Exhibiting a game you’ve created can be a nerve-racking time, especially if it’s the first time you are showing it to the public. There are all the thoughts racing through your head; if it’s actually ready or even good enough to be seen yet… and there are times where your build just doesn’t work on the day.
This happened to myself recently, showing off Depthless, our VR thriller/suspense exploration game set in the oceans under the ice of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The team, and myself exhibited it at an emerging technology festival Future Assembly.
Christiaan, our Creative Director/Concept Artist went in the day before the event to set up, which ran perfectly fine. The first issue of the event day, forgetting an extra controller, was easily solved by Christiaan running back home, during which time the exhibit opened. There were attendees already wandering around the hall, and we were starting to gather a crowd. Honestly, I thought we could make it through the day with only one build running – I was so, so wrong.
We quickly realised that an Xbox One controller didn’t work with my computer or the build I was running. By this point, I was a little stressed, our first showing of Depthless and I wanted it to go perfectly, when in fact it felt as if it was just getting worse. People were crowding our booth, and we only had one build running.
Running through all the possible causes, we updated drivers (using my mobile data mind you) and restarted many times. Not being able to figure out what the issue was, feeling the pressure, I decided to walk away from the booth for a while, and get some fresh air to clear my head.
I usually handle situations quite well and after an hour of letting things go and only running with one booth it was time to take another crack at it figure out what was wrong. In the end it was a (different) driver issue. It amazes me how something like that can cause such chaos in those moments. For the rest of the weekend it was smooth sailing (besides the numerous bugs that the attendees found).
Every team is going to run into issues at some point in their time when showing off a build and it’s all part of the experience. When something goes wrong it’s how you respond to the situation that will be remembered.
The best advice I could give for a situation like this is, if you find yourself getting worked up and not being able to handle the situation, just walk away from it, and come back to it in a few minutes with a clearer head. Your mental state is important, and if the stress is impacting you negatively it’ll reflect on you. You’re there to give them the best experience as possible. You’re not just selling your product, you’re also selling yourself.
Just remember you’re in the public eye, act accordingly and try to keep a level head.
Keep reading – Booth Failures, Hair Loss, and You: Part 2