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So I'v been hobby programming games for a few years now but never released anything.

This year I was thinking about deepening my knowledge of the industry and doing some networking buy going to some trade shows and maybe taking part in a contest.

My first instinct was try E3 but that is not open to the public and is in america :(

So what I want to know is what shows and contest are held in the UK for game development.

I have found this difficult to Google when you as I am not sure what I am even looking for so if anyone has any recommendations. Ideally the show would have elements dedicated to design and development of games instead of just previewing the new releases.

Any information on any game competition would be great no matter the level.

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That's kind of a localized question, as you're only asking for UK based events. Maybe you could widen that a bit and people could post events from different locations... I'm flagging this so that a mod can make it community wiki. –  bummzack Jan 9 '12 at 16:21
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3 Answers

There's a few things to mention. First, do some research to see if there's a game development meetup locally, googling <city name> game developers is a good start. Doing that will probably get you something like London Indies. Side note: if there's no local group near you, why not start one? If you live in any decent sized city, there's bound to be 10-30 people interested in game development in your area.

Second, participate in events like Global Game Jam, there's over 100 sites around the world, and it's a great way to meet other local people (and ask them about any other events that might exist). If there's nothing close to you, then sign up to host a site next year!

Finally, for a wider "Europe" set of events, the Copenhagen Game Collective and GDC Europe are two things worth checking out, as they're both ways to meet other game developers and learn about the industry.

Finally finally, don't forget the online option. Various game developers use twitter, google+, and even facebook as a way of connecting and talking to people, in addition to online game jams like Ludum Dare.

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I don't know about all the networking, but one thing you should do is to release something. You can make a simple website and offer your games for free, you can upload stuff to one or more of several different app stores, charge a little if you think your game is worth it.

Don't ask the industry to let you in, just be part of it, at whatever level you can manage.

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AFAIK the first four, at least, are international/online competitions.

Go to it, my son!

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