This past Saturday, I was one of the coordinators of an Unpub Mini in Orlando. It was a chance for developers to congregate and have their unpublished games test played to get feedback and fans. I teamed up with Aaron Holland and Coliseum of Comics and were able to actually showcase it at the Fashion Square Mall near Downtown Orlando. There were a lot of successes and lessons learned from this event, but overall the successes outnumbered the misses, which was great for a first event.
More than anything, it was an amazing success because it brought the community together. Developers that live out of town were able to get some fresh perspective both
from their fellow developers and people off the street. It was so heartwarming to see developers congregating up to two hours before the event, polishing their games. We also lingered for about an hour after the event, squeezing what feedback we could from our fellow developer while we still had their attention, or showcasing our “B Game” that was considered too raw for the “masses.”
Just like with any creative endeavor, it’s easy to have your blinders up for too long and not realize you’re part of something bigger. When we’re stuck just designing in a silo and testing with our friends over and over, you get a good idea of what your game needs, but sometimes you can provide insight to another developer that seems intuitive to you or a fellow developer can give you that flash of insight you’ve been longing for.
You don’t have to go as far as creating your own day long event. Just find out where the other developers hang out with, either in person or online. Meetup.com is a good place to start looking. Another great place to check is one of the many Facebook groups, such as James Mathe’s Card & Board Game Designer Guild. Central Florida is lucky to have the SUP Guild. However, don’t be afraid to start organizing your own group. You’ll be surprised how many other people are looking for a group to join.