For newcomers here is the first post where you can find who I am and why these articles might interest you.
Disclaimer: I’m not going to tell you how to make video games but I will share my experience and learning process of managing an indie team while following the path.
Little snail inch by inch, climb Mount Fuji!
After DevGamm 2019 we didn’t give much thought about our next possible game events. We only started to rebuild from scratch and the old one was left behind but for a short time. I will tell more about its role later.
Anyway, we had quite a particular goal — finish refactoring the code in 2–3 months and show a renewed build based on new architecture. However, that was incommensurable. By the Fall 2019 — the season of industry events, exhibitions, conferences and meetings — our forthcoming build hadn’t been going to arrive any soon. Considering its production speed we decided to proceed with two different versions simultaneously. Developers were supposed to work on the new build version (by 2 devs) as well as the old one was to be remade by its author with help of the rest of the team (8 people) and was subject to tests of level-design features. We chose the GameDev House event as an opportunity to show our progress.
The event proved to be very useful for us. Firstly, we received a lot of feedback just like on the first conference. Secondly, there was a competition among the projects with visitors giving their votes during the showcase. We drummed up as many people as we could to our booth and asked for their likes. It seemed that all our efforts brought us a free ticket to White Nights and the Audience Choice Award which decorates our Steam page. Moreover, we caught the attention of some people including our coolest Level-designer (Environment) we’ve ever met and an ex-Marketing Manager who was eager to try himself in gamedev.
We were shocked by the invitation to WN. Of course, it was an opportunity we couldn’t miss. Luck smiles at those who are ready for it, remember? That’s how our second conference turned into two events at once. However, we got a kind of Mexican standoff — four suitors interested in the event and only one ticket. We resolved this situation by buying three additional tickets and splitting their cost between four of us. The free ticket became some sort of discount.
WN was less than a month away from GDH but we wouldn’t have gained much from showing the same build we’d already tested. Here was the time when our recently recruited Level-designer proved himself. As it often happens with new blood he was ready to move mountains and that’s what he actually did! Not only did he construct a test level from sketches but also filled it with objects, made a showreel with renewed visuals ready for release on WN. The ex-Marketing Manager helped us to make a rack with the game’s logo and print flyers which are still in use nowadays.
After applying to the conference we got our booth with UE promo. Was it luck or a coincidence or the impact of the showreel demo — never guess!
We count White Night Conference 2019 as one of our most productive events!
- UE representatives agreed to support us with technical questions related to the engine
- Nvidia representatives gave us a video card for tests
- A few art studios and freelancers offered to outsource a part of content production
- Six publishers invited us to collaborate as soon as we get MVP
- We spoke with other indie developers and got impressed by their projects and development approaches
- Finally, we found an inspiration and an occasion to start our Devlogs!
This part covers the time from August 2019 to October 2019.
The reasons to visit game conferences even if you don’t have a finished product:
1. You make a lot of useful acquaintances, broaden your network of contacts and discover new possibilities.
2. On showcases you should pursue appealing rather than functionality.
3. There is always a chance to win a prize and get promoted to attend other events.