Gamelab was the first game convention that I have attended, both as a guest, and as an exhibitor. Not being all that familiar with Gamelab, I had no idea how big or small the convention would be, so it would be safe to say I was not sure what to expect.
I was pleasantly surprised by Gamelab, I really enjoyed the intimate atmosphere, and the the ease with which one could approach and chat with everyone.
The Norwegian Game Developers
I did not know anybody in the norwegian group of game developers before travelling with them to GameLab, but I got to know them during the course of the journey.
The Norwegian group that went to GameLab came from a variety of backgrounds, covering all areas from game design, programming, level design, community management, sound and video editing, art, and marketing, to business administration. There was also a good mix of both experienced and less experienced game developers (like myself) present.
Sharing our experiences about game development, programming, and release strategies was both interesting and enlightening. I learned a lot, but also got the impression that some of my insights and experiences were valuable to the others as well.
A particularly valuable experience for me was watching my fellow game developers and other Gamelab guests playing my game. I learned more about my game and the responses it generates by watching fifteen minutes worth of people playing it, than I could ever have imagined.
The hardest part was choosing between being present at the stand and show off our games, and choosing which talks to attend.
The schedule had so many good good talks.
Of the talks I attended, the highlights were Tim Schafer from Double Fine (creator of Grim Fandango and Broken Age, co-creator of Monkey Island, among other games), had a great talk.
I have written blog posts for both of the talks, were I have included almost all the quotes that I found to be valuable to me.
Unfortunately I missed out on Rami Ismail's talk, but I later had the opportunity to see a recording of it online. In my opinion that was the best talk of Gamelab 2014.
I would also like to add an important quote from one of the talks:
"Play has always been a way to practice real world problems."
-Jade Raymond, Managing Director of Ubisoft Toronto
Displaying our games
Being at the stand and promoting my game to other convention guests was a valuable experience. I would say that if you manage to get their attention, and they choose to pick up the game to try it for themselves, then the first part of your job is done. After that, you just have to trust that the game will do the job for you.
The second part of the job is to answer questions about the game (and other related subjects). If the game garners enough interest that you do get questions about it, I would consider that to be a good sign..
If I were to give advice to future attendees, my best advice would be to
Get yourself a business card.
Always bring your business card wherever you go - you never know when you need them.
Observ people play your game - notice their comments and their emotions as they play. That should tell you what they like and don't like about your game.
A most welcome "bi-product" of traveling with other game developers is that in addition to sharing experiences, it might lead to several potential future collaborations down the line.
Also, just being together with others that share a passion for game development really boosted my motivation.
All in all I would say that the experience as a whole made me feel like a belong in the game industry, and it further convinced me that I should follow my dream of making games for a living.
To me this was an invaluable experience, and I would like to thank Game Developers Guild Norway for giving me and my company the opportunity to be there.