My plans for my days off are generally always to get up early and head out to make the most of the day and cram as much of Japan in as possible. Today though was a strange day as I had to spend the sunny morning in the house working on Time To Shoot. Reason being I was going to a Kyoto indie dev meetup in the evening and wanted to get a build ready to show for it.
The big problem I had is that before coming to Japan I copied the project onto my laptop in order to continue work on it, and somehow in that process Unity lost all layers, tags etc, and somehow even generated a whole new bunch of bugs, as well as screwing up lots of things in the project. I’d fixed most errors by about lunchtime, but some issues were still giving me a headache, in the end I decided to take a break and head out for a bit.
On the way out I met a really cool and cute Shiba dog, he’s so friendly and he was really soft and fluffy to pet. Anytime I pass by I’m now going to make a point of checking in with him!
I’d ended up heading into Kyoto city centre with the other two I’m staying with, we were all actually heading in to do our own things, but decided to leave together. In the end we ended up grabbing a quick drink in a Starbucks (Mainly because they had WiFi), to make things feel a bit more Japanese though I did order a Sakura strawberry iced drink, which was really refreshing.
My original plans after this were to head into the shopping district and hit Nishiki Market, however one of the others decided we should all head to the Imperial Temple, largely I think because he had time to kill before the thing he had to do and didn’t want to go alone. Me and the other person decided to go along with it as neither of us had seen the temple either.
A short walk later and we reached the grounds of the Imperial Palace, we entered through a series of smaller shrines and gardens, seeing some lovely looking plum trees in bloom. The grounds then opened up into huge gravel pathways lined with trees leading up to the palace.
As we approached the palace we couldn’t help but notice the distinct lack of other people around, for one of Kyotos main sites it seemed very empty. I was starting to wonder it the place was closed for renovations or something, upon nearing the main entrance there were two guards and a wooden barrier, so the signs weren’t looking good. As it turns out on the barrier a sign stated that entrance and viewing of the palace was only available via advance booking! To be fair after googling and looking at leaflets later on, it does state this quite clearly, but not having planned to go there none of us knew that! I’ll look at booking and make a trip back another time hopefully.
We had a wander round the grounds a bit more before then grabbed some food in a local restaurant, where I dug in to an amazing beef rice bowl. After that we headed our separate ways, it felt like a wasted few hours for me if I’m honest as I couldn’t have explored more solo, but still it was nice to have some company for a change I guess. I headed back to try and get a few more last minute bugs fixed before going back to Kyoto in the evening.
After a couple more hours of stressing out with some last minute issues, I managed to get a new build of the game ready to show off to the other devlopers in the evening. Getting back into the city center later I was meet by a really amazing illuminated fountain show all timed to music. The colours and effects were simply stunning! In addition the sight of Kyoto tower at night was incredible, it’s a massive beacon of light.
I arrived at the bar for the developer meet up about 10 minutes early, there were already a few other devs there chatting away, which to my surprise where all English speaking, two Americans and one from England. I got talking and within about half hour the place was packed with around 40-50 people! I met a really cool graphic artist from Sweeden who was working in Kyoto, and some other really cool people who were involved in the industry. Shockingly I didn’t get to meet a single native Japanese developer, pretty much everyone there was from outside of Japan (though many living there).
The presentations kicked off with some really cool games being shown on a massive screen via projector from their laptops. There were some cool looking games and interesting concept / ideas, the only downside is that even though the presenters were talking through mics they were hard to hear (and I was right at the front!). This was due to most of the devs (Mostly the Americans), drinking and chatting loudly in their own groups behind us. Even the hosts went on the mic to ask them to quiten down a little, but it didn’t seem to happen. I got some good feedback on my game, lots of support from other devs as well. With the presentaions done I got talking to another dev about various game related topics, covering good old classics, modern game ideas, game design and a few other things. All in all it was great to meet and connect to some other developers, I was a bit disappointed in not hearing some of the other devs presentaions that well, and that I didn’t get to met any Japanese developers in the area. But a pretty fun night overall, and just as importantly more people now know about my game.