A day at an Indie Game Development meetup.

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Hello everyone!

It has been a long while since I was last active in making games. Since the game Sean and I both created for the Candy Jam, I became burned out from working nonstop at my job and working on the game for two weeks. Afterwards, I was really busy with attending to whatever life threw at me (whether it be socializing, going home for the weekend, etc). As things started settling down, I finally decided that it would be time to start surrounding myself with independent game developers so I could have my passion for game development rekindled once again. I figured, what could be a better way to do so than to go to independent game development meet up events? Lucky for me, San Jose (as well as the surrounding towns) has a high volume of meetup groups of varying interests, including game development. Last night, my quest took me to the Microsoft branch in Mountain View where a certain indie game meetup group has their monthly meetings there.

In these kind of meetups, you can bring your current project to show it to other people with hopes of getting feedback (assuming you are currently working on it or finished it recently). This aspect is pretty interesting as you get to see some creativity of varying sorts.  During my time at the meetup events of this group, I have seen one of the projects that was made at Global Game Jam (at the Facebook site where I was a while ago), along with a 2D Spy Party inspired game, which was released on the Ouya console, a candy themed dungeon-crawling game, and an Oculus Rift simulation (which led to my first Oculus Rift exposure). It’s also interesting to find out what they enjoy playing based on the games that they made, or seeing the end result of their creativity.

Its pretty sweet!

Other than showing off games, the dynamic is pretty much the same as any other meetup group. You chat with people and you get to network with people. It’s interesting to hear different stories of people at the meetups. I once met an artist at one of the earlier events I went to who used to work as an art director for AAA games until he worked on 3 consecutive projects that ended up being cancelled. One of these titles that he worked on was Star Wars 1313, which was cancelled when LucasArts closed its doors about a year ago. At last night’s event, I also met an individual who specialized in the marketing aspect who knew Pixel for years in prior to his release of Cave Story. With a varying amount of backgrounds from independent game developers, you could also ask about what it’s like to work in a certain aspect of game development (such as art). It’s really cool how they approach creating their pieces that would eventually be used in their current project. I even got some tips on how I could explore a certain area of game development that I have always wanted to try out (which I’ll go over in a later post). Hearing what people have to say in these conversations is what makes me enjoy the independent gaming community for the type of people that are involved with making games.

Oh, and lastly, if you are a game developer working on a game that is looking for other people to help you on your projects, going to these kind of meetups is not a bad idea. There is a chance you could meet someone who has the same interests you have. I have been asked by a couple people if I could contribute to their projects. As much as I would like to help them, I was too busy to set aside my own time. After all, I still have some projects that I would like to revisit in the near future.

Did last night’s event help spark up my interest in game development? I like to think it did a little bit. I couldn’t have picked a better time to try and spark my passion for game development once more because life has started easing its grip on me, allowing me more time to do what I please. I may be able to start making games in the near future. Perhaps I could explore that aspect that I mentioned earlier on my post in the near future.

That’s all I have for now. Until next time, don’t be strangers!

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2 comments Categories: Reviews

2 thoughts on “A day at an Indie Game Development meetup.

  1. That’s really cool – there’s nothing as motivating (or sometimes demotivating) than meeting people who are also doing what you are. I don’t know how the game dev scene compares to my own, which is mostly academics/postgrads, but in my case everything hinges on networking. It is inescapably essential for getting work – you won’t get anywhere if you don’t know anyone. There’s simply no other way to hear about what opportunities are out there, because they’re very rarely publicised. You also have the possibility of doing collaborative work.

    I think when people hear indie devs they assume an anti-social lone individual or team working at home with little or no contact with the outside world for a year until they come out with a Super Meat Boy. But presumably, even with the increasing freedom and flexibility in game development, the indie devs have to know that a publisher will be interested in the project in advance? Otherwise I imagine you’d be taking a huge risk. Do you remember that DS project, Bob’s Game? Lone wolf syndrome in the exteme :/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob's_Game

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