Chicago Game Dev Meet-n-Greet

Last night was the a Meet-n-Greet for the Chicagoland game developers at Gameworks in Shaumburg. People from the Chicago Indie Game Developers, the Chicago chapter of the IGDA, and DeFrag were there. There was also the special guest: James C. Smith of Reflexive Entertainment.

It was quite a turnout. Attendees ranged from aspiring game developers to more established names. We spent a good amount of time just talking to each other. Actually, it was more like yelling at each other over the televisions, music, and arcade game sounds. Still, it was great talking to people.

I even saw someone I knew. Shawn Recinto recently incorporated his own game company. I remember brainstorming with him and a bunch of people when we were all going to work on a game project together. I left the group after I felt the project was too ambitious and didn’t like the direction it was going. He’s working on making mobile games and showed off a Frogger clone he had made. We exchanged some interesting ideas for game design and development.

Eventually we moved to the nearby Starbucks, which was relatively quiet, although I think the acoustics are terrible for big groups. People showed off demos and others asked questions.

Joe Sislow of CosmoOSe showed off an integrated circuit board that could be used for arcade games instead of hard drives and other devices which may get jostled during shipment. He talked about how inexpensive they were to make and that some interesting games could be made with them. Lower development costs and the ability of CosmoOSe to do field testing should allow for some innovation to enter into the arcade scene once again. I talked to him later about potential innovation in real time strategy games and found that he was a Wizardry fan as well.

Action of Curiosoft showed off his Einstein gameography work-in-progress. There were now some particle effects and a new game mechanic that I thought was pretty cool. It really looks like a game that could teach people to think differently.

I didn’t get the name of the person from TC Cons, but he showed off some games he made using Game Maker. He also mentioned making a horseshoe game that still sells fairly well because it is the only horseshoe game in existence. What a niche! He referred to himself as a second generation “new” game developer since he has made games in the past but now finds himself learning about game development again.

James C. Smith showed off some developments on Big Kahuna Reef. He mentioned that people liked making levels for the game and that he was trying to make it easier for those level makers to decorate their designs. He was also talking about making a word game to complement the match-3 game.

People suggested books and mentioned articles. They talked about games they’ve made and business models they’ve tried. It was really cool to talk to so many more people than from previous meetings. I felt that there were some people who didn’t get to converse much, but hopefully that will change next time and as Chicago builds its online game development community.

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