[RMMV] I TOOK AN RPG MAKER GAME TO GAMESCON MIDDLE EAST :)

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Hello everyone!

So... This is a long story but one which I thought was worth sharing here.

It has a crazy ending and I haven't seen a similar experience mentioned here before.

I live in the United Arab Emirates for the last 2 1/2 years (moving from the UK). It's been a fantastic experience and one I highly recommend to anyone!

During the long summer months (It can get to 50 degrees...) I began playing Pokemon TCG and other hobbies to keep me interested and motivated and meet new like-minded people.

This was when I discovered RPG Maker FES and began to mess about with the wonderful software.

Soon after I got MV in a Steam sale and I am happy to admit I'm a complete addict.

In late October 2017, I noticed an advert for GamesCon Middle East in Abu Dhabi which is about 1hr and a half from my home in Dubai. Rather randomly I thought... I wonder if they would let me show my game lol... A phone call later to the event organiser and about 1500 Dirams / 300 USD lighter I had a table in the "Artists Alley" at a major regional event! 10'000 people came to the event which was spread over 3 days (2 at the weekend).

I do this with hobbies... I always seem to take them to the extreme and put myself in predicaments :)

I'm pretty pleased with my RPG Maker project; I think the story is pretty good, and I was eager to see what people would think of it in person... what happened over the 3-day event was pretty crazy!

A friend of mine at my place of work is in marketing, I told her about the plans and she put me in touch with a company who could print me a stand-up banner and some flyers for a fee. This worked out pretty well and a few days before the event I had some pretty neat looking marketing literature which cost me about 100 USD or 500 AED.

I then got a call from the event organisers... They asked if I could do a 30 min presentation/workshop on RPG Maker. I explained that I'm not an expert however they said that this is fine, and should be a topic of the presentation. I rather reluctantly accepted the offer... What on earth was I thinking!

I must warn anyone who goes through this... There is a lot of paperwork to get through, extra costs for power to your table and more to consider which I didn't really consider before signing up. After all the admin was completed I got a day off work; took my TV from the lounge, brought a retro games controller and headed to Abu Dhabi.

My plan was to set up the TV, HDMI the laptop to the TV, hide it and run the controller under the TV so people could play.

Once I got over the initial excitement, I set up my table within a huge warehouse full of the latest games and stalls promoting amazing products.



There are some things to now consider which I'll list out:

1) A lot of people instantly recognised it was RPG Maker, and the feedback was very, very positive. I use a lot of RTP and free to use resources from this site and I'm proud of this. I'm not yet ready to hand draw a game (I will for my next project). People who recognised the engine were excited to ask how it is using it or tell me about there own experience which then leads to a higher interaction with me and my game.

2) RPG games are not the type of game for a show like this... They are just too in-depth and I found it hard to get my point across and had to explain everything... however...

3) For 3 days I learned my sales pitch!... Well... I'm not selling my game; it will be free for all. I just have too much RTP and I want to dedicate my first project to the fantastic people who put free resources online, make plugins and offer help here :) However, if I was going to explain my game in 5 mins, I can safely say that after the 1000th time I got the point across and quickly. This actually transcended into the game, as I realised there was stuff to cut out of the story and I should take a similar stance on my story.

4) I met some amazing people... Artists, programmers, lectures, games companies and more (I'll explain the rest below as it's mind-blowing). All very useful people who have offered to get on board and help me with my project!!!! In actual fact... It was the best bit about going, making contacts was by far the most value about going to the event. I also met some people who were genuinely fans of the game after playing it for almost an hour at the show... It's crazy to think... but they actually loved it and I was honoured.

Well, by the time day 3 came around it was time for my workshop. About 20 people attended and all I did was create a simple presentation and explained that anyone can use RPG Maker and make a game. This has good and bad points for some, however, my main point was that if you want to do something, anything, just do it and not worry what people think. This actually went down well, people asked questions at the end which was nice too.

Then at the end of the presentation, one of the organisers came over and looked hurried. She asked if I minded entering a competition for the National Media Council of the UAE. She explained that it's "What a Great Idea" competition and I would be judged by Games Industry experts in the UAE, the National Media Council and some other experts. She said all I have to do is run through my game, tell the story and that would be enough. At this time, I thought it was probably in a months time or was a different event they were referring me too... However, she then said, it's in 30 mins so bring your laptop with you.

I thought at that time... What the hell... Sign me up!



