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United States

Fri 2nd Oct 2009

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J_Lowther commented on Medaverse Announce $1,000 Gravitronix Tournament:

"what they're doing is actually genius then...if they convince 200 people to do the same, they just made back their investment. Bravo, guys!

While we've sold many times more copies than that, it would certainly not cover the $30,000 spent on developing Gravitronix, and the only reason it was that cheap was because all labor was volunteer. Had we been paying for manhours, it'd be closer to $100-200k. Making games is surprisingly expensive.

And we have no expectation of making any money back from this (which will probably run us around $5,000 in total for booth, prize, etc.). We're doing this because I genuinely want to lose to a superior Gravitronix player and I expect this whole thing to be a great deal of fun, the very reason we went into game development to start with.



J_Lowther commented on Medaverse Announce $1,000 Gravitronix Tournament:

"Because everyone goes to the Penny Arcade Expo... >: ("

Hey, the largest gaming con in the US is as good a place as any (and a vastly better place than our office in the boonies of New Hampshire ).

It's like the article says, we held a local tournament in Dover and it was amazing. It reminded me of the reason I wanted to become a game developer to start with. Not to sit behind a desk and answer interview questions or toil over localization spreadsheets but to get out there and interface with people.

The people at the local $50 tourney had a great time and genuinely enjoyed Gravitronix (and the next day, we had a surge in sales so they weren't just being nice about it ). It was just an all-around great experience and something I'd like to do on a far grander scale, so that's what we intend to do.

Hope to see you there! (sorry it's out of the way for most, but it's the best place we could hold a tournament, really).



J_Lowther commented on Review: Gravitronix (WiiWare):

@NotEnoughGolds "1. The user interface should be consistent. If in one menu, 'A' is used for select/progress and 'B' is used for back, then that control scheme should be used in every single menu."

This is actually a mistake in the review. The minus button is always used to go back (except in the options screen where you cannot go back). The B button only deconfirms character selection on the character select screen.

There are actually a few mistakes in the review, but at this point, arguing them would be like demanding a recount in a landslide.



J_Lowther commented on Review: Gravitronix (WiiWare):

Thanks for your support, everyone. I appreciate it.

@Stuffgamer "At the same time, I'm confused how you could've had such good playtesting responses for a game with this many flaws. I don't mean to sound insulting (though it's kind of unavoidable), but who were you using for playtesters?"

I'm just as confused as you are.

We went on craigslist and found groups of friends who played games together and offered to include their names in the credits as playtesters in exchange for some of their time. The two groups that stand out in my mind the most were a group of four mid-20s cynical nerdy-types (DnD players and everything) and a group of four high school boys.

I actually missed the first half of the nerds' playtest (coming back from a hospital appointment), but when I arrived, they were having a blast with the game. They were swearing at each other (we told them to act like we weren't there, and they sure did), mocking the characters or mocking each other for losing to the characters. Don't get me wrong, when they DIDN'T like something, they sure as hell let us know, and they weren't polite about it, but overall, they had a blast. On the way out, one of them even said "This game is EPIC!" to his friends as he was leaving. One of them commented on how his Wii had been gathering dust but that Gravitronix would change that.

The high school boys were a group I hosted alone. They figured out the game quickly enough and were also having a lot of fun, but the one moment that REALLY stood out for me was when they were having trouble beating the CPUs in a 4v4. They decided to practice against each other for a bit, then decided to try their luck again. When they finally beat the 4 CPUs, they literally leapt from their chairs and cheered. It had been a close game and they were all literally on the edge of their seats until the point where they finally won.

I gave all playtesters the "American Idol" speech. I pointed out all of the poor chumps who go on American Idol to sing, believing that they're great singers when they aren't. I pointed out how odd it is that these people never had a friend or family member who took them aside and explained that they're not as good as they think they are and that they were going to be humiliated on national TV if they tried out for the show. I emphasized to our playtesters that they are the equivalent of that friend for us, and that any problems the game had that they didn't report to us would most certainly be picked up on by reviewers.

I don't blame the playtesters. They offered a huge amount of feedback and criticism, and the game was definitely better for it. My only theory is that Gravitronix is a game that either clicks with people or it doesn't and maybe we happened to primarily get playtesters who it clicked with.

As I said earlier, due to the reactions of the playtesters, I had no idea this was coming. Gravitronix is far from perfect, but it had never failed to produce the results we were looking for in our target demographic (groups of friends who play games together) and seemed to be fun for non-gamers as well.

So yeah, not only am I confused but I don't know how we can avoid this with our next game. I thought that playtesting was the answer but now I'm just not sure...



J_Lowther commented on Review: Gravitronix (WiiWare):

Not much I can say to that other than that it wasn't our goal to deceive anyone: we brought in quite a few playtesting groups and told them all that any faults they didn't pick up on here would be picked on in reviews. Overall, all but one group had a great time with the game. Clearly, there's more to this than just playtesting.

We'll try harder with our next game.



J_Lowther commented on Nintendo Download: Pinballs, Fights and Gravit...:

@Stuffgamer1: Glad you liked the tutorial trailer. The first trailer went over about as well as setting a truck of rabid dobermans loose at a cat show. :

As for the VC and timing, it depends mostly upon the 3rd party releasing the game. If there's a non-Nintendo game that's taking a while, it's more than likely the 3rd party choosing when they want it to launch, not Nintendo.



J_Lowther commented on Nintendo Download: Pinballs, Fights and Gravit...:

1. If anyone regularly games with a group of friends (large or small), then I think Gravitronix will be well worth your $5. We worked hard on it and I stand by it as both its creator and a gamer.

2. The games are released as they are because these are the games that are ready to be released. There's a QA process that all games must pass before they can be released. This is a GOOD thing. You don't want games released on the system that aren't rigorously tested for issues.

3. None of this is Nintendo's fault. They can't release games that aren't ready or if the publisher of the game isn't ready to release them (sometimes they move the date for their own reasons).

Again, none of this is Nintendo's fault. The games will be out when they're ready and no sooner.



J_Lowther commented on Nintendo Download: Pinballs, Fights and Gravity:

"On WiiWare™, you'll be mesmerized by a gravity-defying battle game with rich multi-player options."

It seems like Nintendo discovered this as well. I found that I couldn't test the game in front of programmers without them becoming semi-hypnotized and watching me play it.



J_Lowther commented on Gravitronix Release Date Slips:

@Sean Aaron

We'll be releasing in Europe as soon as we can afford the fees associated with all of the European rating boards and the costs of translating for the remaining European languages. We wanted to launch worldwide, but we just couldn't afford it yet.