The University of Tulsa hosted the Heartland Gaming Expo last weekend. John and myself went in to check it out, but when we were able to get there...the main day was over. So unfortunately there wasn't much to see; that was a benefit though. Why? Because we were able to chat with the developers about what they were making for the event itself.
Oh, I should probably explain what this convention just happens to be, right? Yeah. That's what I was thinking too. PARTY TIME! Cake and beer everywhere...wait...this got derailed. Ahem. So convention. About gaming. Okay, got it. I'm back.
Heartland brings the talents of the Midwest together for a showing of the games they are making. Various voting categories were available to compete in, which was nice about going on Sunday. The winner of the People's Choice and Overall Runner Up were both there with two completely different games. The overall winner wasn't there Sunday, but it was still a blast to see the others.
While John was playing the games themselves, I was asking questions about the work the dev put into the their games. I'm unaware of the total projects on display, but we got to play the following:
Project Land Mineded (Unreal Tournament)
Gun Mage (Contra)
Shotgun Wizard (not to be confused with above game) (Contra with quarter eating coin-op flair)
Pet Duck (Metroid/Castlevania/SmashTV)
Cannon Golf (Tig...Golf with Cannons)
Light Wars (Geometry Wars)
Each game had a clear understanding of the games that were pulled for inspiration. Most were done with Java or Java Script. Project Land Minded was the only one (that I remember) to use the a version of Unreal Engine. Even though the games were in their early stages of development; Heartland gave a pre determined amount of development time to the contestants, these were still interesting endeavors.
Overall my love of RPGs had me leaning more towards Greywater for the sole purpose of it being the only one there to experience. However, there were several flaws that were easy to point out; in addition to quick to cause problems. With more development time GW will likely be a title worthy of its "steampunk with Diablo" aspirations. While John and I were there at Greywater's booth a milestone was made. Team Sweepy (as the team was called. Named after a main character in GW as well) launched the twitter page for the "studio".
It was interesting to hear the responses whenever we asked what the plans were, post competition. Apparently we were the only ones thinking these projects were going to be more than just projects, because no one had a "strategy" for after Heartland was over. But it was all cool, hopefully we helped create some interest in finalizing the projects and releasing to the countless platforms out there.
I've also been talking extensively with the guy whose game won the People's Choice Award, Pet Duck (Emmett Cookson), and have established a good report with him on the creative side. Interested to see what comes from him next. If he has time to dive into another project after this one.