So this week, once again I have been spreading the word of Fringe Planet. This time at a business panel at the University of Groningen. I’ve presented several times here in the past year as part of the VentureLab program. Introducing Fringe Planet, myself and the company to various industry and business experts. Every time, refining the pitch and focusing on different aspects of things. Getting feedback on different areas and on how good the pitch was. Also a friendly competition between myself and the other teams to try and score the highest in front of the panel.
As many of you will know – I’m dyslexic and dyspraxic. I’ve had many, many years of speech therapy and thankfully now – unless I tell someone about it, generally no one notices my speech foibles. This has counted against me during these events however alas – I have to pitch from a script as I find it pretty hard to speak and remember things at the same time. To try and explain it, every word I say, I have to mentally think about the shape of my mouth and the sound. I say “errrm” a lot between words while my brain makes my mouth work. It’s something I think I’m more aware of than other people, but it is irksome. So I thought, for this pitch – I’ll try without the script.
Additionally, I thought I’d do something else different for the pitch. I decided that the entire pitch would actually take place in game. To start this process I created this wonderful peon Nic – and some information about myself and my history (and also who was going to wear exactly I was wearing during the presentation!). I also modded the game heavily – giving the peons a huge amount of energy, adding some modded objects that would open GUI windows (look slides!) and toning down the difficulty greatly.
So, not only was I going to speak in public (which is always an issue for me), I was going to remember a speech (which can be problematical), I was going to demo a live product (which is potentially a nightmare for any developer) and finally I was doing this while also playing the game (which felt fairly natural, but combined with the other three points felt dangerous).
I do like making life difficult for myself it would seem.
I watched the other presentations before mine. It’s great to see how well we’ve all grown as teams, and how polished all the presentations/pitches have become. The standard was incredibly high and the panel asked some incredibly insightful questions as well as providing some really valuable feedback.
And finally it came to my turn. I plugged in my laptop and loaded the game, mentally preparing for the presentation.
The screen I was displaying on was huge, and honestly have never seen Fringe Planet on such a big surface, which was fairly cool. For people who have seen me present before, they knew what to expected from the game, but as people filled into the room, they were the first people to publicly see the Fringe Planet title screen. As islands floated behind me changing forms I started the speech, before switching to my introduction screen.
I ended up starting the game, talking about the storytellers and the peons as the game loaded. I had the peons build small items, that when clicked upon would display the slides that would talk more about the business side of things. Thankfully, everything went down incredible well. No bugs appeared, no peons died, and most surprisingly, I managed to remember everything I was supposed to say.
It’s been a very long couple of days (starting at 4.30am!) and I’ve manage to pack a lot of work into it, which has been awesome and very productive. But I think I may sleep the entire weekend!
There is a lot more to read about Fringe Planet… why not try: