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ROC Game Dev gets its own space


For its three-year existence, ROC Game Dev hasn't had a true home base. It started at the Irondequoit Public Library and for the past two years has operated out of the multi-disciplinary MAGIC Center at Rochester Institute of Technology.

But ROC Game Dev, an organization that supports and promotes indie game development in Greater Rochester, recently secured a space of its own in the Sibley Building. It's anticipating an October opening, says Rob Mostyn, who is the founder of ROC Game Dev, the Digital Game Hub coordinator for RIT's MAGIC Center, and a game developer.

The organization currently holds monthly meetups and workshops at the MAGIC Center, and it'll continue those activities in the new facility. But with its own place, ROC Game Dev is also opening up a co-working space, which game developers will be able to use through a $45 a month membership fee, Mostyn says. The rate drops to $20 for students.

"The need and demand for a downtown space has always been there," Mostyn says, "and we've always had people who have asked about that."

ROC Game Dev hopes to create a hub in the vein of the Buffalo Game Space and Troy's Tech Valley Game space, which each combine co-working spaces with events and workshops. The Buffalo and Troy operations have different membership tiers and use a slightly different model than ROC Game Dev will. In general, however, the approach used by all three isn't much different from shared artists' studios and makerspaces.

The organization wants to provide a place where small indie studios, people who do contract work for other developers and studios, or people who work for gaming studios but moonlight on projects of their own, can work, interact with others, and learn from each other.

The ROC Game Dev space will have some specialized equipment for game developers and hopes to add more – such as VR equipment – down the road, Mostyn says.

By having a dedicated space, some other options open up for the organization.

"We've never done any sort of gaming event where we just hang out and actually play video games, so that's something we'd like to do," Mostyn says.

And ROC Game Dev plans to use the space for outreach and public events, to expose the local game development community to a larger audience. Those functions will play right back into a core function of the group: making Rochester known as a place where people are creating games.