In August we attended Insomnia 58 – a large gaming festival situated at the NEC in Birmingham – in order to show off The Mannequin to the public. It was our first show ever as a company with The Mannequin, and for several of us, our first time working a stand. We had the good fortune of sharing an amazing stand covered in giant green blow up tentacles with a few other lovely indies though, so we knew we were in for a good time.
Pretty much from opening on day one to closing on day four, the four stations we were running The Mannequin on were rammed. We had crowds of people coming to watch their friends play through, asking questions about the game and the characters before and after playing, coming back multiple times and bringing their friends to come play too. People were telling us how much they loved the game, asking if it was on steam (sadly not just yet), and sending us some lovely tweets saying how much they enjoyed the demo.
Basically, we were absolutely blown away by the response.
When you work in a vacuum on something like The Mannequin (as we have been for the past couple of years now), it’s easy to convince yourself that what you’ve made isn’t good enough, or that your design decisions haven’t hit the mark or are going to fall flat. By showing the game off to the public it really helped bolster our spirits and made us believe for the first time in a while that yeah, maybe we’re doing something right. The people playing seemed to think so, and who are we to disagree? It was also fantastically useful to watch people play the game from a design perspective, as it allowed us to see where we were going wrong and where things weren’t clear.
So, now we’re back in the office we’re reflecting on our experience at Insomnia and learning from it, we’re working on improving the current build; making tweaks where we found people were struggling, evaluating where to go with the game next and generally making the experience better. We’re planning to take the demo to more shows soon, so watch this space for more announcements.