Defining the Texas Indie Game Con

Defining the Texas Indie Game Con

Defining the Texas Indie Game Con

As tables and chairs were being moved out, Texas Independent Game conference director Steve Farrer spoke with Next-Gen about the event, and the definition of an “Indie” game developer.

This past Saturday and Sunday marked the first Texas Independent Game Conference in Austin, Texas.  A number of people remarked that it had the feel of the first GDC.

One attendee said he had the same feeling he had when he first saw what Wozniak and Jobs brought to a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club.

Conference director Steve Farrer, previously director for the Austin Game Conference, took a moment to tell Next-Generation about the conference, which he expects to expand next year.

Next-Gen: What kind of feedback have you received?

The feedback has been generally positive…  I think [attendees] enjoyed the somewhat informal nature of some of the presentations that facilitated some pretty good discussions and some good feedback.  Also, I’ve been told that they’re pleased there’s something addressing independent videogame development from an independent perspective.  Almost like a peer group, as opposed to someone coming in and saying, ‘this is how you should do it.’  

There are different definitions of what an indie is.

moscallout"People know when they’re doing stuff independently, even when it’s to their own definition."/moscalloutYou know, I’ve had all kinds of definitions, and I’m not going to try and pick one.  Because I think many people who came here would say they were an independent game developer, and other people would look at them and say, ‘No, you don’t fit my definition.’

I think it’s the same if you look at the independent film market, as well.  And independent music.  Independence…  It’s almost like that thing about, ‘I can’t define pornography, but I know what it is when I see it.’  I think it’s the same thing here in the indie games space.  People know when they’re doing stuff independently, even when it’s to their own definition.

So this conference is the promise of things to come?

Yeah, I think it is.  Someone was telling me earlier today that they had a feeling in the last six-to-twelve months that the independent videogame industry had kind of started to solidify into something that had a particular shape, and that people weren’t afraid to say, ‘I’m an independent videogame developer.’

I think as the industry develops, it starts to address some of the issues we’ve looked at [during the conference] in terms of technology, and also ‘how do I do business?’  Then, next year’s agenda will reflect that, because our advisory board is made up of independent videogame developers.  So I believe that will keep in tune with what’s going on in the marketplace.

Are conferences important to the industry, then?

I think they’re incredibly important.  They’re one of the few times people get together, face-to-face.  There’s a lot of virtual business done, and virtual meetings, and lots of people meeting one-on-one.  But I think it’s only rarely – at industry events – that you get groups of people who are self-selecting.  They’re there because they want to be there.  They’ve traveled, they’ve paid money.  You know without any question that audience is enthusiastic about your topic.  

I think it’s when you get crowds of enthusiastic people together that agendas are advanced, and industries are advanced.