Druid at Assembly – Thoughts from a young enthusiast

Assembly Summer 2022 was held at Messukeskus, Helsinki, in the beginning of August. Assembly has been around quite a while: this time also marked the event’s 30th anniversary, so they were going to make it BIG. And they did deliver. For the first time ever, Druid attended Assembly as an event partner, which as an enthusiastic demo guy, I was naturally thrilled about.

What is Assembly, and why were we there?

Assembly is Finland’s largest computer and gaming festival – Assembly Summer 22 had 18,000 visitors for example. So why would a tech company like Druid, that doesn’t develop games but web, participate in a gaming event of this magnitude? 

It’s simple: Assembly is not all about gaming, but about tech in general. Since the dawn of the event, tech enthusiasts and programmers have been the core group of visitors. In fact, Assembly started out as a rather small demoscene event. And while the event is nowadays more gaming-focused and has grown to its current size (approx. 30 000 visitors every year), they haven’t forgotten their demo roots. They ran some great demo competitions this year.

Personally, I’ve always been a demo guy, ever since my first Assembly. I love seeing all the things that a person can do with just a computer, file and a compiler. It’s even more amazing in the 1k and 4k compos (demo competitions), where the executable file has the size of aforementioned numbers. I’ve been going to Assembly for five years now, never missing a democompo. It was really cool to enjoy one of the highlights of my year and get paid for it!

Let’s also admit that the fact that many of us Druids are into gaming might have impacted our decision to participate. We saw this as a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and get our name out there as a potential place to work.

How was the event?

The event itself was a carnival of gaming, computers and the subculture around them. I’m glad that we were able to bring a touch of Druid’s vibe to that atmosphere. Our stand had a popcorn machine and an arcade booth – both were real hits! I counted that over 400 people came to get popcorn from us, many of them after searching the whole venue for the source of the popcorn smell, and were delighted when they finally found us. Many others came to play, chat – and to sleep on our bean bags and sofas while the stand was closed…we hope you slept well!

We also had Scratch workshops held by two of our amazing druids Marika and Laurie. In the workshop, people got a chance to try and make their own graphic demos, no coding experience needed! We had people participate with zero coding experience all the way to people who do it for a living. There were even two people who thought they were attending a Sketch workshop, but stayed with us nevertheless and were happily coding away in the workshop! We got some good feedback about the workshop, and were happy that the people attending it enjoyed it as much as Marika and Laurie did planning and executing it.

Here are two examples of what the participants did in the Scratch workshops. Both pictures are generated with code. In the first picture you can also see some of the code blocs and the Scratch UI.

Ending notes

Overall, it was really nice to have people come to meet us at Assembly. Our company name and visuals made people curious about who the mysterious druids are and what they do. It was a chance for us to meet people both in and beyond the web development world. Thank you everyone who visited our booth and thank you for all the good discussions! It was a pleasure!