post coulee con


Some thoughts and notes after attending two days of Coulee Con:

This was Coulee Con's first year. The staff were friendly, and I had some great conversations with other attendees. There were a number of other game developers who attended, and most of them didn't have web sites or social media for their games. Scorched World was the exception.

I enjoyed seeing how the other developers solicited feedback for their games. My approach was to talk with players after they were done to ask some general questions with follow up questions as necessary. Two other developers (both making analog games) had more formalized approaches using paper questionnaires that they distributed and then collected. Equally interesting was the approach to sharing the rules, with me trying to let people figure things out from the game's help and UI vs. the active explanations from the board game developers. I assume this reflects how we expect people to learn a single-player video game vs. a multiplayer board game.

Since this was the first year, there was a fair amount of empty space. I think there were one…maybe two? other rooms that were also being used, with around 60 attendees the first day, and a few more the second. Maybe 80. I didn't see the other areas, and I suspect the convention would have felt more lively with all the people in one area. Maybe they'll change it next year, or it'll grow sufficiently that it doesn't matter.

I showcased Kunoichi, Anoxic Depths, and a version of Mabeopsa. The player feedback helped confirm that players are struggling with learning how to play the games, and in some cases the goals. However, players who stuck with a game tended to enjoy playing it.

I was very surprised that my 19L backback successfully held everything I wanted to showcase: Three laptops, their power bricks, two mice, a power strip, and cards. Bringing something to hide the cords next time would be nice. My quick setup of Kiosk mode on both Windows and OS X had mixed results (such as automatically starting the game but not going into the desktop view to actually play it). I was tried Mirabyte's FrontFace Lockdown Tool for Windows (7 & 8.1) and a combination of simple Finder and parental controls for OS X. If anyone has had success with something else, I'd love to hear about it.