Classroom Collaborations to Expo Exaltations

Spencer Beckford

Spencer BeckfordJune 06, 2024

10 min read

The past six months have been a whirlwind of excitement and progress for Rhythm Towers, and we're thrilled to share the highlights with you. Join us as we delve into the memorable experiences and exciting showcases that have defined the recent chapters of our journey!

Educational Beats

The first time Rhythm Towers was playable in public was at the Barclays Games Frenzy in 2022, while there I had the pleasure of meeting Debbie Avery from City College Southampton. Debbie invited me to share my journey of starting an indie games studio with her second-year game development students. Two years later, that opportunity finally arrived and had expanded to also creating an assignment for her students, giving them something to work on from a real game in active development.

I delivered a lecture detailing the ups and downs of indie game development, sharing insights and learnings from my own experiences. The students were highly engaged, asking many insightful questions that not only challenged me to think deeply but also highlighted their keen interest and understanding of the complexities involved in game development.

Assignment set for the game development students

Building on the enthusiasm from the lecture, I set a week-long work experience project for the students, centered within the musical world of Planet Rhapsody, the rhythmic alien world where Rhythm Towers takes place. The project was designed with three levels of difficulty to accommodate varying skill sets and to challenge the students creatively and technically.

Student Work Experience Projects
  • Posessed Guitar (Concept) by David Tohrat Scates
  • Instrumental Horse (Concept + 3D Model) by Julianna Osada-Jablonska
  • Winged Otamatone (Concept + 3D Model) by James Lawrence
  • Breathtaking Bagpipes (Concept) by Nate Benton-Cox
  • Musical Obelisk (Concept) by Logan Ethan Budd
  • Guitar Tower (Concept + 3D Model) by George Stavropoulos
  • Molten Mantis (Concept) by Mackenzie Linton
  • Theramin Tower (Concept) by Sam Wooldridge
Trumpet Tree Character by Jacob Lecheminant-NicolleBoombox Character by Charlie Catling
  • Trumpet Tree Character (Concept + 3D Model + Animation) by Jacob Lecheminant-Nicolle
  • Boombox Character (Concept + 3D Model + Animation) by Charlie Catling

The results were immediately impressive with the students delivering their projects with a mix of all difficulty levels, showcasing their skills and creativity. It was an engaging and entertaining experience, not just for the students but for me as well. Providing feedback on their work and seeing their enthusiasm for game development was immensely rewarding. I'm excited to see where their journey takes them and hope to continue collaborating with educational institutions in the future.

Continuing Rhythm Towers' Expo Adventures

Rome Video Game Lab

After Rhythm Towers was chosen to be in the Official Selection at last year's London Games Festival, we were invited by the Games London team to be part of their UK delegation to the Rome Video Game Lab, taking place in the incredible Auditorium Parco della Musica Ennio Morricone.

The Auditorium Parco della Musica

Sharing Rhythm Towers with a completely new audience in Rome, gathering feedback, and hanging out with both the UK and many Italian teams was an invaluable experience. Exploring the city's rich history and vibrant streets was a trip I'd always dreamed of and now had the perfect opportunity to experience. Special thanks to Diego at Games London and Giorgio at Excaliber for organizing everything behind the scenes, ensuring our showcase went smoothly.

Exhibiting Rhythm Towers at the Rome Video Game Lab

Alongside us, four other talented UK studios showcased their unique games, which were a lot of fun to play so be sure to check them out:

Super 56 by Onions Soup Interactive: SUPER 56 challenges players to overcome 56 genre-bending mini-games with the press of a single button. Compete in daily challenges, earn achievements, and destroy high scores. Outlandish chaos awaits you in Hell!

EMITIME by Otterweave Games Studio: A Grid-based deck builder RPG where music and beat are your strategies. Expand your deck as you capture the enemies you encounter along the way, and solve puzzles by switching between the two protagonists from the past and future as you explore the world.

Shards Between Us by Scribblescape/Queensguard Games: With their family and home on the brink of collapse, two magical sisters must find a way to grow together. Join their coming of age journey in this healing, heartfelt head-scratcher.

GladiEATers by MilkBubblesGames: Play as the world's best Combat Chefs and cook up powerful food monsters to command in turn-based battles. Combine recipes, discover unique food fighters and battle through the CALosseum to become the ultimate champion.

The Games London UK Delegation at the Rome Video Game Lab

Guildford Games Festival

Fresh from our showcase in Rome, where an Italian team humorously noted that Guildford alone has more game studios than the whole of Italy, we ventured into to the heart of UK game development, Guildford. This town isn't just another dot on the map; it's a burgeoning hub of creativity and innovation in the gaming industry. Guildford's rich history in game development began with the founding of Bulldog Productions by Peter Molyneux in 1987, known for iconic titles like Populous and Dungeon Keeper. It later became home to Lionhead Studios, creators of the beloved game Fable, a personal favorite of mine!

