Marie Dealessandri talks to nDreams, Remedy and Creative Assembly about networking and why developers should take time away from the office to attend events and make connections

Game Conferences: Time to Shine

With GDC 2017 gone and EGX Rezzed just around the corner, developers have the perfect opportunity to improve their relationships within the industry at hand. Attending events and networking is an essential part of being in the games industry, and even more important if you are looking for new career prospects.

nDreams’ CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh knows networking is important more than anyone else – without it, his studio might have never succeeded.

By networking, you’re creating opportunities for fate to push you in exciting directions

Patrick O’Luanaigh, nDreams 

“Back in 2007, I had been running nDreams for a year and I was struggling,” he tells Develop. “Everything was much harder than I had expected. I had the opportunity to go up to Edinburgh to a game conference to meet people and network. It was cold, I was tired and I thought it would probably be a waste of time. I was close to saying no. But I didn’t. I went. At that conference I saw a talk about PlayStation Home and consequently had a meeting – with Sony – that directly ended up with us getting a huge deal and propelling our company forwards. If I hadn’t attended the conference, there is a good chance that our 50-strong development studio wouldn’t exist today. In my view, networking is always worth it. By networking, you’re creating opportunities for fate to push you in exciting directions. If you don’t network, you’re missing those opportunities.”

Even if you don’t end up signing the deal of your life, events such as GDC are also the occasion to see your own achievements from another perspective and go back to work with fresh inspiration and new skills, graphics programmer at Creative Assembly Andrea Sansottera reckons. 

“Events are great for staying up to date with new techniques and here at Creative Assembly we value every chance we get to speak to young talent, motivating them to pursue a career in games. I remember reading interesting GDC presentations covering topics such HDR or deferred rendering and being inspired to one day become a games developer.”

He continues: “Events like GDC offer a great opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved, and this year we’ll be presenting our Halo Wars 2 optimization work. At GDC we not only share our experiences, but also learn from other developers who went through similar challenges.”

Remedy’s head of communications Thomas Puha adds that it’s never too late to learn something new and gives an essential tip: “While it’s old school, always, always have business cards with you so you can leave something of yourself to whoever you talked to. It amazes me how many people neglect this.

“In general, despite Skype, Slack and email and all these communication tools, nothing beats talking face to face with other developers in the industry. It’s inspirational to hear other stories, but it’s also educational. You can always learn something new and that’s what’s kept me going in the games industry for the past 20 years. Unlike many other industries, in ours you can go talk to people whose games you admire and pick their brains on how they did things.” 

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