Marta Ziółkowska

Game development

Why it’s so damn important to participate in gamedev conferences as an indie? – International Games Week Berlin coverage.

You are passionate about creating games and you consider creating your own indie start-up, but you have never been at gamedev conference? SHAME ON YOU! (as Ol’ Dirty Bastard said;))

As I mentioned during my lecture about games marketing at the Poznań University of Technology, you have to go to people and show your face. DEAL WITH IT!

If you don’t have money, just don’t worry, me neither! There is an easy way to manage it. Usually, all conferences need some volunteers to help with services like selling tickets, registration, cloakroom, information desk, lecture room coordinators, entry check and so on. If you decide to help the organizers, you will get a free ticket for the conference. Usually, you have to work only for half of the conference time or even less, so you have a lot of free time to enjoy the event. Good deal, isn’t it? So don’t think about costs, just do it!

I’ve participated in a lot of conferences, especially the polish ones like WGK, Digital Dragons, GIC and I don’t regret any of them.

Why is it worth to take part in this kind of event?

I will try to answer your question by telling a short story from International Games Week Berlin I was a part of.

Me and my GIC crew decided to meet Berlin during the International Games Week which is a cross-industry networking platform for the game industry. It connects a variety of events, including the Quo Vadis conference, where I’ve spent most of my time.

I was a little afraid of the atmosphere at Quo Vadis because the conference is considered as a business-oriented one. I’ve pictured it like a place full of prissy businessmen wearing suits. I promised myself not to give a shit and be myself. As usual, I put my leggings and t-shirt with a funny cartoon hero and was ready to conquer the world!

Even though some people were wearing ties, they were very friendly and relaxed (maybe beside the VIP match-making room :D) The atmosphere of Quo Vadis was really great!


At the very beginning a nice lady from the Microsoft gave me this:

c64 joystick and game-collection

Could it be any better? 🙂

So what should you do to become the greatest one?

Learn from the people who already have the huge experience!

Each conference is full of people who know the cure for all the problems you are dealing with right now. The best lesson is based on mistakes. To avoid disappointment, learn from the mistakes of someone else, not yours.

There are many ways to achieve it. One of them is just talking to people. Sit next to the strangers, when they have a beer. Talk with exhibitors, with speakers after lectures. Don’t be shy, they don’t act like celebrities! Even if they created your favorite game, they are just human being like you are.

The second approach is just to participate a lectures. The topics which were closest to my heart were about developing career, start-ups, other studios work-flows, managing projects, and talking with a publishers and investors.

The most valuable for me was lecture  “Some very different tech-approaches to studio building“, where Johannes Roth, Kai Rosenkranz, Alexander Zachel and Andreas Suika talk how to set up local and distributed teams. It`s priceless to find out how professionalists experienced the first months of their start-ups and how their team and office grew. They gave me very useful tips on how to organize my workflow and workplace.

It was definitely worth to hear a lecture Building a solid foundation for a game startup” by Vlad Micu. This talk was intended to share the insights, learned lessons and best practices of how he succeeded through endless failure. The funny part about it was he explained to the audience why they have to be a dick and have everything write down on papers. And this is the reason:

Check out the rest of this amazing presentation here.

What is a conference besides that? INSPIRATION!

Paul Toderas during his speech “The Name of the Dream: Assassin’s Creed” explored the life of a gamer on his road to becoming a Game Designer. Such a story gives me so much inspiration and positive energy! His journey assured me, that If you really believe in yourself, you are working hard and you are really passionate about something, the dreams come true! He proved the point that what we are trying to achieve in the industry leads to the right direction and is worth 100000000 cups of coffee drank during all sleepless nights!

Even if the competition and market are really hard, as Dominik Gotojuch from Robot Gentleman mentioned during his speach “Indies, beware! Meltdown is nigh!”, almost all indies including himself take a stand that they just don’t care about it and will keep doing all the amazing stuff!

When I’m talking about inspiration, I also mean the bright ideas for projects. You can discover new trends in the industry and what the developers are currently working on. There were many exhibitions filled with industry giants, indies and students, there was no way to be bored.


The last thing I want to mention is networking.

Your new gamedev acquaintances will result in harvest you will be very thankful to have. Whatever problem you will be dealing with: a technical, design or marketing issue in your game project, you will have a friend ready to assist you with good advice.

The most important aspect of networking is parties, where you can grab a beer and chill out with gamedev fellows! The craziest place in the world was .Amaze festival for indie developers. Even though I was there twice for an hour, the magic of this place was just hypnotizing! So many kind, funny and creative people!

Taking the above facts into account, do you consider going to the next gamedev conference?


One Response to “Why it’s so damn important to participate in gamedev conferences as an indie? – International Games Week Berlin coverage.”

  1. Rudy says:

    You should dam wrote that article also on

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