From: Belfast, N Ireland
|Just back yesterday (Friday 17th)
Here's an update of all that happened.
Got to Belfast City Airport around 4pm. Our flight was SUPPOSED to be 6pm. Storms delayed it... by 4 hours. It's a 25 minute flight from Belfast to Edinburgh, yet we got delayed 4 hours. I tell you, it was freaking boring sitting in that terminal. We eventually got to Edinburgh around 11pm. It was 12pm when we got to bed. Up early the next day...
Up at 7am, food at 7:30 then start the long walk from Edinburgh student halls to Our Dynamic Earth. By 9pm we were there setting up the PCs to run our game for Dare Protoplay! The big event where the public get to play our games. It was here that two big flaws were apparent. One was having to restart the game every single time you wanted a new game. This was because although everything else was reset the keyboard for the High Score table was not. So a 2nd game hanged on the Game Over screen forever... Secondly the game crashed regularly when you fired. In testing this happened once every 50 games or so. At Protoplay it was once every 8 or 9 (eep)
The day consisted of 11-6pm standing at a stall teaching all-comers how to play our game. It was a bit slow early on, but later we couldn't keep the kids off it! I shall always remember this little asian girl named Perri who sat there for half an hour just to beat her brother's score. When she did the big smile on her face made all the stress of Dare worth it.
Exactly the same as Sunday, except Laura and I took an extended lunch consisting of getting lost in Edinburgh. All we were doing was looking for an ice cream shop! Nothing else! Yet everything everywhere was pub pub pub pub freaking pub! Edinburgh is one giant PUB!
I was rather pissed off in the afternoon as for a second day in a row the judges came round whilst I was on my lunch. I need a job out of Dare. It's that simple. I have nothing for me after this, so I need those industry contacts and conversations to make myself known. So far two members of our team sniped every single judge without telling the rest they were even in the room. That annoyed me.
I got to speak to judges today... finally. Got a couple of business cards and had some good covnersations. This is the third day in a row of kids needing their parents to pull them off the game, it's just that addictive.
By 6pm the place was closed. We were waiting for the announcements of which teams would go through for judging on Wednesday and which teams got dropped. I was confident of our chances, after all everyone who played our game got totally hooked. Few people played only one game. It was 3 or 4, sometimes more.
So Paul Durrant, the director of Dare went around the room and told the teams one at a time the results.
We didn't get through.
Two of my team members (the judge snipers) started celebrating... then it hit me. They set this up. I knew they didn't want in the top 6, but I didn't think they'd go as far as to corner all the judges just to destroy our chances of it.
I cannot put into words how angry and how depressed I was at this point. All my work for 3 days solid. Really heavy hard work. I have blisters all over my feet to prove it... went for nothing. Poof... gone. There's no way to say how rotten it is, to do 10 weeks serious work only to be told "Sorry, you're not good enough".
My misery lasted the rest of the night. Jeeze... I'm getting depressed again just typing this out.
We had nothing to do today. The judging was this day and the bottom 6 teams had a free day in the giant pub known as Edinburgh. (For those uncertain with the term, a pub is a alcohol drinking restaurant.)
Laura and I went and got fudge as presents for the family, then went to the cinema to see Rush Hour 3 (very good movie too). then back to the halls for sleeping.
I didn't see my team or any other team until the evening, which was good as I didn't want to.
In the evening I met a couple of them who pretty much turned to me and said they beleive the competition was rigged. Now this wasn't the depressed ramblings of the loser team, cause a couple of members of teams who DID get top 6 said the exact same thing.
Let's break it down. Here are the 12 teams.
Now let's look at the 6 who got through
A perfect 50/50 split. That is just plain suspicious.
Up early (again) to get a bus at 8:45am from Edinburgh to Dundee. It was an hours drive, which for poor bus-sick Laura wasn't good.
At 11am we went to the Dundee University's Student Centre to once again get a PC running with our game! Only one this time as opposed to Protoplay's 4, so it was much faster.
Follow with photographs and a couple of hours long award ceremony.
Winning games were:
Ragnarawk - Most Marketable and Potoplay player's award.
Those guys totally deserved it. I played their game and it was FANTASTIC! Think Final Fantasy meets Guitar Hero meets Simon says and you pretty much have it. Their music track was awesome.
Bear Go Home - Most Creative
I only played this game a little bit and couldn't really figure it out. Even though it's all only one click I fell into a hole and couldn't get out. Then the bear was killed by a snail... A SNAIL!!
Climbactic - Best use of technology
I never got to play this, the game was always packed with players. Which kinda says it all really.
That night from 4-5pm was supposed to be an industry viewing of the games. With free drinks for everyone... Unfortunately I don't drink and I also don't eat fish cakes (blech) so I got nothing.
Our team decided that Arron and I should run our stall, as the other 3 have education to go back to, we're the two that NEED jobs. So we got to speak to all the industry.
I got to speak to representatives from Rare, Theshold Interactive, CobraMobile, Denki and Real Time Worlds. All great guys to speak to and they all loved our game.
One guy spoke to me about our game and (paraphrased) essentially told me this.
Your game is ahead of its time. It's a fantastic fun family game, it gets gamers and non-gamers addicted and that's not something you can put a price on. However here at Dare, the big winners are the games that could be sold on shelves NOW.
I agreed and said that Nintendo is the only one really pushing the family market with the DS and the Wii. Other companies haven't done as much, so I think that had we entered Bathroom Buccaneers a couple of years from now, it may have done much better.
Speaking to another guy, I mentioned to him that we all think the competition is a marketing ploy, he firmly agreed and said it's always been that way.
A Power thing. That's all it is. They have made themselves the BIGGEST international games development competition. All the money in the world couldn't make up for the power that position grants.
I feel a bit dirty realising I was used for their own ends. But I comfort myself knowing I'm going to get a job out of this.
Up early once more. We were meeting people from RealTime Worlds at 9am to tour their studio in Dundee. These guys made Crackdown. Nuff said. They are a company that is going places.
Tour + Presentation wound up like this:
They have a sense of humour. In the front room is one of those "punch me down I get back up clowns"... with the FACE of the CEO on it. that made me smirk.
They take care of their employees. All the normal health benefits, with money for relocating to there, loans to help you get settled, they share the profit of projects with the team members, they do company activities which are usually pub-visits. But they do crazy stuff like human bungee cord table football!
My Overall opinion os the company is summed up like this:
How do I get a job there? Lol.
After the tour, an hour and a half bus to the airport, waiting for 2 hours for my flight, then waiting for an hour AFTER the flight for my hearing to return to normal... and Oh... My... Word..... Air Pressure induced headaches are no freaking joke.
So what now?
I didn't get a job offer (booooo), so now I'm going to make up a CV, add Dare to the first line, then send it off to a load of companies and see what I get back.
Now as for the question everyone wants to ask:
The current build of the game I have can ONLY run with an XBOX 360 controller. If you have one of those, and can hook it up to your PC, I'll gladly upload the game for you all to play.
Everyone else is going to have to wait until we get keyboard controls back in. The keyboard version will be available at www.daretobedigital.com 's showcase section.
No, another PC controller will not work. We coded it specifically for a 360.
Any more questions?
From: Melbourne, FL USA
|Want me to host it on the gameace.org FTP?|
From: Houston, TX USA
|wow...so your team didn't want to move on and pulled the judges away from your entry? That's crazy! Why were they even on a team and making a game in the first place?
I pray that you'll find the job that God has in store for you!
From: Belfast, N Ireland
|The team sabotage thing is only how I've perceived it. It is possible they did nothing of the sort... but the sheer look of victory on their faces when we were told we didn't get through makes me think otherwise...
As some have said to me, they probably just couldn't be bothered with the presentation and were relieved they didn't have to do it.