As Covid 19 took hold of economies everywhere, organizers of conventions were forced to stop work basically over night. Especially in the games industry there was a severe lack of meaningful game conventions – live streams could only take you so far.
Hamburg-based event company Supercrowd Entertainment had to reinvent their indie game showcase Indie Arena Booth as well. They choose to tackle the problem head-on by developing this years edition as a full-on free-to-play browser MMO that took place during the Gamescom 2020. All in a time frame of roughly four months, of course.
You can still play the interactive credits booth in your browser.
Indie Arena Booth Online
Isometric Browser MMO & Sandbox Editor
My area of work: 2D Artist, UI Designer
Developer: Super Crowd Entertainment
CEO, Creative Director: Wolf Lang
Head of IAB: Valentina “BIKE” Birke
Project Lead, Programmer: Jannik Müller
Programmer: Constantin Hassan, Julian Heinkens
Art Director, 2D Artist: Sebastian Stamm
Animator: Tobias Bilgeri
Level Designer: Rike Lang, Alexander Kappen, Jan Fiete Schütte, Tolke Winhold
Musician: Herr Kaschke
Web Developer: Philipp Molitor
Indie Arena Booth Online @ Gamesom 2020
Indie Arena Booth Online – Timelapse Gameplay
The heart of IAB Online was a free to play browser MMO. After you create your own funky avatar you can enter the world of indie games. Users could freely explore 250+ convention “booths”, custom made by the game developers themselves. These little worlds where filled with arcade machines to see their games, join their streams, watch trailers and download their demos. The developers came up with a vast array of themes, interactions and stories sorrounding their games, so that exploring the convention felt as magical as visiting Indie Arena Booth in real life.
Shipping Indie Arena Booth Online in such a short timeframe was only possible with the help of all the indie game developers themselves. Thats why we created a sandbox editor to enable them to build the booth of their dreams. The editor made it possible to design your own booth from scratch, fill in any info about your game and even think up your own branching dialogue interactions for users to discover.
If you want to give developers the freedom to create a booth that exactly fits their games topic, you need a lot of diverse assets. We created an asset pack of 1500+ hand drawn 2D Assets to create anything you could dream of, from crumbling ruins to cyberpunk props, from artsy trees to rainbow bananas. All of the assets worked with our custom shader and could be coloured any way you want through the editor.
Alongside the 2D assets for the game I designed all User Interfaces. Building on the colourful and bold branding of Indie Arena Booth and the visual style of the game I developed an interface thats easy to use, playful in its visual language while delivering all needed information without clutter. Somewhere between 80s toys and comic panels.
Accompanied by a Steam sale event & Twitch frontpage coverage IAB Online opened its virtual doors between 27th-30th August 2020. And it was a huge success: 250+ exhibitors took part, around 25.000 visitors checked out games, thousands of people watched the 24/7 live streams and we even won the prestigious „Heart of Gaming“ prize at the Digital Gamescom
Here are some of the press coverage highlights: