Yesterday, Julie and I presented Open Bar to about 600 people at IGDA DemoNight 2016 in Montreal, Canada. That was a very exciting experience (although a bit stressful)! The public response was very positive: the crowd cheered at our motion-design animations… we didn’t saw that coming! A girl came to see us at the intermission to tell us she really liked the game and thought the visual design was pretty slick. Unfortunately we had to leave in the middle of the show, because we had to go back to Quebec City.
I found the public really nice and supportive. It’s harder than you think to show off the game you’ve worked on for the past months / years. We had the chance to show a game that’s finished, but since it’s DemoNight, most presentations were about games in the middle of their development cycle. Things aren’t perfect. Graphics glitch. There’s missing sounds, etc. You want to impress the public, but it feels hard to do that with a product that’s nowhere near completed.
After months of working on a game, you don’t see it in the same way someone will for the first time. You’re not amazed anymore. It’s just your game. You know every little detail by heart. You’ve seen its animations thousands of times. You’ve heard its music so often that you usually turn it off. You become very critical about your game, more than you should. And then you look at other people’s games, and you’re amazed by what they did.
So it’s a really, really good feeling when people cheer when they see your game for the first time in an event like that. It gave us the pat on the back we needed to keep on going.
Speaking in public is always a nerve-racking experience, even more when it’s not in your native language. I publicly spoke maybe 4 or 5 times in English, and every time it was a big challenge. In French, if I mess up I can quickly improvise something and it’ll come out naturally. In English, it doesn’t come out as easily.
For me, with over 10 years of experience creating video games, I built enough self-confidence to fight stress and maybe even look a bit relaxed on stage (although I’m not). For Julie however, she’s new to the video games industry, so it must have been quite the experience. I remember when I spoke at GDC 2008: it was, without a doubt, the most stressful experience of my life. I felt like an impostor. I was quite junior with my 3 years of experience in games development, and there I was on stage giving a talk with notorious industry veterans.
All in all, DemoNight was really cool and I certainly plan on showing our next game there in a year or two!