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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGeneralAnyone run small, local meetups?
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geraldfingburke
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« on: March 24, 2019, 05:35:47 AM »

I've been running a small local meetup for a couple of years now. Most of the time the best we can do, no matter how hard we push, is about 5 or 6 regulars. This is a college town, we have three universities within thirty miles, two of them offer game development programs. It seems like there's a ton of interest, but our attendance rate is stagnant. Our group is pretty active. We run bi-weekly meetups like clockwork, we hit all of the local and regional cons, and we run game jams every few months(usually Ludum Dare). In a region with a population of roughly half a million, I could believe that maybe the 10 or so active devs we've worked with are the only 10, were it not for the fact that just about every week I hear somebody talk about making games or wanting to make games.

I feel like I've hit a wall with what I can do, and I'm not really sure what else to do to push numbers. That said, I love the little community we do have. Every person besides my wife that I speak to daily, I met through the meetup.

Has anyone here had similar/better/worse experiences with running a dev meetup? Am I maybe missing something huge and obvious?
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Cobralad
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 05:50:41 AM »

1) you may be an insufferably mediocre person who can only breed awkward silence
2) earth is dying fuck videogames
3) community growth is a literal scam, commodity for media startups. Appreciate what you have and this age in which we can afford to dream about doing things without doing them.
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geraldfingburke
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 05:53:33 AM »

Cool, thanks for the hot tip.
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Superb Joe
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2019, 07:52:38 AM »

Do you do any networking so people from these other places can learn about this? I think the reality of running events like this for game development as a hobby is that people, particularly students, are already stretched thin and this sort of leisure time, constructive as it may be, is quite rare.

Colleges will usually have their own groups or societies, see if you can find game development groups and invite them?

Good luck.
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geraldfingburke
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2019, 08:01:06 AM »

Oh yeah. I spend as much time with this stuff as I can. We're pretty much the only group that is specific to games. We have friends in the digital media and game development departments in these schools. We even have a few instructors that recommend the group to their new students. I really think we're just at a point where we have the best we can hope to have. Most of the game dev students (I used to be one, CS now) are targeting themselves directly toward one job at one company, so they shut pretty much everything else out. I can't wrap my head around the mindset, which is probably why I dropped out of the program in the first place.

Thanks for the advice though. Do you do any community stuff?
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ProgramGamer
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2019, 08:02:17 AM »

Ignoring cobralad's "feedback", you could always try running some sort of promo event directly at the uni and college campuses in your town. It's probably also important to make it clear that aspiring game devs are welcome as well since some less experienced people may hesitate to attend. Part of your meetups could also be dedicated to sharing resources for learning how to get started with making games, that way you'd have a steady intake of people looking to get into the industry.

It might also be a good idea to explicitly state that members of marginalized groups are welcome, and you should establish rules, if you don't already have them, to make sure that conflicts don't cause those people to leave.
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geraldfingburke
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2019, 08:10:33 AM »

Quote
It's probably also important to make it clear that aspiring game devs are welcome as well since some less experienced people may hesitate to attend. Part of your meetups could also be dedicated to sharing resources for learning how to get started with making games, that way you'd have a steady intake of people looking to get into the industry.

This is great. We do mention that we are open and welcoming to all levels, from broad interest to professionals. However, we mention that in the long form description of our group, which I'm guessing basically no one reads. I wonder if there's a way to bring that message more to the front? You've given me something to think about.

We've thought about organizing a free "build your first game" workshop, but it's a little time and cost prohibitive. I'm usually out of pocket on stuff like that, but it could definitely be worth the investment if it would get more people around here excited about making games.
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Superb Joe
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2019, 09:18:12 AM »

Oh yeah. I spend as much time with this stuff as I can. We're pretty much the only group that is specific to games. We have friends in the digital media and game development departments in these schools. We even have a few instructors that recommend the group to their new students. I really think we're just at a point where we have the best we can hope to have. Most of the game dev students (I used to be one, CS now) are targeting themselves directly toward one job at one company, so they shut pretty much everything else out. I can't wrap my head around the mindset, which is probably why I dropped out of the program in the first place.

Thanks for the advice though. Do you do any community stuff?
i ran a university group for a couple of years that was not related to games, it was pretty dry and largely focused on getting people to understand the extent to which they are fucked once they get into the "job market" and how to mitigate that and to start right fucking now not when you graduate. seems that lesson is needed with those kids.

re: a "build your first game" workshop, if you can do it in conjunction with your friends in a game development department, maybe the host institution has a budget for outreach activities and could advertise their course and you can piggyback your group on it?
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cynicalsandel
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2019, 09:54:19 AM »

I live in a metro area with at least double the population of yours, with a university in the top 20 of game design undergraduate programs in the US and even we are lucky to get 10 people. Real life gets in the way. A lot of new people don't feel "good enough" to show up either because they don't have projects or it's only really a dream of theirs. I think the biggest meetup we had was bringing in a bigger name person to give a talk, but you can't always do that, especially when you're asking people to donate their time.

I think areas that don't have established game dev studios and opportunities will probably always struggle.

 Shrug
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geraldfingburke
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2019, 11:11:09 AM »

Quote
re: a "build your first game" workshop, if you can do it in conjunction with your friends in a game development department, maybe the host institution has a budget for outreach activities and could advertise their course and you can piggyback your group on it?

I never thought of that. That's an awesome idea.

Quote
I ran a university group for a couple of years that was not related to games, it was pretty dry and largely focused on getting people to understand the extent to which they are fucked once they get into the "job market" and how to mitigate that and to start right fucking now not when you graduate. seems that lesson is needed with those kids.

A valuable service. Job preparedness training is usually a joke. Too many people seem to think they're going to walk out of school, into the job they want and be handed a bag of money.

Quote
I think areas that don't have established game dev studios and opportunities will probably always struggle.

I can definitely see that. I'm just about equidistant from hubs in Raleigh NC and Atlanta GA. Close enough to be a day trip, but far enough to be too inconvient for even semi-regular treks. I'm sort of stuck doing what I can with what I have, as I'm sure you can relate.

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pelle
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2019, 12:50:43 PM »

We briefly had a group of some 10 with regular meetings. Then less regular. Then no meetings for the last 2-3 years (unless I missed an invitation...). Technically we never disbanded, so next time I get a project going I will definitely try to summon everyone again.

I actually think that size was great. Maybe 2-3 got to show the latest versions of their wip each time, it was easy to keep track of all projects, and it was a good group size so everyone got to speak and no one was forgotten in a corner.
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Dre Reid
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2019, 05:51:07 PM »

Why not host a video meetup, i think you can get more people to join that way.
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