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'Day of the Devs' is community interaction, Double Fine-style

Double Fine and other independent developers are coming together for a "Day of the Devs" public party next month. Double Fine's Greg Rice tells us how he approaches community engagement.
Double Fine is a studio that has fully embraced doing things on its own terms, whether you're talking about the games it makes, the way it raises funds for development, or the way it chooses to interact with its community. And Double Fine has always had a knack for really effective community interaction. Today the studio announced Day of the Devs, a free public party where Double Fine developers will join other developers to show off their games to fans. It takes place at Public Works in Double Fine's hometown of San Francisco on November 2, from 4-8 p.m. Greg Rice, brand manager at Double Fine, says Day of the Devs (which conveniently falls on Dia de Muertos) is about connecting developers with fans, but it's also about bringing the local game development community together. "I feel like there's not a lot in San Francisco to nurture the scene, to bring developers together in one space," he says. "So it seemed like there was an opportunity. More than anything, we love the interaction we have with our fans." Friends of Double Fine will also be there, including iam8bit, Supergiant Games, Gaijin Games, Capy Games, SpyParty, Honeyslug, Tribute Games, Funomena and Phil Fish, who will be DJ'ing. There will be food, merchandise, a first-time opportunity to play Double Fine's upcoming Broken Age, and a reveal of a new Double Fine game. Rice says when planning these kinds of community events, it's important that they do not interfere with game development. "We've been in positions where these things have become a lot of work, and we've learned from those," he says. "We look for games that are ready to show naturally that don't require a ton of work to show. It's just about tearing down the barriers for developers, supporting them so they can just stroll in and show their game." For Rice, there's a simple underlying philosophy to building community. It's simple, but it bears repeating: Make your fans happy. "For me, I was a fan of the studio before I worked here, and had been a fan of Tim [Schafer, studio head] for a long time. So I just think about what excites me the most, as a fan of Double Fine and video games. Doing things to please the fans seems to have worked out in the past." A lot developers might not think they have the resources to throw events. Rice says Double Fine doesn't exactly have a war chest dedicated to throwing parties for the community. But developers should still try to build a community around their brands and games. His advice? "Learn to work with what you've got. Even we don't have a ton of money to throw events like this," he says. "We used every opportunity we could to find sponsorships, people to help us put the event together, ways to get things done on the cheap -- but still done well -- and to take advantage of the relationships that we have."

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