RADinc. — Saturday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.
Iowa City game developers will celebrate their community at RADinc. on Nov. 11 with RADplay, an event showcasing work by local and regional developers. Donations are accepted to help cover costs for the event, but admission is free.
In addition to games, some short films and other electronic productions will be highlighted. The premier of the film Depression! The Musical by local filmmaker Keaton Fuller caps the event, starting at 8 p.m. Iowa Game Dev Friendship Group is hosting RADplay. In addition to game developers and filmmakers, area gaming-focused YouTubers will be in attendance to cover the event, including Let’s Play webseries the Game Beaters.
“The goal is to showcase local talent,” event organizer Ryan HoltKamp said in an email. “Most people think of big cities, the coasts, etc., when or even if they think of game developers. We wanted to show that there’s a small, but very active community here, building some pretty amazing content, right in our backyard.”
For HoltKamp, bringing together film and game development in one event made perfect sense. His own current project, The 13th Doll: A Fan Game of The 7th Guest, has the designer exploring both worlds himself. The horror puzzle game uses filmed footage of live actors, all shot on the University of Iowa campus. RADplay will include more than 30 short films in addition to the Depression! premier.
The games, though, are taking center stage. Most, said HoltKamp, are PC-based. Systems will be set up around RADinc. for attendees to test out the games. Local developers include Josh Larson (Untethered), Tom Heinecke (Bit Dungeon III) and Raphael Azcuela (Moon Fields), and game styles from dungeon crawlers to VR mystery to multiplayer brawler will be represented.
For a full day of gaming, the event’s 5 p.m. start time allows for die hards to hit the EPX Indie Independent Game Developer Conference at the University of Iowa’s Art Building West beforehand. In fact, EPX will be bringing some of their game jam projects (games developed at 48 hour weekend marathons) to RADplay afterward. You can even catch HoltKamp at EXP Indie, speaking about 13th Doll.
“It’s never been a better time to be a game developer,” HoltKamp said. “Modern games have become so much more than saving a princess or annihilating everything onscreen. Games now can explore more intellectual ideas than ever before, as well as new and unique ways to play. VR has become mainstream and accessible to the general public, and game developers continue to push the boundaries for what defines a video game and how to play.”
He also noted that development is more accessible than ever, with software such as Unity, Game Maker and Unreal opening the door to many different designers (a tool called Bloxels will be featured at a game design class for kids in grades 4-8 offered by Imagination Iowa in Cedar Rapids, also on Saturday afternoon). Platforms including Steam and Google Play give developers and designers a simple way to publish.
“Games at RADplay are in a variety of stages,” HoltKamp said. “Many are still in development, but will be for sale soon. Others have been released and are just being shown to a new audience. Others are just experimental projects, with no commercial intent whatsoever, made just for players at the show.”