XPO Gaming Convention will be happening this year. While it took a couple of years to get everything ready, they are well on their way to put on a great convention. To that end, they have announced their Keynote speaker. Tramell Isaac, art director of Boss Key Studios, is given top billing at the event. Continue reading
About a week ago after a tweet from someone anxious to go to to XPO, I saw that XPO’s website XPO2015.com was down. This was extremely concerning as I was looking forward to the event in October. So I tweeted XPO to find out what is happening. Thankfully, they were quick to respond and sent me a link to their Facebook status update. Continue reading
Heartland Gaming Expo is back for its third year and they plan to go bigger than ever. The previous events were held at the University of Tulsa campus and they had great attendance. At this year’s event, they are expecting 5000 or more people to show. This year, the event will be held at the Cox Business Center. This will allow them to expand the event to include exhibits, tournaments and game development competitions.
The main draw of this event are the game competitions. They have several competitions available for students and indie developers. The big one will be the 24 hour game jam. Those participating in that event will start working on their game on Friday night and finish by Saturday night. These games will them be awarded prizes based on a number of criteria. Here is the description of how this competition will go down.
The 24-Hour Code Jam will be similar to other 24-hour programming competitions with one significant twist. This year, we are adding a Hunger Games like component. During the 24-hours, teams will have to maintain a web page based on their game. The purpose is to allow people to vote on which game they like the best. During the event at predefined intervals we will tally the votes and give intermediate prizes to the teams. Think of it as the parachutes in the Hunger Games, but in this case they will be crowdsourced. These pages will be on display at the event and online.
The other two competitions are also something worth participating in. The game showcase will feature games from four different categories, indie games, game mods, college projects, and high school projects. Teams of up to four people can enter any of these, if they fall into those categories. The other competition is a gallery show that will allow participants to show off animations, art, music and more.
The other big draw this year will be the speakers. They have three impressive speakers lined up this year. The first is Tulsa’s own Matt Harmon from Bonozo Apps. Next we have Eric Peterson from Descendent Studios. Finally Richard Huenink from The Fun Pimps. These guys will be talking about their own game projects as well as what it takes to succeed in the games industry. There will also be Unity 3D tutorials on Saturday and Sunday.
You can check out the full schedule of the event and learn about sponsorship opportunities at the Heartland Gaming Expo website. Heartland is also looking for anyone who is interested in hosting a panel or a tutorial during the expo. They have plenty of time slots available. The more people that speak and teach at the event, the better it will be. If you are interested, let them know.
Wizard World Comic Con was just a couple of weeks ago. At the Con was a great game development panel hosted by Bonozo’s Matt Harmon. On that panel were Roger Mailler, Professor of Video Games University of Tulsa, Brandon Pollet, F5 Games, Brady Wright and Rayna Behl, Above and Beyond Software/Tekton Games, Ross Pinkstaff, Picardy Third Entertainment, and Tony Miller, Nintendo Okie.
There is a lot of great advice in this panel discussion. There are also two game trailers near the beginning. The first trailer is for Tekton Games’ new game Headroom. The Second is for F5 Games’ The Hunted.
Disclaimer: Matt Harmon and Bonozo Apps have made two small financial donations to OKGameDev.com
After the success of the first Super! Bitcon, the creators are looking to expand the event from a single day to two. They have also announced a great deal for game developers and artists looking to display their work at the event. The price of booths have changed from $50 last year has dropped to $35.
In a Facebook announcement, BC Phillips had this to say about the change:
Hey OKGD! Just wanted to let everyone know that game dev booths at SUPER Bitcon have been reduced to just $35 for two days this year (March 28-29, 2015). Last year it was $50 for just one day. We want more game devs to come show off their projects this year — even unfinished ones!
So if you are looking to expand your audience and awareness of your games, this would be a great opportunity to do so. So register today to get your space reserved.
Oklahoma has a number of conventions throughout the year, comics, technology, anime, and even some gaming. Now we have a new contender in the gaming convention sector, XPO. XPO held a press event today to announce the first ever XPO Video Gaming Convention happening in October of 2015. XPO plans to be a massive regional gaming convention that will attract the attention of local indie developers as well as multinational console and game development companies.
From small independents to global publishing brands, XPO will showcase and celebrate the gaming industry and the players who love it. Everyone will have the opportunity to network, present their latest achievements and maybe discover the next big independent developer, Streaming personality or biggest fan! Come and enjoy a few days and remember why you love this industry.
Partnering with XPO for the announcement, Tulsa based Bonozo Apps president Matt Harmon expressed his support for XPO and his hope that it will be a major draw for game developers. Matt was also kind enough to record and upload the press event for all of us.
We certainly look forward to learning more about XPO and who they can attract as vendors and panelists for the event next year.
Starting off the discussion, Luke and James spoke about their efforts to unify the game industry in the state. They have worked to create a game developers group found at OKGD.org. This is the group that holds the Monthly Meetups. They have been doing this because there is no big game development scene in the state. Those interested in game development are scattered across the state and it is necessary for us to have regular networking meetups.
