This years Develop Conference was a first for us in a couple of ways, it was the first time we’ve demo’d in the Expo and the first time we’ve delivered a talk! This year we had a number of meetings and an invite to pretty much every social event around the conference, including Pocket Gamers Big Indie Pitch.
This was my second and Alex’s first go at the Big Indie Pitch (first time round I pitched Glyph Quest Chronicles under its then working title Glyph Quest Ultimate), and we wanted to bring along what will hopefully be our next project to see what the panel of experts thought and maybe win some prizes.
This is a great event to practice those pithes in an environment that is not only safe (there’s nothing really riding on this, but the opportunities are limitless) but where you can chat with the judges after and get that all important feedback on how it went and how you can improve! I was really happy to see some friends having a go and making the most of this event. Our pitch didn’t win (the game is far too early, so next time Gadget!) but we didn’t go home empty handed having won the business card raffle and taking home a Fire TV and Controller thanks to the events co-host and sponsor Amazon.
Having submitted for, but failed to get into the Indie Showcase, we were approached by Develop to see if we would like a table in the Expo as they had spaces left. Seeing as we still have the signage and the iPad Tome from MCM Comic Con, it would have been foolish to turn the opportunity down. So we dusted off the POS and printed fresh pages for the Tome, built a new Demo version of Chronicles and ordered merch! If we learned anything from Comic Con, it’s that you need giveaways! We ordered some stickers to give away at the booth and T-shirts for ourselves and as prizes in the Special Effect Raffle. The other thing we learned from Comic Con is that location is everything, so we were over the moon when we arrived and could pick a spot! Turns out being next to the Unreal sponsored chill out area was a good spot!
The Expo ran on the Wednesday and Thursday, and for those two days we had a constant stream of people coming up to play, so thank you if you were one of the many who had a go, and apologies if you couldn’t get to us to try it out!
As with Comic Con, watching people play and getting their feedback was invaluable. It was great to see the changes we implemented after MCM worked and as we approach the polish and testing phase of development we were able to get some new insight and pick up on tweaks to improve the experience.
And the Tome was a big hit again! It’s shaping up to be the best couple of days worth of crafting we’ve done.
Last year at Develop Conference I did a micro talk on why games companies should hire parents (ICYMI it’s because we’re awesome), well it was a hit with the crowd and I won a talk slot for this years conference. So this year I talked about how we got started as independent developers and the three years and three games between then and now.
The talk didn’t exactly go smooth. Earlier in the day I realised I had built a Mac version of the talk (it’s a game made in Unity you see) and my laptop is a Windows machine. Disaster. But no worries, I have Unity on the laptop so I can just build it again yes? No. Unity crashed every time I attempted a build for no readily apparent reason. Luckily Unity had a stand in the expo and I had a USB stick. Thankfully they were able to do a new build for me so disaster averted. Almost. Then I needed to find and borrow a figure 8 power lead as I had no hope my laptop wouldn’t die half way through the presentation. The day was once again saved, this time by the incredible Quang of Asobi Tech (actual hero). Sorted then.
Well not really… Delayed by a good 10 minuets and then further disruption as the AV connection was playing havoc with my laptop, eventually the talk got underway albeit rushed and with an off centre presentation. I would like to thank all those who came along to see my talk and to just apologise that it was so rushed and the picture a bit skewed! A few of you popped by the booth to ask questions (as we had no time after the talk) and said very kind things about my presentation so thank you for that. If you were there and had a question do feel free to ask me on Twitter or send an email over, happy to help any way that I can! Now I need to tweak the talk engine and get a new laptop 😦
And Everything Else
Of the talks I attended, Hannah Flynn’s piece on why games studios need a marketer if they want to avoid being the next blog post about how their indie studio crumbled because of lack of marketing stood out as a highlight. James Parker also delivered an eyeopening (and hilarious) talk on indies porting to console, and Lorenzo Grimaldi talking about getting your game on to Play Station was insightful! I missed many more than I got to see thanks to how busy we were, so I’m hoping to catch up on those when the videos come around.
One Special Day was lunched on the Thursday evening. We were very happy to take part and donate all our takings for Super Glyph Quest on Friday 15th July and donate a couple of limited edition T-Shirts to the raffle!
As with most games industry events it is all about the networking. This year was another bumper year for that, it was great to catch up with friends, make some new acquaintances and put faces to those I’ve only ever talked to over email or Twitter. So now I have a lot of emails to catch up on and some LinkedIn-ing to do.
Now I have no voice whatsoever! It was a fantastic few days, we talked a lot to lots of people! Very much looking forward to the next show we can get Glyph Quest Chronicles to 🙂