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Los Angeles Adventures – Scott’s E3 Diary

June 22th, 2017

Hey! Scott here, I’m a game designer on HyperBrawl Tournament. I have just returned from an incredible week in Los Angeles were we showcased our alpha build of HyperBrawl Tournament at E3 2017. A huge event for Milky Tea as we made our E3 debut. We want to give a huge thanks to our friends at Alienware and Dell for partnering with us to show the game on their booths.

Here is a small glimpse of what I got up to during my first E3, and my first time in Los Angeles.

Day 0

I flew out to LA from Manchester landing at about 4pm local time. Moving back in time 8 hours and not getting too much sleep on the flight left me pretty jet lagged and grumpy getting off the plane, after which I had my first experience with LA’s infamous traffic.

After checking into my apartment in Echo Park I went out to Hollywood to have drinks and food with some industry people at Mama’s Shelter, a hotel, restaurant and bar just off Hollywood Boulevard. The rooftop bar is a must go, it has a 360 view of LA with great views of Downtown, Hollywood, and the famous hills to the north along with the huge comfy sofas and a cold beer you’ll never want to leave this place (unless like me, you have really bad jetlag, haven’t slept properly in over 24 hours and are currently experiencing the world’s longest Monday).

Day 1

After catching up on some sleep and attempting to convert my body to PDT, I took my first trip to Downtown LA to pick my E3 badge and got a chance to see the Convention Center for the first time with it’s huge marketing displays for God of War, Call of Duty WW2 and more. After obsessively following E3 for years, it was overwhelming to actually be there in person.

Attendance for E3 2017 was around 68,400, with numbers increasing vastly this year as the show was opened to the public for the first time ever. I realized just how busy the show was going to be when I saw the queue for entry, which stretched from the West and South Hall doors through the entire corridor around the Convention Center, through to the lobbies and finally around to the end of the car park.

Our first day at E3 proved very successful with our demo build of HyperBrawl not having any major bugs or issues, the build also ran great on our swanky new Dell Gaming hardware. Our latest changes to the game also greatly improved the player experience, allowing players to get into matches much quicker and more intuitively learning to play the game.

Day 2

We returned to the stand on day 2 of the show finally feeling cured of the jetlag. Day 2 was a busy day of meetings and lots of people trying the game out at the stand. In the afternoon we dropped into Alienware’s Twitch stream to play some HyperBrawl with the host Lenard, which was really fun.

 

After the show we were off to the Ace Hotel for a mixer hosted by ID @ Xbox. The hotel itself is really interesting, inspired by Spanish Gothic architecture it’s like somebody fused parts of La Sagrada Familia to a 1920s America highrise building. The rooftop bar here is particularly cool, inspired by Hollywood’s famous Les Deux Cafe along with an incredible view of LA.

Day 3

The third and final day of the show was the craziest, with tons of meetings and a chance to finally explore the show floor myself. It’s been really fun taking the game to these shows so far (this is our 4th with HyperBrawl after GDC, EGX Rezzed and Insomnia60) as it proves to us exactly what we want from the game – an insanely fun and competitive multiplayer experience. Showing the game at E3 was incredible for us, especially with the game only being in its early Alpha stages. However E3 was the toughest show we’ve done so far, E3 seems to have a much bigger focus on the huge AAA names and it was challenging trying to stand out at E3.   

I spent the afternoon of the final day trying to explore and experience as much of the show floor as possible, unfortunately I didn’t get to play any of the games due to the insanely long queues and I spent a lot of time watching others.

The main things we have taken from this event are:

– Making the game more friendly to brand new players. Tutorializing the game is something we have continued to tweak throughout the early stages of development, and we have made lots of great changes to make it easier and more enjoyable for first time players, however it is still something which needs work. Our aim for HyperBrawl is to make a game which is super fun for newcomers, yet offers a deep and strategic competitive experience.

– Tweaking our AI to be a little more forgiving. Currently we have a number of levels of AI. Our lowest level AI is quite easy to play against as a whole, but we need to continue to tweak them to make them feel a little more human, such as making more mistakes and unique decisions. We imagine HyperBrawl is a game best experienced with other human players, but we know AI is an essential part of the game, so improving this is a key goal for us.

Other Games at E3

I’ll list just a handful of some of the games I was interested by at the show –

Super Mario Odyssey

The best game of the show in my opinion. I spent more time checking this game out than any of the others. The possession mechanic looks like a ton of fun, the world looks huge and very varied, and as always it’s full of Nintendo’s charm.

