When we launched the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge in June, we had big plans for not just a contest, but a way for indie game developers to connect with each other and show off their skills and experience. We didn’t set out to replace existing communities, but maybe we could create a little something that would complement other systems. Our goal is always to help indie developers be as successful as possible, and Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge is just one thing we thought up.
Before I begin, I do want to say that this article is long. I’ve got a lot of cool and important information to share, and rather than break it up into individual posts and have you search for it in multiple places, I’m throwing it all down in one place. Come back and refer to this page as often as you need to. Ok, let’s get started!
State of Play
By the look of it, that contest is generating some great interest from you all. To date there are over 2,000 indie developers from all walks of life signed up on the competition site, and we know there are more to come. And what do I mean by “walks of life”? Well, we have students, we have professional developers trying their hand at building a game, we have dedicated indie studios who want to showcase their talents.
But it doesn’t stop there. We have indie developers from all over the world too. My home country, Australia, is represented, as is the US and the UK. But how about Bangladesh? Yep. Austria? Yep. Greece, Sweden, France, Brazil… The list goes on. Dream.Build.Play is turning out to be a truly global experience.
That’s all great and all, you say, but what about these big plans you mentioned?
Glad you asked.
The Big Plans
This month, we launched phase two of the Dream.Build.Play website. It takes the contest and amps up the stuff you can do with it in a big way, but we’ve tried to do it in a thoughtful way that will help you out for other things too.
As of now, you can log into the Dream.Build.Play website and check out the community of developers who have created profiles. And you can create your own too. Each profile comes with name, country, photo and a brief bio description. But then it can be enhanced with what I consider the special sauce of Dream.Build.Play. Besides that basic biographical info, you can add all the ways people can connect with you, plus all the skills you have, plus all the games you’ve worked on.
Yes, all. First, take connections and networks. You can choose from Xbox, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and so on, but you can also add your DeviantArt or Bandcamp accounts, or GitHub, Unity, Unreal or Stack Overflow accounts. And a whole lot more. And if there’s something missing, we’ve got you covered with a Personal Website link. Add as many as you want. Add none. It’s up to you.
When it comes to skills, it gets event better. We’ve built an extensive list of skills, from a variety of programming languages, to middleware and game engines, to more softer skills like game design. But if you want to advertise a skill that’s not listed, just add it in, and as long as it passes our moderation queue, it’ll show up in your profile.
Adding games is where the magic really starts to show through. You can add every game you’ve worked on, and each one comes with its own set of information. From the game’s name and genre, to cover art, screenshots and even a trailer video. And then add a description, and what platform category it belongs to and you’re almost there. Every game entry can have its own set of connections. So if you have a website for your game, a YouTube link, a Twitch channel and a Facebook page, add them all so people can check it out.
Why is this important?
We created the community like this for a very important reason: so you can all connect with each other. Let me give you an example.
Dave is building a game in Unity, but he doesn’t have a single audio engineering bone in his body. But he really wants to enter the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge and potentially win big cash money. I can relate.
Dave heads to the Community page and filters the Skills list for Audio Engineering. In the results pane, he sees a few other members who have that skill. He clicks on Grace’s profile. Dave sees that Grace not only has Audio Engineering as a listed skill, but she also has Unity. Great! She’ll likely know how to incorporate sound into his Unity game.
He can then check out the games Grace has listed, heading to their websites, or videos, and check out the audio that she has created previously. He likes the sounds he’s hearing and decides that he wants to see if Grace would like to join him on his epic journey. He can then return to Grace’s profile and click on any of the Connections she has added and get in touch.
Cooler, if they agree to join forces, the Dream.Build.Play website allows them to do just that. All Dave has to do is head to his game page, edit it and add Grace to join his team. Bam! Both will now be listed as being part of the cool game that they’re collaborating on.
I love this community
One of my favorite things about the game developer community, is the willingness of everyone to help out and give people tips, feedback and advice on how to improve or fix their creations. I wanted to flag one great example of that that came out this week: Simon Jackson’s post on Unity and Visual Studio.
Simon and fellow indie dev Jim Perry brought to my attention a small issue between Visual Studio, Unity and Xbox Live. They thoughtfully investigated and figured out a workaround, and for all of you who are actively building UWP games in Unity who want to integrate Xbox Live, Simon has written up their findings on his blog: https://darkgenesis.zenithmoon.com/resolving-build-issues-for-uwp-packages-with-unity/
Also, I also want to highlight that Simon has created a special area on DevPost for Dream.Build.Play here: https://devpost.com/software/dreambuildplayresources. If you’re looking for additional info or resources, or you want to contribute back to the community, please head there and take a look.
Quick recap so far
A quick summary of where we are:
Phase two of Dream.Build.Play has launched. Woo!
You can now add your personal profile, complete with skills, connections and games.
Games can have their own connections, as well as screenshots, videos and more.
Games do NOT have to be for the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge. They can be used to showcase your experience.
You can search the community based on skill.
You can form teams.
One special note. As I mentioned right at the beginning of this post, we’ve had (to date) over 2,000 people register to compete. If you look on the Community page and see less than that, that’s because only those people who have created a profile will show up on that page. So get in there and create your profile and make sure your friends and colleagues are heading back to Dream.Build.Play and updating theirs too, so the community fills out.
But wait, there’s more!
I hope you didn’t think we were stopping there. I’ve got some exciting news to share! We’re announcing a new contest as part of Dream.Build.Play: The Developer Diary Contest.
The Developer Diary contest challenges Dream.Build.Play creators and developers to document their journey in building a game. It has some minimal requirements such as needing to do at least five posts or videos, across at least a month in duration, but it’s really about encouraging you all to share your stories with each other.
Talk about a pain point you encountered and tell people how you fixed it. Or maybe something you were pleasantly surprised by when you started exploring UWP. Or how about how Azure made your life easier with some kind of cloud coolness.
Here’s a great example from Tarh Ik who we shared this with just a couple of days ago: https://tarhik.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/antimatter-instance-dev-log-entry-1/
And yes, the game he’s blogging about is indeed on Dream.Build.Play! https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/Windows/dream-build-play/game/7
You’ll have until December 31st to create your Developer Diary and be in the running to win $5,000 cash and the adulation of your peers. Get to it!
To finish off this article, I know that creating a game can be tough. But we’re here to help. Not only can you post questions to our Windows Developer Twitter handle or Facebook group, but you can grab a whole bunch of documentation, all conveniently located in one place: The UWP Game Development Guide!
Until next time, good luck, create your profile and add all the games you’ve worked on, and see you in the Dream.Build.Play community!
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled. We may have some other announcements soon.