By Jesse Cutrell
I got the chance to go to Ohio's annual Game Developer Expo this weekend!
COSI, the Center of Science and Industry, in Columbus, Ohio hosted the annual Expo for game developers in the mid-west. I attended the two days that the event was taking place.
I got to see so many cool game developers and demos! If there was ever a way to get networking with game devs in Ohio, this would be the best place to start. Just by walking around the show floor, I got to play multiple games for iOS, PC, and even the Wii U. I played all sorts of PC demos, including one where you shot alien spaceships attacking the sun. The game was called About to Boom. I also got to play a really cute game for Steam and Wii U called Adventure Lamp. I think the most fun I had with a game demo there happened to be a simple browser game called Falling Clyde. Seriously, the split-second decisions you have to make to keep your character from getting killed from the edges of the screen was super addictive. If you guys are interested in checking out some Indie games before they hit the market, I strongly suggest you click those links.
A great game studio I found right here in central Ohio is a studio called Multivarious Games. They've made a few really artistic games already with they're latest release, Hatch-it!. I had fun talking with representatives from the studio about the industry, what they do, and they even gave me pointers about how to get into the industry fresh out of college.
A big thing I want to stress about the importance of networking at expos like this is the technique of networking. A lot of people I've talked about networking to just try and get the business cards of others, while at the same time, getting their business cards out there. This isn't really enough to get people to remember you. Now, sure, I came home from the expo with a bag full of business cards, but what was infinitely more important was that I spent my time there making friends. In order to get people to want to give you some sort of job offer is to be personable. Honestly, knowing how to talk to people in a very welcoming way is crucial to networking. Even if you don't 100% intend to work with or for the people you're meeting, try and make a friend. Friends like to work with friends over random professionals that they meet. Even if the friendship doesn't amount to a job, you still aren't left with nothing. You have a new friend. A thing I always remember to do when meeting someone in a field I want to work in, I always introduce myself with a smile on my face and a handshake. That way, I (hopefully) leave a positive impression on that person when, or it, they remember me. Also, say you reach out to them, if they remember you fondly, they'll like hearing from you.
I also went to some great panels while I was there! I saw Grant Kirkhope!
I think my favorite panel that I went to there was the one titled "Stop Dreaming, and Start Streaming!" which was a panel of livestreamers who talked about their lives as streamers and answered questions from the audience. I used to livestream games a little bit a while ago, but got bit too busy to keep up. After watching that panel though, I might get back into it.
I'm already looking forward for next year's Expo, where I just might have a game of my own on display! I recommend that anyone even who just likes to play games to come check it out. Game devs will always need artists, so there just be something for you.
Jesse Cutrell is a Junior Animation major at CCAD who enjoys making video games, playing other people's games, and sleeping in.