Ella Waving in Games


Dev Diary - E3 Day Two

LA's E3 conference is in full swing, with major studios teasing the new titles and technology fans can expect to get their hands on over the next few years. 

Earlier this week, we heard back from the two South West games studios GamesLab sent to the event to network and promote their work. Virtual Reality and a focus on niche hardware dominated the teams' first Dev Diary entries. Let's see what they got up to on day two...

Richard Mackriell - aPriori Digital 

t: @aPrioriDigital

My second day on the show floor started off by meeting up with a representative of GameConnection -  a company that host events focused on giving developers, publishers and digital media companies the opportunity to meet and make connections that could prove invaluable to an up and coming studio such as ourselves. I was informed of several events they have coming up which could be of interest to us and help to potentially gain access to contact details for a range of companies that would be of use to us when we launch our game.

After this meeting I also tried to see if I could get any initial points of contact with some of the larger companies and publishers who were exhibiting at the show, with mixed results. Although I was unable to arrange a meeting with any of the big names at such short notice, I was able to get some useful contact information of people who deal with 3rd party relations at Sony which could help us as we look to expand into releasing on more platforms in the future. Approaching the larger publishers was met with more of a cold shoulder however, leaving with a general feeling that they prefer to deal only with well-established companies that have caught their attention and that they have little interest in indie developers seeking them out. 

While navigating my way through the crowds I kept a keen eye out for attendees who were wearing red E3 passes – indicating that they were involve with the media side of the games industry and were press. Whenever I got the chance I gave them a business card and leaflet for our upcoming game, as any PR and media contacts we can make will certainly be useful when we launch in the next month or so. 

After spending the previous day navigating my way around the convention centre’s two enormous halls I had a better idea of where I wanted to go to get a more in-depth look at some of the things that had caught my interest the day before. As well as checking out some of the blockbuster releases on offer I spent time looking around the IndieCade exhibit featuring a wide range of different independently developed titles that have been released recently and garnered interest in the gaming industry. These were showcased in a more casual-themed booth with sofas for those playing the games. This worked well for the selection of party games on offer, a genre which has recently been making a resurgence due to the high demand for local multiplayer experiences (something which is becoming increasing rare in AAA releases, largely due to the cost of highly detailed ‘next-gen’ graphics).

At the opposite end of the spectrum I took a look at some of the upcoming AAA releases at the Sony exhibit and after queuing for a short time I was treated to exclusive gameplay for 'Horizon: Zero Dawn', 'The Last Guardian' and 'Uncharted 4: The Thief’s End'. Each of these were visually stunning and offered a promising look into what can be expected from this year’s upcoming games - vast, richly detailed and near photo realistic locations covered in incredible foliage, highly destructible buildings and environments littered with hundreds of detailed objects that can be interacted with – smashing a car through a busy market square has never looked better!

Having had, what I felt, a successful day I turned my attention to the evening for I knew that there were some good shows going on outside of the main E3 event. After trying to get hold of the organisers I finally decided to simply turn up at one event called the Mix, short for Media Indie Exchange. I managed to get in after talking to the man on the front door, Zach, who also turned out to be helping publish some Wii U titles and based on this we exchanged business cards. 

The event itself was fantastic; there was a wide variety of indie projects on show, all of which had a quality and calibre that made the event feel very special. Adult Swim were there showing three different games that they were publishing and again I managed to give my business card to one of their team who is responsible for finding new talent.  

After this I had a go on some more of the games until I bumped into a group of Brits. They were from Team 17 and having the common ground of being from the UK we stuck up a conversation. One of them, Sam, is the PR Director for Team 17 and it was brilliant to quiz him for tips on connecting with the media etc. 

As if this wasn’t enough I finally on my way out of the event had a quick chat with Dieter, the Managing Director of a German publishing company who were there with some Wii U games they were soon releasing. It was a pleasure speaking to him as we both share a passion for console gaming and he was very easy to talk to. I explained to him about what we are doing as a company and our desire to work in the console gaming market - finally we exchanged business cards before I headed home!

James Thorpe - Close Quarter Games

t: @Close_Quarter

With E3 still buzzing but with a more appealing crowd density, prime opportunities to check out more top tier offerings in significantly less (and more reasonable) time were presented. To further fall through the apparent black hole of Virtual Reality displays, I managed to check out the FOVE eye-tracking VR headset, AntVR and the Oculus Gear. All of which show great promise and point towards a possible yet increasingly likely exciting future for digital entertainment. 

A meeting with a Game Connection representative revealed alternative, more local events that support growth for technology and software startups; which could prove useful moving the company forward. 

There's a lot of talk about the daily after parties and gatherings post E3 being where the real 'magic' happens. This seemed to ring true for the annual Glitch City indie meetup, showcasing a casual and open approach to concept and idea sharing. Guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds entertained the masses with weird and wonderful talks ranging from game design theory based from hugging, to a personal favourite list of strange yet awesome underwater creatures. The venue was overflowing with indie developers ready to share their stories and engage in bizarre or meaningful conversation. Witnessing first-hand a collective of truly passionate individuals with aligned creative goals really highlights a reason to be in this industry.

Keep up to date with all of our opportunities for game developers by following Creative England's GamesLab on Twitter.

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