My Participation at Paris Games Week 2022

From November 1st to 6th I was at Paris Games Week to present Neverlooted Dungeon. It was my first participation in a physical event, and it was a very intense experience. The event was open on the 1st exclusively to VIPs from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., then from November 2 to 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

For more than 55 hours, I held a booth with 2 PCs offering a demo of Neverlooted Dungeon specially designed for the occasion. As a solo game dev, I was alone to handle all the event. I had no idea how much difficult it would be, but in the end it was tiring but pretty fun. I offer you in this long post a little look behind the scenes.

Jeux Made In France

For Paris Games Week, I was part of Jeux Made In France, an organization that promotes French video games. In the area, there were big French publishers with big booths, and smaller booths for independent studios, including mine.

I must say that they did an excellent job, and without all this support I would never have been able to participate in such an event. They took care of all the logistics, with the creation and installation of a booth, the supply of equipment, the printing of visuals, etc. Volunteers were there to set up and take down the booths, and also to provide a helping hand to the exhibitors throughout the event. In addition, there was a stage where interviews and presentations took place. I myself participated in an interview on the last day.

Day 1 – Preparation

I arrived at the PGW on November 1 in the morning to prepare my booth. Its positioning was better than I imagined on the maps, and the impression of the large banner was pretty decent, even if a little dark. I quickly set up the demos and everything worked perfectly, which was a big relief!

I took advantage of the remaining time before opening night to wander around and meet other exhibitors. All the booths were still under construction with many people running in all directions. A few minutes before the opening, some booths were still far from being ready, with for example unrolled carpets and missing decorative elements.

Day 1 – VIP evening

The PGW began with a private opening evening from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. When I was told about this opening night, I had imagined a large buffet-cocktail to discuss with the developers and the press. Absolutely not! It was in fact a completely classic opening, but reserved for the press and VIP visitors. So I held the booth like on other days and presented the game to passing visitors. Luckily, some volunteers got me some petit fours so that I could also enjoy the party a bit.

View from above, before the start of the event.

There was not much people that night.

The Week

The organizers of Paris Games Week estimate that there were around 150,000 visitors this year. This is less than the year 2019 with 319,000. However, the surface was reduced by 3, so there was a very dense crowd in Hall 1. Here is what I could see behind me while standing next to my booth.

And this is in an other place of the Hall 1.

My booth was located in a fairly restricted passageway. In the end, I’m quite happy with the attendance, because there were always people playing at both PCs and a few people watching, without being completely overwhelmed by the movements of the crowd. During almost the entire event, I was a few meters from the booth with my flyers to try to convince people to play the demo. The elevator pitch “do you want to explore a dungeon full of deadly traps” seemed to work well to catch people interest.

The first days, the demo had a small issue in its tutorial, and I spent my time giving the same instruction when players were stuck in the first minutes of the game. So I quickly decided to make a fix during the evening at the hotel. The next day, after the update, it’s a disaster, because a new, much more serious bug is happening all time: rats don not move anymore! Too bad, I put back the version of the day before. Finally, on the fourth day all the issues are corrected and I no longer have to tell anything to players, the demo plays very well on its own without any indication, and I can spend more time speaking with visitors.

Very close to the Jeux Made In France area was the large FNAC stage. They were amazingly loud for most of the day – it hard to hear at times without shouting in your ears. Sometimes I witnessed chaotic and noisy crowd movements, where tens or hundreds of people were running in all directions. These were often “fans” of some internet celebrities, following them screaming. Fortunately, I had a VIP pass, and I had the possibility to rest in the quiet VIP zone, in peace, and with a free coffee.

During the week, one of my computer suddenly stopped working. Fortunately, Jeux Made In France staff had a spare PC and in a few minutes the game was running again. Thanks Corentin for the help :)

Interview on Stage

On the last day, I was interviewed for 15 minutes by BillieChou. After a question/answer time, I commented on a 5min gameplay sequence illustrating a lot of the game’s possibilities, trying to convince the game is fun and not punishing. Even if I much prefer the tranquility of my office to being on stage, I was told that it went pretty well.

Public Reception

These 55 hours of standing were very tiring, but overall the 6 days went well. The reception of the game has been pretty good. I think a lot of people were surprised that they had so much fun with the game, because “it doesn’t look like it” with old school graphics, but it is quickly catchy. Obviously, we must also take into account the politeness of people who will simply say that they liked it so as not to upset the developer with his desperate look.

