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Game Dev North (Liverpool)

Sun 9 March 2014 11:53

Two blog updates in as many days?! Are you mad, Chris?! Well, no, but I am pretty excited.

Last night I went to @GameDevNorth – a meetup in Liverpool (UK) filled with gamers and game makers alike. As with all things geek, it started off dubiously; I arrived a little early to be greeted by the caterwauling of a local unsigned band – a performance that would have drawn my both my respect and attention but only a few years ago, regardless of talent. Instead I gently pushed past the crowd occupying the door and rushed to the toilet. Oh, the fragrance of student pub toilets – something I am well accustomed to, but had put out of my mind up until that moment.

After my toiletry duties were done with, I arrived at the bar looking a bit perplexed; I’d sent a message or two to the organizers asking them what kind of event it was (I like to be prepared!) but unfortunately got no reply. I barely had time to start stroking my magnificent beard when another confused looking lad approached me and asked if I knew where the game dev meet up was.

Phew! I wasn't the only one.

We both chatted for a while, exchanging experience and interests – a very pleasant first encounter if I do say so, though as always, I now fail to remember my new chum’s name (Dan maybe?)! After about 10 minutes we decided to take a look around to see if anyone else looked as confused as us... unfortunately not, but we were quite lucky in that our first tentative approach to a table full of decidedly geeky looking people (harder than you'd think in a student pub) was a success! We were in, time to integrate…

I spoke to a number of people (with wildly varying opinions on all sorts of subjects), collected a few business cards, and also managed to gather a bit of interest in Subnet itself – including speaking to a few people who may be interested in helping out. At one point, I got speaking to the organiser, Sam, who seemed keen on seeing the Subnet proof of concept. “Time to flex my computing prowess”, I thought - “engage the audience with your fountain of geeky wisdom and technical wizardry” said my brain in a moment of monomaniacal egotism… reflections that gradually eroded into dust as the entire meetup proceeded to crowd around my laptop, which happened to be running on about 5% battery due to an extremely rare faux pas on my part (accidentally leaving it on standby for almost a full week).

Also taking into account that I'm a bit out of practice with public speaking, and the conditions were far from ideal; crouched in a piss-stained pub corridor, with a crap laptop and a trackball mouse. Not only did my laptop take an excruciating 10 minutes to boot up and log on, but by the time I'd launched Unity, the battery was almost dead. I proceeded to show off the parkour with a worse than normal frame rate (I don't think the battery power helped), but it seemed to go down well - though I'm not sure I did the best job I could under the circumstances. On a slightly more positive note, Alex's Suburb environment concept art received a great reaction – a room full of positive mumbles and exclamations.

In my eyes, the evening was a success – even taking into consideration the mild embarrassment I suffered at the hands of my dilapidated laptop. The @GameDevNorth crew are all very welcoming, and the event served as much more than just a social gathering. I think I’ll be a regular from now on, if they'll have me back.

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