PixelPop Festival: The Gaming Playground

Last weekend, PixelPop Festival took over the Busch Student Center at St. Louis University. Game developers both local and not-so-local gathered to show off their games, art, hardware, and everything in between. It was our first time attending, and this is the perfect setting for the event. We've been a part of the St. Louis Game Developer Co-op for about 6 months, and we are constantly amazed at how active and collaborative this city's game dev community can be.

Why Was PixelPop Great?

A simple picture of the event guide answers this question.

 SO MUCH STUFF!

SO MUCH STUFF!

This was a paradise for gamers, game developers, content creators, and anyone else even remotely interested in the industry. There was an incredible amount of useful information for us. We were able to learn about law, neuroscience, how to balance game making with life, and a plethora of other critical topics that will help us continue to be successful. Plus, we got to play great games and see the progress of other developers we've met along our journey.

 

Yep, We Still Love Demoing

This is the first time we brought the full version of Intrusion Protocol to an event. We had so much fun watching people fail endlessly, but keep pushing to get to the end of each level. That's exactly what we wanted for the game. We saw rage, tears, and failure, but we also had two players who rose to the challenge and beat the grueling level 10. As much as we like to cackle maniacally as players struggle to beat the clock, seeing someone conquer our creation brings us even more joy.

 Both were on the final level as the day came to an end.

Both were on the final level as the day came to an end.

 

The Most Important Lesson Learned

As a new studio marketing our first game, we've read tons of articles and read countless talks about reaching out to streamers. When do you email them? What should you put in the subject line? How do you sound professional without looking like a robot? You get the idea. And then along came a very relevant PixelPop panel.

 We were so glad this panel was right in front of our demo booth.

We were so glad this panel was right in front of our demo booth.

I was completely blown away at how much I learned from this panel. As it turns out, streamers aren't malicious gaming overlords hellbent on ignoring your game. They are... wait for it... real people who enjoy playing games. Crazy, right? At PixelPop I learned the best way to get streamers on board with what you've created is to put yourself in their shoes and learn what they want. Don't just treat them like faceless robots who are there to promote your game for you. Get to know them. Learn what they need from you instead of focusing too much on what you need from them. They can teach you so much, and you'll make some great friends in the process. Special thanks to Aureylian for leading such a great panel, and to Ezilii, Erillebe, and wgrates for talking to us extensively about the experiences from their side of the table.

 

PixelPop Reminds Us Why We Do This

 Unique controller + Unique concept = Fun. Check out  Terrifying Jellyfish .

Unique controller + Unique concept = Fun. Check out Terrifying Jellyfish.

We are game developers, but we were gamers first. Learning a lot about our industry was invaluable, but the reason we love the industry in the first place is because we love games. PixelPop let us play so many new and exciting games from insanely talented developers. We got to play with custom hologram hardware from Looking Glass. We found out about an extremely relaxing (quite the opposite of Intrusion Protocol) puzzle game in ZenFold. We got to peek into the journeys of other game developers both large and small. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about: A shared passion for making and playing great games. PixelPop was everything we hoped for and so much more. We can't wait until next year!