Reboot Develop 2017 – Indie Report

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In the 4th year of our studio, we have a solid lineup of previous events we have attended – gamescom, Digital Dragons, Game Developers Session and Game Access. On most events, we were also showcasing our game (The Great Wobo Escape to be precise) and thus were not much focused on talks, workshops or panels. And for most gaming-related events, opportunities to gain industry knowledge is their main focus.

This time, we haven’t been showcasing. It looks like that was a really good choice as we had 3 days packed with great talks, meetings with lots of people and playing plenty of cool indie games.

To stay true to our small tradition (if it wasn’t a tradition by now, I’m now officially making it one), the form of a sum-up from a conference is a list of highlights across random categories. Some funny, some serious, but hopefully all of them informative enough to paint a clear picture how things went for us.

Indies

Seems like indies and indie games are having increasingly more space in gaming event of any kind. Which is a good think. Not because we are indies ourselves, but for the same reasons I’ll praise indie games and studios showcasing at Reboot Develop 2017. Creativity, innovation and risk taking.

Admittedly, the mix selected by organizers for showcase was already very, very good – varied and with high quality/polish. It’s hard to mention all, but here is a short list of those indie games we played, just to give you a taste:

  1. Real-time strategy with MOBA elements and amazing sci-fi visuals – Failure (http://www.failuregame.com/)
  2. Artistic platformer combining storytelling and puzzle solving, with Rhianna Pratchett as a writer – Lost Words (http://lostwordsgame.com/)
  3. Great looking turn based tactical game ala Jagged Alliance – Endstate (http://www.endstategame.com/)
  4. Action RPG / brawler based on Slavic folklore – Yaga (http://www.yaga-game.com/)
  5. Fun packed action robot fighting game – Second Hand: Frankie’s Revenge (http://www.rikodu.com/second-hand-frankies-revenge/)
  6. Mobile puzzler with heavy story and cool low-poly art – The Enchanted World (http://www.ai-interactive.net/)
  7. Story-driven narrative game with a heavy war/children theme – My Child Lebensborn (http://www.mychildlebensborn.com/)
  8. Fun, A-class spin-off of a B-class horror movie – The Hatching (https://www.facebook.com/thehatchinggame/)
  9. Local superstars with cute looking, easy to learn but hard to master 2D action game – Space Rabits in Space (https://www.facebook.com/SpaceRabbitsInSpace/)

Kudos to organizers for placing the showcase in the center of the hotel and conference. Also the closing ceremony of the whole event has been centered around Reboot Develop 2017 Indie Awards.

Best talks

Here are our picks for talks that delivered most information in the most enjoyable forms.

You Never Get a Second Chance To Make a First Impression – Ralph Fulton, Playground Games

Right in the first time slot of the conference, we haven’t attended a better talk in terms of overall information quality, applicability and clarity of presented tips throughout the rest of the event. After a were detailed deep-dive (including development stories and explanatory notes on what was changed how and why), we exactly know how and where our next game’s first 10 minutes will be as jaw-dropping experience as in Forza Horizon 3.

Building a Better RPG: Seven Mistakes to Avoid – Tim Cain, Obsidian Entertainment

With only a few more talks left, this morning talk was yet again a great one. Expectations were high, of course, but fulfilled. The formula for a satisfied listener started to be apparent – specific tips with exact demonstration mixed with some funny stories. Some of Tim’s tips could be seen in (his) games, some were just great ideas carefully explained and waiting to be implemented in your next game. I still regret not taking a photo with him :)

Funniest talk

Total Annihilation – 20 Years Later – Chris Taylor

It is quite unusual that a talk that seems so serious and informative (at least from its title) will make you laugh in tears. Not once, not twice, but several times. Chris’s humor is intelligent and his charisma felt like he’s been let out of cage (in a good way) and may now speak freely. He could make some serious career in stand-up comedy.  The bonus is that we actually learned something from this talk as well :)

Biggest disappointment(s)

First the small things. Yes, even on a conference that pronounce itself as “the most high-end game dev” in Europe you could run into shortcomings here and there. Not sure what that slogan means really, but there were talks with technical problems, glitches in sound /with a beamer or delays in schedule. Nothing major though.

Unprepared presenters. 

Organizers obviously cannot assure 100% outputs from every single presenter, but any way to avoid unprofessional performance would be welcome. Make them have a mandatory dry-run? Maybe.

Final awards ceremony.

With such a grand opening of a conference (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyFwCg4FLDY), its ending just seemed like underestimated and hurried. The awards to indie games felt well-earned though.

Lessons learned

Next time we will more look forward to talks in presenter’s native language. As you can guess, this will mean a lot of talks from American, British, Canadian or Australian game developers, as a conference’s official language for talks is usually English. I’m sorry to discriminate (a little) in this area, this has something to do with how we pick “best” talks – see above :)

Overall impressions & Summary

From the location (Sheraton Hotel, beach view, sunny weather :), to number of talks to choose from and the large indie area placed in the center of the hotel, our overall impression is very good, even great.

The biggest question after an event is always the same – would we visit next time? For Reboot Develop it is a clear yes! Looking forward to meet you at Reboot Develop 2018.

 

— Matej & Rudo

 

PS: Tickets for next year’s Reboot Develop 2018 are already on sale for super early bird prices (as of posting this article).