First time at a gamedev meetup. Interesting experience overall and definitely going to attend the next one.
Event was hosted by a Microsoft developer named Joe Healy on developing for the Windows Phone-- marketing and all.
Confirmed a lot of what I already knew, but some alright new things.
The easy stuff:
-The best apps are non-shitware, but a heavy side of it comes from raw marketing.
-Marketing marketing marketing marketing. Marketing!
-Windows Phone programming is a helluvafscking lot easier and cleaner than Android programming.
The not-so-well-known stuff:
-The market is very much alive, even with only 70k apps.
-Startup fees (licensing etc) are few.
-One app a month is a decent rate of release.
-Advertisements = top money.
-XNA is 100% portable from PC to phone. Design a game on PC and move it over to Phone, hassle-free.
Definitely a market to look at if iOS dev doesn't go down as well as I'd expected.
Now for the social aspects:
Despite being several decades younger than the majority of participants (I was the youngest there, hands-down), I didn't really feel out-of-place at all. The people were all very interesting to talk to. Even got a conversation going with a guy about different types of trash cans.
My big mistake here? Not claiming a computer already set-up with the Windows Phone 8 SDK, and having to download and install it myself. Oh, cool, can't connect to wifi. Good thing they have an instructions sheet for it. Oh, cool, popup bubble asking for credentials not appearing. Good thing I spent half an hour searching to find it. Oh, cool, the Microsoft website is down and I can't download the SDK.
Good thing I refreshed my HOSTS file, flushed my DNS, disabled/re-enabled all the wireless adapters, manually updated IP and DNS addresses, pinged microsoft.com several times, IP-tracked the DNS via Whois and Google, and finally got around the DNS block before realizing the link I had was for the patch and not the original package.
By then, the meeting had ended.
Also, for any hobbyists of any creed:
I highly recommend attending one of these. Look online at Meetup.com for those in your area or something. This was excellent, and the people were excellent, and I regret not finding these meetups earlier.