lunes, 27 de julio de 2015

Gamepolis 2015: An Overview

Hi all!

As promised, here it is my experience during the 2015 edition of Gamepolis. (To check my course during the previous editions, click here and here). 

The event came this year with some interesting novelties:

1) More national and international projection: not only did the number of attendees increase, but also the variety of their origin, which encompassed many Spanish regions. Long lines, especially during the morning, showed the increasing interest in this event, as shown in Figure 1. Also, the invited speaker Petro Tyschtschenko provided the international flavour with his nostalgic speech about the Amiga in its 30th anniversary. 


Figure 1. Tons of people lined up to access the premises, and more than half of the line 
cannot be seen from this perspective!

2) GameInvest Forum: co-located with Gamepolis, GameInvest provided a forum where developers could show their games to investors. As part of the agenda, there were some interesting talks on game investment and financial aids. Particularly interesting was a roundtable discussion about the aspects that investors often examine when making investment decisions. The main conclusion was that the game developer experience is usually graded with the highest priority. Thus, when an investor is faced with whether to invest in an unexperienced game developer with a brilliant idea, or in an experienced developer with a not so good idea, the odds will mostly be in favour of the latter (in many cases, unfortunately). 


Figure 2. GameInvest Forum

3) Game Jam: MalagaJam is a young association targeted at game developers, which is based in Malaga physically and in Internet digitally. Two weeks ago, they organized their second Game Jam, the awards of which were announced during a Gamepolis session on Sunday afternoon. The list of games and their download links are here. One of the most successful games, Panspermia, achieved The Most Outstanding Visuals and to The Best Audio and Music awards, the latter of which was thanks to my friend Oliver (Figure 4). 


Figure 3. The auditorium was completely crowded during the jam awards ceremony


Figure 4. Panspermia team receiving The Best Audio and Music award.

Contrary to the previous editions, in which I tried to turn up at almost all the conferences, this year I could barely attend any one. The reason is that I participated in GameInvest with a project called GalaxyNumbers (Figures 5 and 6), for which I'm the programmer. The game combines match-3 mechanics (Tetris) with a Candy Crush aesthetics and presents an interesting mathematical twist. According to the people that could play the game during the event, it is fun and addictive, and these people would repeatedly ask us whether the game was already available for download. Unfortunately, we always had to answer "not yet". Precisely the idea of participating in GameInvest was to request investment to polish the last details and to integrate the last features, and also to cover marketing efforts. For now, we are happy to have received very positive feedback from a broad range of users.


Figure 5. The stand of Galaxy Numbers


Figure 6. The presentation of Galaxy Numbers

As a wrap-up, this edition of Gamepolis has provided a bigger focus on developers and has widened its impact by bringing an international, well-known speaker, which were two aspects that remained uncovered in the two previous editions and which I criticized in those posts.


Figure 7. A 3D printer making cool stuff. Actually, the game jam awards were printed!

Something to improve? Well, there are some sources that have complained about the lack of respect of a reduced number of attendees during some conferences, who would not stop their chattering. I would therefore suggest enforcing a bigger control during the presentations, as well as continuing the effort towards a wider internationalization.


Figure 8. A minute of silence was observed in memory of Mr. Iwata, followed by a huge ovation.  RIP.

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