In fact, I was afraid that the public would not be receptive at all, especially in the conditions of the event (standing, bad lighting, surrounding noise). I was afraid they would run into the dungeon without paying attention, die, and leave with frustration. On the contrary, I was happy to see that the game was working well and that the experience was close to what I had conceived. The implicit suggestions worked well and people were in the right frame of mind, trying to put the stacks on the spikes, throwing things at the slabs from a distance, looking for every nook and cranny for coins, using the mushrooms as a light source in water, etc. I was especially happy when groups of friends were amazed to see that their playing friends were entering the dungeon in a totally different way from theirs.

Contrary to what one might think with an old school dungeon crawler game, I didn’t have a majority of old male players. On the contrary, the public was very varied. Men, women, teenagers, old people, couples, children with their parents, groups of friends, the game was well received regardless of the profile. I think the physical sandbox aspect and the fun grip had a lot to do with it.

Time to Disassemble

Sunday evening, the public begins to be accompanied to the exit by the security guards. It’s time to disassemble. Like every evening, I stayed a little to chat with the other exhibitors. I also partly helped to disassemble my booth to recover the large illustration of the game, which will be used to decorate a wall of my office. Some big stands were disassembled incredibly quickly, they were almost completely down in two hours!

After such an intense week, I returned to the hotel feeling a great void. Then the next day back by train to normal life in my mountains, and rest.

PGW Special Demo Analysis

By my numbers, around 580 people tried the demo, around 80 played until they reached the end of it. Many people didn’t finish the demo but played a considerable amount of time and left very happy.

The demo, although largely shortened for the event, was still a bit too long. I thought it would last on average 10 to 15 min, but the exploration being quite free and fun, the average was more like 20-25 min. I even had to politely ask several players to shorten their game to make room for others after 30 to 40 minutes! Given that it is recommended to make demos of rather 5 to 10 min for this kind of event, in order to give a good overview of the game while allowing a greater number of people to play, I may have had to further reduce a little. But it wasn’t easy, because given the very sandbox and exploration-based nature of the game, reducing too much would potentially break the experience!

I am pretty happy with the special features of the demo I implemented for the event, such as the automatic reset and the auto replay of the trailer after a certain period of inactivity, which greatly limited the amount of actions necessary for the operation of the booth. In fact, the demo and the booth pretty much managed themselves and I could focus on attracting people and chatting with them.

Marketing Impact Analysis

In addition to the pleasure of meeting people and making people them discover the game, my main objective was to increase the visibility of the game and to make it known. It is unfortunately rather a failure on this side. Indeed, almost all of the video game press didn’t come to my booth, I didn’t even have a few seconds to present the game to them and try to convince them as I had hoped. In addition, many generalist press and even some French ministers visited some association booths, but didn’t give a look at mine.

I still had the chance to meet in person some editors of newspapers or video game websites. I also had the chance to meet two video game critics that I have greatly appreciated for several years, in particular Medoc El Medoc! A big thank you to Medoc for streaming the demo after meeting me in ALaizeBlaize JeudiCouverte and talking about it in the CozyCorner!

Special Thanks

A big thanks to Jeux Made In France staff for making this possible, and the staff and volunteers were very nice and helpful.

I was alone but I received help, especially I warmly thank Kevin, Jorane, Alban and Michaël, who came to say hello to me on the booth, and above all who also helped me for a while so that I could take breaks. Thanks to the volunteers of Jeux Made In France who also gave me a hand!

I made some nice encounters among visitors and exhibitors, this was fun.

Finally, thank you to everyone who came to the booth!

Paris Games Week Contest Winners

During the Paris Games Week, I had organized a contest, mainly for the visitors of the booth, with several ways to participate, to try to win a game key.

Feedback on Gleam.io

It was the first time that I used the “Gleam.io” service to organize a contest, I wanted to offer players several ways to participate (newsletter, twitter, discord, play the demo) in order to encourage them to participate in the community and play the game, not just collect email addresses.

It seems that this service actually suffers from a rather bad reputation among players because it is often used for contests without much interest requiring excessive amounts of actions. For my part, I have made sure that the requested actions are simple and non-binding. I encountered a problem with players unable to validate their playing time. Finally, re-playing the game for a few minutes seemed to solve the problem.

The service ran pretty smoothly and I was happy with the easy way to participate with several ways.

Too many bots!

