Indie Showcase Caps a Packed Week in Toronto

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.”

Indie Showcase

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.

Indie Showcase

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!

4 thoughts on “Indie Showcase Caps a Packed Week in Toronto

  1. aBethke

    Great write-up, fire your fact checker. Mega Jump has over 5 MILLION downloads and I left Ganz for Cryptologic and then left Crypto to form Golden Gear. No biggie ;)

    Yeah, my bad on the 40 foot wall vs the 6 foot bed sheet. Adrian gave me bad info about that aspect of the setup which I didnt get clarified until we were actually there. The bed sheet projector was the backup plan because we ran into an issue with using the wall. Sorry for that.

    I will admit to a touch of shadiness on my part. When I talked about the studio space I chose my words carefully so as not to scare people off. XP

    I really enjoyed putting on this event and have been told that most people attending enjoyed it. If / When we do something like this again next year it will be much better planned and we will find another funky location that is hopefully a little less studio apartment and a little more studio gallery… or just a bar to get around the liquor license hassles.

    I really like how you describe this event in relation to the other stuff that was happening this week and ultimately winding down what Ive been calling the Summer of Indie. “atmosphere here felt very supportive, tight-knit and communal” is what I was going for. ;)

    Thanks again for your support and attendance.

    Reply
    1. Ryan Henson Creighton

      So sorry! That’s what i get for leaving my notes at the office. i’ve made the corrections, and am considering renaming this journal “Retraction!: The Blog”.

      Reply
  2. Rob Segal

    Great review Ryan. I certainly am in no place to be buying (I know you’re joking Ryan… I hope) anyone but I hope some of the things I have mentioned will helpful for those attending. As many of us do in our Toronto gaming community I hope to do further presentations on the roadblocks and successes that have worked for us at Get Set Games inspiring others to do the same.

    Reply

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