As many should know Australia broke the metaphorical champagne on it's first Penny Arcade Expo on July 19.
This event is a huge pro for the Australian games industry and we were lucky enough to be able to attend. For those whom are unaware of what PAX is all about let me inform you.
PAX is a convention started by the guys who made the incredibly popular webcomic Penny Arcade. They love video games, tabletop games and everything about games! It's fantastic, PAX is a place full of game developers and just as importantly, gamers! Such a large gathering of gamers offers a unique opportunity for start-ups like ourselves. We spent much of our weekend walking around with tablet in hand, getting gamers and devs alike to test and critique our recently released Android title: Vein Gods.
Boy, did we get some feedback! Bugs, game breaking bugs, tablets not working, devices running out of charge, not enough of us to man the small booth space graciously provided by the AIE Incubator. People struggling to understand the game in the first five seconds of having it thrust in their faces! For anyone in an indie studio who are going to PAX or any other convention: get business cards!
But it wasn't all dark. We got a lot, in fact a metric gamer ton of feedback. Ideas, ways to fix issues, and advice for selling the game at PAX. Not to mention all the contacts made, I have a stack of business cards on my desk now ranging from the awesome Halfbrick and Voxel Agents guys, to the underground indies like ourselves such as DimeStudios, who also released their first game recently, Tasty Fish.
All that's just from a dev perspective. The expo itself was fantastic, the talks were amazing, some of the best in the industry giving their advice and wisdom upon those of us who are still trying to break even. Talks about the psychology of games and how it is going to change the coming generations and even announcements from Gearbox asking if anyone had a copy of Maya 3 so they could access the source files of the Homeworld IP they recently picked up.
PAX Aus was closed, as PAX always are, with a rare thing. This time around it was a giant game of Jenga, in front of the entire crowd of PAX, commentated by Mike and Jerry of Penny Arcade fame. The lucky Omeganaut who won got an all expenses paid trip to PAX Prime.
Going to PAX was well worth the travel costs, from both a personal and business perspective. So with that, this parting advice for anyone getting into the indie industry: don't skimp on marketing, get posters, shirts, business cards and most importantly go to conventions!