2021 Showcase

Once again, the COVID situation is forcing us to hold the Ahowcase online this year. The official date for Showcase is Tuesday May 25, 2021, with the exact time to be determined later. The Showcase will be held in Discord in a special playtesting section that we will make especially for the Showcase. We will be inviting them the public into our Discord via a temporary invitation link on the main Showcase page.

Your games will be made available for download from the Showcase page, so people will be available to play the games even outside of Showcase. The purpose of a timed, synchronous event is two-fold. First of all, you can have streams showing off your game to intice people to play it. Either have your own team members streaming or (even better) invite some friends to stream in your channel. The second is to provide techical support for people that are having trouble playing your game.

Classes are still having finals on that day, so you are excused if you have a conflict. But barring that (or some other excuse), we expect everyone in your group to attend Showcase. This event is – for all intents and purposes – your final exam.

Registering for Showcase

We need for each group to officially “register” for showcase so that we can prepare the download page ahead of time. This year, that registration will take place in an (ungraded) CMS entry due Friday, May 21. You do not need a game submitted by then.
But you do need to submit the promotional materials.

Promotional Materials

The promotional materials should start with a text file. This text file should include the following information:

  • The official name of your project, as you want it to appear on the website
  • The official name of your “game studio”, as you want it to appear on the website
  • The names of all team members, as you want them to appear on the tent website
  • A ONE sentence description of your game (last line of your concept document).
  • A larger, but still only one paragraph description of your game.

In addition, we want you to provide us the following promotional material (which will be used to prominently display your game on the soon to be new and improved website).

  • A 200x200 “cover picture” representing your game (think title screen)
  • A 128x128 pixel picture for your group logo.
  • Four to five screenshots 800x600 pixel screenshots.
  • A 150x112 pixel thumbnails for each screenshot.
  • A 545x220 “banner picture” for your game.

To give you some idea of what we are asking for, here are the cover picture and group logo for the game Curse of the Wendigo.

Cover Picture Group Logo

Similarly, here is the banner picture for irrational hover assault. Do not add the text calling your game a “featured game”. That is for us to decide.

All of this information should be zipped together into a folder called promotional.zip and submitted to CMS. If we do not receive this information by 11:59 pm Sunday, May 17th, your final grade will be penalized.

Game Trailers

Historically, game trailers have been optional, and that is true again this year. With that said, we love to have them. These are flashy ways to promote your game that we can put on the Facebook page. They help sell your game when people are figuring out what to download. In the past these trailers were shown on the room projectors. This year we may stream them in the Showcase “hallway”.

To give you an idea what makes a good trailer, her are the trailer reels for the past few years.

Setting up for Showcase

You will make a final release of your game Monday, May 24th at midnight in your Git repository (not in CMS). We need enough time to download your games and make sure that they run before Showcase. While we will allow last minute substitutions at Showcase, we want to have some version that is guaranteed to run. Games that cannot be run will not be made available for download (and the highest your game can make is a C).

This release may not be a JAR file. It must be an executable created with PACKR, just as you did for Golden Master (which was intended to be a dry run for this process).

In the past, we asked you to provide us with a display poster. Obviously that is not necessary this time (since we are not having a physical showcase). But we do recommend that you bring a Quick Start Guide. Think of this as an abbreviated version of a game manual that tells the person just enough to get started. Here are some examples (extracted from game manuals in years past) of what we are recommending.

Janiterror: In one page this team clearly defines the objectives, the challenges, and all of the controls. It would be great if you could replicate this example.

Chrominance: This team also provided a one page overview, though not as detailed as Janiterror. Treat this as a minimal example of what should provide.

Big Friendly Oob: This document takes two pages (with the second a full screenshot). This is the most you should do in a quick start document.

Good luck to everyone in the home stretch. I know that this is not the Showcase that you want. However, it was very successful last year and I would like to repeat that experience.