The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of PocketGamer.biz. It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-styled pitching competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.
The event gives indies four minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers and industry pundits. The judges then pick three winners and everybody gets valuable feedback.
The indie view
The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we bring it to events all across the world. To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the events and the games on show, we've sat down with a number of past BIP contestants to offer their views.
Today, we're speaking to Shawn Toh and the team from BattleBrew Productions, who submited BattleSky Brigade: TapTap to The Big Indie Pitch at G-STAR 2018 and walked away as the prize for third place.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio. Who is in the team and what are their inspirations?
Shawn Toh: We were mostly friends, former colleagues or classmates before we started the company, so we're pretty tight. It's both amazing and incredibly annoying to work with your friends. I grew up playing games and I'm really happy to be making them for a living. There's currently 7 of us in the production crew, and half the team are artists. Our team composition is myself on design, Ben and Erny on code, and the rest are a mix of 2D and 3D art. I'll pass the question around the room and see what they say about their inspirations.
Aiysha: I like boys. I like games. I like gameboys.
Ian: I like sausages.
Louis: I like toitles. (He wants it spelt that way)
Zig: My mind is empty right now.
Ben: *Facepalm* ...As you can see it's a little wacky around here. I'm Ben. I have been working in game development for almost 8 years.
Shawn: Ben's a little more serious, but yeah we like working together and making cool things together (For the most part)
Tell us about your latest project that you pitched at the competition.
It's an idle clicker game in which you build up your own floating island town. It's got cute bunnies, airships, walker-bots and goldfish in mecha and magical birds. We've also got seasonal updates and sometimes pirate attacks happen.
How hard is it to survive as an indie developer?
There are tough days. It's a challenge even getting folks to notice your game, so we try and stand out in some way. For us, we doubled down on the quality and paid attention to a lot of the feedback from players. It's about crafting that magic edge and then running with it as far as you can go ...on less budget and time than the larger studios. So yeah, it can be rough, hahaa.
Another problem would be some of the myths surrounding an indie developer - Just make your game, and then it gets big and you become an indie legend. A lot of research and work behind the scenes is needed, and some of the successful indie devs I've met are extremely sharp folks who besides just making their games, did exhausting market research before they even started, and kept marketing their game and also paying attention to trends, both micro and macro.
At the same time, you see some folks make some truly amazing and cool things in small teams and budgets, and you don't have to deal with corporate bureaucracy, so there's room to make something with heart.
How was your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?
It was really fun and kind of stressful. What's interesting is that the different judges asked very different questions - Some had more of a business focus, some were interested in the art, and some were very mechanics-focused. In the process of trying to answer their questions, you discover new things and viewpoints about your game and approach to gamemaking.
The time available is short, so the tendency is to try and cram as much as you can in, but I think the approach that worked better for me was to pace it carefully, and focus on the important aspects I wanted to highlight, which oddly enough I think translates over to the actual gamemaking. You only have limited time and resources, so there will always be tradeoffs in what you can build and how.
What do you feel you have gained from these experiences and what do you still hope to gain?
I think the experience and the contacts gained were the 2 most precious things. The exposure and more people knowing about our game and company always helps. Every event, every person you meet is another chance to let more people know about what you're working on and that's important. If folks don't even know your game exists, they won't get to play it.
We're still looking to sign a publishing deal for BattleSky Brigade: TapTap, and would be happy to talk to interested publishers!
What are your hopes for this game in the future and do you have any plans for any future projects?
We're adding new features as we go along. For BattleSky Brigade: TapTap, upcoming features include a Reset System that allows players to unlock new island skins, as well as an Expeditions system where you can send out your cute critters on special missions. We've also got a strategy game we were working on called BattleSky Brigade: Tribes, that we'd like to finish sometime. We post regular updates on our projects on our game Facebbok pages.
Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you.
Upcoming BIPs include:
- January 21st - 22nd 2019 - The Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects London 2019
- January 21st - 22nd 2019 - The PC Indie Pitch at PC Connects London 2019
- February 1st 2019 - The Big Indie Pitch at Interactive Futures in Leamington Spa 2019
- February 13th 2019 - The Big Indie Pitch at White Nights Berlin 2019
- March 16th 2019 -The Big Indie Pitch at SXSW 2019
- March 20th 2019 - The Big Indie Pitch at GDC 2019
- March 20th 2019 - The PC Indie Pitch at GDC 2019
- April 11th 2019 - The Big Indie Pitch at GameDevDays in Tallinn 2019
- May 13th - 14th 2019 - The Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects Seattle 2019
- May 13th - 14th 2019 - The PC Indie Pitch at PC Connects Seattle 2019
- May 29th 2019 - The Big Indie Pitch at Arctic Games Week 2019
- May 29th 2019 - The PC Indie Pitch at Arctic Games Week 2019
- June 11th - 13th (TBC) - The Big Indie Pitch in LA 2019