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From Code to Convention: an EGLX Retrospective

Hey all; I’m the last member of the No Sleep crew. My name’s Dan, and I’m currently the lead programmer here, which basically just means I write a lot of code, usually on the back-end. My introduction is last on purpose; anyone here can attest to the fact that I’ve been living in a cave for the past few weeks, and now that Radio Violence is out in the wild (have you checked out our steam page?), I feel comfortable poking my head out and saying hi. Today however, I won’t be talking about code. Rather, I’d like to talk about our experiences at EGLX this past weekend. Don’t worry, I probably won’t shut up about programming after this.

EGLX was our first event where people could actually buy a product from us. The weeks leading up to this point were some of the most exciting (and nerve-wracking) weeks we’d ever faced as a team. I’m happy to report that from our perspective, EGLX was a success in achieving major goals for our team. Here are just a few of these goals.

The Beginnings of a Community

No game developer can make it very far without a community of people interested in their products, and just as importantly, in the developer itself. The fact that there are people out there in the world viewing this site, checking out our game on steam, and even wearing our merchandise, means that we’ve taken the first critical steps in that direction. Moreover, we got plenty of genuine feedback and support from complete strangers, who were interested in the direction Radio Violence was headed, and were invested in helping us make our game the best it could be. Some guests revealed that they had looked us up beforehand and planned to visit our booth! This was completely unexpected, and we’re very happy you liked what you saw. We hope to further kindle this ember of a community that has formed around us, and get the community more involved with our work in the future.

Feedback from Developers

EGLX had many developers in attendance: some were freelancers exploring the market, others were fledgling indies like us, and others still were more established. We had a chance to talk to many of these developers, and were elated at the positive feedback and general solidarity we received. Most of our team was able to attend developer talks, ranging from project management post-mortems to technical and design panels. These talks helped us get clarity on what we’ve been doing up to this point, and in many cases reinforced the decisions we’ve made up until now. In other cases it answered questions we had, and questions we didn’t know we had. We’re now much more armed with information to work smarter.

Selling Copies of Our Game

Of course, no game developer can survive without selling games. But admittedly for us, this event was more about the former goals than selling loads of copies. Nevertheless, selling the game was important for us to know that we have a product people want. The whole team was awestruck when we sold our first copy; nobody knew how to react! Jacob wasn’t sure if he should accept the customer’s money (he got over it quickly), and we all wanted to parade our first customer around the showroom floor. It was a moment from fantasy for us; our game has been nothing but a passion project until Friday, and when you’re working this much on a project you tend to forget that other people are viewing it from the outside. Knowing that these people are not only interested, but willing to buy your game is a priceless and much-needed confidence boost. We’re all more committed than before to this project thanks to our first customers.

The Path Moves Forward

With EGLX behind us, our team has completed its venture from a student group to a (very young) professional studio. We’ve begun to foster a community of individuals who are interested in our company’s direction, and we’ve equipped ourselves with valuable advice from the industry to push us forward. I would be lying if I said that this weekend wasn’t a maelstrom of emotions for all of us, but we’ve come out of it net positive. That said, there is more work ahead of us than behind us. Radio Violence is still in early access after all, and we’ll need to be the best developers we can if we want to release it in a responsible and successful manner. But I’m very confident in our team, and I feel that we’re all the more ready to tackle the obstacles we’ll face on this path.

Signing out,
Dan

Dan Yeomans
About the author

Co-founder, current lead programmer at No Sleep. A maniac for good design and elegant code; I fight the constant struggle for both (to my own detriment).
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