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Exhibiting at Gamerfest 2020, Limerick

I exhibited an updated version of OBSTACLES with some new art and leaderboard functionality at GamerFest 2020 in Thomond Park, Limerick. Here’s a few words about the experience.

Measures to prevent spread of Coronavirus COVID-19

This was yet another big event taking place during the coronavirus outbreak. Gamerfest adapted well and there was a lot of attention to hand-washing, hand sanitisers and wipes. Fair play.

On the Saturday that I was exhibiting I wiped down the inputs and controllers for each station in the Minecraft Zone and Indie Zone, along with Gamerfest volunteers.

As an event that appeals mostly to children, I got to witness how silly some children can be about these things. Picking noses, coughing, putting controllers in their mouths – pretty gross! That being said, I expect children to behave like this – they have so much going on in their brains who can blame them. It’s adults that I’d be rightfully disgusted by if they aren’t hygenic in public spaces, they should know better!

Big gaming conventions are quite new to Ireland too, so there’s likely a bit of lag there in terms of learning how to behave. We are accustomed to playing games in a home setting, a comfortable setting. Unless someone in your home was suffering from an illness, people may never have thought about cleaning their game controllers and input devices regularly to prevent spread of infection or whatever.

Here we are now, amid the media madness surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, and I am delighted that hygeine is taken very seriously by event management, organisers, volunteers, exhibitors and visitors alike.

Exhibiting an improved version of the same game

This time around I no longer have to keep track of high-scores with pen and paper! A fun thing to see people enjoy the improvements. Or more accurately, not notice when some expected feature was missing!

It’s always a lot of fun for me to see people playing and enjoying my games. I often find myself resisting the urge to show people everything in them, but I know it is better for me to observe and take notes. I look out for how quickly people learn the mechanics and the options they have available, as well as how quickly they master the game, and what things they don’t yet understand or realise about the game.

It might sound a little complicated, but when you’ve made everything yourself it’s not that hard to see when others don’t get it. Luckily there is an entire language of conventional solutions to problems I encounter.

The main issues with OBSTACLES are based around UI, repetitive soundtrack, and overall lack of progression. OBSTACLES offers a very immediate experience, with replayability coming from local hotseat competitiveness for high-score on the leaderboards.

As a little back burner project I had planned some levels/zones and mroe music anyway. From Gamerfest feedback/notes I have now added certain UI improvements to the mix.