SAN ANTONIO -- When the PAX South gaming convention hit downtown San Antonio two years ago, no one walked away buzzing about the local indie game scene.
But last year's convention changed all that.
"At this panel we had about 150 people show up, which we thought was pretty impressive to get that much local support," said Rick Stemm. "We just kept hearing the same refrain, 'hey I'm working on games I didn't know other people were doing this, hey I'm a twitch streamer I didn't realize there were other game journalists, hey I'm making hardware for games I didn't realized other people were doing this.'"
Stemm moved to San Antonio a few years ago to develop science games for Twist Education. When that startup lost funding, he started work on his own project, 'Heroes Must Die'."
"I've always been interested in games and I've been an instructional designer for a long time, so when that went away, I decided, 'well, I still need to make games'," stated Stemm.
'Heroes Must Die' is set for national distribution through Steam starting Friday July 15. It's the first national release for Stemm's company, Heroic Games.
San Antonio also has its own Virtual Reality hardware company. Andrew Trickett co-founded Merge VR to help this technology go mainstream.
"We wanted to do this, because we see this as the next big wave of computing," said Trickett.
His company's headsets are for sale across the nation as well as in select locations internationally.
So why did he pick San Antonio?
"To paraphrase the Beastie Boys, we're from San Antonio, because that's where we're from," stated Trickett.
Now it's not just gamers that will benefit from this growing local industry.
"It also gives the local investment community some encouragement that this is hot and happening in San Antonio," said Trickett. "This is going to be a force to be reckoned with and they ought to be involved from an investment standpoint."
Another on the VR side of the business, CEO of Ractive Jonathan Perry moved back to town after working on big time hits in the gaming world.
"San Antonio has this really creative spirit and people are really inspired by the things other people are doing and want to work together to create something great," stated Perry.
Stemm and his fellow developers, gamers and writers have formed the Greater Gaming Society of San Antonio to bring like minded people together to continue this community's growth. They've also formed the newest chapter of the International Game Developers Association.
"With Hebi Studios releasing on Nintendo, with Heroic Games releasing on Steam, with Merge VR getting their hardware in stores across the country and with Ractive working with Hollywood studios we're actually starting to branch out and make connections across the country," said Stemm.
The next PAX South is coming January 2017. By then the Alamo City's indie game scene could be making even more waves.