2020 is bringing life as we know it to a halt. Gladly we work in an industry that already feels at home in virtual worlds.
And so, this time we did not have to hop on a train to travel to Cologne and make our way through the endless halls and corridors of the event location. This year Gamescom went digital and we were ready to present Leif’s Adventure as part of Gamecity Hamburg’s Indie Arena Booth.
Going digital meant different challenges or shall we say opportunities for us. Instead of creating a booth with posters and banners, we were able to create our own digital stand with the tools provided by the Indie Arena Booth. The team created a virtual Indie Arena that in itself felt like a retro game. Visitors were able to walk around with their own customized avatars and explore each game booth, that looked like a game level. They had the opportunity to interact with different types of kiosks to get to the developers, demo, discord channel, trailer cinema, or merch store. Or they could talk to NPCs to get more information about the game or the developer.
This gave us the opportunity to share Leif’s Adventure with people from around the world. That was the great advantage of the virtual Gamescom. All anyone needed was internet access to take part in the event. We were excited to see that gamers from countries such as Germany, France, Sweden, and Japan to name a few, played our demo, and shared our enthusiasm for the game. As you will agree there is no better feeling than watching someone else play your game and to see what works and what might need improvements.
Events such as this push you as a developer to finish things. At times we can get lost working on small details of our game. Spending hours finalising an asset or story part. We are perfectionists, but a tight deadline means you must stop at one point and let go. Brace the reaction from the community and like our hero Leif face the unknown. And it payed off.
We know have a playable demo on Steam and a new trailer up and running.
Being at Gamescom will always be a special event as a gamer or dev. Nothing beats talking to the community and see player’s reactions first-hand. So, like everyone we hope that next year we will be able to share the released game with you in person. Hop on a train to Cologne and walk the endless corridors of the event location. And maybe on top of that meet you at a digital Gamescom at the same time. Mixing both worlds feels like an exciting outlook for Gamescom 2021 and we can’t wait to take part!
So what is the conclusion for us as indie developers to have an all-digital gamescom/ Indie Arena Booth?
If you ask us it was a mixed bag. Let’s start with the pros first. The visibility on steam was awesome. The fact, that people can not only play your game but download it to their PC and add it to their list of games is unbeatable. But on the other hand, if you were up to see how players react to your game to learn what they liked or disliked then you were out of luck.
The indie arena booth was a great experience and the developer community is a crazy bunch. So, being a part of this experience was great even if it was just online but we are sure, there would have been even more stories to tell if the event would have been in Colone like in a non-pandemic year. But in the end, the online exhibition experience lacked in a few areas and it was obvious that visitors preferred the browsing through the steam list instead of virtually walking from booth to booth.
But if the digital booth system can add more options for visitors to express themselves like emotes, or special animations and give them more reason to go the individual booths then this still can be a very cool thing. If it can be better then the real thing? We will see!
But 2020 it was not a question whether one or the other is superior since there was just this one single option to choose from and we were happy that we could be part of it and show Leif’s Adventure to the world.
Thank you to everyone who came to our booth. It was great to meet so many old and new friends. Special thanks to the teams from Gamecity Hamburg and Indie Arena Booth for making this event possible.