EGX, if you’re unaware, is the UK’s largest gaming conference and was held in Birmingham last month. I went along to see what was what and was delighted to learn that there wasn’t just one Construct game on the show floor, but three! Personally, I think this is immensely cool, and I had a quick chat with each of the developers about Construct, their games and what EGX was like for them!
Ted Sterchi – Orange Island
My game, Orange Island, has been kicking around in my head since I was a teenager. I’ve been working on it (very) sporadically for ages, posting pixel art on Twitter from time to time. Earlier this year, Zeena from Payload Studios happened upon some of my art and asked me if I wanted to show Orange Island at EGX Rezzed in London as part of their Tentacle Collective. I was really excited at the opportunity and immediately said yes, but little did they know that it wasn’t even a game yet! In a panic, I started getting serious about finding an engine with which to put together a small demo. At first, I tried GameMaker because it seemed like a popular engine. I watched a few tutorials on YouTube and quickly realised that this was going to be a daunting task. I’m fairly handy with code, but not an expert.
I then remembered that I’d bookmarked Construct when I saw a game called Cyber Shadow by @MekaSkull. I was impressed by its complex gameplay mechanics and convincing 8-bit graphics. After being scared off by GameMaker, I fired up Construct 3 and was really impressed with how user-friendly it was, and that it’s in-browser with cloud saves. It was also similar to Klik & Play and Multimedia Fusion, both of which I’d used extensively in my teens. Within the span of a month or so, I was able to cobble together a demo for Orange Island. I really don’t think I could have done this without Construct, and I’m continually surprised as I discover new features. It’s a really powerful tool!
My game is still quite early, so I’m not pursuing press or streamers as much as I could (and will) be. With that said, I thought Orange Island had a good response and that it was an improvement on my last showing at EGX Rezzed. EGX in Birmingham seems to be a bit more “hardcore”, but I was happy to see that people from all walks of life were connecting with it. The graphics, audio, and gameplay are decidedly retro, which isn’t necessarily appealing to people who didn’t grow up playing the NES or other older consoles. Still, I saw several small children playing it and (seemingly) having fun! Feedback at expos is extremely helpful for me: I have few gamer friends and I basically don’t playtest, at this point anyway. So, after every day at EGX, I’d go back to my Airbnb and make small tweaks to the demo so that by Sunday, I could clearly see that people were getting through the demo with less frustration. Again, I credit Construct for allowing me to make these changes so quickly and easily!
Find out more about Orange Island here.
Luis Diaz – Fingerolympics
When I got into Construct, I was looking for an accessible game engine. I had used others in the past but for some reason they never fully clicked, also, I was too young and lacked the patience required to actually complete something. I finished my first game using Construct, it was during a Ludum Dare, and I just kept using it on jams. It was the right tool for me, I am a designer and Construct allowed me to use simple behaviors to quickly prototype ideas, later on, as I got more experience, it also gave me enough space to stay away from the basic set ups (which aren't great for every project) and build things based around procedural generation, servers and many other advanced features.
I actually work full-time at an indie studio, but I still make lots of smaller games on my spare time and I usually submit them to exhibitions and shows. I saw Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EGX were doing a game jam, where the winner would get a free booth and accommodation at EGX, so I decided to join. It was a long jam. I made most of the game in one single weekend and then put it a few hours every night over a week or so. Turns out Fingerolympics, my game, was chosen as the winner of the game jam, so I booked a flight and got to Birmingham.
Though I couldn't be there the whole time, it was a really fun experience. When I take my non-commercial games to shows I'm there mainly to watch players enjoy them and chat with other devs. Fingerolympics is a game that gets better when several players share the keyboard and play together, and I had many groups coming to do so at EGX. It was really cool to see people bringing their friends over and over, explaining the rules and trying to get new high scores. I make games like that, so people enjoy them, and I love seeing that happen.
I also had enough time to wander around the show, see old friends, meet new ones and check some of the lovely games showcased there. I always have a great time playing the experimental things showcased at the Leftfield Collection.
Check out Fingerolympics on Luis' itch page!
Jay Tholen – Hypnospace Outlaw
I grew up in the late 90s on Klik & Play, The Games Factory, and Multimedia Fusion. I actually remember messing around with Ashley's old Real Time Strategy game engine he made for MMF way back in the day. As such, I knew about Construct from its inception, but didn't make the jump over to actually using it until hitting a wall with Fusion's capabilities. Construct's out of the box performance is just much smoother and more reliable.
I flew over to EGX (from Germany) because I submitted Hypnospace Outlaw to the Leftfield Collection and made it in. It was an honour being shown alongside so many inventive games.
The show went very well. We've done a lot of testing, so the feedback wasn't enormously useful, but it was nice hearing directly from people what they thought about it. Some people spent upwards of two hours playing Hypnospace, which was flattering considering the amount of high-quality stuff on the show floor. Meeting fellow developers was also great. The only major downside was the post-convention flu which knocked me out for a few weeks!
Check out Hypnospace Outlaw's Steam Page for more info!
Thanks to these three for taking the time to answer my questions, and if you find yourself at a games convention or conference with your Construct Creation, let us know!