If you thought that NAG Online’s delightful game development section would be missing out on some rAge coverage this year … well, you know what they say: think again and stuff! If you want to learn a bit more about one of the friendliest, most spontaneous features in this year’s expo, carry on reading.

The local Game.Dev group makes it a tradition to show up at rAge in some form or another every year. Sometimes we hide amongst the regular stands. Sometimes we grab ourselves an air-conditioned lounge overlooking the masses. This year, we went ad-hoc and set up on the showfloor itself with no stand, no walls, and no limits. And here’s why you missed out if you weren’t there:

No, we're not talking about the plushie companion cube. But that was pretty awesome too.

No, we're not talking about the plushie companion cube. But that was pretty awesome too.

First of all, rAge is valuable for one big reason – it gives local developers a chance to meet one another! At no other time during the year are so many South African game devs able to meet face-to-face to swap stories, game ideas, and marketable products. Over the course of three days, dozens of eager developers and other community members frequented the stand on a regular basis, and hundreds of newbies and “normal people” stopped by to play and chat about game creation, or receive demos on how to make their own cool Game Maker titles in a matter of minutes.

The second big thing about the Game.Dev zone was the ability for anyone (community member or not) to come in and display their games on a gigantic LCD screen that flipped between various indie titles for the duration of the show. Donated by community member William “cairnswm” Cairns, this enormous glowing screen of undiluted awesomeness quite literally gave several lucky developers their fifteen minutes of fame, standing on a pedestal that offered them the same potential audience as any other big name at the show.

Gears of War JRPG, a delightful low-def game in delightful high-def glory.

Gears of War JRPG, a delightful low-def game in delightful high-def glory.

For those who weren’t into computer games specifically, there was also room for board games and other “analog” media: several people brought along some fun games like San Juan and Space Hulk. These were supplemented by locally-developed contributions such as an intricatedly-crafted Worms boardgame and an absolutely excellent Left 4 Dead card game. Both of the latter were being played by developers and regular gamers alike, most of them having never seen (or possibly even heard of) these games prior to rAge.

That's right. Game.Dev aren't fussy about the medium used. And Left 4 Dead turns out to be fun in any form!

That's right. Game.Dev aren't fussy about the medium used. And Left 4 Dead turns out to be fun in any form!

Aside from the general fun and mess-around-ery, game developers also had the opportunity to sit down and chat about the big issues. Topics included game postmortem community discussions, getting started with iPhone development, and improving one’s marketing techniques so that more people can enjoy (and play) locally developed games.

If you attended the Game.Dev stand at rAge this year, give us a shout in the comments section. If not, then you’d better get yourself over there next year. You’ll be greeted with warmth, smiles, and awesome games.

Interested parties can catch a few Game.Dev pictures knocking around in the various rAge galleries on NAG Online. Take a look and see if you can recognise anyone, including maybe yourself! Wooo!