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Over the last couple weeks, I brought Arms of Telos to a couple events. I had already been brainstorming some ways I might be able to show Arms of Telos at events like PAX – for a lot of indies, they’re a great source for exposure and marketing that I’d like to be able to take advantage of in the future.

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Essentially, the challenge is that Arms of Telos is designed for 5v5 and as an indie, it’s very unlikely I’ll be able to have a booth that offers a true experience that reflects the actual game. I go into more detail about these challenges in the forum thread I linked above.

Perhaps unlike other first person shooters, I’m really building Arms of Telos specifically for 5v5 CTF. In its current state, this is less obvious – there’s only a modest selection of weapons/equipment and the meta is still relatively simple. So a lot of people assume the game would scale to different player counts like other games do. As the game continues to expand, I expect the result of my focus on 5v5 CTF to become more obvious and as you scale the player count down or up, the further it will compromise the experience. When you design a game to work with multiple player counts (1v1, 2v2, 5v5, 10v10, etc), as most first person shooters do, you’re almost certainly going to make compromises in the game design to facilitate that flexibility – that compromise is what I want to avoid. I think it’s pretty much understood that if you take a MOBA and reduce it to 1v1, it would be a severely compromised experience and not be an accurate representation of the game – I’m aiming for a similar expectation for Arms of Telos and I think the result will be a much more focused and rewarding experience that isn’t often found in the first person shooter genre. So I’m especially sensitive to showing the game in these compromised environments and setting the right expectations early on.

As you can see from the thread, I built a checkpoint-based race Challenge Mode that the player would be able to do alone and learn the movement system. For the booths, I brought two computers and networked them together with both of them running the game. This way, I could be on the other computer in the game with them and help demonstrate how to do things – this idea might have sounded cooler on paper and I don’t think it was a game changer in terms of being a good way to teach the game. But having two computers also meant if there were two people who wanted to fool around in 1v1, they could – and that’s what people generally did when they came to play as a pair. I had a third monitor that would be looping gameplay from a real match so they could see how the game actually plays in a real setting, but I don’t think it was enough – I still had people asking if it was a racing game and for the most part, the only way they’d walk away with a good idea of how the game actually played was if I explained it myself. I’d much rather let them play the real game in the intended 5v5 CTF setup.

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