Indie Gameleon

Events…in real life

The next two posts on my blog are not particularly technical, but are a big part of my Indie developer life anyway. It’s about organizing events to connect developers which, in my opinion, is the base for new ideas, projects and games.

The reason for those non-technical posts is that I’m currently busy organizing an Indie game development festival called Indie Gameleon together with some other Indie-enthusiastic people. It’s happening from 11th till 15th September in Hamburg, Germany. But more on that later, let’s start in 2013.

Startup Weekend Gaming 2013

Startup Weekend Gaming 2013
Startup Weekend Gaming 2013

The first big event I organized was the Startup Weekend Gaming 2013. Startup Weekends are well known all over the world and are meant to connect people who like to start their own company but haven’t found the right co-founders and/or idea to do so. At the weekend mixed teams of developers, artists, designers,… are coming together and formed around ideas they bring with them to check out if the idea has the potential to startup a company.

I participated in such an event twice before organizing one on my own and the power and spirit of all the people there is really a great motivation to get something started. The SW Gaming focused on game development as I really liked to see more small studios arise to develop cool games.

It didn’t become as big as expected, but there were around 50 highly motivated people who had a great time.

Hamburger Indie Treff

Hamburger Indie Treff
Hamburger Indie Treff

In the beginning of 2014 Slawa Deisling from Behind the Stone came up to Slash Games with the idea of a regular networking event especially for the Indie game developers in Hamburg. As I had almost the same idea in the past I was immediately in. So after some planning in October 2014 the first Hamburger Indie Treff happened at the betahaus Hamburg! Up to now there were already 7 editions with about 100 persons participating each time, so it’s kind of established here in Hamburg.

We do 2-3 talks at the start of the event, so indie developers can share their experience with their fellow developers. Afterwards there are some game stations setup to show around prototypes, beta versions and finished projects of the local developers to gather feedback from other devs. The betahaus Hamburg and gamecity:Hamburg support us really good and the organization runs very smoothly, so there isn’t that much work to do for the 2-monthly event.

We get a lot of positive feedback from the participants after each event as they get the possibility to get in touch with new people and talk to colleagues they don’t see regularly. I’m very happy that we created this event and I’m sure it will be around a lot longer.

Indie Gameleon

Indie Gameleon
Indie Gameleon

The current (big) project is the organization of an Indie game development festival called “Indie Gameleon“. It happened the last two years in Groningen, Netherlands. At the end of last year the main organizator Mendel Bouman from Indietopia came up to me (fittingly at gamecity:Treff 😉 ) to discuss the possibility of bringing the festival to Hamburg this year. It sounded like a great thing to get together Indie devs beyond the borders of Hamburg, so I was in.

Right now we are full into the final planning. About 27 speakers will give 23 very interesting talks, covering all aspects of Indie game development like Story, Art, Sound, Publishing, Marketing, Funding, Virtual Reality and much more. You can find the whole program on the website. But that’s not all. Parallel to the conference there’s a showcase on 14th/15th September to show your games to fellow developers and get some valuable feedback. And before the conference there’s a game jam from 11th till 13th September where teams will develop a new game within 48h.

In the next blog post in a bit more than two weeks, I will tell you how it went. Although ticket sales are not going as well as expected, I’m sure it will be a great experience for all participants nevertheless.

Why do I do it?

All the stuff you read above I’m doing in my free time without any payment. Sometimes (like in those days with a really big event) it gets a bit stressful and there is almost no time left for other things. So you might come up with the question why I saddle myself with this organizational stuff.

First of all many, many cool events wouldn’t happen if people wouldn’t invest their time in it because they like the event to happen. This is especially true in a narrow field like (Indie) game development where there’s no real money to gain from small or medium sized events. So if you don’t organize it on your own, it’s not gonna happen!

Second I think the game development (and primarily the Indie scene) needs those kind of networking and experience-sharing events. Sure, you can find fellow developers online and even build whole games with people you never met in person before. But it’s a really different experience to go to such an event and take potluck! You might get in touch with people you wouldn’t speak to in online channels and get new ideas due to the new environment. You might even find something you didn’t know you were searching for.

On the other side you can stay in contact with colleagues and friends you don’t see regularly and share the experiences you made. Chances are high that somebody already had (and solved) the problems you have right now. You might also hear about some available projects, e.g. work for hire or find a new member for your team.

Last but not least I might have a knack for organizing stuff and I definitively love to bring people together. So although it can get a bit too much work from time to time, in general it is a lot of fun as well. Especially seeing the result in the end with many happy people at the events.