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Announcing the January 2013 Boston Indies Meetup – Winter 2013 Demo Night!

The January 2013 Boston Indies meetup will be on Monday, January 21st @ 7pm at the Bocoup Loft.

It will be our Winter 2013 Demo Night. Bring your in-development and recently-released games and show them off to your peers for fun and feedback. If you’re not developing a game (why?) or can’t make a playable version of it for the meetup then come ready to play! There will be no formal speaker but we’ll have time for announcements and introductions as usual.

The meeting will be at the Bocoup Loft — 355 Congress Street, Boston, MA — from 7pm – 10pm. BYOB and BYOFood. You can find more info about our meetups on the Meetups page.

Announcing the December 2012 Boston Indies Meetup – Lightning talks n’ games!

The December 2012 Boston Indies meetup will be on Monday, December 17th @ 7pm at the Bocoup Loft.

This month, we’re going to host a couple lightning talks, and afterwards, we’re going to play some games (JS Joust and Hokra) from the Sportsfriends guys.

Couple bits of information:
  • If you have a quick 5 minute talk, rant, or demo you want to give, get in touch with us ([email protected]), and let us know what it is.
  • If you have an extra playstation move controller or two, please let us know, and bring them in on Monday! Darius is kind enough to provide four to get us started, but the more the merrier!
  • If you haven’t heard of JS Joust, or Hokra, you should visit this Kickstarter page, and help these guys out: http://kck.st/XnGQUX
    • If you have heard of them, you should visit that kickstarter page, and help them out! They’re so close! Help pass along the page to whomever you can and ensure these guys succeed!
The meeting will be at the Bocoup Loft, 355 Congress Street, Boston, MA, as usual, from 7pm – 10pm. BYOB and BYOFood. You can find more info about our meetups on the Meetups page.

November Boston Indies meetup: Girls Like Robots — Mon, Nov. 19th @ Bocoup Loft

The November 2012 Boston Indies meetup will be on Monday, Nov. 19th @ 7pm at the Bocoup Loft.

This month our local community member Ziba Scott will talk about what he’s learned from making and releasing Girls Like Robots, his recently-released, critically-acclaimed iOS game.

Here’s the skinny on his talk:


Girls Like Robots; Indies Like Success!

Girls Like Robots, Adult Swim’s latest critically acclaimed game, owes much of its design and execution to the Boston Indies community. So I figure I owe it to the community to spill my guts for you so you can pick up any useful bits. (I won’t be as gross as that sounds, though, I promise!)
Like most games, GLR’s successes come from a mix of effort, perseverance, and luck. I can’t promise you luck, but I can describe the successful efforts we made in the process of making GLR that you may wish to reproduce for your own projects.

In a bold attempt at pandering to the interests of the whole of BI, I will discuss:

– Funding
– Playtesting
– Puzzle design
– Hiring contractors
– Cheap booth decorations
– Working with Adult Swim
– Flat-out lying to Penny Arcade to get in to PAX East

Also: Was Twitter integration worth it? How long do players play? How many sales can a TV ad generate? Pie charts, line charts… bar graphs if you’re lucky. Graph porn!


 

The meeting will be at the Bocoup Loft, 355 Congress Street, Boston, MA, as usual, from 7pm – 10pm. BYOB and BYOFood. You can find more info about our meetups on the Meetups page.

Announcing Boston FIG!

Boston Indies and the MIT Game Lab are proud to present our very first annual Festival of Indie Games, which we are calling Boston FIG!

The festival will take place on September 22, 2012, on the MIT Campus in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.

The Boston Festival of Indie Games is a celebration of independent game development with emphasis on the New England region. The Boston FIG seeks to support and showcase the efforts of independent game developers by providing a free public event that encourages attendees to share and interact with games in various media, including video games, location-based games, tabletop games and interactive fiction. Produced under the non-profit auspices of Be Epic, a Boston location-based games production group, the Boston Festival of Indie Games is focused on creating an intersection between community, academic and independent interests in game play.

For more on the festival, go to www.bostonfig.com.

