Indies need to do more than 'pat each other's backs on Twitter', says Mobile Pie's Will Luton
BoB turns community spirit into something concrete
BoB was set up to 'empower indie developers' across the UK, waving such notions such as membership fees and, instead, bringing studios together under a banner of cooperation rather than competition.
It's an approach that will be put to the test by BoB's first 48 hour game hack - set for London this weekend with those in attendance tasked with serving up titles for both iOS and Android using Unity.
But could BoB become a victim of its own success? Could a swell in membership turn the collective into the kind of heavily regulated trade body it's looking to counteract?
We caught up with Luton for his take on BoB getting big.
Pocket Gamer: If good relationships amongst indie studios already exist, what do you hope to bring to the table with BoB?
Will Luton: There's certainly already a sense of community for mobile devs in the UK.
BoB is about the community coming together under a banner to do something big, like the hack this weekend. It's a point in which the good feeling can translate in to something more, so the individuals can stand together and do more than pat each other's backs on Twitter.
It's a focus of the positivity.
Isn't there a danger that, the bigger BoB gets, the more it will have to resort to installing some sort of hierarchy of power to control what the organisation does next?
Yes, there is that danger. We have a manifesto for our members which outline how we see it functioning - anyone can come or go as they see fit.
If there's an issue which doesn't reach a consensus then we vote. Although that's not happened yet.
There's also a revolving seat for the 'chief BoBee', which is intended to switch every 6 months. But the job of chief is really just to keep things on track as a chair and handle a little admin. They aren't dictators, and if they become that I think we will fail.
BoB is really a bit of an experiment - nobody owns it. The collective members, ever coming and going, run it for the benefit of each other.
I've attempted to instil a sense of self sufficiency in the ethos, like a charity or volunteer group. I've been involved in several of those before and ego and power hunger can rip them apart.
What specifically are you looking to achieve with BoB's 48 hour hack?
I want to get the names of all the devs out there and get it seen by millions of consumers and the whole of the industry. It's about promoting the talent in the group.
Secondly, I want to have fun. I'm really excited about it because the people involved are really kind, cool people. BoB meetings always make me laugh and smile.
How was Develop for you? Did your panel generate interest amongst indies not already signed up?
We've had about five new people show interest. So it was okay, but the panel was very hidden in some back room. I had to get someone to show me there.
What's your ultimate vision for BoB in five or 10 year's time?
I don't have one. It's for the group to work out as we go.
Although we've been around six months or so, we're still working out what makes sense - we know there's an advantage in being together, but how we best realise that is the unknown.
It's what makes it exciting. There's some real creativity around the table every meeting and it gives me a buzz.
What I would personally like to see is BoB still around in 10 years, still independent, still free and still making a difference to the best creative talent in UK games, doing things I simply can't envision now, if I'm involved or not.
Thanks to Will for his time.
Look out for coverage on BoB's forthcoming 48 hour hack on PocketGamer.biz in the coming days.
Studios interested in joining Best of British should email Will Luton at will [at] mobilepie.com.