Some years ago, I was one of the moderators of GameDevPT. A Portuguese gamedev forum where new blood, veterans, wannabes and professionals helped and networked in the ways that were only possible through the accessibility of the pre Facebook forums. We made a lunch reservation for 18 people the last time I helped to arrange a gamedev event in Portugal. One of them was brought by his mother who sat in separate table. This was many years ago… 9 maybe…
Since then I’m afraid I lost contact with the Portuguese gamedev community. The reasons for that are irrelevant but all of them are my own responsibility.
A couple of months ago during a rambling analytics phone call with the great guys from Bica Studios, the sentence “you should talk in the next Game Dev Camp” was heard. The point was that this Game Dev Camp was about taking the next step in Portugal and analytics is a big part of taking the next step in many industries, gaming included.
A couple of weeks went by and I was involved in a conversation at Miniclip about this particular event. Miniclipers that had something to give to the gamedev community stepped up to give talks.
Some years ago we were 18 people in a lunch. Here’s what I saw in 2015.
This was the crowd for the keynote. I checked many photos and none really shows how packed that room was and many were left outside. There were more than 400 people attending, 35 speakers, multiple tracks with simultaneous talks. There was a showroom with a lot of fine games. All under the umbrella of Microsoft with the support of Microsoft and the event partners Miniclip, B5, Bica Studios, Nerd Monkeys, Raindance Studios, Lisboa Games Week and Emergency Agency.
But the guy in the middle of the tornado was Miguel Vicente to whom I have to personally thank for all the hard work in making this a reality. Here he is thanking the partners during the keynote!
So… what happened there?
Quite a lot! Did I mentioned once we were 18? 400+ is what I call a pretty good forward step for a 10 million people country. To me the most relevant thing was that many of the people I met a decade ago, those that introduced me to gamedev, are still here and they were speaking with people from Unity, Gameloft, Miniclip and Microsoft but also that hundreds more joined and are building an industry.
What we had was a mix of gamedev veterans plus people from all walks of gamedev, plus the ones that joined larger companies in the industry, plus their networks sharing knowledge.
And free waffles… never forget the free waffles!
I’ll post links to the talks I found more relevant since everything was recorded… ain’t that neat, huh?!
I was a speaker in this event. A proud one I might add. I do apologise for the extremely ugly man in the photo but to this day no camera is so amazing that can make me look any better. My talk was about how Miniclip went from having no analytics to a company wide data science team. The good things and bad things, the challenges so that anyone interested is aware of it.
I believe that my role goes a bit further than this talk. This event was a bit emotional to me and I left it with a feeling of responsibility to the community. I work on a successful company doing something that is rare and valuable. I have a fantastic team and a great department with whom I learn something new almost every day. If we were in England or Germany we would still be great but I doubt we could make a big difference in the local gaming industry hubs. But we are in Portugal and I feel I personally owe it to the community.
See you all around and until next year!