PogoGirl Devlog #5: SAGE: Aftermath
SAGE has come and gone, and I’m still reeling from how quickly it all happened. I guess the only thing to do is to pick through the rubble and try to make sense of everything!
First off, I knew from the beginning that Go! Go! PogoGirl wouldn’t set SAGE on fire. It’s the Sonic Amateur Games Expo after all, and people mainly want to play Sonic games. Hell, I used to mainly want to play Sonic games. So I submitted my game not with the hopes of making it a runaway success, but just to get it out there. If you have a game, it’s important that people play it. So that’s all I wanted to do: Get the game into the hands of players.
In the end, around 100 people downloaded it as far as I could tell, which is a number I’m happy with. Yes, it’s less than many other games at SAGE, even non-Sonic indie games. But man, have you seen some of those games? Stuff like Brock Crocodile and AdventNEON casually blow Go! Go! PogoGirl out of the water. So my game getting noticed at all is an achievement in itself, and I’m very happy so many people gave it a chance. And I’m even happier that they enjoyed it, because the feedback I got was positive throughout!
But while I’m on the topic of other games: Submitting your game to an expo can lead to a lot of good things, but dude…you gotta watch that impostor syndrome. Playing some of these other games I couldn’t help but feel that I should cancel Go! Go! PogoGirl immediately, because there’s no way it’s ever gonna be that good. I of course know that’s bullshit, and the various people telling me how much they enjoyed my game supports that. But still, it’s kinda hard to keep your enthusiasm when you bring a knife to a gunfight.
But luckily I did! Getting my game out there and hearing that people enjoy it gave me the feeling that I was doing something right. And instead of faltering under the pressure I’ll keep making Go! Go! PogoGirl better and better, both for me and for everyone who wants to play it!
So to summarize, SAGE was a positive experience for me. Getting the build done was stressful, updating the build during the event was stressful, and dealing with the constant server outages was stressful. But in the end it was all worth it. About 100 people played my game and I got feedback that will help me make Go! Go! PogoGirl even better. Plus, I got to play a ton of kickass games. Seriously, I will definitely keep my eye on some of these going forward.
So if you have a game you’re hiding, maybe a game you’re not sure about…I’d say to just show it to the public! Submit it to an expo or upload an alpha build somewhere. Having other people play your game can completely change your perspective and you will inevitably leave with new knowledge and ideas. I’m happy I submitted Go! Go! PogoGirl to SAGE and I’m glad I got to be part of such a historic event along with many other devs, streamers, artists and players.
I want to thank the SAGE team at SFGHQ for tirelessly working to keep the servers from burning down, all the talented devs who submitted their games, all the streamers who helped spread the word and of course all the players who stopped by to check out what this crazy community has to offer. All of you are awesome and I feel like I’ve gotten a bit more awesome for taking part in it all.
Be excellent to each other and party on!
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On September 5th 2020 the virtual doors of the Sonic Amateur Games Expo will open for the 20th time, and Go! Go! PogoGirl will be a part of it! If you haven’t heard yet, I will publish a public demo of the game for everyone to try out. Naturally this is very exciting for me (and I hope for you too) but naturally, this also means work. A lot of work.
Collectibles are as much a part of platformers as actual platforms. Whether it’s Sonic’s rings, Mario’s coins or Banjo’s notes, it seems like platformer worlds don’t have littering laws because these things are everywhere. And that’s good, because it’s really fun to collect them and sometimes they even help you out. Extra life, anyone? So of course Go! Go! PogoGirl will also have collectibles. After some thinking I settled on gems, because…I dunno, they look pretty and sparkly and coins are pretty overdone.
When you have a player character that should always bounce, a couple of obvious questions present themselves: How should they bounce? How high should they bounce? How quickly should they bounce? Questions like that form the basis of the entire gameplay concept, so it’s very important to tackle them as early as possible…even if you’ll often end up tackling them a few more times before the game ships. Here are the answers I’ve worked out for now.