Our AmeriTour - Part #1
Written by Jo. These thoughts are my own, and are not written on behalf of D-Pad Studio.
Phew! That was SOME journey, but we made it!! We're back from the States, doing our roundtrip to show off Owlboy at DICE, GDC and SXSW! Using our merch-girl's tiny Kia Sportage, we've been on the road for 2 months!
BUT, WHY are we spending this much time on the road? Why would any dev spend their precious time doing promo-tours, in this age of connectivity? Promoting your game is as easy as posting about it on Twitter right?
In this 3 parter, I'm going to touch on why we've become addicted to travel, how it has impacted Owlboy's development, and try and figure out if it's been a worthy investment on our part. I'll share numbers, costs and tips on how to fund your travel.
Let's go back to the beginning. One major reason why we started journeying across the sea was simple - Back home, NOBODY cared about our game. We first started showing Owlboy around in 2008 (even before I joined the team in 2009).
American press picked up on it immediately, while in Norway - the game would remain unknown until our debut in Norwegian newspapers back in 2011. We immediately realized Owlboy's international potential once it got nominated for the IGF in San Francisco. We've been traveling to San Francisco annually since then.
IGF at GDC 2010. So young. So naive. Not even knowing what the games next to us were.
Having convention goers, developers and press show genuine interest in the game made us believe in ourselves. Not only were we able to promote it, but we felt like people were listening to us, seemingly understanding what our game and team was all about. I immidiatly set out to discover more venues!
Since getting nominated to IGF, I've been actively seeking out conferences to attend. Below is a list of some of the events and festivals where we displayed Owlboy:
- GDC (San Francisco, nominated for IGF 2010, annually attendance ever since)
- Fantastic Fest (Austin, Texas, 2011)
- PAX 10 (Pax Prime 2013, Seattle)
- PAX Rising (Pax Prime 2016, Seattle)
- SXSW (2013, Austin Texas)
- SXSW Indie Corner (2017, Owlboy won the Gamer's Voice Award)
- E3 (Los Angeles, 2012)
- Minecon (Indie Area, London, 2013)
- SpillExpo (Lillestrom, Norway, annually since 2013)
- Raptus (Comic Festival, Norway, Bergen)
- Nordic Game (Malmo, annually since 2011, Sweden)
- Giga Con (2014, Stand Indie)
- Norwegian Game Awards (Owlboy won GOTY, Award Ceremony)
- SpillPrisen (Owlboy won 3 prizes, Award Ceremony)
- Gullstikka (Savant - Ascent won GOTY, Award Ceremony)
(Recently I discovered PromoterApp, a calendar for any important deadlines or events that might interest budding developers!)
I got so addicted to showing our games off, I started arranging my own indie booth in Norway to help spread some love for our neighboring devs, and give them the same shots we had. We called it Stand Indie.
Stand Indie at SpillExpo 2012. It became a major success, and indies has been a part of SpillExpo ever since.
Later years, I've been too busy with development to help out, but now that Owlboy is released, I aim to get back in the game, starting with a roadtrip through Norway! (More news on that soon).
But none of our travel had been possible without friends. Meeting new developers, and talking to them or adding them on social media helps you stay in the loop for whenever new events are happening. I would have missed half the events we ended up going to, hadn't it been for reminders from fellow devs.
Below is a list of dev groups I recommend following (I'll keep this list updated as I find more):
So we learned a few things from our travels, but what else did we gain? Tomorrow I'll cover how much we ended up spending on travel vs. opportunities that presented themselves. This is a challenging topic to cover, and if you have any questions, please let me know (Twitter), and I'll try and add as many details as possible.
Owlboy has FINALLY launched and we can now talk about it's development! Ask us anything!
For more info on Owlboy, visit owlboygame.com.