GDC & SXSW bring developers and industry together in one (two?…) places and provide some of the best promotion, networking, and business development opportunities of the year. Did we mention parties? Oh, so many parties…
Make sure YOUR games play ahead of the pack and stand out by following these simple 10 tips to keeping up during one of the industry’s busiest weeks of the year.
1: Plan your day!
Check conference tracks and make sure you know where you need to be and when. Highlight your “must sees” and make sure you give yourself adequate time to make it to your venue and hold a spot for yourself. There is nothing worse than not getting a seat, especially if you’ve been waiting in an hour-long line. Not sure if your highlighted tracks are popular? Ask around your network (FB, Twitter) in advance and get the skinny on what tracks and events will be the most popular this year.
2: Dress comfortably (but not TOO comfortably…)
You’ll be on your feet all day, but you’ll also be making connections with some potentially career-making/breaking people (sometimes by complete happenstance). Put your best foot forward, stand out from the crowd, and make sure, when someone meets you, they know they can take you seriously. You want them to know that you’re a person worth partnering with and that you will respect the business development process. Don’t forget to wear comfortable business-casual shoes, bring your business cards, and have all pertinent materials (press kits, portfolio, etc.) on hand. No shame in a solid backpack or bag to stay organized.
3. Get names. Write them down.
You know that old memory trick- once you are given a business card, jot a quick note about the conversation you had with that person or something that stands out about your meeting on the back of the card. Consider bringing a notepad and having a single space where you collect all contact information for the week. You will forget details by the end of the week, so be organized and keep your contact info in a central location!
4. Don’t forget to Follow Up
Don’t let more than a week go by after making a contact without sending an email. Nothing says, “I respect you, your time, and moving forward working together” better than a solid follow up. Remind them who you are, where you met, the discussion you had at the conference. Don’t be shy – also remind them of how a relationship with you will benefit them, what you can do for them, and offer a time to follow up further in person or over the phone.
5. Identification
You may find yourself visiting another city this week. Traffic, transportation, getting into 21+ events, and collecting your credentials/registration is going to be a thing. Have your identification ready to go from the moment you hit the airport to the moment you go grab your badge. Don’t hold the team up; have your ID ready to go.
Don’t forget to keep your devices (phones, computers) charged, and get them charged when you have a moment. Bring a small external battery pack, if necessary. This will help you stay in the loop and not miss out on important emails, staying social, and inevitable changes to time and location of conference events.
7. Get noticed online!
What are your social media handles, promotional hashtags, and other digital assets that you need promoted? Connect with new friends fast by following each other on social (bring that 3DS for StreetPass connections, too!) and take some solid photos and footage of the events. Post what you can and look for event hashtags to tag/mention! This will help bring attention to your company, game, or project. Grab one of these FREE Zymge Social Media Stickers! Be part of the global conversation WHILE it is happening, and capture the attention of onlookers with your visuals.
8. Don’t over do it. (How much fun is too much?)
Remember to sleep, eat, and recharge your own batteries. Common sense, right? Nope! And we’ve all been there. Be cautious and safe where alcohol consumption is concerned. Make sure you leave enough energy in the tank to survive the entire week. After the least day, you still need to load out, make it home, and complete your follow-ups quickly. Survive by getting a solid breakfast in, bring a light snack, and don’t party too hard. That being said, some of your best networking will happen in the after hours, and nobody wants to partner or work with a total stiff. So get in there, tiger!
9. Have your promotional materials handy
Keep your promotional kit compact and easy to hand out as you go. Don’t over do it! People don’t want to carry a crate of your materials around with them. Give them all the best information and contacts, links or information to get more info. Travel light and help your fellow conference attendees do the same thing.
10. Austin Gaming, represent!
Represent the Austin Game Dev community well. We have the best talent in the world, and we want companies, publishers, and distributors to know that Austin is where best-in-class game development is happening. When one of us wins, it’s a victory for the ENTIRE game development community.


Join your Austin Game Devs Leadership for the Austin – IGDA “2015 Retrospective and 2016 Plan” Meetup!


Join Austin Game Devs on Monday, March 7 to review our accomplishments from 2015 and to discuss strategic planning in 2016.

Chapter leadership will unveil our 2016 mission, how it corresponds to the greater Austin game development industry, event programming themes, and welcomes community input on which direction to take the chapter as we venture forward with new purpose and goals.

Join us for a meal and drinks, as well! We are excited to see what our friends (new and old) are up to and continue to provide our game development community with the resources needed to make Austin THE place for developers to work, grow, and create the highest quality products in the industry!

Bank of America / Merrill Lynch 2016 Austin Technology Innovation Forum

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Along with a number of other representatives of the video game industry (nice seeing you Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton), I had the chance to attend Bank of America’s most recent Austin Technology Innovation Forum yesterday at the W Hotel.  Great talks by a number of interesting panelists and speakers.

No surprise that security was a top consideration.   The variety of topics, risk vectors and potential fixes is staggering.

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Lots of good discussion on how tech is transforming society; key areas: mobile, social, and big data – all considerations for game developers.  The “Internet of Things” is coming along fast – what kind of games can we make if everything is interconnected?  Interesting omission (at least at the macro level): VR.

