Original Author: Luke Dicken
It’s now been almost four months since we held the first AltDevConf, and although things have continued to be absolutely hectic in that time, it felt like it was well past time to post a summary of the event, as well as lay out our plans for the future.
The first ever AltDevConf was a great success. We ran 26 hours of material from some incredible speakers who are established names within the industry as well as some great up-and-coming talent. We managed to find a five hour window where most of the world would be semi-awake and crammed that 26 hours of content into two days of sessions in that window for a total conference length of just ten hours.
None of this would have been possible without the incredible support we had from the community, both here on AltDevBlogADay and in the wider sense. From helping to organise the conference, to spreading the word, presenting material and even providing feedback afterwards, the success of the AltDevConf is an amazing testament to what we as a community can achieve and we’re sincerely grateful for how much help we received in pulling this off.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to thank the attendees. From the outset the big concern was whether we would get enough people to attend the conference to call it a success. We were really worried that we had absolutely no guarantees that we weren’t getting all of the speakers set up to present to an electronic equivalent of tumbleweed and crickets. But you all came; you registered and you attended and again, we couldn’t call it a success without you doing that, so thank you!
Of course, it’s all very well waffling about it, so here’s some numbers to go along with this. Our average per-hour attendance across the whole conference was 276 people. We had a monster turnout for “Cross Platform Game Development in C#”, presented by Matthieu Laban, Philippe Rollin, and Miguel de Icaza with 328 attendees, which was by far our best attended session, although several sessions managed to break 200 attendees.
You can see videos of every session (except one which was withheld at the request of the speaker) on our Youtube channel. These are now receiving hundreds and in some cases thousands, of views, and we’re delighted to have reached such a large audience after the event itself with these recordings.
However, as successful as we feel the event was, there’s always scope for improvement. We’re definitely conscious that there are parts of the process that could run more smoothly – we’re already working to address this. Equally though, there might be things that we’ve overlooked, so we’re open to any feedback you want to provide – please feel free to email email@example.com or hit the comments at the end of this article!
Announcing AltDevConf ‘13
So today, we’re pleased to announce that we’ll be holding AltDevConf ’13 in around a year. One of the major pieces of feedback we got from speakers was that the proximity to GDC made life a bit awkward, and we were well aware that the Christmas and New year period was also complicating things. To fix this, we have decided to push back the conference to the far side of GDC. We want people to give great sessions at AltDevConf, but not at the expense of their GDC sessions (or, more realistically, vice versa). We’ve not got a specific date nailed down yet, but we’re thinking that we should leave at least 6 weeks from the end of GDC.
Meanwhile, we’re going to spend some time working out the kinks in our “conference pipeline”, as well as starting to put together the infrastructure and support we will need to run an even better, and even bigger AltDevConf in 2013, covering a wider range of material with the same emphasis on high quality sessions from experienced developers. We’ll be putting out a call for proposals, with plenty of notice once we have all the pieces in place. Again, if there’s something you particularly want to see this time that you feel we overlooked, then we want to hear from you either through the article comments or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
One Last Thing – AltDevConf Student Summit (Fall 2012)
Given the prospect of not having an event for around a year, we decided to try something a wee bit different in the meantime. We noticed that although the Education track of the 2012 AltDevConf was aimed at Educators, there was interest in it from students, and in the conference as a whole. A lot of game developers are already doing outreach to students in a very focused manner – for example giving guest lectures at local colleges. What we are going to do is hold an entire event based around this kind of session. We want to give the devs a much broader, global audience for their talks, and we want to give students a central place for this sort of thing, rather than relying on the goodwill of the local developer community. We’re calling this the AltDevConf Student Summit.
We’re hoping that the Student Summit will be held in Fall of 2012 (again, exact dates are to be decided), and will feature amongst other things, established names of game development telling students what they truly need to know to prepare for life and success in the industry.