Pixel-Lab – with a little help from Channel 4 – are putting together a brand new conference that seems pretty significant to independent games development in the UK. They’re calling it World of Love. I asked David Hayward from Pixel-Lab to explain the concept and he’s provided us with the evolving story behind the project, which you can read below. In brief: UK Indies deserve their own conference, and this is it. Confirmed speakers include Terry Cavanagh, Simon Oliver, Robert Fearon, and Sean Murray. Tickets are £65, and I think they’ll go pretty quickly.
World of Love has grown from some of the indie projects we’ve been doing for the past few years. Eurogamer asked us if we’d like to organise a small show of indie titles for the Expo in 2008, so I started looking into UK companies that might like to show there.
It makes sense in retrospect, but after Introversion made such a huge splash at the IGF, the focus around the word “indie” seemed to have stayed in the US, particularly the bay area, and we wanted to pull some of that back to the UK.
It’s not as if there aren’t indie developers over here, in fact there are loads belting out some amazing work, but a lot of the time they haven’t had the opportunity to meet each other for real. The first IGA pulled a few of them together, and for the second year it started snowballing.
The community here isn’t what you might expect, either. Big studios tend to be quite insular, and some segments of indie gaming have reputations for trolling, fractiousness or hipsterism, but by far most of the indies I’ve met in the UK seem to be a little beyond all that, and mostly take the piss out of it.
We want to actually create somewhere for them to gather, with a bit more focus than just going for drinks or something. To an extent the Indie Games Arcade and the Show & Yell thing we organised around it in 2009 have done a little of that, but we’re sure there’s potential for more.
Show & Yell was a real turning point. I’d invited a load of developers to the back room of a pub in London, where they’d be able to get up and show their work on a huge plasma screen. The only thing the venue didn’t tell us was that the screen was fucked, and we found out half an hour before it started. After a little panic, I thought “I have: A room full of indie developers, a bar tab, and a megaphone. How can this not be fun?”.
It was amazing. People got up and ranted, they showed their work by passing around laptops while they spoke, and they raised matters they cared about really deeply. Nothing was filtered through a PR department. It was unlike any developer event I’ve seen before; I’ve never been among such a supportive and happy group of game developers.
World of Love is going to be a bigger, slightly more sensible brother to Show & Yell. While it’s not an exclusively UK thing, we want to wave the flag for UK indies. There are plenty of them, they have a lot to say, and they shouldn’t have to travel half way around the world for the opportunity.
So that’s World Of Love. I’ll see some of you there, I suspect.