Travel Log

Was great to head back to Mexico City. Such an intense and vibrant city with so much art and design talent. I was the opening speech for Transitio, a well respected digital media and arts festival. Fun story, there was an earthquake warning in the middle of my presentation so we all had to leave the auditorium for a few minutes. Crazy.

Conveniently enough, the Electronic Game Show (Mexico’s equivalent of E3) was happening the same week. I popped in there as well to meet a bunch of indie studios and give a lecture in the forum section. Was great to see all the action. EGS was set to hit 50k attendees, a 20% increase over last year.


Part of the Transitio art exhibit.

Results from the game jam for social change.

Transitio organizers officially open the event and welcome the participants.

Mid-speech, we are evacuated into the agora due to earthquake warnings.

Sony had a big presence at the EGS.

Star Wars stuff was all over the place.

Mexican knock-off of the IndieMegaBooth.

No clue what this building is… just thought the light was cool ;)

Mmm, nice spicy cocktails!

My only souvenir from my week in Mexico.

Headed down to Boston with a bunch of folks from the Execution Labs family for the Unite conference (ie, Unity’s annual gathering). As usual, it is a deep dive into all things Unity and a great chance to stay connected with key folks from the Unity community.

For the first time at Unite, there was a #madewithUnity Showcase, which Execution Labs helped to coordinate and curate. And, as luck would have it, several of our teams made it into the Showcase. Fun was had by all.


CEO John Riccitiello delivers the opening keynote.

Special guest speaker Rob Pardo on the origins of multi-player games.

XL alumnus Kitfox showing off Moon Hunters.

Current XL cohort team Artifact 5 demoing Anamorphine.

Family dinner at all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ.

Dan Pearson ( striking out at the closing party.

The last time I was at PAX Prime was before it was called Prime. It was just PAX. No East, or South, or Australia, or Dev, etc. Just PAX. As usual, it did not disappoint with the customary onslaught of games and geeky awesomeness!

We had eight Execution Labs teams in tow. Kitfox was demoing Moon Hunters in the IndieMegaBooth, while Switchblade Monkeys had a dedicated booth to show off Secret Ponchos. The other six teams were behind closed doors pitching publishers and other such partners. Made for an intense couple of days.

Sadly, I was stuck in meetings most of the time. Good meetings… but meant I missed most of the fun on the show floor. And, absolutely no time for some board game action. Next time! 

From the 28th floor of the Grand Hyatt. My view for ~90% of PAX.

Constant lines to play Secret Ponchos!

The Kitfox booth was constantly jammed!

YouTube Gaming making a big splash after the announcement.

Arriving at the Sony party…

Awesome Chihuly glass sculpture.

Going to industry events is pretty taxing (days packed with meetings and evenings full of networking). Doing two events back-to-back is not for the feint of heart. I braved the bonkers big Gamescom (which includes GDC Europe and the Respawn indie gathering) in Cologne, Germany. Then flew over to San Francisco for the USA edition of Casual Connect. Some true event marathoners were in Shanghai for ChinaJoy the week prior!

And so, Gamescom continues to grow, with a record breaking 345,000 attendees. I was on stage 5 different times for various funding and business lectures/panels. While the show remains largely focused on the big league games, the ~50 titles in the Indie Arena were great to check out. We even had two of our Execution Labs studios on the floor: Tequila showing off Earthcore, and Sand Sailor demoing Black the Fall.

Heading over to SF for Casual Connect made for an interesting contrast. The heavy focus was on “app app pay pay” vendors… and every game on display on the floor was an indie game. Biggest surprise was that I enjoyed the Michael Eisner keynote ;)


Gamescom: The Sand Sailor crew setting up their Black the Fall booth. Danger!

Gamescom: The bustling floor of the Respawn gathering.

Gamescom: Giant syringe cocktail. Yummy!

Gamescom: There are booths literally from everywhere at Gamescom.

Gamescom: Will and Bruno of Thunder Lotus games showing off Jotun in the Indie Arena.

Gamescom: Tequila Games’ corner in the Indie Arena to demo Earthcore.

Gamescom: Martin Garrix plays the infamous WarGaming party.

Casual Connect: Michael Eisner conducts a lively opening keynote.

Casual Connect: View from the 45th floor of the Hilton Union Square, where the speakers are fed lunch :)

Casual Connect: I never miss a chance to hear Emily Greer (Kongregate) present!

Casual Connect: On the party bus… oh my…

Casual Connect: Main event party held at City Hall.

Casual Connect: Execution Labs co-founder Keith Katz (far right) hosts a deep dive on indie marketing. From left: Ken Seto (Massive Damage), Steve Escalante (Versus Evil), and Justin Bailey (Fig / Double Fine).

I was at the very first Develop conference over a decade ago, and kept attending over the first few years. Having missed that last couple of years, was nice to return to Brighton and take in the glory of the largest UK developer conference… along the beach no less.

Was good to see an emphasis on indies and startups, with several sessions on funding, a full indie day, an 18 hour game jam, and a game showcase. The UK scene is so dense that just walking into the lobby and bumping into folks delivers enough value to justify the trip! Sadly, I was stuck mostly in meetings that I didn’t get to take in too many sessions.

Evolve closing panel on day 1. Best advice? Ian Baverstock: “Stop making crap games.”

Ella Romanos with an exhaustive list of funding options/approaches in the UK.

Ah, a moment to chill. 

Cool games in the indie showcase. Hue won both the jury prize and popular vote.

Simon Roth with an excellent lecture on the business realities of being indie.

Big day for Leanna Bayley as she won the game jam, and delivered an excellent rant on the need to hire for more parents :)

Quick visit to Payload Studios, who were streaming their TerraTech game, and Starbound from guests Chucklefish.

Another great trip down to Sao Paulo and Rio for the Brazil Indie Game Festival (or BIG). Now easily one of the largest indie focused festivals worldwide, each year the event grows and simply gets more and more intense. My schedule was packed solid meeting developers.

It has been interesting to see the local ecosystem evolve over the past few years. Seems to be a shifting back to PC and digital console, and away from attempts at mobile and social — even though most of the local market is driven by mobile users. Also nice to see the event evolve to include learning games, and games for social impact, as well as roping in a broader audience in terms of investors, government, academia, etc.

Corner of Paulista avenue.

Opening night reception.

Enjoying the view from the Skye Bar.

Main exhibition zone.

Best gameplay nominee, Big Action Mega Fight in action.

The B2B matchmaking area was always humming.

Loading up on meat at Brazilian-style BBQ.

Mmmm, meat….

Amazing samba action at O Do Borogodo.

VP from national bank BNDES opens the BIG awards ceremony.

Swordtales win the Brazilian Revelation award for the poetic Toren.

Tamir Nadav summons his best Pink rendition.

Game expo zone was always packed.

Many informative lecture sessions…

Night view of beach while landing in Rio.

Visit to the first government-backed incubator for creative industries.

Samba school float!

Rafael Bastos pitches Dumativa ahead of an intense mentoring session.

The famous Copacabana Palace.

Sadly, beach was cloudy :(

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