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What We Learnt at NGDC-2014 – Seamedu

As mentioned in the earlier post regarding the NGDC, this is a continuation of the aforementioned post. This one has more to do with our personal experiences and learning and less to do with the event itself.

Egyption Myth
Egyptian Myth Board

As you know, we took 3 games to the NGDC. Two board games & One digital game. One of the board games was ‘Egyptian Myth’ developed by our senior batch. Egyptian Myth is a complete strategy based board game. The other game we took was developed by student from our batch called ‘Dungeon Escape’. It is a dice based game where the aim is to escape the dungeon (Duh!) based on dice based combat, triggered when one enters a room.
And the last but certainly not the least, we took our digital game, developed by our own students, based on the dungeon board game was ‘Ravensbog’. Even though it was based on the board, they both took off in their own separate directions. Our main aim was exposure and we wanted to get the game tested from people actually concerned with the industry and already a part of it, to see where it is we stand.
The board games were generally well received, with most of the people having fun and liking the games. They didn’t particularly like it when the dice didn’t agree with them.. But eh that’s just plain bad luck right? With Egyptian Myth though no such problem, since its purely strategy based and has no dice or luck factor.

Dungeon Escape
Dungeon Escape Board Game

Our main ‘attraction’ for our stall was our digital game. We got a lot of positive as well as negative reviews for our games. Many complained that it was “Slow and boring with not much to do” but when there things to do, like puzzles to solve, there weren’t many such complaints. We got heavily criticized for the slow walking speed and our ‘secret door’ being too secret. One point that went down the middle, that some liked and some didn’t.. Was our map. We didn’t put up markers as to where the player is, however we did tell them they have to keep track of themselves. While some people were intrigued by this, some were complete turned off to it. (You win some, you lose some I guess..) Along with that we also got several game that we should reference like “Call of Cathulhu’ and several other horror games. We also got a lot of remarks about people getting a horror vibe from it (Even though it ain’t a horror game) so we figure we could take it in that direction. Our game got tested by a lot of people.. From Rolecule,DSK amongst many others. We also got valuable inputs on design in general, one of the best one’s coming from Jitin Rao, Producer at Ubisoft Pune. He said “Always find something that’s already famous and works, it is for a reason. Instead take that and build on it. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel, instead build the car that goes on top of the wheels.”
We also learn’t you can’t always only increase the difficulty.. It has to go like a graph.. Going up slowly and peak at one point in time, and then either go flat or decrease. You have to give breathing room to the player after engaging so much. Its like after a boss fight, u don’t immediately go to the next boss.. You want to let the player use the weapons he just earned, and wreak havoc with it and then go after the boss. You have to often think like the player as well or you will lose him. Also in the beginning, make sure the player feels like he’s achieving something.. Reward him like no man’s business.. This gives a feeling to the player like he is actually doing something and getting rewarded with it.
Having said all that it is also necessary to remember as designers, not to get attached to your games/ideas, it is never healthy for the designer or the game.