Mochi London 2011 Write Up

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What is Mochi London?

Mochi London has been held for 3 consecutive years now as a community-driven Flash game developer meetup averaging 8-12 attendees, and has traditionally resulted in open conversations with regards to Flash game development. Ernesto Quezada and myself have been to every single one, with Ernesto serving as the organizer the past two years. Well things changed in 2011 after Ernesto and I had a little conversation- we wanted this year to be bigger and better than before!

Who are we?

I’ll start off with myself! My name is Chris Jeffrey, I’m a Games Developer based in the United Kingdom. I primarily develop on the Flash platform, however as of late I’ve also started porting games over to iOS & Android platforms as well. I’ve been using Flash for around 5 years in total and developed games casually for approximately 3 of those years.

However! More recently I’ve actually made a bold move and actually left my job to go full-time indie, so I’m really looking forward to having the chance to devote all of my time to development. Apparently the content I throw out can be somewhat successful, ranging from 4-8m impressions in their life cycle, but if you want to know more and hear me blabber, I’m also on Twitter and Facebook.

Ernesto Quezada is a Games Developer/Publisher from El Salvador. He started using Flash in version 4 back in the late 90’s. In 2002 he moved to London. After learning a bit of English, in 2005 he went on to get his Masters degree in Digital Media at the London Metropolitan University. Even though he’s been working professionally as a Flash developer since 2006, his graphic design background still stops him from moving completely to the dark side so he’s still a bit scared of the command line which, anyway, he uses at work on a daily basis. He’s created about 30 games in the past 10 years (and has drank a lot of tequila on the way…). Check out his portal over at games-garden.com.

First meet up in 2008

First meet up in 2008 - Oh the times!

Why London?

Exactly! It’s what I ask myself. Personally, Mochi Newcastle seemed much more appealing (I live in Newcastle). Honestly though London is a great place and we thought it would be a more convenient location for the majority of people, plus it has the added tourist incentive for people to see the sights and such. Previous Mochi London meetups have generally been with developers in and around the London area, so we didn’t feel a need for our 4th event to be anywhere else!

The Venue

Ernesto, the London local (and official Mochi London tour guide) received a really good tip on this one. After he checked it out and shared pictures of it with the rest of us, we knew right away that this was the right place. Plus, the venue itself was relatively close to a tube station and a pub. Perfect, right? The inside was just right for the crowd we’d anticipated, it seated everyone pretty comfortably without people being too cramped or too spread out. Kings College London also catered the event, which meant that we didn’t have to get catering from another vendor.

So a big thanks to Mochi with helping us out with the venue, food, & beverages for the event! :)

The line for munch! Nom.

The line for munch! Nom.

First steps

We started to discuss potential ideas of ramping up the meetup and getting it to a level where we could potentially attract more attendees than just the regular handful. We toyed with the idea of getting sponsors and going down that route of making it more of an official conference than just a meet up, but that whole idea didn’t really appeal to us, we wanted a more official meet up, however still cater to the whole idea of it being by developers for developers. We settled on the idea that it would be best to get Mochi Media directly involved, especially since this was coming directly from their community! However, we still wanted to keep the whole conference style and not just sitting in a pub, so we threw ideas around about getting a venue and speakers and making a whole day out of it.

We were moving in a different direction from the typical meetups, a direction that I was really excited about! That said, we still liked the idea of our pub meetup (Being from Newcastle I guess maybe?) So we ended up including the pub portion as well and made it a two day event to keep with Mochi London tradition.

Merlin Gore - Importance of personal branding - As you can see, I'm all branded, Huzah!

Merlin Gore - Importance of personal branding - As you can see, I'm all branded, Huzah!

Speakers

Once we had the idea locked down, it was time to get the event pumped with solid content that would get the Flash games community excited about the event! For some, this can be a pretty daunting and time consuming experience- trying to get quality speakers with content people actually want is no easy task. My approach: I kept it real simple and just thought of what I’d want to hear! Sounds a little egocentric, but I’m an indie developer and I know exactly what I’d want to hear and from who- so why not get them to speak!? Makes sense, right?

We ended up with a pretty strong line up of speakers, with content that covers a wide variety of topics within the Flash games industry. Perfect in my eyes!

Day 1 schedule!

Day 1 schedule! - Look how far we've come!

We ended up with a pretty strong line up of speakers, with content that covers a wide variety of topics within the flash game industry. Perfect in my eyes!

  • Iain Lobb (freelance Flash / ActionScript developer)
  • Stuart Allen (developer of Gravitee Wars)
  • Martine Spaans (Ubisoft, formerly of SPIL Games)
  • Michael Hudson/Steven Gurevitz (CodeHeads/2002 studios)
  • Merlin Gore (Flash developer, FlashGameLicense.com)
  • Mike Jones (Platform Evangelist, Adobe Systems)
  • Colin Cupp/Ryan Nichols (Mochi Media)

On the day

A few of us kicked off the day a little earlier in order to get set up and also to ensure that everything was in proper working order. Registration opened at 9:00am and it wasn’t long after that when we started to see people arrive! Personally I felt really great when people started flooding in, as beating 8 attendees for a community event is a milestone for Mochi London ;). And they didn’t stop- we ended up with about 50+ people eager for the antics that the day would bring, in the form of presentations of course.

Mochi London 2011

Mochi London 2011 - All the happy faces :)

I honestly feel the day couldn’t have gone any better, unless we actually went to Nando’s afterwards (inside joke and my personal obsession)!! All the speakers were started on-time and covered their topics extremely well. Questions were asked by engaged attendees, and they received some really in-depth responses. There were moments when the conversation moved from the presenters out to the audience, which was exactly the type of attendee interaction we were hoping for. Overall, the whole day was really informative and went exactly to plan (minus Nando’s, not fair!).

Day two

The day that consisted of drinks and random chats about Flash game development, experiences and stat sharing! Exactly what Mochi London started off as, so this couldn’t go wrong at all! We totally kept up with tradition and met up at the Montagu Pyke pub which is where the first meet up was held! It’s a nice, open venue with a solid Sunday roast…and it’s reasonably priced!
We met up at 8pm and finished at around 10:30pm, then went on the hunt for food! Of course, I suggested Nando’s (As always!), however we missed it by around 5 minutes, I’m not sure what I’ve done, but karma wasn’t on my side for that day! Or the day before…

Day one meal. Eating Ramen with a fork is how we do it up North!

Day one meal. Eating Ramen with a fork is how we do it up North!

Closing Thoughts

I personally thought the whole event went to plan- in fact, it couldn’t have gone any better as far as I’m concerned! This was a great step for Mochi London. We’re definitely going to be preparing for Mochi London 2012 due to the popularity of this year’s event! My hope is to be able to take it up another notch with more quality speakers who have a strong presence in the Flash games industry, as well as keeping the event as fun and informative as possible. In the end, Mochi London is all about the community.

So on that note, Mochi London 2012 anyone?!

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Robinson and his heroic efforts at manning the reception booth, thanks Robinson!

I’d love to hear thoughts and ideas for next year, we want to make it even better! Feel free to contact me!
I’d also like to thank everyone involved in making Mochi London 2011 what is was on the day! From the Mochi Media team, to the speakers, and most importantly to the attendees who turned up- thanks everyone!
 

Presentations? We Have Presentations!

Check out the presentation slides from the speakers of Mochi London 2011

Pictures!

Check out the pictures on Mochi’s phototstream to see pictures taken throughout the weekend!

Videos

I’ll be sharing the videos of the speakers in a later post as we’ve got to get all the footage in one place and edit a bit (as it’s recorded from a tablet). So keep an eye out! :)

Thanks for reading!