PAX 2014

We attended PAX again this year to demonstrate our games at the Mesa Mundi booth. We had a great time playing our games with the attendees and demonstrating Fire Platoon. The Mesa Mundi booth was larger this year and we had a bigger space and a much larger table.

PAX - Waiting for the first visitors



We were on a 60″ table using the new SensaTouch IR sensor and modular wooden table frame. It did mean that we were standing all weekend, but it was actually easier than sitting and leaving over to touch the coffee-table sized screen we were on last year.

From the time the hall opened at 10, till it closed at 6, we were always busy playing games. We mostly played Pair Soup because it is super easy and cooperative. People could walk up and join a game any time. By the end of the weekend we had played 160 games of Pair Soup. That adds up to about 13 hours! We were really glad to have the new tile sets.

There was an overhead walkway above us, and many people stopped at our booth saying that they had seen the game from above and had to try it out. We also played quite a bit of Fas’Jack, Dungeon Raiders, Got It and Yacht with people who stuck around for a second or third game.

We played several games of Fire Platoon and people seemed to enjoy it. People didn’t have trouble learning the game and controls and the tablets worked well. The WiFi was much better than last year, but it was still hard for some people to connect to the game.

PAX - Fire Platoon


The other quadrants of the booth were occupied by d20 Pro; a system for running a role playing game, another game table running a fast paced competitive game called WhackIt, and a demo of the modular table system.

PAX - Modular tables PAX - d20 Pro PAX - WhackIt PAX - DISC


There are lots more pictures of PAX and a few of Boston in my gallery.


Fire Platoon postmortem

It is a bit early for a postmortem – the game is not really complete and we haven’t released it to the public yet. But the majority of the code is done and I didn’t want to wait to capture both the things that worked well and poorly.

I’ve also been catching up on blogging about my programming projects. I’ve retroactively posted some entries to the date when I did the work. Since that makes it really hard to spot new content, here are links if you are interested:

Continue reading “Fire Platoon postmortem”

Web controls for Fire Platoon

We have decided to move the player controls off the touch table and onto individual web-enabled devices in Fire Platoon. There are a couple reasons for this decision. Most importantly, we didn’t have enough space to put even four player’s controls onto the screen and still have legible icons on the main map of the building. Second, we think that players will feel more connected to their in-game fire fighter if they are holding the controls in their hands. With off-screen controls, we can make the game map bigger and support more players (probably 8)

We are going to use web sockets to send messages between the game and the player’s web clients. Web sockets are now supported by all the web browsers, so anyone with a smartphone or tablet should be able to connect to the game and play without downloading an app. Continue reading “Web controls for Fire Platoon”

Starting Fire Platoon

We have decided to write a real-time cooperative fire fighting game with the new Torque 2D engine. We have written some real-time games for the touch table before, but so far we have only written real-time action games (like Bubble Defender, Space Shooter and TropicalTreasure). Real-time games are a bit harder on the touch table because the touch accuracy and response time is not quite good enough for a game to depend on quick button pressing. This game will not be an action game and will instead be a strategic board game that plays in real-time. Continue reading “Starting Fire Platoon”