Category: Events

Making waves (or ripples)

Last week was a big week for Caromble!. For the first time since last October we would be showing the game to an audience. And not just any audience. Caromble! would leave the Netherlands for the first time, and travel all the way to EToo London.

Doesn't this make us look like very real and serious game developers?

Doesn’t this make us look like very real and serious game developers?

It wasn’t  just showing the game though, Pascal and me were set to make our first ever appearance in a live stream. So yes, there were some nerves, but all went well. I always enjoy to be able to explain something that I’m passionate about, so I enjoyed being interviewed together with Pascal about Caromble!.

The next day we hooked a laptop to a big TV and had people play Caromble! all day. Collecting feedback from players who never played the game before is very important,  and we definitely learned a thing or two about how we can make the game even more fun. It was also a great chance to meet a lot of very nice people from the UK gaming scene. All in all, I think the nicest thing about showing the game on such an event is just watching people play and enjoy it. Having people enjoy and play Caromble! is the whole reason we are making the game after all.

Showing the game and talking about it is much fun and very important, but most in all it got me all psyched and eager to work on Caromble! even more. So when I had nothing on my hands on Saturday, I figured it would be a great time to do some development.

One of the things I’ve been very eager to improve for quite a while, is what happens every time a ball hits a wall. Since Caromble! is a game, and games are supposed to be fun, all things in the game should be fun. Especially the things that happen all the time. Balls hit walls a lot in Caromble! (sorry I had to write that). We have been trying to make hitting the wall more fun for a while now. Adding nice particles helped a bit, but it never felt quite right.

Last Saturday I finally sat down and wrote a shader that should help. The effect is inspired by the helicopter crash from The Matrix. Or maybe just inspired by throwing a rock in a pond.  Where the ball collides with a wall, I move bits and pieces of the final rendered image back and forth to make it seem like the whole world is kind of rippling. Maybe I should stop talking and start showing. We are very curious about feedback you may have!!





What to wear to EToo London?!

What to wear in London?I’m so excited! Tomorrow, Thomas D and I are going to London. To EToo London that is! This is a so-called ‘companion event’ to its big brother E3, presented by Keith Stuart (Guardian games correspondent) and Georg Backer (Black & White anyone?). There, we will be interviewed about Caromble! and our personal lives on Wednesday evening. On Thursday, Caromble! is playable on the conference (ehm.. pub) floor.

Wow! A one day trip to London to showcase Caromble!. Does that make us like actual game developers for super real now? I’m pretty excited, but I can’t seem to choose what to wear. Casual, representative, swagger, tech geeky or just plain freaky. Below are some of my current options. I hope I can decide…

Oh, and if you want to see the interview live, check in here around 21.30 (London time).

Caromble! at Game in the City

Although our awesome artist Thomas Schmall was not present (how is Japan Thomas?), the two days at Game in the City were great. We thank everyone for the invaluable remarks, tips, comments and ‘wows’, and will use it to make Caromble! even more fun!

Caromble! at Game in the City

On the 22nd and 23rd of November, Caromble! will be playable at Game in the City as part of INDIGO on the Road. If you are around, don’t hesitate to try out Caromble! at this event in Amersfoort!

Indigo Roundup Part 1

Nearly exactly two weeks ago, we finally had our presentation at the Indigo-festival. We did a mad dash the last days before it, to polish our prototype. I think it paid off – Indigo was a great experience.

We had a good spot right at the entrance.

We had a good spot right at the entrance.

And we had success in the press too – we were chosen on the Dutch gaming news site bashers as one of the “13 special games of Indigo 2011” – so we made the top 43.33333333333333 percent!

I’ll share some first impressions here. And since our team members haven’t all been there at the same days, we plan to meet up next week to revel in the praise and laugh about all the critics. …well and maybe talk about how to implement any feedback they had. I’ll then write up the second part with a bit more about our battle plan.

First off it was great for us to join the Indigo showcase. It forced us to make a presentable, playable version. We had to add menus and add some small tweaks to allow players to quickly test the game. The often little changes make a big difference – it also helps us, as it makes our testing experience better and more fun.

And of course it is always good to hear some outside opinions. They really ranged from icy-frozen facial expressions to excited “awesome” screams. The game idea and the setting were often mentioned as great – the size switch of the ball was a positive surprise to many. Everyone liked the physics and many asked about who made the music.

Caromble Team Photo

Happy crew after the first day. We even managed to not move on one of the team photos.

The gameplay in detail was often criticized: The ball has long stretches of being out of reach of the player. The paddle was hard to control. Some things we didn’t even notice anymore did confuse the testers: For example the pink light blobs that fly from the objects to the paddle. While one could say it is the points that fly to the player, it is more distracting than helpful right now.

I also found some assumptions from the gamers interesting. Many moved the paddle in a flicking motion, trying to give the ball a spin like in table tennis. Maybe it would be a good idea to put it in, so that the natural expectations of the players are met. More on any changes in the next part.

Indigo Here We Come!

Yesterday half of our team went to the Dutch Game Garden – to show the current state of Caromble. They are an organization that supports game developers in Holland and holds an Indie-Game festival called “Indigo” in May.

They liked our little baby – so here we go:

Caromble will be at Indigo in Utrecht on May 13 and 14 2011!

Indigo Showcase Logo

Indigo 2011 in Utrecht.

Come by and play our prototype level! Friday May 13 is invitation only. Saturday May 14 is open to everyone (who registered at their webpage). They expect 1.000 visitors, so we better deliver.

We will have to optimize our level a bit and make a list of features we definitely need. A little game menu might help for the presentation – hm, anything else? And I’m starting to think we might need business cards or flyers or something. Maybe a nice print of some of the concept art.