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Thank you Bank of America and Merrill Lynch for the great event!  Looking forward to 2017.

Intel Buzz Workshop

Back in October, we were excited to help Intel bring to Austin their “Intel Buzz Workshop,” an event focused on game development and how Intel tech can help.  Over the course of the day, we had a ton of great speakers including Warren Spector (Director, Denius-Sams Gaming Academy) and Starr Long (Portalarium).  The agenda is below; if you missed it, you can catch the entire event on Twitch here:

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11:15-11:45 Keynote

Warren Spector, Director of the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy

11:45-12:35 Women In Games: All-Star Discussion Panel

Panelist: Stephanie Orkand, XO Group Inc.

Panelist: Tess Snider, Hidden Achievement

Panelist: Sheri Graner Ray, Big Noise Games

Moderator: Jennifer Bullard, Founder, Captivate Conference

12:35-1:25 Lunch


Put Your Player in the Game: Experience Deeper Immersive Experiences with Intel’s RealSense

Speaker: Joe Scheinberg, SW Engineer,  Intel

2:10-2:45 So You Want to Build a Snowman? …but it’s Summer – Tips on building a Unity game while keeping future platforms a consideration

Speaker: Corey Johnson, Unity

2:45-3:00 Break
3:00-3:30 Design Vision vs. Feedback: Developing in the Open

Speaker: Starr Long, Executive Producer, Portalarium

3:30-3:45 Break
3:45-4:15 Make Good Games into Great Games with Intel® INDE Graphic Performace Analyzers

Speaker: Brandon Blair, Intel

4:15-5:00 How to Launch and Fund Games – All-Star Panel

Panelist: Raphael Colantonio, Arkane Studios

Panelist: Gordon Walton, Art & Craft Entertainment

Panelist: Elizabeth Howard, Aspyr Media

Moderator: Frank Coppersmith, President, IGDA-Austin

Finn Staber at Unite!

Back in October, Finn Staber of Portalarium and a member of Austin’s IGDA steering committee, served on a panel at Unite!

Successfully adding AR or VR to your studio’s arsenal is expensive, and requires significant R&D burn. Programmers & Designers must act as “early adopters” of this new tech to keep ahead of the curve, and accurately convey emerging feature requirements to clients or other developers. The standard for developing AR/VR experiences is rapidly evolving as developers pioneer new interaction methods & gameplay mechanics. This session will explore best practices for AR & VR as we stride in to the future, and how studios can position their teams ahead of the development curve.

Finn Staber – IGDA Steering Committee Member and Unite Speaker!


Unite 2015 is coming up in Boston next week and Finn Staber will be there.  Finn will be joining Pete Moss from Unity Technologies on the talk…

AR & VR Development: Sharpening the Tip of the Spear

5:30-6:30, AUDITORIUM

Track: VR/AR, Business / Level: All

Successfully adding AR or VR to your studio’s arsenal is expensive, and requires significant R&D burn. Programmers & Designers must act as “early adopters” of this new tech to keep ahead of the curve, and accurately convey emerging feature requirements to clients or other developers. The standard for developing AR/VR experiences is rapidly evolving as developers pioneer new interaction methods & gameplay mechanics. This session will explore best practices for AR & VR as we stride in to the future, and how studios can position their teams ahead of the development curve.

Pete Moss – Unity Technologies
Finn Staber – Portalarium

Great job Finn in getting selected as a featured speaker!

Best Cities for Video Game Development Jobs


A recent article in Game Industry Career Guide ( names Austin as the number 2 city in the US for video game development, counting 44 game studios. Our “unofficial” count of game studios (using Linked In and other sources) makes the count closer to 135, but this includes many small indie studios.

Job Listings Now Open, the fine website you’re looking at right now, is now available for job postings! Just click the “Jobs” link above to reach it!

Thanks to Patrick Curry and crew at Unity Austin and ArtCraft Entertainment, who have contacted us about the four positions they have available now, and provided everything necessary for their Companies page!

If any of the above interests you, please send mail to to let us know your interest!

Find us at SXSW Gaming Expo: Support the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program!

IGDA-Austin will have a booth at the SXSW Gaming Expo on March 13, 14 and 15 at the Palmer Events Center, in Stand 350. We’ll be showcasing game projects, presenting live demos by local game developers and handing out company-branded collectibles. But we also want your help with something else.

It’s not often that IGDA-Austin takes a particular political viewpoint, but as a chapter, we will always be in favor of anything that keeps video game production viable in Austin, and Texas in general. (You all did know that Texas is only behind California for the number of active game development projects, with a 16 percent growth from 2009 to 2012, right? Right.)

This is why the chapter supports the continued funding of the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (TMIIIP) as administered by the Texas Film Commission, from the Office of the Governor.

As the 2015 Legislative session starts up, many well-meaning elected officials may be looking for ways to reduce state spending. The message to be conveyed here, with respect to the sentiment and agendas at work, is simple: Hands off TMIIIP, because this is a program that secures jobs in Texas and thus far has made 95 cents for every dime spent.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has sent support for the program to the Senate Finance Committee as of early February 2015, but we don’t want to take that for granted. We’re asking all Texas residents to look up your local representative and let them know that this program matters and should be expanded before it’s cut.

If you need more, read on.

Read more