As for what the best path is for getting into gaming, the panelists agree that the best way to start is to just make games. Matt expressed that you have to have a passion too. You can’t just approach it casually and hope to be successful. They also name drop Oklahoma Christian University, one of the top rated schools in the US for game development programs.
They have also expressed support for several do-it-yourself style learning opportunities such as Digital Tutors and Code Academy. You can also begin with plug and play game engines such as Unity to help you get started.
They next went into a discussion of what it takes, emotionally, to work in games. Luke and James told of their experiences trying to promote their game Casino RPG and being faced with vitriol from people who hate free to play games with a passion.
The conversation then went to Kickstarter and running a crowdfunding campaign. James and Luke both successfully funded Casino RPG through Kickstarter. In this portion, the conversation was around how you will need to really work on your marketing skills to succeed.
When it comes to game ideas, you really have to put some work into making sure it is the right one. James suggested putting your idea on the back burner for while and then revisiting it months or so later and checking if you are still excited about it. If you are, then you should go with it. Matt responded about how you shouldn’t be ambitious with your idea. You should scale back on some of the extraneous stuff and bringing it back down to something feasible.
On the topic of polish and releasing games, Matt and James had a bit of a disagreement. James is an advocate for releasing early to win fans while Matt expressed the idea that you should wait until your game is ready and perfect. This was a very interesting part of the conversation. There are certainly pros and cons to both sides of the debate.
Finally, the conversation closed with a question about building a team and how such a team should find a leader. When it comes to finding team members, it is a matter of connecting with other like minded game developers. When it comes to leading, Matt expressed a need to have a clear leader. Without one, he feels that a team might not make it. Luke on the other hand talks about how a creative process needs mutual respect among the team and that a single person or group of persons who try to build themselves up could be detrimental to the creative process.
All and all, it was a great panel and well worth watching. These are the kinds of events that are great for building the games industry in Oklahoma. We hope to see more of these panels in the future.
Before the convention was even halfway over attendees already anticipated returning next year to SUPER! BitCon held in Oklahoma City, OK. Organized by the Retro Gamers Society, SUPER! BitCon served as fundraiser, meetup, flea market, and festival to the gaming public. And though centered on classic gaming, and video gaming in particular, the event was no less welcoming to gaming of all varieties at the event.
Held at the Oklahoma State Fair Park’s Hobbies, Arts and Crafts Building, nearly the entire floor space was populated by numerous vendors and exhibitors displaying a plethora of games, consoles, accessories, memorabilia, art, and crafts for browsing and purchase while attendees mingled, shared, and played throughout the day.
Along the outskirts of the central exhibit floor was a side stage where bands played throughout the morning and afternoon, a room hosting panels and presentations throughout the entire event, and another room serving as an arcade for attendees to play pinball, arcade games, or a few current generation fighting games all for free.
Yet not to be overshadowed in such a digital gaming environment was a curtained portion of the hall devoted to tabletop gaming inhabited by the local gaming shop Game HQ, Inc., the Oklahoma Go Players Association, and the Oklahoma Tabletop Gamers Society encouraging and helping attendees to play various tabletop games from their library as local tabletop gaming company Salamander Games introduced passersbys to their latest projects.
With so much ongoing activity occurring one could easily lose track of time, perhaps missing out on a few panels such as the game development panel hosted by the team-up of James Simpson and Luke Simkins from Goldfire Studios with Matt Harmon of Bonzo Apps to share their experiences, advice, and speculations on game development and the gaming industry. Yet the Retro Gamers Society has thankfully posted their recording of these panels on their Youtube page.
And even as traffic wound down and exhibitors were slowly packing away their wares as the sun began to set, festivities continued into the night as further panels continued such as the Nintendo Okie podcast hosting a game centric quiz show, musical group Tip Top Secrets serenading the evening attendees, and both the free play arcade and tabletop gaming room still open for play before the bittersweet closing comments ending the convention.
And whether an attendee remained til the end of the convention or left early, many of them had already decided to return next year. Until then, the staff of Oklahoma Game Development hopes to catch up with the RGS at a later date for a post con interview and plans they have for next year.
We have a few other bits of news coming out of this meetup, so please keep in touch.
We would like to thank Jesse Harlin for his help in recording and mixing of the video.
The slides are available below: Continue reading
Green Country Comics and Gaming has asked if we would like to put on a panel on game development for the coming October convention. What this is is a panel in which we ask questions of one another and let the audience ask questions of us about what we do, how we do it and how they can get involved. We will also be able to show off the games we are working on as well.
I will be reaching out to a few people over the next week or so and asking those at the next game dev meetup if they would like to participate. I will also be asking for information on what we would like to cover. This is a pretty open opportunity for those of us trying to build a name for ourselves.
Conventions are a great way to connect with fans and build a great reputation with those who would potentially play and purchase your games.
As more information becomes available, we will let you know. In the meantime, if you would like to join the panel or have ideas for topics to be covered, please let me know. Email me at zachary (at) okgamedev (dot) com or use the contact form on this site.