Hybridity makes it possible to seamlessly slide from virtual into real presence and vice versa. My embarking at this year’s Devcom gave a perfect example: I started the developer’s conference on the virtual platform while sitting in a train to Cologne. Upon my arrival at the conference’s site, I had already followed this day’s lectures in the live video stream, and I now entered the lecture room to attend the day’s final discussion panels in reality. After two virtual editions, Devcom 2022 respawned at the habitual location on the fair ground for two days, just before the Gamescom main event came back to life again.
During these two days of business exchanges, hands-on demos and development discussions, I continued to switch between the virtual and the real platform rather frequently – for match making, interview arrangements and demo slots. The exposition floor featured large game companies with their recruiting activities, a broad range of development services and game demos on-site. Brain interfaces now enter the service domain for game testing with measuring brain activities during gameplay sessions for later analysis.
VR training apps were introduced in the medical application area, and a Kickstarter project translated tabletop RPG mechanics into VR – not only in the sense of digitizing the board game into a video game version, but in creating a game space for virtual presence and real-time exchanges between the player participants and a real game master. They all can switch between the game board dimension as pawns and the tabletop dimension as player avatars anytime according to their preferred experience level. The lecture program focused on more experimental VR topics like hand tracking, engine programming and actual conditions for solo-developments.
Apart from product and service promotions, recruiting activities and discussions on ‘new work’ were dominating the show floor as well as the lecture rooms. Devcom is certainly an excellent platform for entering the industry and for acquiring new talents. I was even reminded of the early beginnings of the developer conference when the program was split into a Respawn convention for startups and schools and a GDC Europe convention for business before it all came together on the Devcom platform. This year’s respawned convention offered new beginnings on all levels and motivated for frequent travelling in hybridity.