Colombia GameDev Summit – 2022

Medellín, Colombia. November 29, 2022

Organized by Rocket Ride Games, the first “Colombia GameDev Summit” took place at the Click Clack Hotel, offering food, drinks, and a very decent lineup of speakers for a great afternoon of game development experience sharing in the famed city of Eternal Spring.

Photo courtesy of Tan Grande y Jugando

Swedish indie game publisher Raw Fury had people fly to Medellin to meet with the local developers and share a little bit about their selection process.  Mea Nilimaa, Games Scout, opened the talks with recommendations on how to have a successful pitch, and some of the pitfalls developers commonly fall on when contracting with publishers: what happens if you fail a milestone delivery? what are your rights over the IP and subsequent sequels? and the other projects your studio is working on?

After the opening talk, there was a section featuring founders from Colombia game dev companies.

Luis Correa, a local from Medellin and founder of C2 Game Studio, shared the journey of “Project Monolith”, their ambitious action-adventure game that started development many years ago, was a recipient of an Epic Megagrant, and finally got a publishing deal this year. Luis shared the ups and downs of indie game development, and some tips to overcome the inevitable loss of motivation and push forward making the best use of the resources you have at hand and the skills of your team.

Isaac Cortissoz, CEO of Killasoft, from Barranquilla, gave a talk about their workflow which is based on a solid pre-production phase where all the fun decisions are taken and tools are developed in order to have a smoother (and boring!) production stage where you are just executing a well-laid out plan. A very intriguing talk that created a lot of conversation on the scenarios in which these ideas can be applied. Killasoft is currently working with NetFlix on a videogame for the hit series “Money Heist” (La Casa de Papel) as well as their game INNER.

Then we had old-guard indie developer Carlos Rocha from Dreams Uncorporated, makers of the hit award-winning jRPG Cris Tales published by Modus Games in 2021. He was very happy and excited to go back to having talks with a live audience and shared the journey of Dreams, how they evolved as a studio through many games exploiting and refining curious and unique game mechanics, and their process to discover and develop “seed” mechanics for their games, sometimes finding marvelous inspiration when looking the “normal” things with different eyes. Carlos revealed he hoped to continue developing games until his deathbed.

Gamedev legend Eivar Rojas, founder of the Efecto Studios (the second largest game development company in Colombia) and Red Minas Coffee (the most sought-after coffee brand by game devs worldwide, someday), shared their experience signing with publishers, the different stages of a publishing contract and what to look after when you are in each one of them, as well as their tips to grab the attention of a publisher and to know when to pitch based on the stage of the project, the target platform and monetization model.

The event was organized in a chill informal space of the modern hotel, which allowed the assistants to have conversations in between the talks while drinking delicious soda and cocktails. Talking with fellow developers we were really happy to see so many new faces, some of which may be active actors in the continued growth of the local industry.

A second part of the event featured (either by design or coincidence) a number of women in leadership positions in the Colombian game dev industry.

Photo courtesy of Tan Grande y Jugando

Sandra Castro from the “Tan Grande y Jugando” game development community, shared her updated GDC’22 talk ‘Breaking the Gap”, with insights about the role of women in the video game industry, the many efforts currently underway to improve it from the perspective of the Latin American game dev industry, and how we all can contribute to improving the situation from our respective positions as founders and workers of the industry.

Photo courtesy of Tan Grande y Jugando

Marcela Rincón shared her experience as Talent Management Lead for Teravision Games, the biggest game development company in Colombia, makers of the acclaimed VR game “Captain Toonhead vs. The Punks From Outer Space” and the gamescom’22 hyped “Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game“. She talked about the many roles that are required to develop a videogame besides art and gameplay programming (the two disciplines traditionally more sought after to enter the company), inviting people to consider specializing in these other roles and strengthening their networking to get into the industry.

Photo courtesy of Tan Grande y Jugando

Finally, María Carolina Visbal and Paula Buitrago, from Colombian game development-specialist firm “IE Law Bedoya Visbal” closed the event talking about the importance of having the support of a specialized lawyer assisting your team from the onset of any M&A or publishing deal, so that you can see all the possible outcomes and drive the negotiations around them, and prevent missing small details in the law that can become big risks.

As always this was a great opportunity too to meet with friends from the industry from all around the country! Many thanks to RocketRide for organizing the event, and I hope this is just the first of many!

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