Plymouth Game Developers – One Year On
Just over a year ago, BrainyBeard along with a bunch of other local developers – including game development studios A Little Red Panda, Questionable Quality, Sizeable Games and So Good Studios – planned to transform the game development community in Plymouth. Our mission was simple: help foster a game development community by encouraging collaboration among Plymouth game developers and holding monthly meetups.
Plymouth Game Developers
In the last year the Plymouth Game Developers have held 13 events. These vary from project showcases, game club, which is like a book club for games, gaming nights, quizzes, guest speakers and the Global Game Jam. Since the beginning of the academic year we have had average attendances of between 30-40 developers, with some events attracting upwards of 60 attendees. We attract mainly students thanks to being situated near Plymouth University, Plymouth College of Art and City College. We also have a number of professionals who regularly attend events which offers students a great opportunity to network with developers that are actually working in the industry.
The Best Of The Community
In this article I want to look at 6 great moments from the 12 past months that demonstrate how strong the community is down in Plymouth.
Everyone having a blast at the first showcase!
The May showcase was our first big event as a new committee and the idea was to provide developers the opportunity to show off what they’ve been working on and tie this in with the end of the academic year. There were a lot of demonstrators include this year’s Bafta Nominee from Cornwall Triangular Pixels with a cool VR setup. We had such a great turnout that the space became incredibly cramped, which was in a way helpful because it forced people to network!
The Pokemon GO event was a huge success!
Pokemon Go Game Club
Game club, the book club for games, was ran during the quieter months over the Summer whilst the majority of our community were back home. In this period we covered Escape Goat, Bioshock and Pokemon Go. For the latter of these games we were privileged enough to have Unity Evangelist Oscar Clark as our special guest (you’d probably recognise him by his top hat!). Pokemon Go was the perfect game for making the event as accessible as possible and created some fascinating debate.
The beard in BrainyBeard having a great time!
Early in October we held our Ice Breaker, ready to go into the new academic year with a bang – and what a turnout we had indeed. There were lots of games to play as well as a tonne of laughs! It was at this event that I also met Harry Nesbitt, otherwise known as the creative genius behind Alto’s Adventure the massively successful mobile game. This event proved to us that there is a community of passionate game developers in Plymouth. All we have to do is offer high quality events and they will come.
The prizes up for grabs!
Merry Quizmas came in December and once again we were blown away by the huge turnout. Our quiz masters Oli Carson and Harry Jenkins put on an excellent show including a “Who’s that Pokemon?” round with each answer of course being Nicolas Cage! My personal highlight was the “Who’s voice is that?” round in which one of the quiz masters played a short clip that featured the character saying his name. Whoops. As you can see from the picture above there were some sweet prizes up for grabs!
Global Game Jam
The Global Game Jam was a signal of what a community can achieve through some organisation. In 2015/16 game jams were held at Plymouth University as part of the Game Development Society. Essentially, this meant 30 developers in a classroom with no easy access to tea / coffee / cooking device. ThinqTanq an innovative office space, were kind enough to invite the community to host the Global Game Jam at their venue. This meant access to all of the things mentioned above as well as more space and a generally better atmosphere, and we even had access to a projector and area to present games at the end of the event.
At our last event we had Bafta award winning and game industry veteran Iain Lobb come in and talk. He explained to the community his journey to becoming a full time game developer. His transformation from a Flash developer to a Unity developer highlighted just how quickly the industry moves. Until then, I had never truly appreciated the constant battle to stay relevant. Once again this was an excellent opportunity for students and hobbyists in the community to speak to real professionals.
It’s been an incredible year helping run the community in Plymouth. In the coming months there are even more opportunities for those of you looking to get involved. Firstly we’re working with RIO to help organise April’s Ludum Dare at the Devonport Guildhall. Then in June members of the Plymouth Game Developers have the chance to showcase their games at the inaugural Future Sync Conference. Of course we will also continue to run events throughout the year. This month we’re holding a gaming tournament, so be sure to come along!