Indie

While competition is hotting up for indie game devs, fresh opportunities continue with ever more tools, services, and other resource emerging to help turn your ambitions into reality. To help you become one of the winners, the Indie track brings together the indie community plus a few super star speakers to share hints, tips, lessons, and dreams.

Indie sessions

Orthors Story: Running a Black Owned Games Studio

Tuesday 26th October: 11.00 - 11.45 :

From players to creators, Orthors will be diving into the key aspects faced when making their games - from figuring out how to develop a game with no coding experience, to watching their game being published on the Apple App store. Building a game has its layers and they aim to help people to be better prepared for the hurdles they may face whilst walking the same path. Orthors realised the importance of branding, and the impact it has on taking your IP/ project that one step further is something that is usually overlooked. They will go over how to set yourselves apart from other games studios by displaying their creative processes, how to self assess and refine ideas and the importance of putting a face to your brand. Business is a worrying side within the gaming industry that most people shy away from. A pivotal moment for Orthors was being told to set up their business legitimately and get an accountant. Brilliant advice! They will break down the important lessons learnt in regards to running a games studio from a business perspective, with the hope that you won’t need to suffer the same setbacks. Orthors learnt at an early stage the power of networking. They will take you on their journey of how they were able to meet key figures such as Dan Gray (CCO, UsTwo Games), Jay Ann Lopez (Black Girl Gamers), Stephanie Ijoma (NNESAGA) and many others who have directly and indirectly helped to shape them as a company.

Takeaway: 

  • The impact branding can have
  • The importance of business, running a games studio
  • How networking can attract bigger opportunities
  • How to constantly adapt to new situations

Being Boring: How Less Innovation Made Overboard! a Hit

Tuesday 26th October: 12.00 - 12.45 :

Indie studios are known for taking risks and trying out bold new design that shape the future of the whole industry. But why should indie be the unpaid R&D arm of big studios? Small devs have a different superpower - speed. In this talk, narrative director of inkle, Jon Ingold, will detail how not being innovative, and taking as few creative risks as possible, allowed the award-winning studio to produce Overboard!, a hit game with a fresh concept and +85 metacritic, in just 100 days.

inkle were shortlisted for their game Heaven's Vault in the Develop:Brighton Indie Showcase 2019.

Takeaway: 

  • How to use cliche and trope to your advantage
  • How to scope aggressively without compromising your vision
  • How to build a project around a team, rather than the other way around

Is Working With a Publisher Worth it?

Tuesday 26th October: 15.00 - 15.45 :

Julia believes there are many things to think about when deciding whether to self-publish, and when to start to consider putting the success of your project into someone else's hands. There are myths and horror stories that can put people off. One of the most common gripes relates to developers feeling like the publisher just didn't give their project enough attention, and so, there follows a story of unspent potential. Also, while it's certainly beneficial to be entrepreneurial, it can be daunting to imagine the pursuit of commercial success warping the direction and vision of the project. With a flurry of new boutique publishers and money flowing left, right and centre, is publishing still relevant? What does a ‘third party publisher’ mean anymore? On the other hand, in addition to the obvious potential marketing and brand upside of working with a publisher, there are longer term strategic opportunities to consider. Perhaps the relationship will lend itself to potential stability in future, and of course, the funding publishers can provide is certainly lucrative in helping you reach the next step in your studio's roadmap. As someone who makes spreadsheets for most of her life decisions, Julia talks through the different considerations and map out the scenarios, but with the experience of someone who has been privy to these relationships, both during active projects and negotiation stages. There are myths and horror stories that can put people off. The most contentious relates to developers feeling like the publisher just didn't give their project enough attention, and so follows a story of unspent potential. Nobody likes feeling like they are dancing to someone else's tune, and could fear losing the creative control of their project. While it's certainly beneficial to be entrepreneurial, it can be daunting to imagine commercial success warping the direction and vision of the project. What's more, with a flurry of new boutique publishers and money flowing left right and centre, is publishing still relevant? What does a third party publisher mean anymore? At the same time, in addition to the obvious potential marketing and brand upside of working with a publisher, there are longer term strategic opportunities to consider when working with a publisher. Perhaps the relationship will lend itself to potential stability in future, and of course, the funding publishers can provide is certainly lucrative in helping you reach the next step in your studio's life cycle. As someone who makes spreadsheets for almost life decisions, I will talk through the different considerations and map out the scenarios, but with the experience of someone who has been privy to these relationships, both in active live projects and negotiation stages.

