Last month on the 28th IndigoX happened in Utrecht. It is the "Dutch Game Garden’s largest game showcase" for indie video game development. The 28th was also the move in date for a new flat rental. I attended for the first time and now i'm reporting back from behind the friendly lines!
The path to IndigoX
I love video games and recently involved myself with the game development community. At DevopsDays Warsaw last year, I talked about my experience with a micro-services software project. That same week in Warsaw, I had an opportunity to talk about containerizing frontend web applications at the CD PROJECT RED Docker meetup. This year, I joined a couple of related meetups here in the Netherlands, Indie Game Developers and Unreal Engine Users.
At the Unreal Users meetup, someone mentioned Unreal Fest Europe 2019 in Prague. I got tickets for that, packed a warm pair of socks and headed to Prague. IndigoX was also mentioned and I added it to my quest log as well! I'm a creative person, I admire creativity in others and was curious to see what ideas indie devs would come up with. I was neither disappointed nor I expected to be.
I arrived to IndigoX mid-morning late due to new flat key hand-over and registered. Attendees received an event handbook and a copy of the Games Monitor 2018 report. For whatever definition of small, this community is solid well organized. Dutch Game Garden provides incubation for small studios, industry reports, organises Indigo and more. Somewhat connected, Amsterdam is also home to XRBase plus some AAA studios.
The space was CROWDED! With attendees, game show stands and all sorts of gaming devices for our enjoyment. There were old school mainstream consoles like Sega Mega Drive and Playstation One. Plus, some older-than-old-school, erhmm, things. How cool was that !?
The event divided in several areas:
- xDISCOVER: show stands from indie game developers
- xTALKS: three talk talks
- xCONNECT: MeetToMatch powered networking
For reasons stated on 1st paragraph, I postponed setting up my MeetToMatch profile until too late. Tears. Guess I missed an opportunity for some direct conversations. Although, even outside xCONNECT I had zero issues getting into conversations with anyone.
I missed xTALKS since they were from 9.30 to 12.30! So, I spent most of my time jumping from stand to stand in xDISCOVER. Used my energy to connect with people and learn about them and their video games.
It was also one of the hottest, sunny days this year in Amsterdam. There was free beer at the event. A fourth, unofficial, area formed at the venue, "xOUTSIDE". A lot of attendees gathered on and off in conversations at the garden in front of the venue. There were even comfy chairs. Later in the day, even groups of younglings showed up.
xDISCOVER is where all the magic happened. There was a solid participation of Breda University students course projects. Bone Voyage won the showcase award. I had a chat with the project lead earlier in the day and he mentioned the project team had roughly 40 students ? With weekly scrum meetings and game development production line. Challenging and cool stuff.
Based on my own taste thus with no judgment of value :) a few games got my attention. At the top of my list was Project Beckon. The developer travelled from Lebanon to showcase the game. He was very energetic about it. What attracted me about the game was the technodelic experience. Both the graphics and (placeholder) music had that coin-up experience feeling.
Spent a considerate amount of time around The Falconeer stand.
Good looking single player air combat fighting game where one rides a big ass falcon.Or is it a gryphon ? Whatever the case, it has lasers. Nice graphics and a "good feel" environment. I asked the developer if he was planning to release for Playstation version. He couldn't say :-) I would buy that game for the PS4 if there was a solid single player campaign and/or multiplayer.
Close to the end of the event, I played Muscle Magic with Team Switcheroos! A very fun local multiplayer brawler game with muscular wizards and wacky spells. Bonus points for the arena with bumpers! I found the game easy to get started but difficult to master, it was a tough fight! What matters most is the playing and not who wins right ? WRONG! I want a rematch some day :-)
As I jumped all day back and forth between stands, there was a game I found myself pausing to admire several times. Rosa's Garden. A simple and beautiful game where the goal is to plant your own garden. Kudos for the equally pleasing website!
Close to the end of the event, I sat down at the gaming stations enjoying a cold beer and some old school gaming. Akli, an indie game dev hobbyist, said hello and we co-oped some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action!
He also explained some Rayman game mechanics, as I never played it much. Fun game, I have Rayman Legends for the PS4.
In conversation, he mentioned one of his passions are fighting games! He's developing an Unreal Engine framework to make it easier for other people to develop new fighting games. He wasn't aware the Unreal Users NL meetup existed. So, I suggested he should signup and show up! I'm sure people would be interested in seeing what he's been up to.
There were a lot of games showcased at IndigoX. Would be hard to cover them all and probably missed a few I also liked a lot. The full list is available here.
It was interesting to have a deeper look into the game industry in the Netherlands and meet new people. My next stop will be gamescom in Cologne, Germany.