How to Find Indies in Iowa

When I started out as an indie game developer, I found a home on the Internet. It was a set of forums dedicated not just to game development but also to making a living from it.

And while daily online communication, or maybe just procrastination, was helpful, it was nothing compared to the monthly face-to-face meetups we had in Chicago. We met either downtown at a Dave & Buster’s or at a Starbuck’s in Schaumburg.

It was kind of a loose mastermind group, in which we tried to set goals for the next meeting and held each other accountable to them. We had a range of completely newbies to experienced and successful business owners, and we all met, tried out each other’s games, and gave feedback.

So when I moved to Des Moines, Iowa, I immediately wondered where a similar collection of indies were.

They’re hard to find, so I decided to put a summary on this page in the hopes that it will be easier for everyone to connect with groups they might not have otherwise known existed.

The Iowa Game Dev Friendship Club has a mailing list at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/igdf. It’s made up of indies and enthusiasts from all across the state of Iowa, especially out of Ames and Iowa City which is where our major universities are.

There is now an associated Iowa Game Dev Friendship Club Facebook group.

Sometimes a good number of members show up at a game jam, but otherwise they don’t try to organize massive face-to-face meetings. There have been Des Moines-area meetups in the past, such as the Midwest Mingle.

If you’re in Ames or Iowa City, your local university has a game developer organization. Iowa State has the Iowa State Game Development Club, which has an enthusiastic Twitter account at @isu_gdc and a ISU Game Dev Club Facebook page.

University of Iowa in Iowa City has EPX Video Game and Animation Studio, formerly known as Animation and Interaction at the University of Iowa. You can find them at their weekly meetings and at their EPX Facebook group.

UPDATED 2016: The International Game Developers Association has a Des Moines chapter. You can find them on Twitter (@igdadsm) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/227434834257939/.

Did I miss anyone? Is there an Iowa indie game developer meetup you’re hosting that I don’t know about? Let me know, and I’ll update this list.

2 comments to How to Find Indies in Iowa

  • I look at the Midwest mingle page and it has been almost three years since we last meet, I know you and I, Franko, meet a few times at Mayhem comics before it was ended. I really enjoyed these meet ups. I hope they weren’t too boring for you. I felt I learned a lot from your experiences and play testing of games. I just wanted to chime in because it has been a long time. I wonder if a meet up like this would be of interest to try again.

  • It has been a long time! And no, I always enjoyed the meetings.

    If we can find a regular time that works for everyone, we can try starting up the Midwest Mingle again.