Last weekend, as the capper to the busiest week in Toronto Indie Games History, i hit up the innocuously-named Indie Showcase. The event was organized by Alex Bethke, a former Flash developer for Ganz who left his job at Cryptologic to build the indie start-up Golden Gear Inc.
Alex told me that his friend had a great “studio space”, and he wanted to throw the event there. For some reason, my brain parsed that as “gallery space”. i was wrong – the event was actually held in a dude’s studio apartment. After a week of attending events at the swanky Carlu, the OCAD Great Hall, the TIFF Filmmakers’ Lounge, and the new Ubi Soft studio, it marked a profound change of pace. i stepped onto the astro-turfed, slightly ramshackle balcony strewn with mismatched patio furniture and random power tools and happily declared, “now THIS is indie.”
The crowd stands enthralled during a presentation, while About a Blob by Drinkbox Studios plays on a teevee nearby.
The event housed two points of interest: a number of indie games were demoed on various machines around the apartment, and four indie developers gave short presentations. The event never quite lived up to its promise of “projecting games on a 40-foot wall” (rather more like a 6-foot bedsheet), but Alex bought everyone free beer. If you like beer, that’s got to count for something.
i thought the presentations were mercifully short – more like informational snacks – and was happy that they covered a variety of topics. Here were the speakers and their topics:
- Robert Segal from Get Set Games talked about the phenomenal success of their new game, Mega Jump, and the path they took to achieve 5 million downloads.
- Nathon Gunn of Social Game Universe and Bitcasters talked about IGAPI, a cross-promotional toolbar that helps indie developers increase their games’ visibility.
- Ryan Henson Creighton of Untold Entertainment (that’s me!) talked about the advantages of developing games with Unity 3D, and shamelessly plugged his new book, Unity 3D Game Development by Example.
- Michael Todd gave a theoretical talk about art games, and the emotional imprint a developer leaves on his game during a short development cycle.
Rob Segal calmly explains how he could buy the whole place and everyone in it.
i thought the event was a good low-key wind-down to a preposterously packed week. Unlike the other events i mentioned, the atmosphere here felt very supportive, tight-knit and communal. We were mere moments from breaking into a round of Kumbaya, for real.
Were you there? Did you enjoy the Indie Showcase? Did you despise it? Let me know by leaving a comment!