Double Fine’s fifth annual Day of the Devs indie games festival is coming up. It’s a one-day free event from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on November 11 in San Francisco, and it’s presented in partnership with Iam8bit, a production company. This year, it’s showcasing 70 games for folks to try along with live music and food vendors.
Greg Rice, vice president of business development at Double Fine, says that the idea of Day of the Devs emerged when they were running the Kickstarter campaign for Double Fine Adventure back in 2012.
“We were about ready to show the game for the first time and we were looking for a way to invite all our backers to come and check it out,” said Rice in a phone call with GamesBeat. “We knew that if we put out an open call to 90,000 backers, we’d need a big space to house them. We couldn’t fill that space purely with Broken Age itself. So we invited a bunch of our friends who had other games we were excited about to come show them alongside us, and it just naturally grew and expanded from there.”
Since then, the festival has grown considerably, and Double Fine has partnered with industry names such as indie publishers Devolver Digital and Annapurna Interactive, developer Epic Games, industry event Game Developers Conference, ID@Xbox, Intel, and others. Humble Bundle, one of its sponsors, always releases a special package of games just for the event.
Rice says that developers demoed 60 games last year and around 5,000 people attended. This year, Day of the Devs has 65 games, and it anticipates the event will grow even more. Starting with the 2016 festival, Double Fine enables fans to submit games to feature at the festival, though it of course curates the final list of titles that will be shown.
An inclusive show
Double Fine CEO Tim Schafer says that they wanted to create a festival that’s friendly for all ages. Parents can sign up for free on-site childcare from KiddieCorp, an organization that specializes in providing day care services at conventions and trade shows.
“We wanted it to be free so everyone could come, so families could come, and have it be really low impact on all the developers,” said Schafer. “There’s not an emphasis on big fancy booths with stage shows and stuff like that. It’s just games on PCs and people playing them and having fun. It’s a really positive energy, because everyone who’s there just loves games.”
This year’s Day of the Devs will feature a room dedicated to live music from game composers such as Darren Korb (Supergiant Games‘ Bastion, Transistor, Pyre), Ben Prunty (FTL, Into the Breach), and Jim Guthrie (Superbrothers: Swords & Sworcery. As before, there will be food trucks and art exhibits.
Rice says that Double Fine wanted to create a more fan-oriented event versus other more industry-focused events, where it might be more about networking. But it does make some room for hobnobbing with Girls Make Games and Gameheads, two organizations that help underrepresented groups learn how to make games, who will both be at the event to showcase their work as well as to hand out information for folks who may be interested in their programs.