Spotlight: Develop in Brighton's Indie Showcase

Spotlight: Develop in Brighton's Indie Showcase
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

April 26th 2012 at 3:00PM

This year the Develop in Brighton Conference's indie element is bigger than ever. The organiser tells us more.

Adam Green, MD of Assyria Game Studio and Chair of the Indie Showcase Judging Panel at the Develop in Brighton Conference tells us what the show offers up and coming indies.

How does the Indie Dev Day work, and what does it hope to achieve?

The indie dev day itself is focused on developers sharing their knowledge and experiences about indie development; hearing about what has worked for other indies and more importantly what hasn’t for the benefit of all those who attend.
The day's talks aim to tackle key issues for indie developers and studios including how best to fund your game, the best way to monetise, how to go about marketing their games, the benefits of going with a publisher versus self-publishing. There’s then a few fun sessions throw in for good measure which should make it a fun and interesting day.

And how about the Indie Showcase; what does that offer indie developers?
So the indie showcase is really about giving exposure to small developers producing top-notch content. Lots of independent developers are finding it harder and harder to get the attention they need with many of the key indie markets – iOS, Android and web – becoming increasingly saturated and larger publishers moving in with titles beyond the scope of what an indie is able to produce.
The indie showcase is all about trying to address this issue by highlighting the best up-coming indie titles and giving them the attention they deserve.
From all the submissions 10 games are shortlisted and all are given expo-space at the event where they can show off their games to publishers, journalists and conference delegates to really raise their profile before launch.
The games are then judged by a broad panel including myself as a fellow indie, venture capitalists, journalists and publishers, with one of the ten being names indie showcase winner based on the judges scores. In addition there is then also the ‘Peoples Choice’ award judged based on voted from delegates of the Develop Conference while at the show.

How has last year's Indie Dev Day and Showcase impacted some of the teams involved?
Well one of the games entered last year was CreaVures by Muse Games. A number of publishers we’re on the panel last year, one of which was Chillingo/EA who have since published the iPhone version of the game earlier this month, with it having hit the top-100 games in the US only last week and having been featured by Apple.
The Swapper by Facepalm games since the showcase has also deservedly secured development funding from IndieFund.
And To-Fu The Trials Of Chi by HotGen was released just before the showcase itself and was featured as iPhone game of the week by Apple, and The Dream Machine by Cockroach which we saw when it was only on episode one is now up to episode three with further content planned. Similarly GliD and Orc Attack are still in development and appear to be progressing really well.

What kinds of indie should enter the Showcase? Who have you conceived the concept for?

So the indie showcase is only open to small developers with a team of fewer than 15 people, must not be publisher funded and must not have a development budget in excess of £1 million. This is again really as we want to focus on highlighting independent games that may otherwise not get the attention they deserve due to limited marketing budgets or project scale.

What advice would you give a team preparing their game for the showcase?
Given the range of people on the judging panel this year games will really need to take lots of issues into account. I love to see unique mechanics and art styles, while the venture capitalists and publishers on the panel will likely want to see a high level of polish along with thoughtful monetization. Ultimately I think the games that are both creatively unique, but also are commercially viable in terms of their demographic appeal and revenue streams will draw the most attention.

How have you taken what you learned from last year's Indie Dev Day and Showcase to improve this year's?
Well we've decided to broaden the judging panel this year with those on the judging panel coming from far more varied backgrounds.
We’ve also introduced a new ‘editors choice’ award where the press can get an exclusive viewing of the showcased games and choose their favourite; so the indies get face-to-face time with the journalists further raising their profile.
In terms of the indie dev day content; the focus is on real case studies from Indies saying what worked or didn’t work for them, as well as panel discussions to help address and address key issues facing small developers today.
We’re also ramping up the award ceremony compared to last year, which should be exciting.

Have trends in the industry over the past year influenced the structure of the Indie Dev Day and Showcase at all?

I think with the increasing levels of saturation in a lot of the markets there is more of a focus on how to promote your games as well as potential new distribution channels.

To make a submission for the Indie Deva Day and Indie Showcase, click here.