It's been one week since we got back from EGX Rezzed and it still hasn't sunk in that almost of the feedback about BeeBeeQ was good. We learned so much from bringing the game to the show and managed to act on most of the feedback each night meaning the game we showed each day was way better and more balanced than the day before. Gathering this much QA in our own time would have taken so long, attending the show worked perfectly for us.
What we learned
I think the most interesting thing was that people seem to enjoy playing the game more than winning the game, and whether that's something we need to address or not is still in discussion. There will always be a winner and loser in BeeBeeQ but it's great to see that the game is just fun enough that people like to play it. I can't imagine anyone ever getting ultra competitive while playing BeeBeeQ, almost everyone leaves the game with a smile on their face regardless of who won, which is something I think I'm most proud of.
Balancing is hell, Day One, we had a build that due to a last minute change to food spawn numbers was heavily unbalanced toward the bee side (roughtly 80/20, win/loses), we tested the build with myself and Mark, who clearly know the game too well and got 50/50, which in hindsight wasn't very smart. On Day Two we brought an experimental deathmatch build which was still unbalanced towards the chef side, but a little closer to a ratio of 35/65. On Day Three we introduced a button to switch between both playable modes (Cook-off and Deathmatch(dubbed Bee-t em up but the Ready Up video below)) and dynamic balancing, adjusting the bees health depending on numbers of bees in the game, similar to the way we adjust the food provided in the Cook-off mode and the game finally settled around the 50/50 mark.
Oculus support was finally polished up and is now in, this was a necessity due to our Vive being left at the show and wanting to dev in the evenings to improve the game. This has proved invaluable since now Mark and I can test new features easily and even take the game out to small events to test/show without disrupting the development of the game.
I took the opportunity while it was quiet to take one quick video of a players first impressions of BeeBeeQ right at the end of the show since it was quiet, and really I should have been doing that from day one, and in future will be. We have a test day planned soon and I'm going to make sure I get some video of the players thoughts.
Sometimes it's better to be lucky
So there were no bad points for the show, we had a great time and I don't think we would have done anything differently, but we did get lucky a few times. The long Queues alone for BeeBeeQ have led to some great opportunities that we cant talk about yet, one of our players got a little excited, left the chaperone and knocked over a base station which smashed the plastic casing, fortunately the base station still worked, else we would have been showing off the untested Oculus build or rushing out to buy a new Vive. We chatted to so many publishers who were full of great advice which we are talking through. I think most importantly we met up with youtubers and twitch streamers who are interested in receiving builds so they can make content, I'm looking forward to getting a stable version on Steam and getting keys out to everyone we spoke to.
The press at EGX were amazing, we had loads of fun chatting to people about the game, more often than not we were unaware that they were members of the press. Which for us was a good thing since it's our first show with press involved and we really didn't know what to expect. So far the below articles/videos have come out and we couldn't be happier with the response.
Jamie from UploadVR wrote such a great article, it really felt like he just got it and honestly we've tried to put the game in to words many times, and never got close to capturing the spirit of the game the way Jamie did. We saw the article pop up on our twitter feed on the evening of Day One and it really gave us a push and some confidence in what we're doing.
The Gamescore Whores put this fantastic interview together, which was our first time being interviewed, and thankfully it went okay.
The Game Show put out this video which gives a nice honest description of the game, and once again gives us good feedback on the balancing, which we are really happy to have improved. Also Bee puns make Popup Asylum extremely happy!
Ready Up came along and played, they gave us some great feedback which we have already started working on, the Bee control systems are tricky, and I think it's going to be an ongoing task to get them perfect, currently any suggested control scheme that people give us is being added in and getting tested although we still feel that with a little practice our default scheme is the most friendly for 6 degrees of freedom of movement. The evening of Day One we reduced down the sensitivity of the controls and it's made the game much easier to play, we were worried that it would make flying as a bee less fun as you couldnt do those quick get aways that bees tend to pull off, but in reality for a three minute round you don't have enough time to get those sorts of manoeuvres down anyway, in the final release I think we will give the option to increase sensitivity but keep default at the currently low setting.
Mainly we were just really happy that they had fun playing and were kind enough to feature us in their podcast! Thanks guys!
ArtsAwardVoice wrote a great article covering some of technical challenges
Was it worth it?
Yeah it was! We didn't know what to expect and the EGX team were really supportive, we learned so much and given that we're completely self funded by Unity Asset Store sales, we had to be really careful where we invested money in to Marketing, I don't think we could have used the money better, we got great press coverage and some exciting developments, and a invaluable amount of feedback. Not to mention an archive of videos of players being completely ridiculous!
Thanks for reading and thanks to everyone we met at Rezzed!