Sunday, June 24, 2012

SuperNova 2012

Just wanted to blog about my experience at SuperNova 2012.  Phew!  First thing that comes to mind is the paperwork and cost.  $330 to get a small space in artist alley, OH&S forms, application for power form, application for booth form, $70 for power, $100 for print material, $100 for insurance, $100 for security cables so people didn't walk off with our ipads, food (ka-ching), coffees (ka-ching), petrol (ka-ching), presents for my kids because I was away from them all weekend (ka-ching) and stuff I bought for myself, Ultimate Spiderman #1 and Vader's Quest comic (ka-ching, ka-ching)... my wallet is smokin'. So I split the costs with BRad from Rockethands and it was a great initiation in the pop-culture event that is SuperNova.

Here's me and Brad behind the desk at our booth.  I scored a deal from BigW for printing and while I wanted a big poster for my new game (secret unless you join up at ) I was able to print 16 smaller pics to make the photo montage @ $1 each!!!  The banner cost me $22, other prints were $1 each for Surf Prodigy and Turbo Flick, and 21c a print for the small postcard sized handouts in front of me in the pic.

We stuck the iPads to the table using these security cables I found and they were perfect, though interestingly everyone was afraid to pic up the iPads.  I was running a pitch on my new game and developed my spiel over the two days to get people to signup to become part of an elite community that has a say and an insiders look on the development of a game from pretty much day 1.  
I'm going to put it up on Facebook as well, but unless people join the newsgroup, you don't get "in" on the "goss".  Someone mentioned that what I was doing was like crowd source funding, so I tweaked my spiel to reflect that it has the benefit of crowd sourcing without having the members having to spend a dime.  

We got set up and they opened the doors!  Woah!  What a crowd!  I suddenly realised what SuperNova does for the local business.  Not sure of the numbers but basically we had thousands of people walking past our booth wanting to test our wares.  I had to learn fast on how to attract people and it wasn't too hard.  

They walk past, look at your stuff and if you don't acknowledge them eye to eye they move on because there is so much noise!  Not noise, noise, but visual noise - so much to take in.  The trick was to speak!  Simple enough but it broke the ice.  I made contact and they came closer.
Then I went into salesman mode pitching my new game, and getting them to play some Surf Prodigy (available on the AppStore) but mainly Turbo Flick (also on the AppStore).  I had one guy saying about Turbo Flick, "I would never buy this game, but I like it"  He stayed at the booth for 20 minutes playing the game.  He and others were a valuable source of feedback for Turbo Flick.  I really pushed that game because it's not selling so well and I believe it's a good product.  
I was proven right when lots of people stayed and played.  However I also found people didn't like some of the mechanics of the system such as the help popping up at the start of each level - so I'm going to minimise that.  Also for some reason the Retry button popped up before the next button if you completed a level and people being used to twitch reactions just hit it, having to play the level again - I'll fix that.
Other things I noticed about the game was it was too hard in places, so I unlocked it for others to play.  Then I found my favourite level, an homage to Tron and Bally's Rapid Fire ( and discovered if you let it play without firing you get a perfect score.  A bug there :)  
Turbo Flick is available for 99c on the App Store

Anyway I put this level up because the robot space invader things approach the screen making lots of pretty exploding particles and it became an attract mode for people.  It was weird but the sequence did draw them. To some I had to say "it's okay - you can play it" before they would - I think it's because people thought it costs lots of money for an iPad and perhaps they were afraid to take the risk to pick it up in case they dropped it - not really sure.  But more importantly I realised that like the good old arcade days, iPad games in an expo need an attract mode - where if left alone for a minute it plays a demo of the game itself.
So what's in store for DrewFX next year @ SuperNova?  Bigger and better I'm thinking.  Maybe a stand-up arcade machine, perhaps a ride in/on machine and maybe something using Kinect.  Bigger space, more money and I might even dress up :)

All in all a great experience, and I loved the Cosplay aspect - great to see so many people dressing up for the event.  I don't really know what SuperNova is about because if you take a big picture view, it's a bunch of retailers mainly, with choke-points and one big producer stuffing people through tight spaces to buy things at pretty much retail prices, with the option to dress-up to add some colour - is it a festival or a market?  That accounted for the retail part anyway, but as Lindsay Fley put it, "it's like the Royal Show for (urban) Perth (businesses)" - not farmers or carnies, but real local artists and businesses. 

Oh yeah - saw a double rainbow the other day...