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IMGDC 2.0 Day One Keynote Print E-mail
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Written by Matt "snorkle256" Nolan   
Monday, 31 March 2008


This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the 2008 IMGDC, “Indie MMO Game Developer Conference”, in Minneapolis.  According to the event's website, "IMGDC was created to be a venue for Indie and Hobby game developers who are interested in building and designing virtual worlds or MMOGs."  Hosted by Last Straw Productions, the conference featured industry keynotes, informative tracks, demo stations, and informal round-tables.

Saturday morning Jonathon Stevens, CEO of Last Straw Productions and IMGDC organizer, welcomed everyone to the conference with some inspiring words.  He talked about how he started IMGDC to bring the Indie community together.  Together indie developers are able to grow with the help from others he said.

He quickly transitioned into welcoming to the floor Jay Moore, the former Director of Business Development (and more) of GarageGames, who gave the day's keynote, “Building Successful Virtual Worlds One Community at a Time”, or what I call BSVWOCAAT (which I realize, doesn't help very much).  Moore put some questions to the audience so we could learn more about  each other.  Who was press, who was making a MMO, and the most important question, who was making money from their MMO.  Surprisingly, the last question did produce some hands, though they represented a small percentage of the crowd.  Moore then launched into his discussion of the components of an "AAA game".

Authenticity is the first A, he explained.  Consumers are tired of the "BS" and are yearning for honesty from developers.  When developers try to get their game to market too fast, they can lose sight of their target consumers.  Developers should do things the right way, no matter how long it takes, and create a market, instead of trying to fit into the pre-existing ones.

Alacrity is the second A, which is the speed "to hear and respond to" consumers.  A developer must decide if it is willing to make quick changes to respond to issues that arise within their game.  Moore explained that indie developers are more likely than large firms to respond faster due to nature of the small size of their teams and their eagerness to please.

The final A is Audacity.  Moore told the audience that indie developers should "not feel the need to conform"  their products.  Additionally, he felt that to get the word out about a new project, developers needed to take an “in your face” attitude.  Spread the word anyway you can, don't feel the need to do things the way everyone else does, because when you do it your way you don't have to relinquish control to higher ups.  This is a way to really capture the attention of players.

With that, Jay Moore opened the floor up for questions and audience introductions.  A few developers in the audience expressed that they were looking into more user generated content.  The power of consumers profits both sides, the developers and the players.  Delving into more of the side of opening things up, not just for users but other developers as well, was the topic of open source projects. 

Moore agreed that more open standards are needed at this point.  Some audience members stated they came for ideas for their next project or how to scale their projects.  Others came to network and increase the visibility of their studios and the like.  I met a few interesting people that morning, and it seemed as though IMGDC 2.0 was really shaping up to be something very cool.


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