Thursday, September 14, 2017

A great experience at Dev.Play 2017

Catalin Marcu: Dev.Play 2017 is over! We're back home, trying to recover all the insane amounts of energy we spent during the event. But it was such a great experience that every bit of it was worth it!

First of all, I'd like to congratulate RGDA, namely Catalin and Andreea, for how well the conference was organized. Loved the venue, especially the big screen in the main conference room. And I thought the way the event was filmed was very professional, with the speaker on the left, the presentation on the right and the sponsors subtly in the middle. Aside from some small hiccups, the technical side of things was pretty smooth, which doesn't always happen at conferences.


The Indie Expo, although on a bit of a tight corridor, was nicely separated and very easily accessible. With more than 20 games showcased on the floor, it was a great way to catch up to what the Romanian indie scene has been brewing lately - and that's just a part of it! Elvis will write a more detailed look at all the games we played at Dev.Play 2017.


The talks were generally of good quality, with speakers both local and international. Since we were busy talking with as many people as possible, we only had a chance to attend part of them. But there were some I'd like to highlight here.


Travis Boatman, in his keynote about the golden age of gaming, made a very interesting comment about how the good old days were far from being that good and that there is no better time to be a game developer than today.

The good old days? I don't think so.

Mihai Pohontu had a great talk about games innovation and emerging trends that will likely influence the industry. And the best thing was that it wasn't just talk, with Amber starting a new division focused on researching how to capitalize on these trends, called Amber Labs.


Scott Humphries talked about brands and how they can make or break your game. It was an in-depth look at how to approach developing a game for a brand and the pitfalls you might encounter.


Nicu Berbece proved once again he can deliver a very entertaining talk, showing us a bunch of unexpected ways that game developers duct tape their way around issues they encounter during production. The key takeaway was to worry less about the way you make your game and more about making your game in any way you can, even if you think it's not the "professional" way.

Successful developers are using the same brand of duct tape you are.

Radu Ziemba talked about the importance of visibility for your game and how an Apple feature can help you with that. He had some very good advice for the game developers preparing to release on mobile. The most important, in my opinion, was to never to release your game immediately after it's approved, but to first try to talk to the platform holder to see if they might feature your game. Not a lot of developers know how far you can get just by sending a mail.


Although aimed more at successful companies and investors, Zuzanna Kurek had a good talk about the opportunities of listing your company on BVB, the Bucharest Stock Exchange. There are plenty of investors willing to buy shares in solid gamedev businesses, while the companies themselves can use the raised capital to invest and grow without the burden of a credit.

Unique selling position: the first gaming company listed on BVB.


The Pitching Masterclass was a panel moderated by Reboot Develop's Damir Durovic, whose guests were Martine Spaans, Jeferson Valadares and Andreea Chifu. They offered valuable advice to game developers looking for investors or publishers. They put a strong emphasis on the importance of doing your homework before you pitch your game and how you shouldn't only focus on the game but also on the business side of things, like market potential, target audience, development costs and schedule and so on. It's the kind of stuff we game developers usually try to stay away from, but in order to be successful, we need to take it into account very seriously.


Besides the talks, Dev.Play 2017 also housed a speed pitching session, the Nordic Game Discover Contest - you can read more about it here - and the Indie Expo Awards - check out the winners in this article.


And then there was the Amber party, where we had the chance to socialize even more, late into the night. With the conference, lunches, dinners, drinks and a party, we had plenty of chances to meet new people, make new friends and reconnect with the old ones.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you don't miss Dev.Play 2018!
Dev.Play is a blessing for the Romanian Games industry. I've said it before and I'll say it again as many times as needed: networking is key in your success as game developers. And, thanks to RGDA and the wonderful conference sponsors, we now have an yearly local event where we can all meet and share our experiences and lessons. An event that can fill us up with positive energy for the hard work of making our games a reality. If you were there this year, it was great seeing you - even if just in passing. If you weren't, do yourself a favor and make sure you don't miss Dev.Play 2018!
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