The first showcase of Another Door during the Indie Game Lyon

We attended our first trade show as independent video game developers, and here’s what happened.

For those who want to get straight to the numbers, here they are:

  • 30 wishlists on Steam
  • ~30 written feedback
  • ~75 players
  • Total cost €225
  • ~20 new contact (artist, game dev, student, teacher, game designer…)
  • 2 suggestions for participating in other gaming-related events
Our stand for Another Door during the Indie Game Lyon


For others: my name is Clément, and I’ve been working with Suzon since August 2023 (approximately 8 months as of the day this article is written) on a semi-cooperative game called Another Door.

I handle the development part with Game Maker, while Suzon manages the pixel art and the artistic direction.

Our registration for the trade show

Our main goal is to validate the concept by observing players who are unfamiliar with the game.
It’s too easy to be deluded and think your game is amazing (or the opposite) when the only people you talk to about it are friends and family.
 Therefore, after reading this advice numerous times online, we want to quickly test the game to avoid realizing too late that the project doesn’t interest anyone.

Since the game is local multiplayer, it’s complicated to send a build online to people who follow us to get feedback. Being French 🇫🇷, we started looking for trade shows in France where we could present the game.

At the end of November 2023 (approximately 4 months after starting development), we registered for the Indie Game Lyon, a trade show dedicated to independent video games.
It seems ideal for several reasons:

  • Location, close to our home
  • Audience, specifically dedicated to independent video games
  • Size, relatively small (34 exhibitors), which allows us to start with something on a human scale
  • Context, the organizers specify that games in pre-alpha/alpha/beta are welcome

Following our application, we received an email on December 22 confirming that we were accepted to present our game.
 The event took place on February 24, 2024, giving us 2 months to prepare a demo.

Preparing the demo

For this, we revised the scope and decided what we wanted to add or not in this first version.
We focused on these points:

  • Having a beginning and an end
    • The first impression is often crucial. Players don’t know the game at all, so our home screen, initial tutorial, and score screen need to be « perfect ».
  • Facilitating understanding through the addition of animations and VFX
    • The game was too static, and we needed to add camera shakes, animations to guide the eye, pauses between monsters, dialogues boxes…
  • Having a bug-free game
    • My biggest fear was having a recurring bug that would interrupt the players’ game.

What we put aside:

  • Multilingual
    • Since the trade show is predominantly French-speaking.
  • Online
    • It goes without saying.
  • Managing different controllers and screens
    • We use our own equipment for the demo, so we know exactly the type of screen, controllers, or operating system we will use. No need to waste time on this.
  • Sound design
    • Since the game is multiplayer, our players are likely to chat and the trade show is in a closed space with many people, it is impossible for us to offer a satisfying experience in that regard. So, we decided to skip this aspect of the game.
  • Additional Content
    • We focused on 15-minute sessions so that enough players could try it. Many of our ideas were set aside; we preferred to spend more time on what already exists than on adding new features.

Testing it and having others test it beforehand

In addition to our own playtests as a duo, we had the opportunity to let about 8 different people try it. This allowed us to:

  • Identify points of confusion
  • Detect major bugs
  • Balance the game

It was a crucial part for us, also the two weeks leading up to the trade show, we worked 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was extremely exhausting, but far be it from me to complain.

The two months really passed by faster than expected, and we had to cut back on what we had planned several times. Making the game visually appealing and understandable was a big part of the work.

Preparing the booth

For the booth, we wanted to convey the atmosphere of our game, medieval fantasy in a creepy and disturbing style.

So, we went to some flea markets and picked up items here and there: a mirror, candles, padlocks, a skull, a metal cage, a black tablecloth, a wooden chest, a feather, a sealed letter, old books…

We ordered a roll-up banner to place next to the booth and a PVC panel to place behind the computer screen. We printed an A4 sheet to quickly explain the game; the texts were taken from the Steam page we had already created before the event. On this A4 sheet, we also added a QR code directly to the Steam page.

Additionally, we added a ballot box, some pens, and a survey to collect anonymous feedback from players. To this, we added two desks, four chairs, 4 bluethoot controllers (Xbox & PS4), a computer, and a screen, and that completed the entire booth.

D-Day of the indie game trade show

Departure at 12:00 PM by car to be on-site at 1:00 PM. Then we had 1 hour before the arrival of the public to set everything up, which was more than enough.
We chatted a bit with other creators, and then the first people stopped to read the game description.

– “Wanna play a game?”

Believe me, being shy, it was a huge step for us. But it was worth it.
After that sentence, we experienced a succession of players, about 75 in groups of 2 to 4 throughout the day (2 PM – 9:30 PM).

Many new encounters, positive feedback, and enthusiastic players. Some friends came to see us, and the day went by extremely quickly.

At no time did the game crash, and we technically had nothing to do but watch and discuss.
Some players even came back to the booth several times to play again when space was available. What satisfaction!


The outcome is extremely positive.

We were able to test our concept and get direct feedback from new players. It was important for us to observe their behavior, see their reactions, their choices…

Almost 1 out of 2 players wishlisted the game; it wasn’t the initial goal, but it’s a victory in itself. 
We received a lot of feedback on the visual and conceptual aspects of the game, exactly what we came for. Many people took the time to talk to us, give ideas, write their feedback and opinions.

Besides being a goldmine of information for us, it’s also extremely encouraging for the future.

Thank you for reading

I hope I haven’t forgotten anything.
I also hope this experience will help you at your first trade show.
If you have any questions, I would be happy to discuss with you,

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