May is Motivation Month

May is shaping up to be one of the better months for Vespers.

I’ve talked for years about eventually reaching a point in development where I could submit the game to an indie game competition such as IndieCade, particularly one that would accept works-in-progress. However, each time, year after year, the deadlines came and went without ever quite getting there.

The goal, as always, has been to finish development up to a truly playable version that would allow people to play through the end of Act I, which ends with a short cutscene acknowledging the first significant dramatic event of the game, which then sets the stage for the remaining four Acts. Getting all of the different components of Act I put together, along with adequate testing, bug fixes, a player instruction manual and help screens, versions for both Mac and Windows, and so on, has been a real challenge. Earlier this year, I mentioned how I had reached the first milestone, with all of the Act I content put together as a complete demo. Now, a few months, some testing, several bug fixes, a bit of new content, and a shoulder surgery later, it is all packaged up and heading out the door for the world (or, more accurately, a couple of people) to see.

Turns out May is a good month for indie game competitions for works-in-progress. In addition to IndieCade, there is also a local event called “Gaming ’13 – Utah Game Wars,” which is part of the “Concept to Company” competitions hosted by Grow Utah Ventures, a non-profit group committed to assisting Utah’s entrepreneurs. This one is for budding game developers and studios to help grow the game development industry in Utah, and they have categories for both finished and unfinished games. As it happens, both IndieCade and Utah Game Wars have the same deadline for entry, May 31st, so it’s almost like a two-for-one deal.

My expectations are fairly low for both. IndieCade receives a ton of submissions each year, and getting to be a finalist is pretty much a long shot—although I imagine the odds are even longer for works-in-progress, even though they are encouraged. As for Utah Game Wars, the emphasis is more on the creation of a viable new Utah company, and that will be more than a tough sell given the obvious niche nature of a “text parser-driven 3D graphics game.”

But that, of course, is besides the point. In this case, it’s certainly less about winning a competition and more about just reaching a point where I have a product finished enough for putting out there for judges to destroy. Both submissions are complete, and it’s now out of my hands. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time.

Here’s hoping June is even more successful.

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