LAUNCH Conference 2013

So I mentioned last week that I was going to LAUNCH Conference 2013, as well as being short listed for the Best Portfolio LAUNCH award (see here to show I wasn’t lying). Now that it’s been over for some time, I figured I shall write about it.

For those who don’t know, LAUNCH Conference is a games conference for Students, Graduates and Start-Ups getting into the Games Industry. As well as being an opportunity for start ups to exhibit their work to over 300 people from all aspects of the gaming industry, LAUNCH also features talks from small and large developers, as well as middleware developers helping out other people get their success. Back in July I went to their Studio Showcase, and had a good time there so it would make sense that I’d go to their main event.

After arriving late due to Winchester being such a distance (and engineering works in Shawford), I had a look around the exhibitions. There was the amazing large touch screen from DHD, Playstation 4 DevKits, the Audio-Only game Three Monkeys from the good guys at Etch, the Staffordshire Graduate indie startup Chillster and Sync Interactive with their neon racer Octane! There was also big names like Microsoft, Unity and Marmalade to promote their support for indies through development, distribution and even funding.

Among the talks on the day included the Studio Showcase from Anna Marsh (Lady Shotgun), Stephen Wiley (Etch) and Sync Interactive, obviously presenting their latest games as well as their challenges as an indie studio as well breaking into the market and making yourself stand out. There was also a talk from Gary Dunn of Codemasters, talking about the 10 things he wish he was told about running an industry, which showed what can go right and what can go wrong when managing the development of a major project, and what to do to make it go right.

  

In between talks and exhibitions, I’d do what almost every other attendee was doing, Networking, the act of talking to people so they would know you. Best advice for anyone wanting to get into any industry is to talk as many people in that industry as you can, at any level. You’ll get a better understanding of the industry and get a larger set of contacts, while getting more people to know you. It doesn’t even have to be at the bar, a lot of the developers went to a networking event at the Nuvo Bar in the city centre, so you can talk in a more social (although loud) atmosphere.

Day Two was the student day, where grads and students learn about how to get into the games industry with talks on Portfolios, Applications, different roles and understanding the industry. There was a talk from Mark Hope (Aardvark Swift) about how to apply for a role in the games industry, Josh Naylor (Windows Games Ambassador & Gnome Factory) gave a talk about what the ambassador scheme did for him and how he used it to get a better experience in the industry and Nick Burton from Rare talking about Life as a Games Programmer! Shame I didn’t take many good photos to show it, so here’s an unlit Josh Naylor talking about community.

Last bit I was interested in was the LAUNCH Awards, these are awarded to the students/graduates and start-ups who would deserve mentioning as they have made the effort to get involved in the industry. The business related awards were given on the Thursday, and the student award (the one I was shortlisted for) was announced on the Friday. To those who wanted to know who won a Launch Award last week, sorry but I wasn’t one of them. However, I shall say congratulations to Octavian (Best Portfolio), CrashLab (Best Startup) and 3dnative (Best Product). After having another wonder around and had a talk and drink with indie dev Ash Morgan, I went home. Hope to see Launch 2014 better than ever!

  

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know I also went to a small games jam at the University of Birmingham, well once I get all my things together (such as any finished build), I’ll make a short post about that too.

Thanks to the LAUNCH Conference people for the extra photos, and to Steve for the correction.

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