Kick Bot Bit Bash Chicago Postmortem

By Eric Lathrop on

Me in front of the Kick Bot booth at Bit Bash Chicago

Alex, Jake, and I travelled to Chicago this weekend to show off Kick Bot at Bit Bash Chicago.

People playing Kick Bot at Bit Bash Chicago

Things that went well:

  1. We rented a projector and brought a loud speaker system. This gave us a bright, large, attractive booth. Everyone who walked by was watching our screen.
  2. Our demo reset itself when someone walked away. This kept people playing from the beginning rather than the middle of the demo. Kick Bot is a difficult game, which people definitely need to start at the beginning.
  3. We had a solid call-to-action: "Wishlist Kick Bot on Steam". We put a persistent banner on the top of the demo, another reminder on the demo end screen, booth signage, and business cards all with the singular message.
  4. We collected analytics. I wrote some code to collect data about how people played the demo. We had 195 sessions, with 17 hours of play time over the weekend. We tracked how many people finished the demo (51/195 = 26%), and how long it took to beat the demo (2.73/24.63/8.41 minutes min/max/mean). We tracked the number of player deaths (8,239) and where they occurred so we could find the hardest part (The room "Falling Saws Everywhere").
  5. We built an "attract mode" into our demo. Whenever the game was idle on the title screen it would play a lightly edited version of the Kick Bot trailer. This showed people what gameplay would be like, and made it so our screen was always interesting. We also turned down the trailer volume, so once someone started playing the sudden volume would get the attention of nearby people.

Things that we could do better:

  1. The projector screen was just some white paper taped to the wall. Because there was some electrical panels/wires/etc on the wall, the screen had some wrinkles that distorted the game play. I don't think most players noticed, but maybe next time we'll rent a proper screen.
  2. Our booth was next to a quiet, thoughtful game, and I feel bad about blasting them out with our loud music.
  3. Last-minute code changes. Some late changes to the demo added bugs that we had to fix the night before the show, making it more stressful.