Brandon Boyer

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Now basically fully recovered from the week of Indie Insanity that took place during and after this year’s debut GDC Austin Indie Games Summit, I present (below the fold) a longer look inside the Summit with photos courtesy official Offworld photographer Rebekah Saltsman.

As I somewhat made mention of during this year’s main GDC, the Indie Summit is quickly becoming an essential part of the convention, perhaps less so for the material covered (which is still nearly always incisive and inspiring), but for the opportunity to meet the people behind the games, and to experience the deep sense of community that’s taken root and strengthened over the past several years.

In any industry, even outside games, it’s hard to find a quarter so uncompetitive, so supportive, and so bound by a sense of collective creative drive under the quite literal strains of basic survival without otherwise gainful employment, and it’s hard to come away without feeling like it’s something that the world could use more of.

So, all that said, behind the fold you’ll find photos of the people behind nearly all the Indie Summit talks, with more available directly from Saltsman’s official Flickr stream — though none un/fortunately, from our Saturday trip to Austin’s Eagle Peak firing range, where Cortex Command creator Dan Tabar led an expedition to give what must have looked like the motliest of indoor-kid crews their first-ish non-digital/simulated rounds on a variety of handguns and assault rifles. Maybe we’ll save that one for another day.


Steve Swink and Matthew Wegner of Minotaur China Shop/Time Donkey creators Flashbang do their early morning IGS-organizing convening.


Gaijin Games’ Mike Roush — art lead on all of the devs Bit.Trip output — kicks off the Summit with a talk on the studio’s holistic approach to game development.

It’s not at all obvious that I slapped together my session‘s slides in Google Docs the night before (I abandoned the idea of swapping between my slides and the games quite quickly anyway).


Fez/Power Pill creator Phil Fish joins me on stage for the ‘big surprise.’


Which was, of course, the world’s first live demo of Fez.


In the audience, from L to R: Fathom, Canabalt and Flixel creator Adam Saltsman, Aquaria and Marian‘s Alec Holowka (from between shoulders), Robin Lacey from Plain Sight developer Beatnik Games, Snapshot and Jottobots creator Kyle Pulver, and World of Goo‘s Ron Carmel.


Fantastic Contraption creator Colin Northway demonstrates the intricacies of his constructions (and now you realize just how spot on Dan Benmergui’s pixelated caricature was).


Lost Garden‘s Dan Cook uses his own (quite excellent) strategy game Bunni to demonstrate a service/brand/long-tail approach to indie gaming, rather than relying on one-off hits.


Steve Swink and Matthew Wegner explain their ‘shotgun’ approach to making games The Flashbang Way, which included a company-wide — and as inspiring/sensible as it was surprising — focus on personal fitness.


2D Boy Ron Carmel (in a Flashbang regulation Off-Road Velociraptor Safari T-shirt) leads the audience through the four months following the release of World of Goo, and all of the unexpected tasks and challenges that would arise.


Broken Rules’ Felix Bohatsch talks about the shift from student-team to full-time-indies via their now WiiWare-bound game And Yet It Moves, and here, clearly, advises against DRM.


Indie dev ranters Adam Saltsman, Matthew Wegner, Joel DeYoung of Penny Arcade Adventures dev Hothead, Dan Cook, and Michael Wilford of The Maw/Splosion Man/Comic Jumper dev Twisted Pixel.


Followed by Twisted Pixel lead designer Sean Riley and gameplay programmer Mike Henry on how, exactly, they managed to make Splosion Man in just six months.


And finally, in one of the best talks of the IGS’s second day, Alec Holowka gives an inspirational talk on the interplay between character, story, and player, using both Aquaria and the reveal of his upcoming Marian as examples.

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