In my previous post I did a small review of our local game development industry and let me tell you that I never actually expected to generate so much hype! Also, I never expected any sort of reactions from the community, but I’m more then glad that it did and I’ll do my best to try and support everyone’s projects designed to support the community’s growth. But more on them later when these sorts of projects begin to shape up.
For today, I wanna share with you my thoughts on what the local game developers should do better or more in 2017. This is part 1, as it would get too much of wall of text. As always, my thoughts are my own, so take everything with a pinch of salt. Now, there are a lot of things that I want to talk about, and, as mentioned, I may actually do several posts on this topic, but for the time being I’ll focus on just two of them: Community involvement and Exposure/Networking investment. Let’s break them down!
Community involvement! Local small communities of game developers have been around for a long time. Few remember, but before RGDA, there was a local chapter of IGDA. Also, in Timisoara, gamedev meetups were organized even before RGDA existed. Still, if you attend any sort of community event, you’ll pretty much see the same faces. And this is disappointing to me. I believe we’re missing the whole point of communities events idea. They’re not created just for the specific topic or presentation of that event, they’re also a major tool for other devs to meet…well…other gamedevs, as well as a chance for new developers to meet and talk with more established developers. I can’t stress enough how useful, motivational and encouraging are these sorts of meetings for up-coming developers, parents, gamers and attendees in general. And we’re talking about 2-3 hours every couple of months, so time as an excuse seems far-fetched. Now I understand that for some gamedevs there is no direct value to be gained, but let’s stop being so selfish and so self-centered for a couple of hours and give something back to the community. Don’t take this opportunity away from them. Remember! The more we grow the community the better for our industry as a whole.
Exposure/Networking investment! This is one of the most asked question I receive from gamedevs, old and new alike. Should I go to that event, should I attend that conference or should I apply to that program? My answer was, is and always will be: DEFINITELY; 100%!! I’m amazed by the number of people who can’t see past the direct value they gain. I hear a lot of simple math like, the ticket is 500E and I’m interested in just those 2 talks/presentations. It’s not worth it! This is wrong from my POV. When you go to a conference like GDC/Dev.Play or an event like Gamescom/Reboot Develop, you don’t go just for the topics! In fact, most of that stuff you can find it on the internet. You actually go to meet other people. You go to talk about your game, to ask about what you’re wondering about, to look for potential investors, to find possible press that may cover your game, you go to create and establish a human relation. And trust me, this is worthy of those 300-500E you pay on that ticket! Many devs are complaining about lack of exposure for their games, but few actually do something about it. Just a couple of examples, Nicole Berbece, creator of the indie game Move or Die, did lots of traveling showcasing his game, from local events to major international events. He even did his promotional materials out of junk cardboards found around trash bins. His game went to sale over 180k copies (not saying only because of this, but definitively it helped). Sand Sailor Studio, creators of up-coming title Black the Fall, attended an indie roundtable organized in Bucharest and a couple of weeks later they went to Canada for 3 months to work on their game (they could have stayed home that Saturday like many other devs did as only 5 studios showed up). And I could go on with similar examples. Now, I know money can be an issue, but, try to figure out a way around. Look at your project timeline and identify key milestones. Search what events are happening around those milestones and identify which of them will bring you most benefits. You don’t need to attend them all, just those that could help you at specific points during development. Remember! It’s an investment in your own project and not a waste of money or tourism sightseeing.
Not sure yet, but for part 2 I’ll probably talk about projects timeline and strategy as I see many gamedevs working in their basement at their highly classified game that will probably get released when the market hype of that specific genre will be long gone. On the other hand, I’m thinking on sharing some details on how my project, GameDev Academy, is shaping up. We’ll see.