Apps World 2012 Retrospective

I spent the last two days at Apps World in London. The nice guys and gals from SixDegrees invited me to give a talk on beginning Android games as well as participate in a panel discussion on HTML5 as a (mobile) gaming platform. What follows are a few memories from the event.

Day 1

I arrived at the venue in Earls Court at around noon. The exhibition center was packed with people, pretty much everyone who’s in the mobile space was there, from Samsung to RIM, Microsoft and so on.

The first talk i listened to was by AJ Grand-Scrutton, CCO of Dlala Studios. He previously worked at Bossa Studios. For their first game, Dlala Studios focuses on Windows 8 exclusively. AJ went to great lengths to tell us about how awesome Microsoft are for giving them all kinds of tools for free, and how they are not assholes. He assured us that they receive zero money from Microsoft. About 20 times. Coincidentially, they are also featured on the cover of the current edition of Develop magazine.

AJ told us the pretty cliche story about living at his mom’s, not having any money but wanting to realize his dream of making games. Sprinkled with references to games like SMB 3 or TV shows like Dexter’s laboratory. None of which i could discover when he demoed the actual game to us in private, after his talk. The game itself was barely mentioned in the talk, apart from showing the box art. He gave his speech a second time at the Microsoft booth later on.

It all felt very awkward and artificial to me. AJ ranted quite a bit about the (true) fact that many companies hire capable folks for cheap as interns, instead of employing them properly. This rant felt kinda strange, given that Microsoft got Dlala Studios for cheap to promote Windows 8, as according to AJ, they do not see a cent from Microsoft. They obviously get exposure through their Microsoft cooperation. To an outsider like me, it looked a lot like Microsoft wanted to attach the “indie” vibe to Windows 8, by hiring those guys to talk about how awesome everything is.

AJ seemed like a nice chap, and i wish him and his team the best of luck. Teaming up with Microsoft is probably a smart move, and there might be a real chance for them in case the Windows 8 market works out.

I also met Rod Hyde, who’s been involved with libgdx for quite some time. He contributed Very Angry Robots to our demo selection a while ago. We had a jolly good time talking about game programming and life in general.

Day 2

This day started with me meeting “The Batman” at the Apress booth. Didn’t dare to talk to him though, he’s the Batman after all. Apress asked me to sign a few books for folks passing by the Apress booth. To my surprise, a metric ton of people turned up, and i got to excersice my handwritting skills quite a bit. The most interesting observation was that most people come from an enterprisey background and want to get into games on the side. I had people from all walks of life coming by, even folks from the British Health Association. It was quite a blast. Big thanks to Brandon Levesque who organized this whole thing.

In the afternoon i had my talk about “Beginning Android Games”. Most of the folks that listened to the talk before me stayed, so the seats were filled pretty well. You can find the (non-informative) slides on SlideShare. Of course i couldn’t help pitching Nate and Shiu’s Spine as well as libgdx :)

After the talk a couple of folks came up to me, and we talked games, libgdx, Android and iOS. Good times! I got to know a couple of folks using libgdx and making quite a bit of money off of their games. Like Rich Woods from Exobyte. You’d be surprised how much money you can make off of Android games :) I also meet with Laith from vserv, and ads company. They have a very interesting approach of adding ads to your application. I haven’t tested it yet, but check out their site, it’s really interesting. There’s a chance that we might collaborate with those guys at some point, stay tuned.

The rest of the day i spent with Tamas, who showed me around Bossa Studios an the Silicon Round-about. We spent the the night talking about a few ideas we have. Hopefully something comes of it.

Thanks to SixDegrees for inviting me, i had a real blast! And i’m so sorry for the Jano’s, poor folks let me sleep in their house. <3

  • http://obviam.net impaler

    I liked how the other talks going on in parallel were empty compared to yours. Game development seems to be what draws most people into programming in the first place and seeing how many do the compromise, makes you think a bit.
    Not many game developers at enterprise talks :)

    Well done Mario and hope to see more of libgdx at these big events. Maybe workshops next? :)

  • http://blog.badlydrawngames.com Badly Drawn Rod

    Although I was there with my Enterprise hat on, I didn’t see much at Apps World that made me go “wow”, so when I got home I realised that I couldn’t really justify being there for day 2. A shame, as I’d have liked to have seen your talk, and I hope you managed to persuade many more people to use libgdx.

    From a personal point of view, it was great to meet you and Tamas on day 1. It’s rare that I meet people who like to make games, and it was just fantastic for me to meet people with similar passions. I clearly need to get out more.

  • feelingtheblanks

    I can’t figure out why you’re not making games spending some time while it’s clear that some make only money enough of Android.. i’m just thinking “if i had that much knowledge and tool to use, i’d do nothing but to keep writing and writing games for money” :D yeah selfish me :D

  • http://www.chrismweb.com ChrisM

    Cool- looks fun! Nice to see so many people that are still very interested in your book- I was extremely surprised about the wealth of information in there.

    Most android books focused on basic canvas drawing, some touching a little on openGL- but you included tons of stuff!

    Even just trying to do something with SVG Android, the book helped out a lot.

    And things only seem to be getting bigger- more and more very large companies are getting decent entries into the mobile game category- and not just GameLoft anymore!

  • http://www.exobyte.net Rich Woods

    It was great to meet you at Apps World and I learned a few interesting things from your talk. I really enjoyed the content about fragmentation and all the gotchas of programming for Android. I’d recommend anyone who’s interested in Android games development to download and view the slides from the talk.

    I’ve made a blog post about my successes with LibGDX and some of the strategies I used to get there. More info about that can be seen in this forum post: http://badlogicgames.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=5698

  • http://www.RobotWizardGames.com Silverwolf

    I wish I could have been there. In my mind you are the king of the Android mountain and I also wonder why you are not writing a game too, although on a selfish note that would divert your time away from LIBGDX.