You may remember me talking previously about Indienomicon, which is a monthly meetup for local independent game developers in the Orlando and Central Florida area. On top of the monthly event that showcases two or three locally-developed games, they also host the yearly Indienomicon Expo where all devs are invited to show off what they’re up to. This event was just this past Saturday, and GameCola’s own Alex “Jeddy” Jedraszczak was on the scene!
I counted around 20 individual booths for local developers, many of whom I’d seen at the previous year’s event. It was actually really exciting to see the progress that had been made. Temple Tap had a nice display in their booth, and people were sitting down to play Dropsy, which was previously just a short trailer. PeriAreion has been completed and is available for sale—although they still need help on Steam Greenlight—and Phyken Media, who was showing off their Wizard Ops game last time, was showing their current work in progress at this year’s event.
And, that’s not even mentioning all the newcomers I had a chance to talk to. There was a whole corner of nothing but new teams getting their start through Burnout Game Ventures, like the creators of BiT Evolution—which has already made it through Steam Greenlight!
I also wasn’t the only developer attending without a booth; about half the people I stopped and talked to were either working on their own games, or interested in getting involved with game development. Friendly faces were everywhere, and I came home with a thick stack of business cards and pamphlets.
There was a pretty good variety in the games on display, from educational games to adventure games to first-person shooters, but what really stole the show was all the new technology. I saw at least three different dev teams working with hand mapping and gesture controls, two of which were combined with the Oculus Rift. Chronosapien was showing off a project using Intel’s RealSense, while a team from UCF’s GameDev Knights club was showing off their Oculus Rift game using Leap Motion—and, yet another team had the Leap Motion and Oculus Rift put together as a single unit.
It was pretty amazing to see all the new technology being put to good use, and every developer I talked to had something interesting to say about working with the technology. From querying hand gestures the way you would mouse clicks or keyboard presses, to issues with lag and calibration, to how many people repeatedly looked at their hands while making grabby motions, I feel like virtual reality and gesture control was the one topic I talked about the most on Saturday. It’s pretty great to see that the future of the ’80s is finally being achieved in time for 2015.
Later on, there was a panel on “Indie Origins”, discussing where devs got their start, what problems they’ve faced along the way, and what keeps them motivated. Being a developer myself, it was great hearing them talk about experiences not so different from my own. I had to leave a little early, so I ended up missing the cosplay contest, raffle, and closing events, but it was definitely worth being there while I could.
If you’re interested, there are more pictures on the Indienomicon Facebook page, where you can also find information on getting involved. It really is a great and welcoming group of people, so don’t be afraid! If you happen to be in the Orlando area on the first Thursday of a given month, stop on by the second floor of the library downtown. It’s always a good time.