Sunday 25 February 2018

Back to Maaaarrrr-gate - GEEK 2018 in review

Lead artist Matthew's thoughts on Bullion's second visit to GEEK expo...

Bullion is back from GEEK 2018, held at Dreamland in Margate, Kent. For Bullion’s second outing at GEEK, we were greeted by some familiar faces at the indie dev area, as well as a few newcomers. This year, Bullion brought a plethora of new features to the event. For starters, we have a second playable map in development, Salty Swamp, which players could test out along with Paul’s magnificently clever AI players, allowing individuals and smaller groups to get the full Bullion experience for the first time. We also debut an overhauled menu screen, featuring my pirate ship model.

Our little bit of GEEK...

With the stand set up Friday morning, I took a glimpse at the entrance to see a queue right up the hill, almost onto the street! Players of all ages flocked to the stand to try out Bullion. Young players were grasping the gameplay quickly, and with some brief explanation from us, even less gaming-inclined parents were picking up the controls and having fun with their families, and occasionally grabbing surprise wins over their kids!

First "full crew" of the day

Paul preps a crew for action

Unlike the publically untested build from GEEK 2017, this version of Bullion proved much more stable, with only a few minor technical issues, most quickly vanquished by Ben in the evenings while the event was closed.

The indie people’s vote returned once again, and despite competing against more than 10 titles, most much closer to release, we still scooped 3rd place like last year! Even with the friendly competition between titles, the indie developers were very supportive of their fellow creators, trying out and giving feedback on each other’s games, as well as going out for dinner together on the Saturday night like one big indie family.

Bullion continued to prove popular all weekend, with players bring along friends to experience the game, guests from last year returning and remembering us, and even small queues and crowds forming, waiting patiently for the next round. It is incredible to see that Bullion can hold attention this well, with less busy games, an amusement arcade, and even Nintendo game setups not proving enough to distract them from trying Bullion.

We got the Stormtroopers' attention...

Young buccaneers take on Salty Swamp

Our guests provided valuable feedback on the game, letting us know what they enjoyed, and any suggestions they had. We were glad to see that most critique we received is already in the pipeline to be dealt with, such as requests for faster movement already planned for the faster moving Bovy Jones, our next bovine buccaneer to be playable.

We knew that Bullion was on the right track when we saw how often players would sit and enjoy multiple matches. Not just kids, but kids at heart, parents and fellow developers all were invested enough to go for rematches against their friends and our computer-controlled cattle corsairs.

Age doesn't matter - smiles do!

Our 6th GEEK - awesome as ever!

With plenty of praise, much fewer bugs experienced, and lots of happy players of all ages, the Bullion team set sail for home from another successful GEEK show. Seeing how much joy the game brings to players young and old makes all our hard work worthwhile. With our most common question being “When will this be released?” we are dedicated to continue developing Bullion, with lots more content planned, including new characters, new maps and modes. Our ride home was filled with brainstorming for the next phases of development, and we are just as excited as the players to see what we can get ready for next year, as well as any other shows Bullion may visit in 2018.

Massive thanks all around to the GEEK hosts, Dreamland’s staff, our indie developer family, and most of all the players who took the time to give Bullion a try.

I’m looking forward to GEEK 2019 already!

This year marks six consecutive years of Leda Entertainment exhibiting at GEEK Expo - once again, thanks to all the amazing people who work so hard to make it happen!

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