Sunday, March 14, 2010

SXSW Interactive Day 3

Day Three! I presented Robot Revolution for the 2010 SXSW ScreenBurn AAA Game Design Competition today! I competed with some awesome guys, Fredric King & Ryan Doyle with Tall Bike Joust, and Patrick Cunningham, who had Grimore and Shadow Wars.

King and Doyle presented first, followed by Patrick, then me, then Patrick again.

King and Doyle had implemented the first of the planned stages for their game, an iPhone game about bike jousting, which looks pretty intense. I think it's awesome that they were able to actually implement their game, that gave them some serious points with the judges. The iPhone game wasn't the AAA part of their plan, they're also going to make a browser game and a console version, with more than just the bike jousting. There were some technical difficulties, the sound wasn't working for the laptop set up for us, but they improvised and gave their own voiceover.

Patrick Cunningham had two game ideas and presented twice, which definitely worked out for him. Grimore was an open world fantasy RPG, with a complex sounding magic system, and Shadows Wars was a cyberpunk MMO. A unique idea from Shadow Wars was doing mini-games or puzzles before a mission to give you an advantage, like more info about the level. I thought that was pretty cool. His wife did all the drawings for his slides, which were also awesome. His slides were pretty densely packed with text, but the illustrations helped, and he seems like a great guy.

After the presentations, we were lined up at the front of the room and asked to give our elevator pitch, then the audience applauded for each contestant. The judges (Adam Martin, Chris Charla, Jesse Redniss, and Lori Durham, with Kain Shin moderating) then publicly decided among themselves which game was going to win it. Robot Revolution wasn't a favorite of any of the judges, so I think it was ruled out pretty quickly. Shadows Wars won it, with the judges saying it seemed to have the most commercial appeal, being the most likely to be picked up by a studio and made. Tall Bike Joust got a mention for also being marketable since there was already an audience for tall bike jousting. The judges seemed to have a little difficulty choosing, and there wasn't a clear cut criteria or rubric. Having an even number of judges also seems like an odd choice, since there was almost a tie.

I wish I had gotten more feedback on what wasn't as great about my idea. It lost, so there has to be something wrong with it, and more feedback would have been nice. But I got a sweet trophy for being a finalist and got to meet some cool people, so it's all good.

If anyone would like to take a look, I've uploaded my presentation here. Make sure you check out the speaker notes (click the little face with a plus sign), they explain a lot. Any feedback is welcome, either on the blog or at

The other finalists were great, and congratulations to Patrick for his win!

P.S. - I also saw the Casual game design contest, with Escape From Planet Zero by Lance Meyers taking home the prize. I might write up a bit more about it later!
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