Exhibiting Rhythm Towers at the Guildford Games Festival

The Guildford Games Festival was a vibrant gathering of game enthusiasts, developers, and students curious about the intricacies of game development. Our booth was bustling with activity as players tried out the demo and browsed through the Art of Rhythm Towers book. The experience was immensely rewarding and much busier than expected for a single-day event. The insightful questions and keen interest from many students highlighted the festival's energetic atmosphere and the town's deep connection to gaming.

A special shout-out to Simran from FORMAT who secured us a prime exhibition spot in the indie zone!

Ukie's Games Demo Day, WASD & Barclays Games Frenzy

Following our adventures in Guildford, we were honored to be selected as one of the eight teams for the prestigious Ukie's Games Demo Day in Partnership with Barclays. This opportunity allowed us to showcase our game virtually, in person at WASD London, and then again at the Barclays Games Frenzy, each event providing unique opportunities to connect with audiences and industry experts.

Exhibiting Rhythm Towers at WASD London

WASD London, renowned as a prime event for indie games, did not disappoint. It was thrilling to present Rhythm Towers in such a vibrant environment, gather invaluable feedback, and forge new connections. The enthusiasm and support for indie games at WASD is truly inspiring and we would love to exhibit there again in future.

Feedback from players at WASD Exhibiting with the other Demo Day teams at WASD London

We were in excellent company, sharing the virtual and real stage with seven other innovative teams that were selected for the Demo Day event. Each game was unique and captivating in its own right, showcasing the diverse talent and creativity within the UK indie game scene. Be sure to check them out:

Pieced Together by Glowfrog Games: Pieced Together is a cozy scrapbooking game that takes players on a heartfelt journey about friendship, aging, and letting go. Players sort, customize, and puzzle their way through a beautiful scrapbook to uncover an emotional story page by page.

The Quiet Things by Silver Script Games: The Quiet Things is a first-person narrative game where players dive into the life of Alice, piecing together fragments of memories and uncovering hidden, dark secrets.

Dead Meat by Meaning Machine: Dead Meat is an experimental murder-mystery game where players assume the role of a detective armed with the "Mind Reader 3000" to interrogate Lucia, a robotics engineer who's suspected of murdering her husband.

Sleepytime Village by Lightfoot Bros Games: Sleepytime Village is a classic-style point & click adventure game that explores the themes of rediscovering one's inner child and the joy of creativity, set in a mysterious children's storybook village.

Luna Abyss by Bonsai Collective: Luna Abyss is a narrative-driven first-person action adventure where players explore a megastructure deep inside an alien moon, uncovering lost technology and secrets within the Abyss.

Crow Country by SFB Games: Crow Country is a survival horror game set in an abandoned theme park. Players solve puzzles and riddles to uncover why the park was shut down and where its owner vanished.

Skera VR by Team Skera: Skera VR is a single-player puzzle-solving action adventure VR game, where players are imprisoned within a colossal Tower and must navigate through puzzles, obstacles, and enemies to reactivate the mysterious tower and return home.

Our tour culminated at the Barclays head office in Canary Wharf in London for the Barclays Games Frenzy. Compared to our modest setup when we exhibited there two years ago, this time because of being one of the Demo Day teams, we were featured at the main exhibition spot with giant screens! The evolution from a laptop on a table without a chair to a prominent showcase feature was truly surreal.

Exhibiting Rhythm Towers at the Barclays Games Frenzy 2022 vs 2024

Special thanks to Elaine, JP and Jamie from the Barclays Games & Creative Team, whose organisation and planning behind the scenes ensured a smooth and successful showcase. It's events like these that underscore why we love being part of the indie game community—full of support, creativity, and limitless potential.

Upcoming Showcases and Demo Early Access

As we continue our journey with Rhythm Towers, we're excited to announce our next stops on the indie game showcase circuit! In July, we'll be part of the Brilliant Indie Treasures showcase in Brighton. This event, held right by the seaside, will feature over 50 games and promises four hours of indie gaming excitement, and best of all, admission is free!

Then in September, we're heading to Liverpool for FORMAT, the UK's biggest games industry community nightlife event. FORMAT will transform the warehouse spaces of Camp and Furnace into a gaming and social extravaganza, featuring live music performances, food, drinks, and, of course, lots of gaming. It's an event that brings together the games industry and nightlife in a unique blend, creating an unforgettable night for all attendees. We are preparing something very special for this showcase so check back soon more details!

As we've been showcasing the Rhythm Towers demo at various expos, we're thrilled to announce that this demo will soon be available for everyone on Steam. For those eager to get early access before then, we invite you to join our Discord Community where you can request a Steam key. It's a great way to engage directly with us and get a sneak peek at what we've been passionately working on.

Thank you to everyone who has played Rhythm Towers and shared their feedback at our recent expos; your insights are invaluable in shaping and improving our game. Stay tuned for more rhythmic updates and exciting developments ahead!