at Terminal 5 in the city last August. I liked the trendy look of the space, but it was obvious that they were going to need more room for future shows. Now they’ve moved to the Manhattan Center for the next 3 years, which should give them plenty of room to grow. Jack and I are so excited to see Play NYC doing well. This might even save us money in the long term, because every convention within walking distance of Hoboken saves us an expensive cross-country trip to a place like California or Texas. Everyone in the Tri-State area should support Play NYC!

 

 

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PAX West (August 31st – September 3rd)

This was one of the first PAX events I ever went to, all the way back in 2015 for Mr. Game! PAX West is a super cool show in a really unique convention space in Seattle, WA. I’ve been to Seattle twice now, and I enjoyed it both times, although the city does have its obvious problems.

We’ve submitted our BETA build to the PAX 10. Every year, the PAX crew judges the games that have been submitted and chooses ten that they went to spotlight. (If you remember when we were part of the PAX East Indie Showcase, it’s a similar setup) Those selected get a free booth at the show, which makes the trip way more affordable for struggling young indies. I saw last year’s gallery and recognized a few friendly faces, notably Keyboard Sports and our friends at Tiny Bubbles. We definitely belong in the PAX 10, so I hope the judges like our BETA build! Jack and I would like to thank everyone who helped test it at SXSW and PAX East.

If you also want to be part of the PAX 10, you had better hurry. Submissions end TODAY!

 

 

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PAX Australia 2018 (October 26th – 28th)

Yes, you read that correctly – we’ve thrown our hat in the ring for PAX Rising at PAX Australia (PAX AUS for short) because… well, why not? Submissions for PAX Rising were open, so I decided to fill out the form. The show is held every October in Melbourne, Victoria. Their mission statement:

“PAX Rising showcases engaging digital games developed by smaller teams. The folks at PAX believe these titles have a chance to rise above their modest beginnings, by growing as a company, establishing a fan base or pushing the industry.”

My wager here is that since a trip to Australia is so difficult, there won’t be much competition for the PAX Rising selection, meaning we have a better chance. But who can say for sure? The guidelines for PAX Rising are quite vague, so I have no idea if mobile games are even eligible. Whether or not we can go on this trip will also depend on if our game can generate the money to pay for the trip. So if you want us to go “down under” to PAX AUS, you better buy our game when it launches!

Check out a video of 2017’s PAX Rising stars on their YouTube channel here.

 

 

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We hope to see you on the road! Let us know in the comments if you will be attending any of these events. You can find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, or Twitch, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.