Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Freelancers Guide to DIG : Why One Girl Decided to Attend

Savanah Sewell (JLC) & Katie Wilhelm (LEDC) of 379 Collective at DIG 2010

DIG London is an exciting experience for game and web developers, where us industry folk can come together at Canada’s largest Digital Interactive conference.

As a past DIG attendee, I wanted to share from the prospective of a young developer attending the conference; those questioning whether or not to go, READ ON.

Walking into the busy room, laptop on my hip and pen in hand, I stopped at the doorway to gaze inside the Convention Centre’s grand ballroom. Artists, developers, engineers and programmers walking around tweeting on their smart phones and utilizing today’s top technology in the same room as me. I caught the Networking bug and began shaking hands like a whacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube woman. The contacts made through the first day of the conference not only inflated my twitter followers count, but won me new business and some pretty awesome new friends.

Friendly chatter aside, when it came down to dull the lights and use that pen that I had not lost yet I was instantly glad that I came. The Information and Knowledge about all aspects of industry was something that I did not learn in school. I read a lot of blogs, tutorials and general news feeds but there is something to be said about the social merit in person-to-person engagement. I realized that this human being standing behind the podium knows a lot of things that I don’t, and I have the opportunity to rub elbows and pick their brain. Living off ramen noodles and energy drinks, these chances do not arise often for a college student and “freelancer,” and for such a great price.

Needless to say, I returned the following year with a slightly better computer and a brand new pen that I had picked up from an exhibitor booth because obviously I lost the other one. Having a decent pocket of contacts and new friends attending with me, I was able to spread my digital wings and Explore the conference. A room filled with wonderment called DIGX showcasing interactive workshops caught my A.D.D. in the best kind of way. Travelling from exhibitor booth to exhibitor booth I was able to share my witty banter with more industry professionals and win even more business. Score for the Katers.

Surrounded by new friends and peers at the DIG After Party, I wound down and buckled in for my wild ride into fun-town, I had a non-refundable one way ticket to party-ville with a purpose: to Connect on a personal level with all these geniuses I just heard speak. I ran out of business cards and left feeling pretty special.

Here we are, going into another year of DIG and a familiar feeling is stirring inside of me. Now I am helping to spread the word about DIG and working with the amazing group of people who put this thing together. I have never been a bigger fan than right now of this conference and know that I still have a lot to learn and a lot of hands to shake.

Young and seasoned professionals alike, trust me when I say that you are going to “DIG” this year’s conference on November 14, 2012. Too much? Maybe I can improve my stand-up act this year... J

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Katie Wilhelm is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the London Economic Development Corporation. She enjoys gold nail polish, graffiti art and a good RSS feed.
Connect with her on twitter? @KatieWilhelm
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Video Game Development in London Ontario

Vikas Sharma 
London Ontario is quickly becoming a strong contender in the global development field.

Many people aren’t aware of the remarkable development companies in London Ontario, but they have put London on the map. This post will highlight some of London’s incredible game development companies and in a later post we will cover digital media companies. The companies I will be highlighting are Digital Extremes, Big Blue Bubble, Antic Entertainment, and Big Viking Games.

Digital Extremes (DE) started its journey with a game many of us have played in our leisure time, Epic Pinball. The first time I realized that Epic Pinball was made in London I was proud to know that such a well-known game came from my home town. Digital Extremes is mostly known for Unreal and Unreal Tournament: both legendary games have set a bench-mark for first person shooters. DE also worked on last year’s blockbuster hit Darkness 2, which introduced a brand new graphic style, cell shading, which made the game look almost like a comic book. Digital Extremes is currently working on the much anticipated Star Trek The Game, and are creating an in house free to play game called Warframe. With an ever-growing list of AAA titles DE is solidifying its name in the gaming industry. The diversity of their portfolio makes them an iconic Canadian game developer.

Big Blue Bubble’s continued success can be attributed to their radical research and development efforts. The company has created games for all platforms; which no small feat for any developer.  Big Blue Bubble has provided customers many different gameplay styles and has successfully captured gamers from casual to hard-core. Paper Munchers really got me interested in their work. The game’s physics and character design are engaging and entertaining. Big Blue Bubble is very active in supporting the local video game community by speaking and promoting local gaming meet-ups.

Antic Entertainment makes casual games for hard-core players. Many would think it is difficult to create casual games and still have a hard-core player interested in playing, yet Antic has shown that it is possible game after game. With games like Zombie Misfits, Platoonz, and Junk Wars Antic Entertainment provides the player with a very addictive gaming experience. Zombie Misfits was the first Antic game I played. It’s a tower defense style game with graphics that are above the norm for social games. The gaming experience it created kept me coming back for more. In a time when social media and social games are on the rise, Antic provides a relief for the hard-core player who doesn’t have the time to play console games.

Big Viking Games is Canada's leading social and mobile game development studio who is passionate about creating amazing games that are played and enjoyed by millions of people all over the world.
Founded in 2011, Big Viking Games has quickly gained recognition for its innovative game design. I heard that they are working on some amazing new projects, which will take the social world by surprise. I am really looking forward to the new releases by Big Viking Games, and I know they will turn me into a social player.

London Ontario has a very successful and large gaming community, and the game development companies are assisting in keeping the community strong. They have made it possible for indie developers to gain experience and learn from these large gaming companies. With the support of Digital Extremes, Big Blue Bubble, Antic Entertainment, and Big Viking Games DIG is able to enhance its program year after year. 
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