Bocoup Loft – New space, same great crowd

Having outgrown The Betahouse, and then The Asgard, Boston Indies has most recently relocated to the Bocoup Loft in South Boston. Apart from being the home of some extraordinary HTML5 developers, Bocoup offers a larger, more comfortable space. Those of you who have come to some of the meetups at The Asgard this year must have noticed just how crowded that space was getting with the great presentations and talks we’ve had this year. At certain times, even standing-room was hard to come by. Even though it was a great convenience to have food and beer served to our tables, it became clear that the back room of The Asgard could no longer accomodate the growing interest in the Boston Indies meetup. Bocoup solves this problem with ease and offers several improvements on top.

The Asgard

July 2010 meetup at The Asgard

The arrangement of the meetup room at Bocoup lends itself perfectly to presentations. Speakers should find it a lot easier to address the crowd in front of them. On both sides of the room, there’s extra space to sit or stand, so before and after the talks the crowd can easily expand to fill the spacious area offered by Bocoup, making it effortless for all of us to move around to different conversations throughout the evening. Bocoup being a development house and not a pub, we have switched back to the golden days of BYOB. For those of us who are too lazy to bring their own beer (raises hand), Lucky’s right downstairs and many other pubs in the area accomodate the food&drinks needs quite adequately.

Bocoup Loft

September 2011 meetup at the Bocoup Loft

Being very close to South Station, Bocoup is also very easy to get to, although it feels like we’ve lost a few people during the transition from The Asgard. We can only hope that they can find the time to join us at the new location. It certainly feels like a great home for Boston Indies. You can find the directions to Bocoup, along with the details of our next meetup, at the Meetups page.

Announcement – New Staff Configuration

I’m writing this in order to announce a new staff configuration for BostonIndies.com.  But first, a little background.

In January, Scott Macmillan asked me if I’d like to help him and Darren Torpey with setting up and launching an online presence for the Boston Indies community. I said “Hells yes!”

BostonIndies.com quickly became an obsession of mine, but rather than be hasty we wanted to do it right. After GDC and PAX East were through we finally had enough of it sorted out to launch on April 1, 2011 (no joke!) with enough retroactive content to document the community’s events from January 2011 forward. As Scott was busy with shifting the location of the meetups from the Asgard to the new Bocoup loft location, the event coverage was developing precedents, readership and a staff of volunteer writers and media contributors. Slightly before Scott announced that he was handing over the leadership of the organization to community managers Darren, Caroline and Yilmaz, we were able to implement K. Adam White’s design. I’m proud of the work that everyone has done and I hope that it continues to grow in the following months and years.

As anticipated back in early August, I accepted a new job as a game writer this month and it has completely consumed my time. During the month of August I worked with Scott and the new community managers to develop an organizational scheme for the site upkeep and the event coverage. I was taking on quite a lot with BostonIndies.com and my duties had long outgrown the role of Managing Editor. We decided that it was important to distribute my responsibilities among the several volunteers who were enthusiastic and able to continue the tradition of documenting our activities with writing and media.

As of the beginning of September, the Boston Indies Community Managers have accepted joint roles as Co-Publishers and site Co-Owners. Scott and I will be there to offer feedback and assistance as Advisers. Caroline Murphy began to fulfill the duties of Editor-In-Chief with Ian Murphy (no relation) accepting the position of Managing Editor. Another important addition was Michael Carriere as Media Editor.  Together, I’m sure they will continue to build on all the volunteer work of the last six months. Please be sure to thank them for their time and efforts when you see them. They do it for free. They do it because they care. They do it for you.

If you would like to volunteer to write for BostonIndies.com, email [email protected]. If you would like to contribute media, email [email protected]. For any other questions or concerns, please refer to the Contact Page.

Announcement – Next meeting: August 22nd – Demo Night @ Bocoup Loft

Hello fellow indies,

Our next meeting will be on August 22nd, between 7pm and 10pm at the Bocoup Loft.

This month we’re having another Demo Night!

Demo Night is where everyone should bring whatever they are working on and share with one another. What happens at demo night, stays at demo night. You’re encouraged to take advantage of this trusted environment to solicit honest feedback from your peers.

 

Directions: The Bocoup Loft 355 Congress Street Boston, MA

When you get in the door, come up the short flight of stairs, turn left into the hallway, then go up to the second floor.

Here are walking directions from South Station to The Bocoup Loft: (map)

The event is BYOBB (Bring Your Own Bread n’ Beer)

The Past, Present and Future of Boston Indies


There are some changes in the air at Boston Indies. Before explaining them, I would like to take the opportunity to record how the group was founded, and why. But, if you want the tl;dr of what’s going on, skip to the bottom.

Boston Indies began back in early 2009 when Jim Buck – a great friend, contract programmer, and fellow indie – cajoled me into coming out for beers with him. Both of us were spending most of our time locked up in our houses, coding… Jim mostly working on contracts and me puzzling my way through the poorly documented BlitzMax language as I taught myself how to code. Jim knew I was going nuts all alone in the house all day. He kept bugging me until we had a semi-regular beer rendezvous going on.

Photo courtesy of Dejobaan

We aren’t quite sure who – I think it was Jim – but at one of these, we decided that we should see if others were interested in getting together as well. I got up at Post Mortem (Boston’s local IGDA chapter) that month and announced that Jim and I would be having beers and that people were welcome to join us. We had two hardy souls show up – Kevin O’Brien and Ray Wallace III. We were somewhat disappointed that only two people showed up – we figured on at least five or more.

The next month, we moved what we were by then calling Boston Indies to Betahouse. Betahouse was a co-working space near Central Square in Cambridge where entrepreneurs and freelancers of all kinds shared desks, as well as each other’s time and company. I also made a point to post the meet-up to the Post Mortem blog. We had over 30 people show up.

Jim and I were floored! Apparently, we had tapped into something potent. There were a lot of people working on their own stuff in their free time. There were others who wanted to make it into games or just wanted to make their own game, like I did. There were also a lot of people who simply wanted to support the folks doing that. In no time, it was an honest-to-God community. We were a group of people with a shared identity and purpose: people that loved games, the craft of making them, and shared an ambition to do so.

After that, we were off to the races. Boston Indies remained at Betahouse for many months. We ended up filling it to the rafters on a number of occasions. The energy was – and still is – amazing. I met people every month that I hadn’t known before and that were doing crazy awesome stuff.

Photo courtesy of David Bolton

We also set up a Google Groups mailing list for the community. It rapidly hit 100 people. These days, we’re up over 300. It quickly became a hub for discussing all things related to independent development in the Boston area.The more experienced members were quick to share their knowledge. We were always welcoming new members into the fold.

The community grew and changed along the way. Some of our more established members began to attend less frequently, casualties to their success and busy lives. Some folks moved away, more people showed up. Some people stopped attending as their priorities shifted away from making games.

Early on, Jim stopped being active with BI because of his own over-committed schedule, so I started flying solo. More recently, I admitted that we’d outgrown The Asgard. With a little help, I found our new spot over at the Bocoup Loft. The email list ballooned and eventually became a bit unwieldy.

Much more recently, Jon Myers and Darren Torpey finally got the Boston Indies website up and running. It rapidly became an ongoing concern, with a small cadre of excellent volunteer writers covering everything Boston Indies related that they could find.

Photo courtesy of Elliott Mitchell

Eventually, Jim moved out west, back to California. My life ended up changing a lot as well. I became a father. I also shut down Macguffin Games and found a new job working at a great social games startup here in Boston, Viximo. And Boston Indies, because of all the growth and success we have seen, became a bit more than one person could easily handle. And so, this all leads up to one more change.

Starting this month, I’m stepping back from organizing Boston Indies.

I’ve had a fantastic and incredibly rewarding time helping everyone come together. It’s now time for me to pass the baton to people that can continue to grow and nurture BI – to those who will help it keep up with the demands of its larger and more diverse membership. I do so happily, knowing that the people succeeding me are both extremely competent and thoroughly committed to the idea that Boston Indies is here to help its members make some frigging games.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce Caroline Murphy (formerly Himmelman), Darren Torpey, and Yilmaz Kiymaz as the new organizers of Boston Indies. All three are competent, passionate, and utterly community-oriented game developers. I don’t think I could leave the community in better hands.

Jon, the current Managing Editor of the BostonIndies.com site, has told me repeatedly that I downplay everything I’ve done for the community. I think he’s full of it. The only things I’ve done are to channel and guide the incredible energy that all of you folks bring with you; I’ve just pointed in a direction. You’ve all done the work. Please continue to meet, code, talk, and help one another.


 

Scott Macmillan is the co-founder of Boston Indies, now a sometimes indie developer, and a jack-of-all-trades. He can be found on twitter as @MrMacguffin.