Heyo Handmade Folks,

Happy start of the week (I hope.) Today I offer you some cool updates on the conferences, meetups, new coworking sessions, ticket prices, Twitch collabs, and a new indie game I believe you’ll enjoy.

Conference Themes and Topics

I’m live-streaming my decision-making process for the themes and topics of Handmade Boston and Handmade Seattle on May 30th at 2PM Seattle Time. Tune in to suggest speakers if you haven’t already! UPDATE: Moved to Monday, June 3rd at 2PM Seattle Time

Top fundraiser contributors will get an email beforehand with instructions on joining a private channel: they will get priority as I listen to public feedback.

Initial Speaker Announcements 🎉

We’re only just ramping up our selection of speakers and demoers, but we already have a cast of returning characters that I’d love to (re-)introduce.

Kaze Emanuar: For Handmade Boston, I’m excited to announce the return of Kaze Emanuar: last year, Kaze shared his approach to modding Mario Party 1 from scratch. This time, he’s diving straight into optimizations and cost analysis. This masterclass could empower you to achieve impressive results. For this conference, he’s aiming to apply these techniques to a non-Mario game—perhaps Zelda?

Note that Kaze prefers staying behind the screen, so this session is for the online track. In-person attendees will have access to the recording too, of course.

Mr. 4th: I’m also thrilled to announce Allen Webster as in-person speaker for Boston. Creator of 4coder, with a respectable tenure at RAD Game Tools and Epic, Allen recently went independent and runs Mr. 4th Lab now. His masterclass details will be up on our website soon.

Devine Lu Linvega: For Handmade Seattle we welcome Devine Lu Linvega: Devine is a founder of the Hundred Rabbits collective and they’ve been living on a sailboat since 2016 making experimental software. In 2022, Devine taught us how to weather the software winter (arguably more relevant today.) This time, Devine will teach us how to find a different life as programmers. Given the obscene mass layoffs and realization of our disposability, this will be a very thought-provoking talk. Let’s join Devine in Seattle and consider alternative viewpoints.

Boston is coming up first, which takes place in under three months, and our speaker lineup will continue to grow, especially after our live-stream on May 30th.

📝Note: Boston masterclasses won’t be live-streamed in full this year. You need a ticket to unlock them, and they’ll remain exclusive until next year. I humbly ask that we support our favorite indie conferences 🙂

Meetup Growth: NYC Demo Night 🌆

Handmade Meetups are back in full swing and popping up worldwide. Vancouver and Cambridge have been added, and I even partnered with an interesting CTO from Australia recently, so expect to see that country listed on the site very soon. Note that if your city isn’t listed, you can wishlist it on our page. You should also talk to me if you have the social chops to spin up a meetup.

One of our growth strategies is to record demos from meetups and share them with the world whenever possible. Nick Aversano, host of NYC meetups, recorded a rather mesmerizing presentation (complete with closed captioning) by a core contributor of the Live Bootstrap project— which involves writing a 4KB kernel in hex.

The New York scene for Handmade is really growing at a steady pace, and I’m grateful to Nick for his consistency as a meetup host. I’ll highlight interesting presentations as they happen throughout the year.

Coworking Sessions

If you’re on the new Discord you’ll see I’ve created a public cowork channel: I’m interested to see if there’s demand for this. In the Seattle area I’ve already spun up biweekly sessions for indies: rotating them between Seattle, Redmond, and Kirkland. Message me if you’re independent and live in the Seattle area.

The keen reader should realize the big picture that Handmade Cities is going for:

  • Conferences: Our biggest events. Twice a year.
  • Meetups: Informal gatherings to showcase projects or discuss important topics. Usually monthly.
  • Co-Working: Work alongside like-minded programmers. Usually bi-weekly.

In the future we’ll create a co-working section on the website with the ability to subscribe to notifications, as we do for meetups. For now, it’s just an informal setup on our chat.

Clarifying the Ticket Prices 🎫

We’ve set new ticket prices this year, and I plan to keep them long-term. The physical track is $249—please compare that to any other tech conference, which are almost always financially backed by tech sponsors. Meanwhile our online track is just 30% of the in-person cost.

I aim not to raise prices as a conference approaches, avoiding the pressure tactics to get early registrations. What I’m counting on is the goodwill of the Handmade community to register early so we can always keep prices stable while remaining fully independent:

(It’s not sustainable if everyone holds out until the day before the conference.)

Twitch Collabs 🤝

I’m collaborating with Allen Webster and Ben Visness on my streams! Allen is helping me tighten the screws on Terminal Click, while Ben is leveling up the Handmade Cities website. You can already check out some VODs on my Twitch channel.

The community’s had a lone wolf and secretive culture for too long, which I have contributed to myself. I encourage programmers to trust their fellow community members, especially when they have more expertise than you in some area. There’s more than one way to collaborate or create partnerships: figure out what makes you the most comfortable.

Promotion: Way of Rhea 🎮

A game that embodies the Handmade ethos has now shipped! If you love engaging indie puzzlers you wouldn’t want to miss this one:

Mason Remaley’s a gamedev who gave a well-received talk at Handmade Seattle, titled It’s not Survivorship Bias: On Successful Software Endeavors. I recommend it for any programmer interested in running their own shop. His Q&A session has golden nuggets of wisdom too.

If you want to support Mason and snag the game, it’s currently at a discount. Consider leaving Way of Rhea a review as well, since it helps discoverability.

Your Patience is Appreciated

To those awaiting email responses: I’m working through the backlog (surprising absolutely no one) and will get back to you before the month expires. Thanks for your patience.

Until the next round of updates!

Your organizer,