Find Your Passion With Indie Game Day Presented By Meta
The gaming industry reached new heights during a time when there were few technological resources to jumpstart a career in game development. Now, thanks to recent advancements, those resources are easier to find than ever before. Indie Game Day Presented by Meta, which takes place Sunday, August 13 at the 15th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival Presented By Harmons, brings indie gaming to the forefront with nine studios presenting their games. Josh Watts belongs to one of these studios.
Watts of Cocky Rooster Games is exhibiting Fish Combat: Accelerated, a fast-paced aquatic arcade game focused on speed. Watts is ecstatic to show off his work this year, and to him, the player feedback is crucial. “My goal is to increase wishlists of my game,” Watts laughs, “but really local events seemed like a great way to get that exposure as well as learning more about what we are doing right and wrong in the game’s design.” There’s no better source of feedback than from the players themselves, and with events like DIY Fest, the doors to playtesting will be wide open.
“I think all DIY-ers find constraints like these and, rather than seeing it as a problem, simply work them into their creative process.”
Lyndi Perry (DIY Fest’s STEM Manager) helps exhibitors find their voice and provides support throughout the weekend. “While our three-day festival can be intense for exhibitors, it is also an amazing way to find meaningful connections with the public, and the feedback we get from presenters every year shows that we’re truly helping these businesses, clubs and institutions reach their goals,” Perry says. The opportunity to stand out in a competitive industry and create connections with gamers and developers is an integral aspect of DIY Fest, and Perry feels lucky that this year’s sponsor, Meta, aligns with that community-building goal.
Josh “Vazor” Jones is in a similar supporting role for indie exhibitors through the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) as leader of their SLC chapter. IGDA is the largest nonprofit membership organization that aims to serve anyone who makes games. “I volunteered for DIY Fest because I believe in their mission to help people learn to do stuff on their own and gain that independence,” Vazor says. Independence in video game development is challenging but also rewarding as it’s a practice that will teach you a lot about discipline, patience and creativity.
Teaching and learning are big components of DIY Fest, and this is especially true within their indie gaming exhibition. Attendees learn about game design as exhibitors gather invaluable feedback from the players. Vazor emphasizes his desire to inspire others to design games. “I feel like this will be an event that will inspire kids, or anyone, to make a game themselves,” he says. “I know a lot of people who make party or tabletop games … and get lots of good interaction [at the festival].” There are many ways the youth can get involved with game design at DIY Fest such as through Code Ninjas, an educational coding program, and the STEM Action Center, a division of the Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement dedicated to the advancement of STEM education in Utah.
“While our three-day festival can be intense for exhibitors, it is also an amazing way to find meaningful connections with the public.”
Indie gaming aligns with the core of the DIY movement, according to Watts. “You have the potential to start your own studio and run your own business,” he says. “Not every field has that opportunity to start off as small as you want to.” The tools of a major studio aren’t needed to begin in game development, and working within those limitations can and have brought about some of the most seminal games of all time. Perry says, “I think all DIY-ers find constraints like these and, rather than seeing it as a problem, simply work them into their creative process. I love that energy, and I hope to empower our participating developers to build the next Stardew Valley.”
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