Pax West 2017

After the Numerik Games, we prepared our luggage and flew to the United States of America to go to Seattle for the Penny Arcade Expo (Pax West). We were supposed to get a booth with big company that I will not name here, but they canceled the deal. Of course, we already bought our flight tickets, so I did boldly contact the organization of Pax West to get a booth and we managed to get a booth at the Pax Rising booth. It was completely unexpected and both Kevin and I were suprisingly happy by the turn of events.

Right after the Numerik Games, we took the plane for Seattle and landed on Tuesday evening. Just the time to get a sandwich (Which Wich) we went to sleep at Kevin’s friend place. We had the PS4 we tested at the Numerik Games and we went on Thursday to setup the booth. In the jungle that is the setup of a game convention of this size, we found our booth:

Our position was perfect, just next to the people flood of people and close to the entrance. The booth was big and we got food and drink every day during the convention, sponsored by Facebook. We were just behind Slime-san, with Fabraz that we already met at Gamescom. So of course, it was to be expected that starting Friday, there would always be someone playing the game: Except at the very beginning of the day, when everyone was running to their favorite games they wanted to absolutely test, people were curious to test our party game. But Pax West was not just exhibiting for us, we were switching exhibition time Kevin and I to wonder around the convention center. We went to buy goodies, and I also bought a computer keyboard (the US layout being useful for programming) and a new headphone.

Pax West is also about meeting other game developers. On Friday, I went to say hi to the developers of Owlboy and bought a plush of Otus, the main character of the game, signed by them. I also met Christophe Galati again after the Tokyo Game Show. Because he waas alone at his booth, I went for him to get an Otus plush too and say hi to the developers again. On Saturday, I met Aurélien Regard and the nice people at Playdius.

It’s always funny to meet people that live at less than 1000km meet at the other side of the world. We went to eat a nice burger and drink some tasteful whiskey. We exchange on various subjects like education, publishing, marketing, indie games and more. Compared to GDC, people are running around to their next meeting and often don’t have time to stop and to other gamedev. Here at Pax, gamedevs are happy to be there and meet their peers and fans. On Sunday, I met Sean Velasco from Yacht Club Games and I made him test my gameboy homebrew rom Soup Raiders: Jailbreak. We exchanged on game development and Shovel Knight of course:

 


Overall, this Pax West was a huge success and it would be amazing to have a booth similar to the Poland one, with a compact lineup of hig-quality games:

I was interviewed by Mithical Entertainment about Splash Blast Panic. Bear the stuttering and the mistakes, I did my best with how much tired I was. Pax West is amazing and we hope we can join the lineup for Pax East in April 2018. Meanwhile, I leave you with the interview:

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My beloved Meetup

Every month, game developers from all around the Swiss French part come together for a casual meetup to learn about a new subject and drink some beers. It is the central place of the Swiss French scene. Even though not everyone is a professional, people share their knowledge and motivate each other to move forward. It is hard to define if the meetup is moving the whole scene forward (like it is hard to know if the Nordic Game Jam helped the game industry in the Scandinavian countries).

I started to go to the meetup in 2014, before going to the ZHdK. The first one I attended, funny enough, is the one that Kevin Péclet, my current colleague, actually presented Otherworld (now Starfallen): https://www.meetup.com/Game-Developers-Suisse-Romande/events/176334712/

Several months later, I presented my work about game jams and afterwards, I went to Zurich, but even then, I was still going every month to the Swiss French meetup. I went to a game jam with Kevin and following the production of Splash Blast Panic, we found a company.

The meetup made the game developer I am today. Being able to see what game development was concretely and being able to share insights, tricks and talks taught me a lot of things. So to give back to the community, I started to help David Javet in the organization. We managed to push the quality of the presentation to another level, invite international guests over skype or live on stage. The meetup did not completely change, but the community became more professional, but still keeping this passionate root.

Students from EPFL, ECAL, HEAD, SAE Institute, EPAC come regularly to meet the game developers from the indie scene, ask them questions and for some of them, integrate our community. This is why I joined the organization of the meetup, to help people connect and to share. Some companies do not come, often telling that they already work all day on their game, they don’t think that they need this helping community. But when they die or bankrupt, nobody pity them and they become a joke for the game community, instead of a dream of old.

Game developers from all around the Swiss French part, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Lausanne come together and share. This is our meetup. This is our game development community. This is my beloved meetup.

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ADDON 2017 – A replacement of the Stunfest pause

This week, I was at ADDON in Brittany, France, to meet my fellow French game developers. This year, the Stunfest hit pause, whch was pretty sad. The Stunfest is one of the only festivals were people were actually beating me at my own game. It is the meeting point of the best players in France and compared to Paris Games Week or Gamescom, it is not a money grabbing event, but a passionate one.

I had two presentations to make, one about my upcoming game Splash Blast Panic and the other one about the gameboy homebrew entry of the GBJam 5 we did back last year. So with a small Swiss french delegation, we went there to network. Here is Twitter story:

 

Kevin had a panel talking about his project Helvetii.

Finally, after some nice crepes and a final boss at the Libanese restaurant, we went back home.


And I am really looking forward to go to Stunfest next year, even if I don’t know with which games already.

You can find the link to my two presentations here:

http://eliasfarhan.ch/addon_spash

http://eliasfarhan.ch/addon_gb

I also discussed game jams and indie game development during the Indie Dev Lounge here:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/148692478

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