Indienomicon Turns 4. An Interview with Kyle Morrand
The gang at Indienomicon has been busy. They are currently preparing for their "Indieversary" which will be held at our favorite nerd hangout the Oblivion Taproom on Colonial Dr. April 6th beginning at 6:30. (Oblivion is owned by game industry veteran and owner of Free Dominion Game Studio Shawn Paris) In addition to great food, great drinks,great networking and game awards there will be a keynote by Rock Star Game Designer and former Design Director at Volition Jameson Durall. He will be talking about the State of Games focusing on community, growth, and development.
Jameson is a software designer who specializes in crafting impactful, interactive experiences. He has over 16 years of game design experience in Lead and Design Director roles at companies including Oddworld Inhabitants and Electronic Arts. His game design credits include Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath,The Simpsons Game, Godfather: The Game, The Godfather 2, Red Faction Armageddon, Saints Row IV, and Agents of Mayhem. Together these titles have sold over 17 million copies to date. Jameson draws from his expertise of crafting immersive and intuitive game experiences, and works to translate that into unforgettable experiences at Doghead Simulations.
Local Developer Kyle Morrand has been spearheading the next chapter in the Indienomicon story and has a lot that he would like to accomplish here in Orlando. We talked to him recently about the upcoming Indiversary bash and his plans for the organization for 2017 and beyond.
RC - What is Indienomicon?
KM - Indienomicon began as a community meetup for game developers and enthusiasts to bring awareness to the indie developers of Central Florida. We meet the first Thursday of every month, Indienomicon has brought developers, artists, designers and fans of indie games out of hiding from all over the Central Florida area. 4 years later, the meetup has had over 100 games presented, with each developer telling sharing their unique stories of struggle and success.
RC - What are the current Indienomicon plans for 2017?
KM - Towards the end of 2016 I met with Kunal, one of the founders of Indienomicon, about joining their executive board. We discussed an idea we both shared to “Fortify Orlando” by focusing our efforts in 2017 on developing a stronger foundation in the Orlando community for those wanting to get more involved in games, VR and AR, as well as help those already involved find more success in their efforts.
The plan for 2017 is to move Indienomicon towards being an organization that operates as an open alliance between individuals, companies and organizations who represent and participate in the gaming and emerging VR/AR communities of Orlando. By establishing a more formal organization, we can foster a culture where individuals’ ideas and concerns are addressed, and the local community as a whole can benefit from participating in this organization’s four key goals: Welcome, Promote, Connect and Grow.
● Welcome: By supporting local organizations and hosting events, we aim to continue growing a welcoming community
● Promote: By organizing a strong local network, we aim to jointly assist in marketing and promotional efforts
● Connect: By developing a unified voice, we aim to facilitate connections to the broader game and interactive industry
● Grow: By executing programs addressing community and economic development, we aim to provide opportunities for stability and growth
Our first goal, Welcome, has been the highlight of Indienomicon thus far, and so our mission this year is to grow 3 more branches of Indienomicon, resulting in a solid foundation for the local community to thrive upon.
RC - Why is it important for our Game Dev community to support Indienomicon?
KM - Well Rob, as you know better than I: Networking is key. Indienomicon’s founding goal was to help connect the local games community, and with 50-100+ people at each monthly meetup, it’s become a great place to make new contacts, form partnerships, and promote your talents and projects. Now, as we prepare to expand our efforts, the value of the organization will ultimately be decided by how much the local community supports it. Our upcoming initiatives are focused primarily on growing the local community, so any support we receive, like funding through Patreon or any volunteer help at events, it all goes right back into serving the community.
RC - How many studios are a part of Indienomicon?
KM - At the meetups, over 100 projects have been presented by close to 50 different studios from the Central Florida area.
RC - What are some things people can do to get involved with Indienomicon?
KM - Come out to the events! Our main meetup is the first Thursday of every month, and our next one is a special event, Indieversary, as it is the 4 year anniversary of Indienomicon. Also, throughout the year we also host and sponsor other events, like game jams and in the coming months we plan on adding a few more events to our calendar, like educational workshops and a quarterly leadership round table.
However, outside of participating at events, if someone is interested in getting involved with volunteering with the organization itself, from helping host events to planning out one of our new initiatives, they can contact myself or anyone else on the board and let us know how they feel they can contribute. We’re always looking for helping hands.
RC - Pepsi or Coke?
KM - Definitely Coke.
RC - What are some of the more successful games that have come out of Indienomicon and Orlando?
KM - Some highly notable Orlando games that have presented at Indienomicon are Magicite and Black Sea Odyssey, which are both are successfully Kickstarted games, as well as two newly released games, Neptune Flux and Emmerholt, which are leading the community through the new frontier of VR games. Also, in my opinion, one of the most successful game I’ve encountered has to be Dropsy developed by Jay Tholen of Tendershoot. The game was published by Devolver Digital, a notable games publisher, got great reception on Steam, and has such a unique quality that you won’t find in any other game like it.
RC - What is your wish list for the future of Indienomicon?
KM - Something I’d love to see Indienomicon do in the future is to facilitate and produce community-developed projects. Partnering with local organizations, we could potentially organize members of our community to design, develop, and produce games that either help an organization with their cause, or have the proceeds from the final product get donated towards their mission. Projects like that would not only allow us to showcase our talents as individuals, but also provide new avenues for our members to work together in giving back to a wider community.
It's super cool to have so many passionate people at the heart of our community. Thanks Kyle, Jameson, Kunal, Shawn and the rest of the Indienomicon crew for being the voice of our game dev. community and keeping the spirit alive. For more on Indienomicon be sure to check out their web site here and for updates like their Facebook page.