Monstronauts Blasts Off To Google's First Indie Games Accelerator Program
Hello, hello, hello!
We know it's been a while since we posted here on our blog, but we have news: we've been busy and we have a few projects brewing just for you! We'll talk about these projects on another blog entry; for now, let me tell you about a recent trip we had. We got to mingle with other developers around Asia, as well as industry experts from around the globe. Needless to say, we learned a lot and are excited to put these nuggets of wisdom to use and make better games for you!
Monstronauts has the honor of being one of 30 game development companies to have been selected for the Google Indie Games Accelerator program. (Yes, THE Google!) Each company had to send two people to participate in the bootcamp, which lasted a full work week and was held in Google Singapore's office. We were assigned success managers and mentors from all over the industry, were given talks on different topics, had workshops for ideation and pitching, and had networking breaks and parties. If all of these sound tiring, it's because it was. (But it was SO worth it. WORTH IT.)
Only the top indie game dev startups from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam were eligible to apply, and we're glad we did. The bootcamp's curriculum gave us realizations and helped us create plans to further develop our games, the company, and the team.
The event began on September 23, Sunday, with a networking dinner to allow the devs and mentors to mingle with each other a day before the formal opening. Once we started the bootcamp the following day, it was game-on for everyone. You could tell even during breakfast time that people were valiantly fighting their sleepiness with cups of coffee and mugs of tea. Everyone was very excited to learn and improve their craft, which contributed to the overall energetic mood for the first day.
Throughout the bootcamp, the talks were all very informative, the workshops eye-opening, and the goal-setting sessions brain-wracking, but the mentorship sessions were the highlight of everyone's days. All the teams were eagerly showing their products to their respective mentors and intently listening to any and all feedback given to them, whether positive or negative. We were fortunate enough to have been assigned mentors that were brutally honest, but also constructive and illuminating. The mentorship sessions were a roller coaster ride of emotions, as we didn't know whether to expect harsh criticism or words of encouragement, but we were ready for either one; we were eager to improve and this was the quickest way to find out how.
The mentorship sessions went on until the fourth day of the event, with each company having gone through an average of 15 mentors for the bootcamp. By this time, all of our doubts had been quelled and our questions answered about our plans for our games and we made sure to meet with the team when we returned home.
Our fifth and final day at Google was bittersweet. While there were no more mentoring sessions for the day, the talks were still as informative as ever and talked about team and company culture, as well as new technologies that we may want to look into. In lieu of the mentoring sessions was an hour-long game testing session where gaming experts from different backgrounds were invited to playtest our games and give feedback from a user's perspective, in contrast to the slightly more developer-centric feedback we received from our mentors previously.
Once all the companies finished their playtesting sessions, the organizers asked us to proceed to a different area of the office on a different floor, as we were invited to a special event. It turns out, that was Google's 20th birthday! (yes, they use birthday internally instead of anniversary. Cute!) We were brought to one of Google's many cafeterias (which resemble restaurants more than they do actual cafeterias), and invited to partake in the massive feast filled with food, both savory and sweet, as well as a plethora of libations. After a few hours of merry-making, we were all offered a tour of the rest of Google's office. It was incredible, as they have multi-faith prayer rooms, hair salons, sleeping quarters, massage parlors, and many, many cafes.
Overall, this has been a very humbling but empowering experience. There were so many little tidbits of information we gleaned that could be applied both in and outside work. I can't wait to be back in November for the graduation ceremony!
I know this update wasn't short, but there was just so much to share with you that I couldn't help but tell more. Stay tuned for the next blog! We promise it'll be out before next year. *wink wink*
*Photos courtesy of the Google IGA Team and our fellow IGA participants