Wolfenstein II – The New Colossus

Wolfenstein: The New Order was a huge surprise for me back in 2014 and one of the best single player FPS games I’ve played in recent years, so for me a sequel to this is super exciting and I’m really liking what I’ve seen of this so far. Also, Bethesda had one of the coolest stands I’ve ever seen for this game – a themed diner in which you could play the game, they even served strawberry milkshakes!

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

We all saw the leaked images back in May so everyone already knew this was coming, but I don’t think anyone expected a Mario/Rabbids crossover title to be an XCOM style game. This is one of the biggest surprises for me at E3, and I totally want it.

Spider-Man

Insomniac Games + Spider-Man franchise could be the perfect combination and I couldn’t have been more excited by this when it was announced last year. Seeing the gameplay this year has only got me more hyped for this one.

Metroid Prime 4

All I got to see of this one was a moving image of the logo. But knowing this is a thing is one of the best things to come out of E3. After spending the last few years moaning that Nintendo didn’t care about Metroid any more, I couldn’t be happier.

Call of Duty WWII

In recent years I have become apathetic in the Call of Duty franchise but a ‘return to its roots’ with the WWII setting is enough to me to become interested again. Watching others play this game, it doesn’t look groundbreaking however it does look like a traditional, fast paced, action packed Call of Duty experience and that’s totally fine with me.

Battlefront 2

After the huge dissapointment of 2015’s Battlefront, EA seem to have taken all the complaints and criticism seriously and made some huge improvements for Battlefront 2. From what I’ve seen of this game so far, it’s leaps and bounds better than the previous one, with the inclusion of all post-launch content being confirmed as free. It could be a must buy, however I wouldn’t pre-order just yet.

Bonus Days

I was lucky enough to have 3 days to spare before my flight home so I got to explore  LA.

Echo Park, the area I was staying is centered around Echo Park Lake, which is a great place to go for a walk with a spectacular view of Downtown LA.

I took a trip down to Venice and Santa Monica on the Friday, which is simply one of the coolest places I’ve ever been too. There’s a real chilled, creative, fun, active vibe here and sunset here is something else. I’m not sure why but LA sunsets are just the best with the colour of the sky, the golden sunlight, the silhouettes of the palm trees, and the mountains cutting through the horizon in the distance. I really didn’t want to leave.

On Saturday I took a short walk up to Dodger Stadium. All I wanted to do in LA was watch some sort of sports event – however, the NFL season had long ended, the NBA and NHL seasons were over and the Dodgers were on the road the entire week I was in LA. With no sporting events to see, I thought a tour around Dodger Stadium would suffice, which it certainly did! Seeing the view of the stadium, with the San Gabriel mountains in the background is something else, along with a tour of the interior of the stadium and a chance to walk on the field near home base, it’s totally worth it for any baseball fan.

Later on Saturday I went up to Griffith Park Observatory, which in my opinion is the one thing you absolutely have to do if you visit LA. The view from the Observatory is one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen in my life. After spending some time at the Observatory I decided to hike down rather than getting an Uber, I was feeling adventurous and I love a good hike. However I got a little too adventurous and wander off from civilisation for a while on my way down. With no phone signal and convinced I was being stalked by snakes or a mountain lion it was an interesting hike, at least in comparison to the English hills and valleys I’m used to. It was really great to get out and explore just tiny fraction of California’s incredible nature parks though.

I finished a wonderful Saturday off with a trip to In-N-Out Burger, the single greatest fast food burger I have ever eaten. I’ve you’re ever in the vicinity of one of these restaurants, you absolutely have to go!   

Sunday was my final full day before I was off home. I started by taking an obligatory trip to Hollywood. It’s a place that you probably have to go if you’re in LA, just to say you’ve seen it. There’s tons to see and do around that area, however after few hours spent there I decided it wasn’t my favourite place in LA.

I finished my stay with another journey back to Santa Monica to meet up with some other industry people for some awesome sushi at Sushi Roku.

In flight film reviews

La La Land 9.5/10

Manchester By The Sea 8.5/10

Doctor Strange 7/10

Live By Night 6.5/10

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 6/10

TL;DR

E3 was an incredible experience. Having the opportunity to take HyperBrawl and share our demo with thousands of people at a show like E3 was fantastic, and we received lots of valuable feedback both positive and negative. The show floor was full of amazing games, it’s a very exciting time for video games! Los Angeles is an awesome place and you should definitely go to Griffith Park Observatory and eat tons of In-N-Out Burger.

 

Scott.