Microsoft connects developers, artists and gamers with first ever Indie Dev Day

Published On July 18, 2018 | By amychen | Arts, News

Ryan Miller, a local game developer from Reptoid Games, showcasing his work at the Microsoft Store on Indie Dev Day. (Amy Chen)

Amy Chen

While independent game developers talked with Microsoft Store visitors about the process behind their games, teens shouted in fury and excitement at computer screens as they competed against each other.

The gaming wars raged as the Microsoft Store at Yorkdale Mall celebrated its first Indie Dev Day on July 15, showcasing the works of independent local game developers.

Antonio Miceli from Mega Power Games at the Microsoft Store during Indie Dev Day. (Amy Chen)

One of the games featured was Depowerball by Mega Power Games, which involved collecting objects and using abilities to defeat other players in a round-robin based format. In each round, the player with the most points wins, but one of their abilities gets taken away in the following round.

Depowerball was developed in May and the event allowed Mega Power Games to receive feedback from attendees and see if the project will be a worthwhile pursuit, given the development costs.

“Many indie game developers want to get their games out there, and they’re just looking for sources of funding to help push that along,” said Antonio Miceli, a programmer at Mega Power Games. “And the Ontario government is providing grants for that, but not everybody can get a grant.

“Some folks have to resort to crowdfunding” and open source software, he said. “In our case, if we decide to pursue this forward, we’re going to have to look for funding somewhere.”

Mark Miller, a developer at No Sleep gaming company, agreed on the need for community feedback. He and his team, recent graduates of George Brown College, created Radio Violence, a fast-paced strategy game involving building radio towers and claiming territory.

Attendees of Indie Dev Day playing Radio Violence at the Microsoft Store. (Amy Chen)

“We had a lot of positive feedback from people as we took it to different events, and we’re getting ready to, over the next six months, getting it out to the market,” he said.

Reptoid Games, winners of the Ubisoft Indie Series last year, already has its game Fossil Hunters on the market and attendees got to dig up fossils and build dinosaurs.

Ryan Miller, the co-founder and technical director at Reptoid Games, said being able to showcase their game and how his company was able to build it together is an amazing experience.

“I could be working for another company, working on someone else’s stuff, and I’m sure I personally can find a lot of enjoy about that, but there’s nothing quite like your own studio,” said Miller, who is not related to Mark.

“There’s nothing quite like doing things the way to want to do. It’s really important to us at Reptoid to treat our employees really well and make sure everybody gets to do what the love at their job, gets to get better at it,” he said.

Peter Tran, a student studying Game Programming at the Humber College North campus, wanted to learn more about getting his own game idea out there, as well as networking with developers.

He said Game Programming professors Kristopher Alexander and Geoffrey Lachapelle have been very supportive of his idea.

Humber College Game Programming student Peter Tran at the Microsoft Store for Indie Dev Day. (Amy Chen)

“They were really pushing for my game idea, because it’s no longer just a game,” Tran said. “The idea was a VR experience where even if you’re legally blind, you can still play the game with just sound and [vibration and motion] feedback with the controllers.

“We live in a world where games have a visual base. There’s not a game in the world where a blind person can play it fairly,” he said.

“There are individuals who are legally blind and can play a game, but it’s through means of large amounts of hardware, studio sounds, monitors and special glasses,” Tran said.

“I want a game where an individual could just use a regular set up and play the game normally,” he said.

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