Last weekend we ventured south to Comic Con in Birmingham to show off our Early Access build of Fragmental.
The last thing we wanted was for anything to go wrong, so we had decided to drive down the day before Comic Con, and we went with a belt and braces approach for our sat nav needs.
It took us a mere 7 hours to drive there, all the while listening to a mix of indie tunes and the amazing Emotion FM soundtrack from GTA Vice City (it’s a guilty pleasure!). We didn’t get lost, so doubling up on the sat nav did the trick.
Setting Up at the Event
On Saturday morning we headed to the Birmingham NEC to set up around 7:30 with the doors opening at 9 for the public. We got there nice and early with plenty of time to spare, the entire place was still being set up when we arrived.
Billy had packed everything going through his checklist, so when we unpacked, everything was there as expected.
PC – check, TV – check, Mouse & Keyboard – check, Controllers – check, Power and Cables – check, Promo Banners & Cards – check, Control Mapping Images – check, Batteries – check, Screwdriver – check, Black Tablecloth – check… Time to get set up.
Sorted, all setup, all we had to do was load the game and we were good to go. The game launched through Steam, everything was running as expected, we turned on the controllers and everything was working as expec… that’s odd, why is the light still flashing on the controller? Why are they not connecting to the PC? Why has Billy’s face started to change colour? He’s going white, hold on, the colour’s coming back, he’s fine… actually the colour’s not stopping, why has he gone all red and mental looking?
“Oh FUCKSAKE…” We’ll stop the commentary right there because he went to a pretty dark place for a wee while, he did show some serious swearing skills though, clearly worked on his technique for years.
So, Billy’s checklist had actually missed one thing – the little black wireless adapter that plugs into the back of the PC and connects the 4 Xbox One controllers to the PC. No Adapter. No Fragmental! Billy’s a Fanny!
OK no problem, we can handle this, we’re game developers, we solve problems every day. Surely there must be somewhere close that we can buy an adapter from. A quick look on Google Maps showed a Dixons store nearby, 20 minute walk in fact. Saaweeeet!
So what’s the plan?
We can get someone (Billy – because it’s all his stupid fault) to head over to Dixons, find the console section, buy the adapter, get back to the event, hook up the adapter, connect up the controllers, load Fragmental and boom, fun ensues.
Unfortunately things rarley go according to plan. Billy found himself stranded along the back of the NEC with a train track blocking the route that Google Maps had told him was fine. The bridge over and the underpass under the tracks were both blocked by padlocked gates! I would love to see a security camera catching Billy’s animated reaction to both padlocked gates – that would have been funny to watch. This wasn’t Billy’s day at all.
Luckily, Bert’s fantastic girlfriend Cali, was coming along to see him and she had picked up the adapter we needed and was on her way. I don’t think I’ve ever saw Billy looked so relieved. Cali – you’re a star!
We later found out that the Dixons we were attempting to get to was in fact situated in the departure lounge of Birmingham Airport. Probably just as well Billy didn’t get there, we didn’t need our Creative Director getting arrested for attempting to fight through airport security to get to Dixons.
So, we got Fragmental up and running and before long the place was packed, and we had a constant stream of people playing and enjoying the game.
All different characters went head to head, from Deadpool to Scooby Doo, to Portal’s Chell to Rey from Star Wars. It was great to see.
We were getting a real range of people playing; young kids and their parents, groups of teenagers, people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, guys and girls. The reaction was fantastic, they all loved the game and wanted to know when it was available and on what platform.
A lot of people are asking for a console version of the game, and we would love to get it on Xbox One and PS4, but our focus for the time being is PC.
Another thing we noticed was a lot of younger kids ranging from around 7 to 15 really enjoyed the game, they picked it up very quickly and before long they were giving us a few lessons. We didn’t expect kids so young to be able to play the game so well, so that was a really surprising and enjoyable thing to watch and realise.
On top of all of that, we also got quite a lot of valuable feedback and ideas for various Maps, Weapons and Game Modes. One idea that really got us thinking was to allow the environment to play against the players, so the environment could be added to a game as a 5th player, and would get a frag for every player that suicides. House wins!
Me showing them how it’s done.
Folk enjoying Fragmental
Billy vs. Dadpool
Back on the Road
So, we had a great time at Comic Con and the people who played Fragmental seemed to love the game, but it was time to say bye to Birmingham and get back on the road up to Dundee. We’ve got a game to finish!
We’re continuing work on updating Fragmental, and we just released our first Update for the game on Steam yesterday. You can check out what we’ve added here, and if you like what you see you can buy the game on Steam right now.