A solo developers perspective on EGX London
Last weekend saw the annual gaming event EGX (formerly Eurogamer Expo) hit London’s Earls Court once again. This massive 4 day event is one of the biggest out there, with all of the biggest names in gaming competing for the attention of those wandering the show floor. Large shouty men on stages under giant screens hurl freebies at the crowd, overzealous employees gesture wildly to consoles and PCs alike to get you to sit down and sample their games (if you make it through the queues), ESports stages give you the chance to test your skills against friends and strangers alike, and shops filled with various gaming merchandise are around every corner. It’s a great event and I recommend it to anyone who has even a passing interest in games.
However, the reasons above aren’t the only reasons why I’d recommend people brave the long queues, the ridiculous food and drink prices and the typical love/hate relationship every Londoner has with their home city. This was not my first time going to EGX, but it was my first time going on my own, and I had a different target than in previous years. The quiet star of the show is the Rezzed area, a miniature city in its own right, the streets of which are filled with passionate indie developers showing off their little gems away from the noise of the big guns and their ludicrous spending power. This area has become so popular in recent years that a splinter show, EGX Rezzed, was started to offer these developers a bigger stage to showcase themselves. I didn’t have a space on the show floor of my own, but I did want to go and chat to as many developers as possible about their experiences, and of course, to play their games.
The great thing about this area of the show is that there are games for every platform, and the developers come from varied backgrounds. You never hear the same story twice. Each different platform for distribution and each method of game creation has its own ups and downs, miniature tales of barriers that were never overcome or victories against near impossible odds are around every corner. Opinions vary as wildly as their backstories. One developer I spoke to immediately proclaimed ‘Steam is the best thing to happen to us!’. The next developer, when asked, replied in a growl ‘Steam is the worst thing that ever happened to us…’. Yet just as the stories are varied, one thing stays the same between everyone in this space : The passion for the thing they’ve built.
This passion comes out in different ways, but I can only assume in this context that it manifests itself similar to a group of parents of children who are all on their first day of school. Grown men and women excitedly mill around in oohs and aaahs, checking out each one on display, collectively bemoaning the late sleepless nights, but eventually agreeing they wouldn’t give it up for the world, happy to be in their little club and grateful for the support it provides. Lets face it, for many developers, their creations are their children in a way, so perhaps this comparison isn’t so strange.
The funny thing about being among these creators, is that they are more than happy to welcome someone new into their ranks and to give them all the advice they have to hand. If you want to network and promote yourself, they will go to great lengths to help you do that. They will gladly invite you to their twitter, their forums, their email addresses. If you have a game on a mobile device to show off, they’ll have a go at it and critique it fairly. If you work with the tools they use, they will give you little tips, hints and tweaks, and if you are considering your options and they believe they can help, they most certainly will, and if they cant help, the games industry fair is right next door to the Rezzed section at EGX. Someone there will know someone who can. This was when I felt glad I was there on my own, as I had all the time I needed to ask all the questions I wanted.
That’s perhaps the best thing about EGX. Not so far from the megabucks spending the big names are doing to get your attention, theres a great community of developers just happy to share and talk about their creations and even direct you to those just around the corner, wether you spend money on them or not. Its this attitude and approach that ensure that the moment that tickets come up for the EGX Rezzed event, in London for the first time during March next year, I’ll snap one up immediately. A whole show dedicated to people like that can only be a good thing.
You can find the website for EGX here : http://www.egxlondon.net/
You can also find the website for EGX Rezzed 2015 here : http://www.egx.net/rezzed/