More than 50 developers from Seattle’s independent video game scene gathered this week to network and show off their latest projects at the Seattle Indies meetup, an informal gathering hosted at indie game studio 17-Bit.
“It’s fun to connect with people who are working on other interesting projects,” said developer Dan Dixon. “We can talk the language of development and engines.”
17-Bit CEO Jake Kazdal, whose company is the creator of the new turn-based strategy game Skulls of the Shogun, said the office space provided the group with a more structured event which was more conducive to presentations.
“We’re not at a bar that’s filled with random people,” he said. “We can give presentations and have everyone’s full attention without bothering patrons.”
Presentations included “Not Alone,” a simple “interactive experience” for iOS by Steven Edwon. The upcoming app seeks to connect two random people with each other by creating on-screen light trails.
“Voronoid,” Zach Aikman’s abstract competitive game, was a crowd favorite. Based on voronoi diagrams, which are used to divide mathematical spaces into regions, the game pits four local players against each other in a competition for the most territory on the field.
Though the more formal presentations took up most of the attention, some still found time to set up their laptops, phones and tablets to show off their projects to each other. Ryan Nohr of Stone Monkey Studios showcased “The Fall of Mr. Wily,” a comedic look at how a villain is created that was well received.
Dixon gave a preview of the latest build of “Universe Sandbox,” a tool that lets users construct elaborate solar systems.
For some, indie developer meetups are a chance to find people to work with. For others, they are mainly social events, checking in on what their fellow indie devs have been working on.
“There’s a really strong sense of community,” Nohr said. “I like coming and meeting a lot of the people and seeing what everyone’s up to.”
But the Seattle Indies events are only part of what draw indie developers to Seattle. Organizations like the Seattle Unity3D User Group and the local chapter of the International Game Developers Association, along with events held by both indie studios and gaming giants like Bungie, help give the Puget Sound a thriving game development community.
“Overall, the Seattle Indie scene is so cool,” said Edwon. “I come from the film world, and there’s nothing like this in the Seattle film scene. People here are really supportive.”
Nathan Ureta is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.