With half an hour I was standing in front of a large audience, press present and a panel of judges. Fortunately, I don't get nervous; I just never have been a nervous person and I don't care for standing in front of crowds (I'm not a show-off, even in interviews for jobs, I just don't have nerves).

It went well. Actually very well.

Soon after all the other competitors finished I was asked to come backstage and meet some VIP's... This turned out to the be the National Media Council who wanted to hear from us about our experience in the UAE and the games industry (GAMES INDUSTRY???!!!!). A lot of it was in Arabic, and I don't speak it (only read and write oddly)... However, I explained my project and what I was trying to achieve and then they announced that my game had won! It was an honor to meet these people and was a great end to the weekend.

I realised that I didn't know what the prize was... I was then told it was a 1-month internship at Gameloft!
Unfortunately, I work full time and can't afford to just quit my job, however, I did make some great contacts at the company who have offered to help me out with the marketing and other parts of my project. I guess I can legitimately say my game is award-winning lol :)

The drive home was a real buzz for me and my beautiful wife; she supported me the whole time so I was excited that she got to experience this with me.

So what did I learn and gain?

Well firstly I thought before I went that I'd aim to drive interest and traffic to my 2 websites about the game, I have the actual website and then I have a dev log as that would be the best way of continuing the contact I made at the show... Wrong. It didn't work, I didn't see an increase in traffic at all. However, I think I made about 40 more Instagram and 20 more Twitter followers, which is actually better since I can keep updating people over time.

I learned that next time I should create a set demo for the game that focuses on the actual mechanics of the game, a little bit of story and maybe 1-2 quests to complete. This would be enough for the short stay people made.

People wanted to know about RPG Maker and how they can make their own game; probably as much as people were interested in my actual project. At times, I felt like an RPG Maker salesman! That's fine though; I was here to share the love not sell anything so I had no issues with this. Like I said, it's good to meet like-minded people!

When people actually sat and played the game, they genuinely seemed to love it. I'm not boasting, I don't know how my game stands up against all the other amazing projects, but there were times when people seemed very engaged and excited to try it out once I have my demo ready.

Contacts I made were amazing. This was the real gold of the 3-day event. I met wonderful people, exchanged business cards and made a lot of new friends.

Also, I met the youtuber Ali A... The woman who voices the mech girl from Overwatch (I don't play it so I'm not sure what that means, I think she is called WidowMaker) and some popular cosplayers :)

Well, I've signed up for ComiCon in Dubai. It the whole experience was amazing, and I'm excited to do it again. If you're going to be in Dubai April 2018, let me know!

Hopefully, you found this post useful in some way... Don't be afraid to show your amazing projects in public, go out and meet people if you can! Any questions let me know.

Also - You can play the demo via my game page... I would appreciate any feedback!
This was a really neat read. Thanks for sharing!

I did a sort of display at a very small convention in Arizona for a few hours a couple of years ago, where people could come and try the demo version of Soma Spirits if they wanted. Though it wasn't much more than just having my laptop set up with the game open.

That's really the only time I've shown my game in public though, other than a small presentation I did at a local library.

It would be neat to do a public demo with my current project. I've mostly kept my gamedev hobby in my "online life" (not even my family knows I make games) but crossing the streams has been kind of inevitable so I don't see why not.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
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I agree with Sgt, thanks for sharing and congrats on winning the award. This was surprisingly deep and well-written.

You definitely got me interested in your game and in showing my project somewhere (I don't have anything worth showing right now). These are some good advices at the end too!
author=SgtMettool
This was a really neat read. Thanks for sharing!

I did a sort of display at a very small convention in Arizona for a few hours a couple of years ago, where people could come and try the demo version of Soma Spirits if they wanted. Though it wasn't much more than just having my laptop set up with the game open.

That's really the only time I've shown my game in public though, other than a small presentation I did at a local library.

It would be neat to do a public demo with my current project. I've mostly kept my gamedev hobby in my "online life" (not even my family knows I make games) but crossing the streams has been kind of inevitable so I don't see why not.
author=Cap_H
I agree with Sgt, thanks for sharing and congrats on winning the award. This was surprisingly deep and well-written.

You definitely got me interested in your game and in showing my project somewhere (I don't have anything worth showing right now). These are some good advices at the end too!


Thanks so much! Glad I could share some experiences and inspire! The award thing was all well and good however it was so much fun just being there. I'll be at ComiCon Dubai in April so hopefully it will be just as good.

Let me know if you play the demo :)
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