Tentacles, Origami and Idols - Exhibiting as an Indie at EGX

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Tentacles, Origami and Idols - Exhibiting as an Indie at EGX

Conferences and events can be a big task for any size business, taking both a financial and physical toll, yet every year we see indies coming into EGX with so much energy and enthusiasm that it astounds me!

So this year (after a nice little grace period to let everyone sleep and replenish themselves) I got in touch with the makers of a few games that showed at EGX 2019 to see why they chose to do it, if they'd do it again and what advice they'd give to fellow Indies looking to exhibit. 

 

Steamhounds by Stray Basilisk

Steamhounds Logo

Steamhounds is a game that allows the player to take control of a team of steampunk mercenaries, doing the dirty work of the shady factions who vie for control of a once-great industrial city.

 

Stray Basilisk tells us why they choose to show at EGX

EGX is probably the best place for networking and business development because of the range of industry people that attend. The game is at that stage now where we're looking for a publisher and investors so EGX is probably the best place we could’ve been.

There are three of us in the core team one based just outside of London and the two other based in the States. We've been working remotely as a distributed team this whole time so another reason for us to go to EGX is an excuse to get together. We’d never met in person before! It was an excuse to meet and have a morale booster.

 

What's the process for getting into EGX?

We went through something called the Tentacle Collective where Payload Studios buy up a block of space in bulk and then bring people with them to go as a group. It's about the same price as a normal booth but they provide all the hardware, artwork, banners and backdrops along with giving you a great community to go with.


What did you learn?

It's motivating and affirming to hear people like the game but if they say they don't like it then that's really useful. At some stages of development, it's more useful in a way. When somebody doesn't understand the game you could just blame them, but it probably means you're not doing as well as you could when explaining or presenting the game.

When you're working on a project and your head's so deep inside it you can lose perspective. You're not able to look at it as a new player would and something that seems really obvious and intuitive to you, somebody else may bounce off of immediately.

Our game is fairly solid now (we think) but someone will always unearth an obscure bug - especially if you get young kids to play the game. They have a way of executing physically impossible mouse combinations. They have an uncanny ability to do really weird stuff so it's always super worthwhile to watch a new player play.

If you just want to get some playtest feedback out of your game then EGX probably isn't the best option. It's relatively expensive to exhibit so you'd be better off going to local conventions which might even be free to set up a booth at. There are only so many people who can play your game in like two or three day period so whether the event has like 5000 people or 50000 people. You can still only get a few hundred through the booth.

 

What one thing happened that you didn’t expect?

Something that hadn’t happened before was that some people who hung back after playing the game would then give us their business card and it would be somebody who we know of and really respect. They just wandered over because the game caught their interest. EGX has so many industry people around which means it’s uniquely set up for that.

You can add Steamhounds to your Steam wishlist here and find Stray Basilisk on Twitter for updates.

Growbot Game by Wasabi Play

Growbot is a point-and-click adventure about a robot saving her home from a dark crystalline force.

We asked Wabisabi Play why they choose to show at EGX?
Wabisabi Play was chosen as 1 of 8 teams for the UK Games Fund's 2018 Pitch Development Programme. As part of the programme, the UK Games Fund took all teams to EGX and EGX Rezzed. Rezzed is a great event for indie games and I would love to attend with my games in the future.

What prep did you do?
The UK Games Fund handled the application process, stand cost and printing, so we were very lucky! We handled the merchandise and visual content production. Monitors were provided, but we brought our own PCs and peripheries.

How did you find the crowd?
The crowd was lovely. Rezzed attracts a large audience of indie game enthusiasts, so expectations are well met. There is a broad array of games on show, and there is something for everyone. Everyone was friendly and enthusiastic. I also loved that the event was family friendly.

Growbot Screenshots

What did you learn?
With every event, I learn more about my goals and expectations, and how to improve on my stand set up.

I learned that events are not only an opportunity to have people play your game but a chance to meet people in the industry, network and share knowledge.

It's impossible to be on your stand the whole time so having a clear demo, attractive merchandise with a clear call to action on it, and ideally, 2 people to man the stand is key to a successful show.

You can add Growbot to your Steam wishlist here and follow them on Twitter for updates

Collage Atlas by John Evelyn

Collage Atlas
The Collage Atlas is an entirely hand-drawn, first-person adventure through a picture book dream world.

 

We asked John Evelyn Play why they choose to show at EGX?

I first exhibited at EGX in Birmingham back in 2016 as part of the Leftfield Collection, and I had such a great experience that I knew for sure I had to come back.

EGX Rezzed specifically has a really strong reputation for indie games, and having visited as a guest in previous years there was a strong sense that this would be a great show to exhibit at. There is a mix of triple A, indie, and really experimental stuff and the crowds are really open to all of those things.

 

What's the process for getting into EGX?
I showed my game in the Tentacle Collective area. It's organised by a game studio, Payload Studios. They have been growing their reputation over some years now for always having a strong line-up. I simply contacted them to see if they'd consider my game for inclusion. The great thing is that the cost for showing with them includes provision of a pc, and printed banner - so I just had to focus on getting my game in good shape for the show.

Additionally, only other prep was to spend 3 weeks at my kitchen table making a paper craft diorama...but then that's on me!

How did you find the crowd? How did they respond to your game?
The crowd were great, really friendly and really keen to chat about the game. There was a sense, from other exhibitors too, that people had a real interest in the craft that goes into games. I had some really insightful chats with people and personally speaking I came away feeling really lifted by the whole thing. Momentum and motivation can be hard to maintain when working solo, and these shows can really help to top those things up.

How did you fund the whole event? Did you work with any partners or do it all alone?
Funding the event came out of my budget for the game, it's a delicate balance when you're on a modest budget - you can inadvertently fritter away your money on shows that eventually offer diminishing returns in terms of PR, but the flipside is, locking yourself up and only spending your budget on dev isn't so wise either. If the world doesn't know you've made your game you'll not find an audience and you'll not cover your costs. And in my case I have investors who I have a duty to repay, so ultimately that is the basis upon which I make those kinds of decisions.

What one thing happened that you didn’t expect?
There weren't any massive surprises from the show, and I do mean that in a good way. Though somebody at some point snuck a miniature origami crane into my diorama which I thought was pretty cool...and certainly unexpected.

You can find out more about Collage Atlas on Tumblr or follow John on Twitter for updates

Squillamorph by students from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA)

Squillamorph Logo

Squillamorph is a 2D pixel art platformer. Gameplay consists of wave-based survival action, with the player fighting off a range of interesting and dynamic enemies.

Why did you choose to show at EGX?

My team and I were given the opportunity to show Squillamorph at EGX Rezzed by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA). We are making Squillamorph as part of their Games Arts course Incubator Studio, a studio that supports graduates with their game projects, and were asked if we would like to show it at the event. Of course, we lept at the opportunity to go because we have previously seen how beneficial the event is for indie developers.

How did you find the crowd? How did they respond to your game?

The crowd at Rezzed was awesome! Everyone who came by the stand was intrigued by our game and those who played it couldn’t wait to see more. We were given some amazing feedback over the three days and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Squillamorph Screenshot

What did you learn?
The most valuable thing I learned is that the more inviting and engaging I am with those who are interested in the game, the more likely they will be to invest time into playing and understanding it.

I also found that being receptive and encouraging of player feedback led to more excitement about the future of the game. The lessons I've learned from this event are so important because they allow me to better prepare for, and partake in, future events.

What one thing happened that you didn’t expect?
I did not expect the amount of positive interest the game received. Whenever I play the game, I must look at it critically to iron out flaws and improve it. Having so many fresh eyes experience it and react positively was incredibly rewarding!

You can find more information about Squillamorph at https://www.squillamorph.com/

Beyond Blue by E-Line Media

Beyond Blue

Set in the near future, Beyond Blue explores the mysteries of our ocean using groundbreaking technologies to see, hear, and 'sense' the ocean in a more meaningful way than has ever been attempted.

Why did you choose to show at EGX?
We chose to show at EGX Rezzed because we did last year and had a great experience. The crowd is very friendly and the atmosphere allows for in-depth conversations with the media, attendees, and prospective partners.

How did you get to into EGX – the processes/applications
We actually went through our UK based PR agency.

How did you find the crowd? How did they respond to your game?
The crowd’s great! Very friendly and super engaged with a lot of insightful questions and comments.

What did you learn?
We learned that players enjoy a chill underwater experience as something of a retreat from the chaos of the show floor.

You can add Beyond Blue to your Steam Wishlist here or find out more at https://beyondbluegame.com/

 

We've really enjoyed getting a sneak peek of these games and speaking to some of the developers, artists, and studios involved.

We want to take everyone involved for talking to me about your experiences and wish you every success with these games.

I can't wait to see what everyone brings next year!

About the author Catrin Jones

Our Operations Manager Catrin is here for all our Consultants, Contractors and Clients for everything they need help with throughout the recruitment process. A priceless point of contacts for a number of client and candidate enquiries, she is an important part of the strong relationships we build and maintain as a business. Despite her talent in a vast number of activities however, Catrin’s main regret is her inability to whistle, although we have to admit it is quite amusing to watch her try.

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