Sessions by track
The next generation of consoles is finally upon us, and not before time say fans of the quest for near-realism in games. After years that saw long-in-the-tooth consoles cede the spotlight to mobile and social games sporting retro 2D and isometric visuals, 2013 could be a different kind of old-fashioned. Once more we can prepare to be amazed by new machines and their graphical fireworks! Or can we? How great will the leap forward really be this time? Do the shrinking ranks of AAA studios have the talent and tools to exploit the new hardware? What are the technical and artistic pitfalls, and could new consoles simply be taking us deeper into the so-called uncanny valley? And how can artists working on less turbo-charged devices ensure their own work still stand out as attention inevitably turns to the new? We'll have some of gaming's most accomplished artists to show and tell, as well as talents from outside our industry to inspire you.
Many consider game audio to be a "solved problem", especially when it comes to the dedicated consoles. Many audio professionals would disagree. It's true there are now fewer technical challenges to recording, storing, and replaying high quality audio in video games, but if technical challenges were all that art amounted to, IBM would be making Hollywood blockbusters. The truth is game audio still struggles to get anything like the budget and attention given to art and design, and there are likely still entire soundscapes waiting to be devised, explored, and dove-tailed with innovative gameplay. And that's not to mention the increasingly crucial mobile and online sectors, where few involved in game audio have yet to have much of a look-in. Whatever your perspective, Develop's world-renowned audio day remains the place to hear from the best in the business in a uniquely intimate and high-caliber venue – as well as to make your own voice heard.
Nowadays, the C-suite of the games industry feels the uncertainty faced by their technical teams. The ground has shifted beneath executives' feet, as the old boxed copy model has given way to surging social and mobile revenues – new income streams that have been largely gobbled up by new entrants to the industry. To cap it all, no sooner had we come to terms with digital marketplaces as the future of selling games than free-to-play came to the fore as the leading monetization method, on mobile at least. And spare a thought for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, who have had to develop standalone consoles to last a decade in the face of realities that often seem to have changed by Christmas. How can studios prosper in the face of this confusion, as well as rising costs across the board, the winner-takes-all reality of network economics, and a workforce that feels increasingly emboldened to take to Kickstarter and go it alone?
The diversity of programming challenges faced by the games industry continues to multiply. At the high-end, we see studios coding for the upcoming consoles from Sony and Microsoft, striving to deliver graphics that can remind gamers of the point of dedicated hardware. But while good old-fashioned, bleeding-edge pixel pushers continue to focus on melting multi-GPU PCs (plus ça change) the games industry is also recruiting more and more big data specialists and networking engineers to cope with a future where everything in games is connected, streamed, logged, analyzed, and bought and sold online. Oh, and the age-old hurdles in physics and artificial intelligence haven't gone away, either. Our speakers will help you think about and overcome these issues in new ways, via rich, takeaway-heavy sessions focused on the job(s) at hand.
Ten years ago, much of game design had devolved into deciding where to put your crates, ice worlds, and cyberpunk pick-ups, and how many save points to allow a gamer before bedtime. But a supernova of creativity – kicked off by Nintendo's touch and gesture interfaces, and turbo-charged by social and mobile platforms and the new blood they ushered in – did away with all that. Or did it? As new games struggle to capture ever-fleeting audience mindshare and the precious top spots on digital marketplaces, is safety and conformity making an unwelcome return? How many new ideas can there be, anyway? And how can designers exploit technical opportunities such as second screens in order to bring fresh experiences to the next gen consoles? We'll invite the brightest designers to Brighton to explain how and where they're pushing boundaries, and also when they think evolution is more appropriate than revolution in addressing this never-more ruthless market.
New consoles, new mobile devices, the interconnection of everything and everyone via the social web, and the infusion of new ideas from indies as well as creatives from other media – this is surely the most exciting time for game development for decades. Evolve is dedicated to the cutting-edge in video games. From PlayStation 4 and Wii U to Google Glass, from transmedia-enhanced and location-based games to dueling with controllers and playing augmented reality games on your coffee table, Evolve is the place to hear and share the ideas that will shape how and where we play games in the next decade, how we pay and get paid, and who will win and lose as a result.
Many of the most radical and challenging advances of modern game development are falling into production's To Do tray. The shift from one-shot boxed copies to ever-upgradeable, ever-billable – and never fully satisfiable – online software-as-a-service models of subscription and free-to-play has overturned the old certainties of deliverables and milestones. Then there's the need to make games that are playable and likely connected across a plethora of platforms, and perhaps enhanced through integration with non-game elements deployed in other media. Oh, and there are long awaited new consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to get up-to-speed on, too. Throw in everything from skills shortages and increasingly dispersed teams to growing concerns about security, and you can see there's a lot to talk about at Develop in 2013.
Indie Dev Day
Indie Dev Day Sponsored by
The rebirth of the independent game development scene has been the most exciting aspect of the multiplication of platforms, business models, and gameplay possibilities of recent times. Even five years ago, a talented game-loving coder, designer, artist, or entrepreneur had to resign themselves to being a small cog in a big machine, but hundreds have since shown that devising, creating, marketing and even selling your own creations is now within your grasp. But don't think it will be easy – the failure rate is high. Our Indie Developer's Day brings together the community to share hints, tips, lessons, and dreams that could help you succeed. Indie networking events and our Indie Showcase of independently developed games round out this must-attend event.
Indie Dev Marketing Day
Indie Dev Marketing Day
After years of being derided as ponderous relics, the big publishers have finally woken up to the new reality. Yet indie game creators do still have advantages over these old-school behemoths. You know your market, your community, and your products like nobody else. The Indie Developer's Marketing Day will deliver practical takeaways on how you can exploit such strengths across everything from social media to win-win marketing partnerships to raise the profile of your games and boost their discovery in the app stores. No one is denying that rivals spending tens of thousands to buy audience and prominence represent mighty opponents, but with the right stones and a decent slingshot, David can still beat Goliath.