Team IFX just got back from EGX in Birmingham (or Brimingham as it said on all the wristbands.) Not only do we make games but we love playing them and attend all four days of the event every year. We loved it when it was at Earl’s Court in London – as it felt like a holiday and we could explore our nation’s capital in the evenings. However, since they knocked down Earl’s Court – going to Birmingham doesn’t feel the same. It’s not that far from where we live.
One of our main reasons for going is for the Developer and Rezzed sessions – awesome presentations and Q&As from actual successful game developers. It is always useful and informative for game developers like us. Everything from how to get a tax rebate to attracting YouTube stars to play your game on screen to their thousands of subscribers – there’s something for everyone.
At Earl’s Court these events were held in separate lecture theatres away from the noise and bustle of the main arena where all the massive games stands were. At the NEC though the Rezzed sessions are in an open area right next to the huge Virgin stand holding Destiny – Age of Iron competitions every 10 minutes. Each one ended with ear-splitting explosions after an enthusiastic countdown – and the whole thing was compered by an over-excited MC on the mike.
This meant that it was very difficult to hear what was happening on the Rezzed stage – especially during question and answer sessions where the presenters needed to be able to hear members of the audience too.
The main developer sessions were enclosed – by a curtain – but disturbingly near to the Gfinity e-sports arena where EnVyUs were annihilating all–comers in the CS.GO Invitational Tournament. This was also loud. (I do love watching esports though 🙂
But niggles aside – we had a good show. It was the first time that I had attended the Investment Summit – held in a nearby convention suite. I listened to talks by investors and publishers, such as Debbie Bestwick from Team 17, about how to get your company ready for investment and what investors look for in a company and their products. Some said they never touch free-to-play games like Interference – but others, such as Saad Choudrie, CCO of Miniclip said “Free-to-play? Bring it on!” I got chance to have a chat with him over lunch and he gave us some good advice. To summarise (and quote Shia LaBeouf) “Just do it!” We are doing okay and if we get the iOS and Android apps out then people will come to us! Apparently
Nathan also got a pass to the Trade Zone which amazingly cost nothing!(Pro tip – just email EGX and ask for one – they just need a link to your LinkedIn page to see you are a legit indiedev) It also came with two free days in EGX itself. The trade zone was a room where you could schedule meetings with any backers you met. Sadly, as we only found out about this and the summit the week before we went – all the available appointments were gone. We’ll know for next year though!
As indie game developers ourselves we spent most of our time in the Rezzed and Leftfield zones where there were some amazing and different games on show. Nathan enjoyed Unseen Diplomacy as he got to crawl around an empty square with a Vive VR headset on – saving the world.
We could see what he was doing on screen and it did look impressive. He didn’t have any problem motion sickness with the VR in this game – as he was moving around with the action in the game. It’s the ones where you are sitting down while things move around you that cause him problems.
Our favourite Rezzed session is always the funny “Pitch Your Game Idea” one – where you can just turn up and pitch a crazy idea for a game at a panel of experts. It is expertly MCed by Jon Hicks (@MrJonty ) from Gamer- Network – as are all the Rezzed sessions. They pick a favourite and give them a bag of swag from EGX. This time Nathan decided to have a go and pitch his “Bond Villain Simulator” ™ The experts seemed very impressed and he won a bag of goodies – along with a couple of other hopefuls. The other winners were a small boy who pitched a zombie game set in a shopping centre called “Shop ’til You Drop” and the other guy pitched a game that ran through the history of game design. They both sounded excellent.
Nathan was very pleased with the reaction to his idea – one that’s he’s been talking about in the Centrifuge office for quite a while. He might even make a prototype now! I’m sure you can’t wait to see that!