Previously, on Leo's Senior Capstone Dev Blog...
My main task this up until now during this semester was to revamp Frog Bath's menus to fit the game's aesthetic. Because of how much of the game focuses on physicality, I chose to ditch all 2D menus and create a level that contextualizes every screen in 3D space. By using a sink as the Frog King's royal throne, the player moves through drawers, cabinets, and lilypads floating in the sink to navigate the menus of the game. All of the functionality of the menu was put in by me, making implementing on the menu and adding more menus in the future easy to do.
This ease of implementation came especially in handy when we needed to get the game ready for PAX East! Since we didn't have a tutorial in time for the convention, we needed to get the drawers intended for options ready with some images that explain how to play the game. With that under way and with other developments from other team members, we were ready for PAX East.
And so we went! Well, not everyone. Stephen Vowles, one of our systems designers, and myself went as representatives of our team, along with Rachel Bussone, one of our producers, who went as a general helper for Champlain College. Rachel was there for the entire event, but Stephen and I were only there for Friday, since that's the day that the Champlain College booth was fully showing off Frog Bath. That being said, Frog Bath was still given some time to shine on both Saturday and Sunday, it was just also sharing the booth with some other Champlain games!
We got the booth set up 2 instances of our game (one pictured above), a bunch of stickers (all of which were gone before Friday was done), and a link to our twitter (@PlayFrogBath). From there, people just started coming and playing and enjoying the game! There was a lot of positive reception to the game which makes me extremely happy to see. There were even people that were asking what consoles the game was going to be released on, which completely caught me off guard; up until now I only really felt like a student studying game development, but PAX made me feel like an actual game developer!
Something that really touched my heart was that so many younger players loved the game. In the picture above, the two kids playing played the game over and over and over, and even brought over some of their friends later on in the convention to play against them. I guess our audience is a lot more geared towards a younger demographic than we had initially thought! Either way, it's amazing to see our game really resonate with people outside of Champlain since they really are the consumers as opposed to people studying development with all sorts of biases.
Even older audiences still liked the game a lot. It's not an understatement when I say that almost everyone walked away from the game saying they had fun or asking if/when the game is going to be released. To address the latter: the game is going to be released hopefully on Steam in May for free! If it's not released on Steam, then it's going to be released on Itch.io... for free! No matter what, we want to release the game for free to get as many people as possible playing it. After all, it seems like we've struck quite a chord with the people at PAX, so it's safe to say that we're going to have at least a couple of people playing once it's released.
While PAX went super well, there's still so much for us to do moving forwards. Our networking is still underway but is almost completely rounded out, movement is probably 95% finished, and all of the UI still needs a bit of a face lift. But there's nothing about any of this that worries me; I am fully confident that we at Lafterburn Studios will get everything done that we need to, and PAX is an amazing realization that we're making something that people really enjoy.
As for my blog post 2 weeks from now, you can look forwards to updates to the actual gameplay UI as well as a more or less finished main menu! I'll also be working a lot more on managing our Twitter, setting up our Steam page, and more miscellaneous things, so I'll have my hands full. That isn't to say it's a bad thing - I'll be having fun doing it all!