Many foreigners still think Rio de Janeiro is the capital of Brazil, when in fact the center of the political power in the country has been Brasília since the 1960’s. It’s a city that looks like an airplane (for real), designed from scratch right in the middle of the Brazilian territory. Nowadays, it’s also the home of a strong video game development scene.
Knights of Pen and Paper and Chroma Squad were both developed there, putting the city in the spotlight as the main destination when it comes to indie development in Brazil. Behold Studios, the team responsible for the titles, achieved international success and became a reference for other developers.
Capitalizing on its reputation, Behold decided to strengthen the local game scene with one goal in mind: to make Brasília the capital of video games in Brazil. So, in 2017, they founded Indie Warehouse, a coworking space for game developing studios and a place for game events.
One of the minds behind Indie Warehouse is Behold Studio’s director Saulo Camarotti, who says the place was inspired by Indies Workshop, in Seattle, WA, which he visited years ago. “They have experience in making a place that is a coworking space for studios, but can also be used for developers meetings, happy hours and parties.”
Indie Warehouse, however, not only has a bigger structure (after all, as the name suggests, it’s located in a warehouse), but also wants to be a beacon for local video game development scene. “People might see Indie Warehouse as a starting point [for Brasília video game scene], but I see it as a result of ten years of hard work,” says Camarotti. “Brasília already had a strong scene, and that’s the reason why Indie Warehouse was created.”
As a coworking space, Indie Warehouse is used by many small teams and students for a monthly fee in a rotating system. Other studios can pay a higher fee for a dedicated 24/7 residency space. Indie Warehouse also houses the offices of Behold Studios now.
Mark Venturelli, a veteran game designer and the head of Rogue Snail, is one of the many developers there and he says that Indie Warehouse is ahead of its time, at least five years in the future. According to him, the structure could easily accommodate established studios from the US and Europe, and this is exactly what the Brazilian industry needs to be able to grow. “A coworking space is much more than just a place with a good internet connection, it’s about sharing experiences with everyone there. As a game creator, it’s important to expand your visions and connect with other people that are doing the same thing you do.”
Everybody is welcome
Glitch Factory, one of the first studios to join Indie Warehouse, is a good example of how the place is helping the local scene to thrive. Túlio Mendes, one of the members of the studio, says the experience made them become more mature when it comes to game business and development. “After we joined Indie Warehouse, we learned how to create and finish games, always receiving feedback from more experienced developers, like the guys from Behold.”
In almost a year, Glitch Factory developed three commissioned games and other two small titles in game jams, gaining enough confidence and experience to continue their big project, a roguelike called No Place for Bravery.
The other main reason Indie Warehouse is becoming a hub for the game development scene in Brasília is the myriad of events being hosted there. “We realized that the space would be best harnessed for activities and meeting because everybody in the city gets reunited,” says Camarotti. Indie Warehouse has a dedicated space for activities like game jams and workshops. It is the official headquarters of Global Game Jam in Brasília, for example, not to mention Unity and Unreal developers events. Other events hosted in the warehouse include BRING – an exhibition of games made by local studios –, meetings with international developers and panels.
The studios based in Indie Warehouse aren’t the only ones who benefit from these actives. Teams from all over the region do as well. “The developers get together, sharing experience and feedback, and Indie Warehouse brings a much-needed visibility to the region, so everybody wins,” says Fira Soft’s Luiggi Reffatti, a studio that is not physically in Indie Warehouse, but attends all activities and events there. Even studios not based in Brasília could benefit from it, as the association program allows the subscribers to watch live streams and videos of the events.
The idea of Behold as an inspiring video game company for other developers and Indie Warehouse as a gathering place is starting to pay off, as some very interesting games are being made there. Just like Behold own projects, No Place for Bravery (Glitch Factory), survival horror Kriophobia (Fira Soft) and “indie Destiny” Relic Hunters Legend (Rogue Snail) are examples of games with high potential of becoming critic and commercial success, and all of them are influenced directly and indirectly by Indie Warehouse.
It is no exaggeration to say that Brasília is the national capital of video games, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Camarotti’s idea is to transform Indie Warehouse in an indie game studios accelerator in the future. “We want to incubate studios here, invest in them and make them more mature for the market, not only in Brazil.”