At the Houston Game Devs Shows and Tell Meetup, game developers of all experience levels come together to showcase their current projects. Attendees share feedback, shortcuts, and lessons learned while building community and connections among Houston's game developer network. We sat down with meetup organizer, Brandon Smith, to talk about the importance of community, how meetups help with his motivation, and ways others can get involved.
What’s your day job?
I'm an IT Consultant for a small oil and gas company. A lot of helping people set up their computers and with that, it is semi-related to what I do as a game programmer. Working in technology 24/7.
How did you develop your interest in Game Development?
It started around the time when I was in high school. I saw this program RPG Maker for PlayStation 2 and I didn't know that games could be made by regular people. Once I figured that out, it was off to the races for me!
Why did you decide to create a meetup of your interest?
Well, there are a lot of other game developers in Houston, but Houston is a very big, spread-out city. So, there are a lot of developers who may need resources, who need connections, so having a meetup in Houston for game developers is a good way to bring the spread-out city into one place and people can share resources and share connection to help build each other up within the community.
How has your meetup community impacted you?
On a professional aspect, it really helped me in terms of getting my first game published. I met some artists and programmers who ended up working on my game, and I got really good feedback that helped me to create a final product at the end. And there is the added aspect of having to show off a game to other developers. You want to impress them, so it is a good motivator to keep working on your game and to never give up.
Why do you think it’s important for people to participate in meetup communities?
I think it is important, not just in the game industry, but in all industries because who you know can really change your outcome because all industry is driven by people, and the more connection you make with people, the more opportunities you will see. You will also be able to refine your product more and it is just a good motivator.
What’s your advice for someone interested in developing their own meetup group?
My advice would be to keep your location relatively central if you are trying to do something that appeals to the broad of Houston. I know Houston is a big place and there is no way to avoid having a long drive for everyone, but try to keep your location central, so it’s as minimal drive for as many people as possible. Get feedback from your members, try to offer a variety of different events, try to offer things that are social, things that are fun, and things that are a bit more professional. Get a good committee going on, don’t try to take it on by yourself. Find the key people that are the most dedicated to the cause and bring them on board to kind of help you organize things, help you stay on task and with that, hopefully it will become a very large meetup group.
Who comes to your meetup/events?
We have a wide variety of students because the game industry is quite hard to break into. These students really need resources and feedback and this is the place for them to get it outside of school. We also have a lot of small companies here in Houston that will send a representative to come do a talk.
How can people get involved?
We have a Facebook group called Game Dev Houston and we are taking in a lot of feedback to really increase the amount of events we have and to boost our recognition. Of course we have our meetup page, Houston Game Dev Show and Tell. We also have IDGA Houston where we hold other events. So, those are the best ways to get in touch with us and the best ways to find out what we are doing.
Houston Game Devs Shows and Tell meets on the last Wednesday of the month at Station Houston. Interested in hosting your technology, startup, entrepreneurship, or innovation focused meetup at Station? Fill out form below!