Attending a big gaming expo like Gamescom, E3 and Tokyo Game Show, especially as an indie developer, understandably you need a thorough preparation.
Still, there are some things that only an experienced expo-goers know. Things, although sometimes simple, they learn it the hard way.
Here, we try to compile some of do’s and don’ts we gather from Indonesian developers who traveled and exhibited to Gamescom 2017, Cologne, Germany. Gamescom is the biggest gaming event in Europe, or even in Europe and Asia.
We contacted Semisoft who brought Legrand Legacy, Lentera Nusantara who brought Ghost Parade and Toge Productions who attended as a guest. We also quote some points from Mohammad Fahmi’s Gamasutra blog per his approval, who attended Gamescom 2017 representing Toge Productions.
With that kind of scale, surely there are many unexpected things that can come out. So here you go, some tips on what to prepare for the next Gamescom or even other big gaming expos around the world!
Set Your Target
“One thing you need to get done before deciding anything else is finding the reason why you need to go to Gamescom,” Mohammad Fahmi from Toge Productions said in his Gamasutra blog.
“Is it finding a publisher? Connecting with platform owners? Looking for outsourcing job? Or planning to introduce your game to the public? It will be better if you go to the event, not only to achieve one target but as many targets as possible,” he added.
In Toge Production’s case, they planned to introduce themselves to console makers and digital distribution sites. To meet their targets, they had prepared all the necessary connections.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
“You’ll be on your feet (for) almost 12 hours every day for 5 consecutive days'” said Revinia from Semisoft.
And of course, with the expo area as big as Koelnmesse which is bigger than Makuhari Messe (Tokyo Game Show’s venue), you need to be as comfy as possible to go around.
Wear Traditional Attire
“No, seriously. Batik is something that always looks good in a formal or informal environment. You will look different with batik. Get more attention, be the icebreaker for conversation (some people did comment on my batik and asked where they can get this kind of shirts), and so on,” Fahmi said to gameprime.asia.
With so many things to see and play, to stand out is a very important thing. So wear something that is unique and rarely seen by visitors. Fortunately, Indonesians have a simple attire known as batik that is really easy to wear, for men and women.
For you who have a complicated traditional clothing or attire, you can make a mascot out of it or just simplify so you can wear it comfortably.
Wear Your Company Shirt
This is the least thing you can do to attract attention from the crowd. Your shirt can be a walking billboard. Make sure you have a cool shirt/t-shirt design so people can notice.
“Other than traditional clothing, never go to the event without bringing your company’s or games t-shirt. That is one of the simplest ways to promote your game,” Fahmi said on his Gamasutra blog.
Bring An Impressive, Polished Demo
“People make a quick judgment based on what they see on the monitor,” Revinia said.
Well, it is the thing that you are exhibiting, so make sure this one really count. Don’t go throwing your money to go to a big expo only to exhibit a concept or unpolished demo. If you have the full version, that would be even better.
Take Your Vitamin C
“Long hours, after parties, and thousands of people stuck in one big hall are all ingredients for the perfect storm. You have to do whatever it takes to stay healthy and happy!” Revinia explained.
“Do anything to stay healthy. Put your ego away to stay healthy. If you’re sick, then everybody else can get sick too. Everybody lost their spirit. So stay healthy!” Azizah Assattari from Lentera Nusantara said.
Five days of non-stop standing, talking, and walking may take a toll on your body. You need to make sure that you stay healthy. Not only vitamin C or other supplements, a good rest (or efficient, because you may have little time for it) is also very important.
Azizah then added that keeping the mind healthy is also important to keep the body healthy. So have fun and stay positive.
What did I learn from 8 years of being a game developer in a third world country? Here's the perspective from Kris Antoni, CEO of Toge Productions.
Be Confident, Be Humble
“… one thing that amazes me about this industry is how open it is for small players like us. Everyone is so humble and kind, so be confident to introduce your games to everyone you meet during the event,” Fahmi said on his blog.
“Also, it taught me to always be humble to everyone. If companies that handle big works for decades and superstar indie developers can show such kindness, we all can do the same too. There is no reason for us not to learn from them on how they act toward other people,” he added.
Azizah also added, ” Keep an open mind. We smiled for the stupidest things. Even sometimes it’s awkward, joke it around. It will always be a great memory rather than ruin your mood for exhibiting your dream project.”
She said that you must respect and treat the audience with your best attitude because you don’t know who they actually are. Some publishers and orbiter (some kind of talent finder) went to their booth with geeky outfits just like other visitors.
Lucky for Lentera Nusantara, some of their visitors are publishers. Because they were comfortable when they visited Lentera Nusantara’s booth, when they met in the business booth it’s no longer awkward and the situation became very friendly.
Prepare Your Meetings
This one is quite important if you want your time in Gamescom to be efficient and worth your time and money.
Toge Productions set up their meetings at least a month before the event. They set up meetings several weeks or even months before the event.
“If you do it on the spot, you will probably not be able to meet the people you want to talk to unless you are really lucky. Even during networking party or smoking break, everyone is busy talking with everyone!” as Fahmi write in his blog.
Keep the Spirit Up!
“Keep up the spirit, and don’t break down. That’s the simple things we do, we spell it like a magic mantra. Then we rise again,” Azizah said.
Those words are the main things that Lentera Nusantara team hold to get through hardships. When things don’t go their way, they always remember what they are fighting for.