We went to the Champlain Games Festival to demo our game about three weeks before the final build was due. This ended up being awesome because it was fun and for the networking opportunities. However the biggest impact was having a fake deadline to motivate everyone.
CGF was great because it provided positive and negative pressure on a hard deadline. We didn’t want to withdraw from the festival or have the embarrassment of demoing a terrible game. We did want to show of a fun game to the local community. This encouraged everyone to put in their best for the couple weeks leading up to it, and created a semi crunch week immediately before.
It was also great motivation because we got a ton of positive feedback from strangers. People not only enjoyed playing the game, they played it for far longer than we could’ve guessed. A kid played for almost 40 minutes trying to get every speed surface. He was definitely the anomaly, but most people enjoyed it and didn’t mind the bugs too much.