Our First Expo

A few weeks ago, we were on a french expo called “Salon des loisirs numériques“. An exhibition organized by the town of Chatillon and focused around the video game world.

Classic Gaming, independent developers, stands of bigger publishers and even video game school were all together in this expo.

We were offered to participate in this event and to show to visitors the various projects we are working on.

With six slots to showcase our games we decided to split our stand like this :

  • 2 monitors were dedicated to try 21 Bytes, our current game.
  • 1 monitor were dedicated to show Poyas Odyssey, a game that we made during the second half of our second year of study.
  • 1 monitor were dedicated to show Weight Of Tools, a game that we made during the first half of our second year of study.
  • 1 monitor for FASTBACK, a game created by our team in 48 hours during the Ludum Dare 28.
  • And finally the last monitor were used to show to the public the other side of video games by showing them how we use our toools, our game engine, our 3d computer graphics program, etc.

The expo took place a Wednesday, 04.09.2014 and was open to the public from 10 am to 06 pm without interruption.

The admission to the expo was free and was during school hours so a lot of schoolchildren came with their class.

Whole classes of kindergarten students, primary school students and secondary school students arrived in the expo and at our stand.

Quickly, we realized that most of these small players were clearly not comfortable with a keyboard. And we quickly add controllers to the monitors dedicated to 21 Bytes.

At this moment we didn’t actually put a lot of efforts in the controllers feature of 21 Bytes.  At the time we added this feature quickly without paying much attention to it.

Despite that, players quickly made their mark with the controller. Players had the choice to play with the keyboard or the controller, but the vast majority of players chosen to use the controller.

This experience helped us to realize the importance of a controller support. We decided to work and improve the controls in 21 Bytes and this even during the expo because we had a dedicated workspace .

So during the day, we took a lot of notes for 21 Bytes,we learned a lot about our game and the players’ behaviors and made a list of possible improvements for the game :
It could be a problem with the sensibility of an analog stick, a bug preventing some monsters to behave normally, an enemy being too difficult or too easy to defeat etc.

Ultimately, this show allowed us to learn a lot, it allowed us to meet very interesting and passionate developers and to meet players of all ages. That was really something to see players having fun with our games, to see them run through the levels that we made, to solve our puzzles, to confront enemies that we designed. This expo reminded us that without players, a game is nothing. And that it is thanks the players that games come to life.



To Lock or not To Lock

Lately, we had a lot of feedbacks about 21 bytes, and more precisely about the combat system of 21 Bytes.
Those feedbacks were very interesting, they helped us a lot. They allowed us to focus on some of the aspects of 21 Bytes.

But with those feedbacks, some of you asked us the same thing :

Why wouldn’t you put a lock system in 21 Bytes ?

Eh, that’s a good question, why not ?
After all, we don’t hide our inspiration of the Zelda series. So, why not ?

We already thought about using a Lock system for 21 bytes, but each time, we decided not to use it.
The combat system in 21 Bytes is based on the player placement. 21 Bytes is not really like a beat them all. You don’t have a lots of combos.
We don’t want the player to know how to memorize and use a large number of attacks, we want him to learn to develop reflexes and understand and avoid the enemies behaviors.
The monster’s behaviors were made with this philosophy in mind. If we add a lock system in 21 Bytes, we would just break the balance of the game.
Adding a lock system would make the game too easy or too hard in some other case.

But why making this choice in the first place?
We did it for several reasons.


At our level, it’s much more affordable for us to make a combat system based on placement and dodging.
In addition, this combat system allows the player to face multiple enemies at once. This will happen often because the enemies have a group behavior. It’s hard to fight 5 or 10 enemy with a lock system when they all attack you at the same time.

And finally, the last reason:
It’s linked to the ephemerality of the avatar. The avatar has a time limit, he is constantly under constraint, constantly pressed by time.
Adding a lock system would create a conflict between this sense of urgency and the slowness of a “locked” fight. A fight in which the two opponents turn around each others.

And that’s for all these reasons that we decided not to have any lock system in 21 Bytes.


Combat System Prototype

As we told you in a previous blog post, we work iteratively, we developed quite early a combat system that we try to improve weeks after weeks.

We realized that it will be interesting for you to get your hands on a prototype of the combat system.
Like that, you would be able to understand more easily what the combats will look like in 21 Bytes. We will enjoy to have your feedbacks and suggestions to improve the combat system.

As you can imagine, this prototype is only about the combat system, it does not contains any environments, Level Design, or upgrade system.

Try The Prototype

Feel free to comment and giving us your opinion, feedback and suggestions.

Edit: This post was originally published in French.