In this post, IGDA Scotland volunteer Finlay Thewlis recaps the chapter meeting held June 12th in the Hannah Maclure Centre, Dundee. Thanks as always to our excellent sponsors in Dundee – The University of Abertay Dundee, and of course to our excellent speakers without whom this event would not have been such a great success!
Opening the IGDA Dundee meeting was Luke Dicken who told us that we had SOLD OUT of spaces at the meeting! That certainly shows an appetite for all things IGDA. Various other aspects showed how the ball is really rolling with IGDA Scotland now, such as the Chapter’s progression and a number of special events which are coming up. We then moved onto the regular Open Mic part of the evening which contained a myriad of awesome job vacancies, networking opportunities and attendees with games they wanted to share with everyone. It was great example of the openness within Scotland’s developer community and appetite to contribute and share.
David Thomson of Ludometrics then gave the first talk in the ‘Post Mortem’ style which always gives fellow developers and games types the frank and honest assessment of what went well and where mistakes were made. Bips was what David coined as a ‘Dave-Wave’, although in this case he wasn’t referring to spark of a concept from himself but in fact one of the Godfathers of the Scottish Games Industry, Dave Jones. The project came with an additional aim where the ever-unique Denki wanted to try out some new production/design processes and this was an ideal opportunity to do it.
The main aspect of the insightful post-mortem was that you need to tailor your development processes to your team and your project, square shapes won’t fit into a circular gap so don’t feel forced into having to accept a process or development method that you aren’t convinced is right for your respective project/team.
Yann Seznec from Lucky Frame was next up and he gave a session mainly deconstructing their iOS game Bad Hotel. There was a distinction right from the off from Yann that “we’re a ‘Creative Studio’ not just a games studio”, I think underlining the idea of ‘what makes a game a game?’ and that developers shouldn’t rule themselves out of doing certain work if they don’t feel it qualifies in their pre-conceptions of what they understand a game to be.
Overall Yann delivered a really bright and confident talk on the issues encountered in the development of Bad Hotel even going as far as to show us the game’s sales, revenues and background to the company’s operation. All these aspects constituted a talk that sheda lot of light on subjects many developers are instinctively quiet about and that was a major victory for the evening. It begs the question will there be a trend of developers becoming more increasingly open with aspects such as sales and their shortcomings?
Finally we had Sandy Duncan from YoYo Games who gave a decidedly more informal talk than the first two, refusing to give in to the oppression of PowerPoint having a worked at Microsoft in his past! Sandy took us through the background of YoYo and the origins of their GameMaker engine. Overall Sandy communicated how important he considers HTML5 as a platform and showed the strength of how timing of when a developer come into a market can be almost direction-changing when a platform or market opportunity is met with a prepared and able team there to take an idea forward. This can secure funding for projects that might not be considered by the masses of the games industry as not having any viability, at least yet.
The IGDA Scotland meeting in Dundee was a window into what makes the games industry in Scotland such a special place, the inclusiveness, warm, relaxed nature of the night and anyone hesitating to attend any IGDA meetings in any of the three locations we visit (Dundee, Glasgow & Edinburgh) should really get involved, it’s never too late to learn something helpful, meet someone new or find someone for that job vacancy you’ve been wanting to fill.
Don’t just watch this space, fill it!