My biggest issue was that a large part of the participants were actually bots or accounts specialized in entering online contests to resell game keys. Many entries were already marked as fraudulent, but I spent a lot of time checking myself to validate and flush out even more bots, to ensure that the winners are most likely real players interested in the game.

Winners

Congratulations to the winners:
– Truite S
– Yanou T
– Lucius L
– Jordan C
– Rabuel M

I have already sent them a game key, I hope you they real human beings interested in the game and they will play it when it’s released!

Devlog October 2022

Hello everyone, here is the news from the front!

The development continues to progress well and its end is fast approaching.

Getting some visibility

It is with great pleasure that I discovered a few weeks ago a video of Neverlooted Dungeon by the youtuber Splatter Cat Gaming. His extremely positive video has already reached 140K views and brought a huge gain in visibility to the game. A big thanks to him! You can watch this video on youtube:

Thanks to all these events and highlights, Neverlooted Dungeon is starting to get some attention. I hope to be able to continue with such a good dynamic until the release of the game.

Seasonal Events and Conventions

Making Neverlooted Dungeon known and living is a lot of work.

After the participation to Realms Deeps 2022, I recently published a new Halloween demo for Halloween Season. Have you tried it yet? Quick, it’s only temporary!

In will also be part of Paris Games Week 2022 to present Neverlooted Dungeon with a demo stand! There will be keys to win too!

Gloomy Style

I continued to tweak the new graphical style and I’m very happy with this new direction. The immersion has been greatly improved. This style also seems to be much more attractive for new players, it seems that the previous style was quite problematic for part of the target audience.

Level Design

About level design, levels 4, 5 are now completed. Level 6 is nearly done but still needs some tweaking. A first version of level 7 has already been completed. Level 8, the final level, is still under construction.

Game Features

All planned major features are done and working. Swimming and water physics is extremely satisfying, fire propagation and explosives brings a lot of fun, new magic items and wands provides great tools for overcoming dangers.

Roadmap

The game is already in a good state of polish. Hundreds of people have already played the demo, I regularly receive and fix bugs, the game is already stable and optimized. There will still be some things to implement until release, such as controller support, but the majority of the content is already there and is functional.

Like last year, this back-to-school season has been very busy with events and communication to introduce the game. As a result, the project has slowed down a bit in recent weeks. On my return from the Paris Games Week I should attack the final stretch of development. I know I tend to underestimate the remaining work, and I’m really looking forward to finally finishing the game’s final cutcene; It will really relieve me to know that a playable and almost polished version of the game is done, and that it only remains to improve it.

See you very soon,

Arnaud.

Going to Paris Games Week


I am proud to announce that Neverlooted Dungeon has been selected to be part of the Jeux Made In France panel for Paris Games Week.

Paris Games Week is the biggest video game convention in France, which will take place at the Parc des expositions Porte de Versailles, in Paris, from November 2 to 6, 2022.

I will hold a game stand for the duration of the event with a playable demo, along with other games from Jeux Made In France. For the occasion, I prepared a short version of the demo to give a good overview of the game while being more adapted to the conditions of the event. This is the first time that I participate in a physical event, I hope it will go well.

If you go to the Paris Games Week, come and say hello. I will hold a contest so that visitors can win some Steam keys for the game.

More info on https://www.parisgamesweek.com and https://www.parisgamesweek.com/Actualites/Les-actus-PGW/L-espace-jeux-Made-in-France

Gloomy update

Hello Adventurers, here is the news from the front.

I hope you are doing well, and that you had a good summer! Neverlooted Dungeon is progressing well, it’s even almost finished, phew! Well, there’s always more work to do than you think, so I wouldn’t venture to give a release date. But we are there, soon!

I have a lot of things to tell you, and rather than making a gigantic message, I’m going to tell you things in several times. Today, I would especially like to tell you about a big change: the graphic style.

Graphic style update

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the graphic style, and after many tries I decided to change the style of Neverlooted Dungeon for a slightly more detailed style, that drastically increased the immersion provided by the game. My goal is to add a bit more depth with textures, while keeping the design clean and stylish.

Gloomy trailer update

I invite you to watch the new trailer, and tell me what you think of this new style! Along with showing off the new style, you’ll also see new levels and magic items!

Gloomy demo update

I also updated the demo, I invite you to play its new version to see how this new style feels while playing the game. Hope you like it, please tell me what you think!

Try the Demo!

See you very soon for more devlogs that will present the new features (fire propagation, water swimming & physics, magic items) and give a preview of the new levels of the game.

Arnaud.

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