Takeaway: 

  • A toolbox of pros and cons to help you decide whether working with a publisher is right for you.
  • Separating the myths and realities, from someone who has worked in and with third party publishers.
  • An understanding of the various offerings in publishing today, and how to set out a relationship or search based on what developers are looking for.
  • With the right expectations, it's easier to find the right partnership.

Building a AA Studio: From Start-up to Fully Funded

Wednesday 27th October: 12.00 - 12.00 :

Sally, CEO of Silent Games will be discussing how the studio was founded, what funding pots are available for UK-based Game Developers, and tips for successfully pitching to publishers and investors. Sally will also cover how to keep a studio running financially while searching for investment, as well as how to build your studio culture and brand from scratch.

Takeaway: 

  • How to access UK based funding for start-ups
  • Pitching techniques for investors and publishers
  • How to establish your studio culture and brand 

We Belong - a Look at the Industry's Lack of Diversity, Challenges and Ways to Improve it

Wednesday 27th October: 15.00 - 15.45 :

The gaming industry has its positives but it has its clear problems. Diversity, or the lack of it, has come to the forefront especially after Black Lives Matter campaigns last year putting pressure on companies globally to do better. This talk will highlight three key areas:

  • Black content creators’ issues, how to integrate black content creators into your marketing plans and the best way to find them. 
  • The stats around black characters in gaming and how to make future characters authentic. This goes from untold stories to the design element of characters. 
  • We’ll wrap up wth talk about how to future proof employment post COVID-19, a time where extracurricular activities have taken a hit for young people. 

From this talk as well as highlighting some of the issues, you will come away with new ways that you can truly embrace and champion diversity.

  • How to create Authentic black characters
  • How to locate and work with black content creators
  • Tips on diversifying your staff

Work for Hire Studio Seeks Own IP to Develop: What Could (and did) Go Wrong??

Thursday 28th October: 12.15 - 13.00 :

While working predominantly as a work-for-hire studio, in 2021 SockMonkey Studios launched their own IP, Fish Tanks. This talk will focus on some of the challenges SockMonkey came face to face with when creating their own game, as well as the downright mistakes, and what they learned on the way. The talk will cover issues associated with cost, design, timing and marketing in a 'warts and all' look at what can go wrong when making your own indie game. The talk will also feature the good side of own IP development as well as the, sometimes serendipitous, opportunities and collaborations you can encounter along the way – such as SockMonkey’s work with the renowned global charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Takeaway: 

  • A better understanding of what to expect from developing your first indie game as a WFH studio 
  • Tips on how to balance work-for-hire and own IP in a work-for-hire studio 
  • Positive ways to adapt to sudden changes in scheduling and a quickly changing indie scene 
  • Working with charities in gaming, and how it can benefit everyone 

Better Playtesting For Indie Developers

Thursday 28th October: 15.00 - 15.45 :

Top game development teams know that regular playtesting is the difference between a successful launch, and being forgotten at the bottom of the Steam charts. However many of the tools large game studios rely on are out of reach from indie and small game teams, due to being expensive or requiring specialist skills. This discourages small teams from doing playtesting, which has an impact on the quality of their games - issues are often not discovered until late, when it's too late to fix and fewer options are available to fix them In this talk, Steve will share how to run effective and affordable playtesting throughout game development, including: - How to find unbiased players to take part in playtests - How to find the right research method for your development questions - How to gather and analyse playtest data - How to prioritise and incorporate feedback from playtests into a development schedule You don’t need a full-time user research team, or lots of money, to build quality games. Save time and money by running usability playtests throughout development so that you can fix problems quickly and affordably!

Takeaway: 

  • How to run high quality playtests without huge expense
  • How to avoid common playtesting mistakes
  • How and why playtesting should feature throughout game development, not just 'a stage at the end'.

Don’t miss out!

Develop:Brighton offers you an inspiring mix of top-notch speakers, practical how-to sessions, insights into the latest trends and technologies, plus fantastic networking opportunities. Find out about the different conference pass options and prices here or...

Register Now

Get involved today!

There are many ways you can be part of Develop:Brighton - including taking a booth in the Expo or choosing one of the many sponsorship opporunities during the event or at the Star Awards.

Contact us now!

Keep up to date with Develop:Brighton

Newsletter Sign Up