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Indie Boat 2013

I got back from Indie Boat 2013 a few days ago!

If you want to see pics and videos, check out Dave and Andy’s blogs. If you want to read my account of what went down, read the other two blogs first, and I’ll just fill in my own details.

The trip was an amazing experience. I’ve been to Lake Powell before, so I knew that. Our lake time was great, I had a blast water skiing and sleeping on top of the house boat every night. We saw some cool storms and stars. The food was most excellent. I’ve gotta give a shout out to Colin Northway for his 5 minute GDC talk this past year where he encouraged us to get out and travel a bit more.

This was the first conference I’ve ever organized, and well, it came out way better than I expected. We had about 3 hours of official content per day, and spent the rest of the time talking games too. I led 3 discussions.

Secret Sauce – Where we discussed some of the things we each did to differentiate ourselves. Everyone shared the unique aspects of their business. The trip had a very diverse mix of people from mobile, desktop, web based platforms, so everyone’s approach was a bit different.

Galcon 2 Design – Where I got feedback from everyone on my launch strategy and marketing strategy. I’m still not quite sure how I’m going to do these things, but the crew did encourage me to take the launch of Galcon Legends more seriously than I was taking it.

Indie Survival – Where we discussed surviving the indie life – tips dealing with depression, fitness, workaholism, time management. Working alone and being your own boss is tough, but it is undoubtedly the most awesome job in the world. Key point is to be thankful for what we’ve got.

A few takeaways for me were from these talks:

Personal Story (Andy) – People want to hear more about goats and stuff. I’ll try and do that. I mean, hey, I’ve even got a degree in writing this sort of stuff, maybe it’s time I put it to good use.

Reframing AI (Kim) – Kim got me all fired up about AI. I’ve spent the last 3 days messing with Galcon 2 AI code. It needs some real work to be solid yet, but I’m having fun, although I’m pretty sure I’m using it as a avoidance tactic to put off doing the work I need to do.

Music as more than background (Dave) – It would be fun to make a game where I make / choose the music FIRST and THEN I make the game. (Instead of the other way around!)

Culture (Tim) – Tim defined for us the concept of neotribalism. Which led to some interesting discussion of the various “tribes” in indie culture. All of whom seem to be in a state of constant tribal warfare. Yum? It also got me thinking about my recent departure from some tribes and the significance of that.

Indie Survival (Phil) – Dave suggested doing 45 minute time boxes and then tacking on 10 minutes of banjo practice after each time box. He explained how this helped him clear his mind and get good ideas. I play the fiddle, so I’ve been doing this all week so far. I really like it.

All-in-all, the conference went really well. The small group was the perfect size for doing these small group discussions and we really had fun. I got to know some folks better and meet some new people too! I’m so glad this trip came together!

The evening when I got home, a bunch of cows wandered up our driveway from the ranch next door. This is usually something Nan takes care of, cause she’s in charge of everything animal around here, but she was busy. So I got the lunge whip out and began to march the dozen or so cows and bull down the driveway.

Cows are kind of huge, so the whole way down our 1/8th mile driveway I kept a close eye on them. Last thing I wanted was to be stampeded by a herd of disgruntled bovines. I also had to avoid the real-time cow-pie production remains as I walked behind them.

At the bottom there where a few ranchers who escorted them up the road back to their pasture. On my way back home I fixed part of our electric fence where one of the cows had bumped through.

I clearly need a cowboy hat, and maybe a cattle prod, to really live the rural indie lifestyle.


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