Indie Haven July Developer Roundtable – Developer Thoughts on EToo Laura Kate July 4, 2013 Features We at Indie Haven like to get you as close as possible to the games you love and the people making them. That’s why every month we aim to bring together a wide selection of of Indie Developers from all walks of life, from BAFTA winners to teenage and student devs, to discuss the hottest issues affecting games, development, coverage and the Indie community. These chats will be broken up into chunks and released across the month, before we start all over again with new developers and new questions. This month we welcome a brand new group of developers to the Roundtable. We’ve got Tom Vian (Developer at SFB, creators of Haunt the House: Terrortown), Alan Zucconi (Creator of time travel puzzle game Still Time), Ashley Ross (lead developer at OmNomCom and creator of the upcoming game Girl With a Laser Cannon), Jennifer Schneidereit (co-founder of Nyamyam, creators of Tengami) and Andrew Roper (Recent University graduate working on the game Lazarus). Owen Harris (Studio Head at bitSmith games) also joins us toward the end of the Roundtable. If you’re an Indie Dev of any size that would like to take part in a future roundtable, please email Laurak@IndieHaven.com and let us know a little about yourself. The more the merrier. “As you were all at EToo, what did you think of the event?” Tom Vian: I was only there for Monday and the evening on Tuesday, but it was excellent while I was there. “What were your likes and dislikes regarding the event, how positive was it for you as a developer?” Tom Vian: I think that it got a little overcrowded at times, the venue being so small, but that’s about my only criticism. Alan Zucconi: Etoo was a wonderful experience for me. Ten years ago it would have been impossible for players to meet developers of their favourite games and now, with all this social revolution, players WANT to know developers. I think this adds a completely new layer to the game experience. People feel somehow “integrated” into the development itself. Plus, developers as well can get early feedback from players. Tom Vian: As a developer with a Vita game to show, it was very difficult to attract attention in contrast to devs with big shiny screens on walls. Ashley Ross: Etoo was great! It was just so packed. I’d really want a bigger venue next time. I found myself basically stuck in some places. It was amazing for networking though, more so than other indie events I’ve been to. I want a screen next time to show off my game! Laura Kate: Size is an interesting argument, because if it had been smaller there would possibly not have been the same buzz of interest, the appearance of every game being always looked at and therefore worth checking out ect. Jennifer Schneidereit: EToo was great. The live stream was a lot of fun to watch and I liked the that the venue was so tiny. It was a very intimate and honest way of showing your game. The live stream was maybe a bit too long, I think just a 2-3 hours a day would have been enough. Ashley Ross: @Tom I played Haunt the house. I loved it Laura Kate: I never saw a game that didn’t have people crowded near it, even if just by necessity. Alan Zucconi: The entire event felt very informal and I think that this made lots of developers much more relaxed about it. For me, however, it was more about networking with developers rather than playing the actual games. Laura Kate: But agreed, I’d like to see it expand into a larger venue, but they’d need to make that expansion a fairly slow one. Alan Zucconi: And Andrew’s colleague baked cakes. Lots of them. 🙂 Andrew Roper: Really loved EToo. I was there all four days and evenings and it was really nice to see people there because they wanted it to be. It was nice to meet people who play games in a more informal manner and good to see other devs as well. Only downside was that it got busy and crowded quite easily, but considering the whole thing was organised in 3 weeks it went really well. I also spent most of Thursday playing Haunt the House and Rayman. Tom, Why did you make the captain on the ship so hard to scare? 😛 Ashley Ross: I wouldn’t want a huge area, but maybe something where we can actually move about would be nice. Still with not many developers, to increase interest. Andrew Roper: Not a lot of people realised there was a downstairs either. Tom Vian: Yeah, even my brother didn’t know there was one and he’d been to the bar before! Alan Zucconi: I always go to MADD/Loading Soho and I never discovered the game dungeon downstairs until the day of Etoo. Laura Kate: It was a perfect size for me personally as someone on the journalism side. I had time to get everything played, have a good chat with people in an informal and relaxed setting, get coverage written up comfortably and it was just a very manageable size for a one woman writing staff to cover. But for me it was just a great place to network, get into some fantastic conversations and just enjoy a really positive atmosphere. Alan Zucconi: I like that it was in central London AND in a space for game developers. Usually lot of these events are made in space that are not relevant to Indies, but I am sure that lot of people who went to Etoo for the very first time will surely come back for mango smoothies at Loading Soho. Jennifer Schneidereit: They should have probably limited the number of games a bit more. Some people just got a tiny space in the end. Big thanks to Keith and George for organising it. I wish they would do it on a regular basis. Once a month for example. Ashley Ross: If I’m down London again, I’ll certainly visit Loading. Tom Vian: The folks running it were brilliant. Alan Zucconi: The “live studio” looked impressively professional. 🙂 Laura Kate: It would have been nice if there’d been space for everyone to be hooked up to a monitor for example. Andrew Roper: Well, they did only organise it in three weeks, imagine what they can do in a year. Alan Zucconi: Hehe I had to move my booth three times! XD “What do we think of the fact AAA games were being shown there?” Jennifer Schneidereit: Puppeteer looked super charming. Some of my friends in Japan are working on the title so I was very pleased to see it there. Alan Zucconi: I was more interested in talking to developers, rather than playing games. The Last of Us for instance… I saw a couple of people playing it but I immediately classify it as “zombie shooter… BOOORING!”. Tom Vian: I only saw the last of us and puppeteer. Very excited about puppeteer, got a strong Dynamite Headdy vibe from it Ashley Ross: I only saw The Last of Us, I’m avoiding spoilers like the plague, so I’m gonna have to duck out of this question. Tom Vian: The Last of Us interested me less, despite enjoying Naughty Dog’s previous games. Andrew Roper: Puppeteer looked fantastic and I played a ton of Rayman Legends on WiiU as well. I think it was a good idea to have some AAA games there, but it was good that there was a bigger focus on smaller devs. “Would the space have been better used for more Indies?” Alan Zucconi: Playing a game next to its developer, guiding you through it is a completely new experience that you don’t have playing AAA games on your sofa. Ashley Ross: I don’t mind that there were AAA games there, just as long as they are given equal footing to the Indies. I wouldn’t want them to have the bigger screen etc. Tom Vian: I think it’s great to have a few AAA games there too, I just wish there were people from Sony there to talk to about their gamkes like with the Indie games! Alan Zucconi: The event was sponsored by Sony, so it wasn’t unexpected to see AAA titles. I think it would have been nice having previews of the games presented at E3 but I know how hard it would have been. Laura Kate: Agreed, it would have been amazing to have some PS4 demos on show for example or some of the Wii U demos that Nintendo was showing off at Best Buy in America. Ashley Ross: I’d have loved that, bring E3 to EToo in a way. Jennifer Schneidereit: AAA games draw a huge crowd. So even if people ‘just’ came for them, Indies still benefit from it. Otherwise you are always preaching to the choir. I thought it was a smart move to include AAA. Laura Kate: Sega brought their Mickey: Castle of Illusion demo from E3 straight to EToo on Wednesday. And with that we end another segment of Indie Dev Roundtable here at Indie Haven. Next time we Discuss this years London based alternative to E3, EToo. What do you think? Did E3 this year cater to fans of Indie games? Did either companies stance win you over to their console? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @Indie_Haven.