When most people think of gamers or game devellopers they fall upon the easy (read lazy) stereotype of guys sitting in their underwear in their parents’ basement with little to no social skills. Once you have attended MIGS18 you realize that nothing could be further from the truth. Those who attend this conference are people people who gather together to exchange all their ideas and discuss issues relevent to their domain. Anything you could want to know about the gaming environment can be found here. So much that I am sure that those who attend have to train all year to build up their stamina in order to take in everything.
Multiple things are going on at once at all times at MIGS18. Within the Exposition room there are a ton of industry companies like Ubisoft, Vanilla, Cogeco and Dolby waiting to show you what they are up to. Here I learned that we are moving beyond virtual reality to things like games that are voice controled. Amazing!
In two sections of that expo room are places where talks took place. On day One there were talks about topics like inclusive social events in the industry, a female designer talking about how she hand crafted 400+ levels for Flinthook, another talk about mobile player data from the west vs the east, and finally about the character art in Spider-Man. Varied and all interesting. The speaker list was impressive covering all levels and aspects of the industry. Some who graced the stage included Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games, Mark Val, PlayFab Engagement Manager at Microsoft, Geoff Elenor, Game Director at Warner Bros., Sarah Beck, Online Software Developer at EA Motive, and Anna Scollan, Industry Relation at ACTRA.
In another area was a job fair where those looking for a variety of jobs within the industry could go to make connections. That area was hosted by Espresso Jobs.com. Tucked away in another corner was the mentoring zone where you could make a one on one appointment with someone from the industry and pick their brain for a spell. This was dubbed the Rhum Seassions as that company sponsored it. A popular choice for students or those looking to break into the industry. Senior artists from the VFX and Animation fields were paired with those who enlisted for the 20 minute one-on-one meet ups. The artists would then go over the portfolio of the person and make some suggestions or constructive criticisms. The options were endless all within that one exposition room.
Moving around the conference environment there was something happening called Sessions. Using many different rooms there were a variety of workshops or sessions happening and you could choose to attend whichever ones caught your attention. Here again the variety was wide with topics covered such as: Adventures in Video Game Writing, Artists Where Do We Go Now?, Better Creative Leadership, Cutting the Vertical Slice, and Ethical Video Game Monetization. And I am just scratching the surface. Every facet was thought of and presented as part of the industry.
A facet of the conference that should grab the interest of locals is the Indie Pitch. Sponsored by Square Enix, 15 Quebec based indies have 2.5 minutes to present their project with the hope of grabbing someone’s attention who can fund it. You can witness the ground floor of someone’s idea coming to life.
Finally, there were Master Classes. MIGS18 and TECHNOCompétences worked together again this year to present this section of the programming. It is getting repetitive, but has to be said nonetheless. The variety here is rather impressive. Examples of the Master Classes that went on include: Efficient UX Design methodologies, Good Game Design is Invisible: Designing for the Human Psyche, Advanced Shader Creation for Visual Effects, Macro Design and Story, and Bridging the procedural modelling gap with Houdini. Something for everyone.
Once you read all this and attend you begin to understand why each year between 2,500 and 3,000 gaming industry types and enthusiasts attend MIGS.
Stay tuned for information on the next edition – MIGS19.