Penny Arcade Expo 2011 at the Boston Convention Center

The most informative, intellectual and entertaining panel that I attended at PAX East 2011 was “Start Your Own Damned Company”. It was also one of the most creditable and organized panels. A friend (nick-named “The Sheriff”) talked me into seeing it last minute.

The overall topic revolved around what it takes to start your own studio/company. The panel was mostly Q&A; audience members wrote their questions on cards, and handed them up to the moderator who only presented the gems to the panel.

The panelists were direct with their answers and backed them up with experience. There were moments where they did not agree and they debated their points to the benefit of the audience. As an industry vet, I say that they were all correct, and their disagreements shed more light on the idea of what the most generic potential-developer needs to do in-order to ship a game. The truth, and most important take-away from this panel is: If you are serious about making a game and/or starting a company, start moving toward your finished product. Simple right? Spot on, I say. Start making it (paper prototype or start programming), if you need help, find people who can help you (look first in your backyard and zoom-out until you find someone).

Another key point that I want to echo is find a mentor and find a community. Even if you’re an industry vet, mentors are helpful and they can hold you accountable. A community is a definite–local communities are even better; keep them in the loop with what you are doing and listen to their suggestions. Communities lead to connections, support and a more polished product.



Extra Info:

  • This is based on my opinion, I only attended a handful of panels.
  • I was on the Play Eternal panel that filled in for a Sat. 2pm slot (it went well).
  • PAX East Schedule and overview of all panels. Look for Sunday at 4:30.