IndieMegaBooth Entry, and Some Usability Work

Hey Folks! Mostly non-dev stuff today, as I get ready to submit an application for the IndieMegaBooth at PAX West. There's a whole whack of stuff needed for the application, which includes a build and a 3-minute raw gameplay video. So most of my day was spent putting that together.

Unsurprisingly, it's turning into quite a challenge to pack everything about Ostranauts into a 3-minute video. Especially without the usual trailer-editing tricks. My first few attempts to walk through everything naturally blew way past the 3 minute marker.

As a second attempt, I tried cutting out as much dead-air and walking around time as possible, focusing on more interesting scenes that show-off mechanics. And that turned out a bit more successful. So far, it starts with rapid character generation, flying to a derelict, docking, and suiting-up. Plus some examples of AI needs-fulfillment both in a solo environment (e.g. organizing to-do list) and group environment (e.g. offering to help, sharing a cigarette), and seeing its effects on AI mood. Then a quick and dirty walkthrough of refilling an evacuated ship's atmo by restoring power and hooking-up air pumps.

It's leaving a lot on the cutting room floor. And I hope the disjoints from scene to scene don't violate the "raw" requirement. But I think it stays within the spirit of the request. We're looking at raw game footage with my commentary, and I've just selected cut sections out for time.

I did manage to do a little light dev work today, though. In the process of writing the "readme.txt" for the submitted build, I realized there were still some annoying usability issues with the game. For one thing, sitting through the opening fade-in caused the first mouse click to be ignored, so I fixed that.

And using the Esc key outside of certain menus would quit the game, which would be really frustrating if done accidentally late in the game. So I added an Esc menu with some simple "Save & Quit, " "Quit," and "Cancel" buttons on it. Now, hitting Esc when a UI is up will escape out of that. Hitting Esc with no UIs up opens that modal quit dialog. And hitting Esc with that up returns to the game. Nothing pretty, but it's a big workflow improvement!

Finally, there was still a fair amount of PR stuff today, spilling over from yesterday's video. So I did my best to answer questions and comments from that. Kept me pretty busy today! Hopefully, tomorrow I'll get that video wrapped-up, upload it and the build, pay my fee, and the application will be done. Then, fingers crossed!