Gotland Game Conference: Day 2

Yesterday we continued to play games at GGC! This time around, the public was welcome to attend the showfloor, meaning there were a lot more people there. I finished playing the second year games, and managed to play a bunch of others as well, since we had a bit of extra time!

This time around, I was the most impressed by a racing game called Twin Shift, which combines the basics of a racing game with a shifting mechanic resembling the one in VVVVVV:

Basically, it's like any other racing game, but there's also a track above your which you can shift to. Sometimes the track you're on will end abruptly, meaning you have to shift to avoid crashing and losing valuable time, and sometimes the track above/beneath you will take you through a different route than the one you're currently on. While I don't normally enjoy a lot of racing games, this felt intriguing since it had such a cool, yet simple, mechanic that at least I haven't seen before in racing-type games.

In general, I feel like the best games on exhibitions like these, where the contestant only have 8-10 weeks to build their game, are the ones that use very basic core mechanics, polish them really well and expand from that center rather than the ones that try to do too many things at once. A lot of the time you can tell that someone had this huge vision of a game where you could do a bazĂ­llion different things, but trying to implement all those aspects into a vertical slice in such a short time is near impossible and typically leaves you with a buggy, unpolished shadow of your original vision.

Learning to understand what your core is and keeping it simple instead of adding unnecessary features is a really important aspect of game development, regardless of whether your project is a 10-week expo project or the long-term project of your dreams. It's something we struggle with as well - sometimes we have to sit down and ask ourselves if what we want to add really serves to improve the game or if it's just another "wouldn't it be cool"-idea that will take a lot of development time without increasing the value of the game. While it's cool to have a ton of features, you have to finish the game as well, and the content you do implement has to feel polished and like it belongs in the game.

Anyway! After playing the games we were invited on a walk through the city along with the rest of the judges. We got to visit some of the companies in Visby and tried some of their wares (cheese, beer and wine) before going back to the school where we had dinner consisting of some of the different specialties found here in Gotland.

All in all, a great day!
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