Indie game developers come together in Eugene

Independent game developers came from across the Pacific Northwest to share and promote their current projects at Eugene’s Indie Game Con, held at Lane’s Downtown Campus, Oct. 3. Game development has been a growing industry in Eugene and all over the region.

Bitforest, a collective of local game developers, were major contributors in making Indie Game Con happen. Through IGC, creators and educators hope to share their knowledge of the game development industry to prospective game developers, and to help build up the local gaming community.

IGC stands apart from bigger conventions due to the fact the developers and gamers can spend more time one-on-one.

“What I really like about this one is how intimate [it is]. You can actually have a conversation with someone,” said Hunter Mayer, a game developer at Appsomniacs LLC.  “People can come and pretty much play as much as they want, and they can explore the app at a deeper level.”

Appsomniacs’ most recent completed project was Doodle Army, whose focus at IGC was to promote and play test their newest game in the works, Fail Whale.

A variety of games were on display by an assortment of developers at the convention. From mobile games to side scrolling rpgs and arcade-style shooters, there was something to Indie Game Con for every type of gamer, veterans and noobs alike.

Some games even defied conventional genres, such as The Rust Belt, by Galvanic Games. “… It’s a 2D top-down post-apocalyptic tow truck and physics destruction game, with giant raccoons,” Explains C.J. Kimberland, a developer for The Rust Belt. “That is our genre.”

IGC classes and seminars were also offered by professionals in the field. The topics included marketing and networking, creating interesting stories, using virtual reality, and many more. IGC also focused on the business side of gaming, with a business summit held at a local bar, The Wayward Lamb.

The summit was geared towards all game developers, from gaming veterans looking to expand their business to newer developers struggling to get sales.

“I like to see how people work together to get things done,” said Steke Layman, a local business analyst and computer programer. “Here’s a bunch of people that are just trying to figure out how an organization works. I work with a very large company, and [we] bring people in to solve the problem and get it out the door. Sometimes it’s technology, sometimes it’s paper and pencil and here’s people doing that with games.”

Lane has been involved in the local indie game industry for years. Instructors from Lane organized the first IGC last year, and helped bitforest put it together this time around. Both years attendance at IGC has exceeded expectations.

“We got studios in the area that we have built a relationship [with],” said Paul Wilkins, director of the computer information technology at Lane. “We’ve had success with placing students in internships, and then also we’ve had students go on after they graduated to work at studios.” The gaming industry is growing and Lane faculty recognizes that.