Below are my views and my views only, they do not reflect those of the very awesome Game Dev North team (who you should totally check out here). If you do agree though with my ramblings then I must high five you.
This week has certainly been crazy, first off most of it was spent sorting out the first Game Dev Midlands meet up right here in the UK. I was crapping myself but the turnout was fantastic and everyone had a brilliant night, again a big thank you to everyone who came and to those that helped out.
On the night I was interviewed with organizers from Game Dev North, the event we based ours on, about network meet ups in the UK and their importance. You can read it here.
Now I stand by what I said, looking at the big picture no one in the UK really talks about what they’re doing and how they are, sure we have presentations and ceremonies to talk of our successes but what about the in between time? That time when we are working hard on our projects or still in the planning stages? Hell what about the times you’ve made a mistake and want to get the input of others? Game meet ups are there to serve that purpose and we need more of them.
In the interview it does sound I am slagging off other meet ups but I have to say right now, I really am not. Like I said we need more of these things and seeing other people and organizations setting them up is brilliant!
A fun fact about me is that I am shockingly bad at estimating distance and amounts and that is quite evident in what I said, TIGA have said more than 40 attended their meet up and I agree with them. I actually attended that event and really enjoyed it myself and would urge others to go. The thing is I found it a bit too formal for my tastes – everyone I spoke to was a senior position or studio owner and it felt that the focus was too much on presentations.
The other meet up I talked about, Midlands Indies, is the flip side of that – more single man teams and groups but in a much more public setting. Again this wasn’t to my taste but I still had fun and would recommend going.
I’m not saying the two are crap; in fact I’m saying the opposite. We need these kind of events, just like the different types of game companies in the UK we need different types of meet ups. Some focused on the little guys with big ideas and some focused more on the men and women that keep their companies together and working towards their next big hit, if you have an idea for a networking event or really want to arrange one then go for it!
After university I wanted to start a networking event for game developers and people from the industry, I often struggled to attend current ones due to location and money, but after going to GameDev North and seeing what that was all about I knew I wanted to emulate it and bring it down to the midlands. I wanted to make sure it was open to everyone, not just indies and students as some think, but to the junior tester at a small studio, the senior programmer at larger studio, the CEO of a major AAA company. I cannot stress enough – GDM is for everyone in the games industry.
We’re an amazing little island filled with many amazingly talented people in the industry and with the tax breaks coming in things may change majorally for the better (I bloody hope they do!) but we all also need to change. We all need to be more open – don’t go violating NDAs or revealing company secrets but go meet up with others at a bar or arrange a little get together with people not just from your company. Talk about what you do and what you enjoy, chat about what you don’t like and ask for the suggestions of others. Gaming is our passion, we all want to make games that people can play and have fun with but if we don’t communicate with each other we risk harming our collective creativity and setting ourselves back even more in a world that still thinks we are just a fad.