Just got back from Develop Brighton 2016! I had the opportunity to go there thanks to a couple of tickets IGGI set aside and being one of the busy bees tasked with creating more connections with industry and other parts of academia.

Long story short, I loved it. I met so many amazing people, some of them being developers, some artists, some publishers, some business people, some academics, some students (and more). Learned about new technology or iterations on existing works. And the venue was amazing, with truly the best lasagne I’ve had in a very very long time.

Here are a few of the things I found interesting.

Unity is now offering official training and certification. It’s cheaper for students and gives you credentials. These might be very important in a post-Brexit UK. Also, you learn an engine that is in high demand with a lot of companies.

Everyone loves VR. Everyone is getting involved with VR. Every business is hyped about VR. VR will make VR developers a lot of money in the short term. Doing VR research or research applicable to VR? There’s a high number of big and small companies interested.

Augmented Reality. Probably the main topic of next year’s Develop, at this rate of Pokemon GO adoption and the sure to follow adaptations from ALL the brands. Be prepared. And yes, a lot of people were playing Pokemon GO. Someone caught a Zubat at the IGGI stall.

Made a game that you want put in an online Pinterest-style board with publishers able to check it out and gauge interest? AdoptMyGame seems to have potential. They are also interested in creating university research focused categories, which could be really great for promoting some of the games coming out of IGGI work or game jams.

In a similar vein, but more focused on creating an online portfolio of your work (games, artwork, music, etc) that people can browse (and is hosted on a supposedly trustworthy and well-managed platform), there’s Skirmish.

Procedural content generation is still of interest to companies, but that interest is starting to go down.

There’s Perforce, a source control + collaboration + more tool that is used by some of the biggest companies in the world that are now offering their products for free to students. I’ll be playing around with it for a few weeks to see if it’s any better (and how much better if it is) than just plainly using Git. Disclaimer: they gave me a tshirt during their pitch and they were throwing wooden airplanes at everyone in the expo hall. I loved it.

Seeing people crawling on the floor in the expo because they were playing on the Vive was hilarious.

Also, quite a few freelance artists around with amazing portfolios. Hire them and get going on making gorgeous games! Also had the opportunity to get some insight from professional artists, both graphical (3D, 2D, video), as well as sound (voice actors). Amazingly talented and they seem to really love smart automation (think SpeedTree / pipeline), accurate technology (motion capture was a particular topic of interest) and good games.

Thank you to everyone that visited the little IGGI stall! I enjoyed talking to everyone! I even got a “I don’t care about what you’re saying, but I do want to stay to listen to your pitch, because it’s great”. I truly think that the combo of Jo, Joe and me was extremely convincing and truly made people aware of how amazing IGGI is right now and how much better it will be with time and industry involvement.

I also saw someone with a katana on their back. It was most likely an umbrella (thanks Joe, didn’t even consider that option), but I like to think I saw a great warrior.