DevCon teaches the in's and out's of gaming

Updated: Jun 23, 2018

Brooke Nicholson | Arts & Entertainment Editor

Pixelfest, Norfolk’s own gaming festival centered around the art of gaming and all its concepts, was held at the Slover Library from April 7-9 for its second year. Fans and video gamers from around the area gathered to share their love and interest in everything gaming has to offer. Pixelfest offered amateurs and professionals alike with some of gaming’s finest.

DevCon, a multitude of conferences hosted within Pixelfest, let gamers and tech developers see a bit of the behind the scenes of how their favorite games are made, as well as giving a bit of insight as to how they can begin their own. Speakers from ODU, Epic Made, NATO and many more, let game developers, fans and tech developers peer a bit into the world of how games are made, and what makes people come back for more.

One of these conferences, Level Up: Going from Zero to Alpha, held by Anticia Macalou, gave a great overview and discussion about how to get your mobile game or app started on the basic level. She emphasized the importance of knowing where to start, sharing your idea with friends and family, building a good support system around your app and knowing exactly what you want to do with your mobile game or app.

It really gives tech developers a great start to begin development. This gave game and tech developers an inside look into how someone who has developed their own app got started in the industry, how they managed their app and how it became successful. Her main advice was think big, but start small, and don’t expect your app to become as big as Snapchat unless you want it to be.

Aside from the various professional conferences held at Pixelfest, some of the smaller classes from area based game developers provided festival goers with ideas and information about where to start with story narrative, concept design, and how to turn movies into possible video games.

Narrative in Games, a class held by William Hart Ph.D, a professor at Norfolk State University, gave fans a few background notions and concepts developed over the years to help people create stories for video games and how a certain formula can help any game succeed or fail. With examples that have either been turned into movies or video games, such as "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Die Hard," were shown to present the idea of how a story can go from one type of media and change it into another. He emphasized the idea of having all stories or narratives follow the concept of having a beginning, middle, and end, or simply an Act I, II and III, can really help create a smooth flow to the story, and helps players follow along or play much better.

Another class that revolved around these thoughts and ideas was a class held by two local table-top start-ups from the company Epic Made, called Concept to Creation, who brought some of their own designs and characters that they created to inspire students and tech developers about each aspect of what they were creating.

The main part of the class talked about knowing exactly who your characters are, what their motives and goals were, how they looked and how every part of them had to mean something to the character. Drawings and early concept designs of their own work showed two main characters from two factions from their table-top game, one being a huge, tough brute, while the other was a sly, steampunk styled assassin.

Presenting fans with simple black and white drawings at first, colored drawings after, and displaying the final product of the 3D design later, gave people a good look as to how most of video games or movies start out and how they’ll end up looking.

DevCon touched on a lot of basic subjects about everything within the modern entertainment industry, such as building up your story to be good enough to go on to being a movie/video game, knowing what people are looking for when using your app or how to take your characters from being a simple drawing. Then finally, the final product, ready to market and sell.