Frank's First Peek

el_bearduno's picture

Hello everyone! A lot of you are getting your first Frank from Earth update! We cannot thank you enough for joining our tiny community.

This Memorial Day weekend, we introduced Frank from Earth at the Phoenix Comicon Convention and were overwhelmed with the interest, support, and positive feedback we received from children, young adults, and parents alike! This excitement is really motivating us to take FFE to the next level! Literally and metaphorically! (Seriously, we are working on new levels.)

For a while now, we’ve been in the “fake it” stage of “fake it ‘til you make it.” We reassure each other that we are creating something that people will like. We’ve invested countless nights and weekends over the past year and Comicon was the first time we received some solid evidence that we are on the right track! I want to say a sincere thanks everyone who came out and showed support!

For this blog post, I wanted to share some of our Phoenix Comicon experience and break down the details of what went into last weekend. I hope you all enjoy!

The Booth

Mocking up the booth was really useful. We wanted it to be open and inviting to anyone who wanted to play. If you stopped by and tried it out, you may have also signed up for our alpha test release. 

Here is what our alpha testers received:

  • The Deadpug outfit.
  • You were entered into a drawing for a 4-day Comicon pass for next year.
  • We donated a quarter to APARN (Arizona Pug Adoption & Rescue Network) for each person who signed up.

If you would like to help Frank's furry friends at ARPAN, they always accept donations on their website.

The Concert

If you missed it, we invited Dratini on the Rocks to play a mini concert and they freaking killed it! Here is a short video I took of them. (Sorry for the awkward angle.)

 

Their full set list is included in the YouTube description section of the video. You can also find them on Instagram. Make sure to check them out!

Let’s Pick a Raffle Winner!

If you signed up at the booth during Comicon, you were submitted in our raffle. I used to work at a casino gaming company, so naturally we must spin a wheel to pick the winner!

 

Congratulations to the winner! I will be sending you an email shortly.

Favorite Moments

The whole Comicon experience was great, though it flew by way too quick. It felt like something awesome was always happening and we couldn't help but become a little distracted by all of the hilarious cosplay. Below are a few of my personal favorite moments that I wanted to share with everyone. 

Too Much Cat Love

One player, a cat lover, was so in love with cats that she refused to kill any of them in the game. Instead, she jumped around, dodging bullets, collecting cosmic shards, and returned to the ship as fast as possible. To all the other cat lovers out there, please know that we love cats too. I have three myself. However, if you are a cat interfering with our quest for cosmic shards, it’s going down! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Okay, enough of that.

Please! Just One More Second

This little dude was so glued to the game that after he left he just had to run back for one more second of gaming. He insisted that he could help me shoot and he was right; look at him go! The third hand on the controller was definitely necessary to beat the level. Thanks again little dude!

Real Time Programming

I made changes to the build to fix errors or tweak behavior daily, and as a result, every day I added new bugs! The last day was by far the best version of FFE. At one point, I was actually making builds in real time, using some voluntary testers who figured out how to trigger our super jump bug!

Better than Titanic

Dratini on the Rocks guitarist, Raymond, broke into a beautiful flute solo for their composition of Final Fantasy 7’s Cosmo Canyon. It may have even brought a tear to my eye. At one moment, I thought I was Rose with her arms spread out on the point of the Titanic. However, thanks to a successful run at Comicon, my heart will go on. 

Our New Game Designer

On Friday, this young man came up to me after playing FFE with several ideas for our game. Throughout the next few days, he spent nearly as much time at the booth as the team did. He was creating concept after concept and asking for feedback. I later found out that his mom was an author exhibiting at the con, which made perfectly explained his ambition and creative mind. Every single concept came with a solid, well thought out back story. Brendan, in about a decade there will be a spot waiting for you at Tiny Phoenix, if you’ll have us. Here is a group of his other submissions.

Jurassic Bark

 

What else is there to say?

Going Home

I must thank the people who helped us move in and out of the con. Dad, Zak, Isaac, Alex, Liz, and Brant - You guys are all lifesavers! Though it may not show in this photo, we were super wiped out by the end of the weekend.

Here is a comparison of move-in and move-out:

Numbers for the Nerds

I always like to include some numbers for other game developers or anyone interested in them. Before Comicon, we had about 20 subscribers, which were almost exclusively friends and family. While I’ve tried to get better at promoting our game through social marketing, I will always be a sheltered programmer at heart. That said, attending Phoenix Comicon was a wonderful decision; it allowed us to get our name out there and generate some invaluable feedback and followers. The subscribers that we gained are exactly what we need to fine-tune FFE and ensure it is playavle, and most importantly, fun, upon release.

We also had a massive influx of people visiting our site. 672 visitors may not seem like a lot to you, but in terms of what our average visits were before, this number is massive. We can't thank everyone enough for all of the motivation and excitement you've lent our team!

Mailing List Disaster!

The first day of Comicon, my friend Mike and I were both signing people up for the Alpha. On my way home, I checked our mailing list service and it was empty!  I found out the form we were was using on our website was outputting success but failing to add the new users. It was a result of a simple update not being installed on the server. After the fix, everything was smooth sailing. What could have been a catastrophe was completely diverted, whew!

What we Learned

  1. We are in the retail business.
  2. We are in the gaming business!

The first few days, I was so caught up in showing the game and signing people up that I completely forgot to sell our merch! We still made a few sales, but as it turns out, it wasn't all that important to us. When we decided to go to Comicon, I wanted to support the spirit of art that Comicon was founded on and we had two artists take a break from the game to do illustrations for posters and shirts. Turns out, people just really wanted to try the game because there were not that many games on the main showroom floor. This was major advantage for us - We loved the opportunity to be a fun and social booth throughout the con. We learned something that will stay with us in the future; stick to your roots!

I would definitely suggest Comicon to other indie developers trying to gain exposure. The $800 that we paid for our booth was nothing compared to the invaluable experience of playing our game with upwards of 500 people.

Alpha 1.0 Release Coming Soon!

For everyone who is waiting for more info on when you can play, it is coming very soon! We’re shooting for a target test release of an “Alpha” version on June 30th. This will be for PC only. The android and iOS builds need more love and will come later.

FFE is set to be free to play with in app purchases that will only affect cosmetics, skins and accessories. We received a lot of great feedback at Comicon and based in this, are in the process of choosing what to include in the release. Right meow, we are expecting to release what you tried at Comicon with minor fixes and a few additions.

Fixes

  • Character screen sliding already fixed. Some of you experienced this at comicon.
  • Boss running away fixed. This was also a mid comicon fix some of you saw.
  • Dead on start fixed. One more fixed during the con.
  • Super Jump persists on some machines. Needs more love.

Planned Additions

  • Stats screen
  • More Bosses
  • Player Revival (so you don’t have to restart when someone dies)
  • More accessories
  • More pretty effects

If you got the chance to play at Comicon and have more comments or questions, please let loose in the comment section below!

At some point, we may submit the game to Steam Greenlight if it still exists. So, watch out for that!

All future updates will be sent out through this mailing list, including the Alpha release and Steam Greenlight submission.

How You Can Support Us

We are just starting out and your support has been overwhelming. We’re not looking for handouts and all of our funding is self-generated. If you would like to support us, you can do so in a few ways:

  • Share us with your friends
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Give us feedback below

Thanks again everyone - We am really looking forward to the future!

Blast off! 

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