Day of the Devs is an annual gathering of independent developers and the gaming public to try out Independent games that are yet to be released. Independent developer Double Fine has been hosting Day of the Devs since 2012. Developers come from around the world to show their games to the public, to share their vision with hundreds of people.
In a small building in the Warehouse district of San Francisco, people stand in lines to try out games they’ve been waiting for, with developers on standby waiting to answer questions and see how people play their game. Among these many games, there will be ones that stand out, such as Harry Halibut, a game created entirely out of clay figures and settings scanned from actual 3D models.
Game Designer and composer, Onat Hekimoglu spoke with us about his game. “Our inspirations come from a lot of places. If you ask us, it came from many 1990s adventure games, but also stop-motion films that inspired us to go for this style. When we started, we experimented with various techniques including real stop motion animation. It was one of the biggest obstacles, but from that point on once we had all that set up everything went well.”
Another game teaches people that it is OK to be shy, to take a look inside themselves. Developer Pale Room looks to explore more of this concept.
Gabrielle told us about her inspiration for Small Talk, a surreal game that deals with exploring and understanding your inner self. “I was reading a lot of David Foster Wallace books, and I loved that idea of making games that are a part of you, and you can actually see yourself, and you’re actually changed a bit by it. Games don’t make themselves, you have to make them, and it’s putting enough time aside to get through it. I lucked out because you have to find people that are really dedicated to a specific vision. I want people to see a little bit more inside of themselves.”
Friendship and cooperation are another important theme. Pode is one such game. Based in Norway, developer Henchmen and Goon set out to make a likable cooperative game that can be played by anyone.
Game Designer Yngvill Hopen talked about her inspiration for Pode. “I wanted to make a game to play with my three-year-old son. You could have one person do all the difficult puzzles while the other explores. The setting of the game is based on Norwegian folk art, just Norwegian nature. Our obstacle was being able to balance the game for a single player and cooperation and making everything work and making a game fun for a three-year-old child as well as an adult. It’s been a lot of work to make everything look right. I want to teach people to work together and be friends. It’s very focused on emphasizing positive actions.”
Games like Pode can teach others about friendship and fun for all ages. The people at Sunset Division say otherwise, by creating a game isolating the player on an abandoned mining rig on an unknown planet leaving you to your own devices. The Rig is a virtual reality experience which puts players in the shoes of a travel agent in search of his lost sister-in-law. This haunting experience will keep them on their toes. Local San Francisco developer Sunset Division wanted to make a virtual reality game that was like the old adventure games of the 90s.
Artist and Filmmaker Abe Deekman detailed why making virtual reality games are so difficult. “The biggest obstacle was virtual reality, that’s all brand-new for us, and it’s very different in ways I never expected from making a traditional 2D game. Things you would think that would normally work no longer work at all. For example, moving around, you want to lessen the impact and how it plays. It’s hard to move really quickly because people will get sick really quickly. We have teleporting to solve that.”
Bit Trip Runner 3, by Choice Provisions, has the wacky fun people are looking for. Weird imagery, a bouncy soundtrack, and a challenge. Game designer Dant Rambo and his team had a love for the older Classic Atari games as well as rhythm games. They made the first Bit Trip Runner game out of passion and kept with it, making sequels. He hopes to teach people that games can be more than just shooters and gritty adventure games. The games industry is dominated by a wide range of individuals looking to express their visions to the world, and this is just the start.