The Beat Goes On: Progress and Milestones
Spencer Beckford • December 06, 2023
6 min read
Greetings! It's been a while since the last update - two whole years to the day, in fact! While we've been busy stepping to the irregular beat of game development, we have been spending a lot of time refining the art direction and core mechanics of Rhythm Towers, mainly by hitting the road and getting it in front of people to play and gather important feedback! This has taken us to Barcelona, Brighton, Cologne, London, Manchester and Tokyo! So, let's dive in and recap what has been going on since our last blog post.
First up, although we had some strong competition, we were selected to take part in the GameBCN game incubator, "Barcelona's global incubation program for video game studios, which aids them in professionalising their production pipeline and maximising business opportunities". Surrounded by industry veterans, we absorbed invaluable knowledge that's been instrumental in simplifying the core mechanics and shaping our new art direction. Alongside the other teams, we had a few months of training, mentoring and weekly production follow-ups - culminating with a trip to Gamescom in Germany for meetings with publishers. The final part of the incubator was taking part in a Demo Day in Barcelona with an onstage presentation to a few hundred people and a panel of industry professionals, to showcase the game and highlight progress achieved within the program.
Up next, the excitement reached new heights when we exhibited Rhythm Towers for 4 days at EGX, the UK's biggest gaming event. Watching players groove with our game was both surreal and motivating, the moment of satisfaction arrives immediately when you see someone start bopping their head as the game starts to make sense to them and they ease into the rhythms. The energy and feedback from excitable players has been critical in fine-tuning Rhythm Towers into the experience it is today and will become in the future.
Some of the players from EGX are still actively playing updated private builds of Rhythm Towers through our Discord server, providing valuable feedback and uncovering bugs. Unbeknownst to us, one of the players at EGX was actually a journalist, who wrote a very kind review of Rhythm Towers from his experience at the event.
Rhythm Towers is exactly what it sounds like — a genre smash between rhythm action and tower defence games, and from a limited hands-on time with the game at EGX this year, it's a genius one at that.
Also, while at EGX, we were offered the opportunity to showcase the game on the Rezzed stage, highlight the key features and answer questions from the audience - it was great to hear the game's music and SFX pumping out of the huge speakers mounted at either side of the stage - and garnered even more interest for players to come by the booth and give it a try themselves!
We were delighted and incredibly grateful to be selected for grant funding from the UK Games Fund. This support enabled us to temporarily expand the team and improve vital areas that had been neglected due to lack of funds. We worked with James Foss who contributed funky new Lo-Fi, Hip-Hop and Drum n Bass music, and complimentary sound design. Justin McKay helped to shape the intriguing story and detailed out the playable characters. Richard Man created stunning concept art for the towers, props and environments. Katerina Poliakova created incredible concept art and illustrations for the playable characters and enemy creeps. Nat Al-Tahhan gave our in-game UI/UX an impressive overhaul and Patrik Sramka contributed some excellent level designs!
From this, there was enough new art to fill a book, so we did! More on this in a future post!
During this grant-funded period, we were also selected for the London Games Festival's Official Selection! This was for the Best of British category which was a great moment of pride and reinforced our commitment to bringing a unique gaming experience to you all!
The next opportunity to exhibit Rhythm Towers and get it in front of players, was at FORMAT, the ultimate gaming social and UK's leading games industry community nightlife event. The combination of a gaming and nightlife event was a perfect venue for exhibiting Rhythm Towers, eliciting more useful feedback and resonating with an audience as diverse as our planned set of musical genres!
Our most recent milestone was exhibiting at the Tokyo Game Show, one of the most renowned gaming expos in the world, so having a brand new demo on the show floor was like a dream come true! While we had heard many times that rhythm games are really popular in Japan, we were still surprised at how well Rhythm Towers was received among the Japanese players! One enthusiastic player managed to get through all 3 of the demo levels without dropping a single note, twice! It was especially pleasing to hear from the players that had been searching the massive venue for Rhythm Towers after reading about it on the TGS website.
We were able to exhibit at the Tokyo Game Show because Rhythm Towers was chosen as part of the 'Selected Indie 80', almost 800 games applied and we were fortunate enough to be one of the 80 to have all of our exhibition and hardware costs covered by the event organisers. A truly amazing experience that we won't forget anytime soon, and hope to be back to exhibit again in the future!
As we look to the future and start planning the next stages of development, we want to thank each and every one of you that has played Rhythm Towers and given feedback, suggestions and found bugs over the past couple of years. Your excitement and enthusiasm for Rhythm Towers fuels our creativity and pushes us to make it the best game we possibly can. If you want to take part in the next private playtest, join our Discord Community to be notified of when that will happen. Stay tuned for more updates - the beat goes on, and we promise it only gets better from here!