It was with a excitement and a little trepidation that I made my way to StartPlanet NI in Donegall Street, Belfast on the 15th February to attend my first Games NI meetup.
The event was only the 2nd meetup organised by GamesNI and they plan to host one every 2 months. They are a chance for developers to get together to talk about game development in Northern Ireland, and everyone is welcome, whether you’re with a company, a freelancer, a student, or just interested about game development (or in my case as an amateur podcaster).
My evening started by being greeted by Kitty Crawford (@Kitty_Crawford), a woman of many hats as she is the Chair of GamesNI (@Games_NI), a producer at Blackstaff Games (@BlackstaffGames), and a staff writer at Ready Up (@ReadyUp). While waiting for the night’s presentation to begin I got talking to Stuart McAllister, the Director of NSG eSports (@NSGeSports), an Irish based gaming organisation that has a League of Legends team and a Counter-Strike team, both of which are aiming to compete at the highest level possible with the esports leagues for these 2 games.
The main event of the evening was a presentation by Kevin Beimers from Italic Pig (@italicpig). It was catchily titled “Pitching, Pick Up Lines and Polyamorous Marriages”, and was a shortened version of his talk from the Unity 2016 conference on Publisher Relationships, but due to the pizza not arriving on time I think we got pretty much the whole thing.
The presentation itself was about courting and developing a relationship with a publisher and focusing on long term, not just a one night stand. Italic Pig have experience with this as Team17 publishedSchrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark. The presentation was a masterclass in doing an engaging presentation over 100+ slides, and was jam packed with film stills that illustrated the points being made.
After the presentation we were treated to pizza, nibbles and drinks, and while mingling I had the chance to talk to a number of people including Adam & Vicky of Whitepot Studios (@Whitepot), Michael from the YouTube channel Bellular Gaming (@BellularGaming), Johan from Sweden, and Donal Phillips from NI Screen ( @NIScreen). Everyone that I spoke to had some great ideas and their own particular insights into the gaming industry, and it was fantastic to see that Northern Ireland has such burgeoning talent, and support to help them.
I now can’t wait until the next Games NI meetup!
Special thanks go to StartPlanetNI for sponsoring the venue, in partnership with Northern Ireland Screen.