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PaizoCon Report

It was a pretty crazy week here at Goblinworks HQ! We participated in PaizoCon 2013, and presented our first "live" demo of Pathfinder Online for the public.

We had been hoping to be able to do a live demo at PaizoCon, but the timing was unclear until just a few weeks ago. After finishing Milestone 1 in mid-April, the team has been busy working on Milestone 2 objectives. As they work on their various tasks they tend to "break the build," rendering certain things inoperative or causing the game to crash. (That's pretty normal at this stage of development.) With the end of Milestone 2 just a few weeks away, the number of those problems is relatively high. Of course we had the Milestone 1 build to fall back on, but to our eyes it's out of date and doesn't show off the current state of the game as well as we'd like. So the team put in some extra time over the past couple of weeks to get a "stable" interim build ready for us to use, using Milestone 1 as a base but adding a number of features and improvements (but not everything) from Milestone 2.

With a usable build ready, we then had to decide how to display it. The hotel hosting PaizoCon had a very nice room used for small banquets that was otherwise unallocated to PaizoCon events, and Paizo was able to let us have it for the weekend. After a quick on-site inspection to determine how much usable space we had, the team planned a couple of scenarios to put it to the best use we could. One idea was to set up a half-dozen demo stations and run people through a "scripted" play experience. However, we were hard up against the 4th of July holiday, and that put a kink in our plans to order hardware for the demo stations. In the end, we went with a smaller 3-station configuration, using our demo laptop as a server. That worked out really well: We had a nice flow of people stopping by to try out the game, but weren't overwhelmed with people waiting for a seat. Being at the opposite end of the hotel from most of the PaizoCon events helped us manage traffic flow.

On Saturday we had a 1-hour panel to talk about the current state of the game design. Unfortunately, I botched my "prepare technology in advance" roll and could not get the presentation I planned to deliver to run on my iPad. So instead of some nice slides, I just winged it from memory. Luckily, Mike Hines, our Art Director, was able to get his laptop hooked up to the projector, and showed several slides of work in progress, demonstrating how our art pipeline works from concept sketch to in-game asset. Then Lee Hammock, Lead Designer, talked about his vision for how Pathfinder Online will be a rabbit apocalypse. (Lee's rabbit-pelt example may have gotten away from him a little bit.) Finally, on Saturday night at the Paizo banquet we showed a 3-minute progress update video for the game, featuring a bunch of never-before-seen-in-game images of concept tests, buildings, and characters.

Digging out from the PaizoCon aftermath, we've decided to give ourselves an extra week to polish up the various assets we showed at the panel and in our video. We're going to present them as next week's development blog. We appreciate everyone's patience!

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