Here's the schedule for our conference programme - day by day so you can see what's on when, and searchable by track so you can find sessions relevant for you.
The conference runs across all 3 days this year with Evolve (focussing on all things new and cutting edge in game dev) incorporated as a track rather than a stand alone event, so you can attend more sessions from all tracks every day except the Audio track which is only on Thursday and the free Indie BootCamp sessions which run alongside the Expo on Wednesday and Thursday.
We still have a few more sessions to announce, so do check back to keep up-to-date!
We are honored to have this year’s Develop Industry Legend Award winner and the president of Worldwide Studios for Sony Interactive Entertainment Shuhei Yoshida share his perspective on his long career. Shu’s career at Sony started in the 80’s before joining the original PlayStation team nearly two years ahead of the launch of PS1. As Executive Producer, Shu oversaw the release of iconic games like Gran Turismo and in his management capacity has continued to deliver generation-defining games from Ico to The Last of Us. He was also involved in the launches of all the PlayStation platforms including the current PSVR. During this fireside chat Shu will talk about the mission of managing the worldwide studios, and share his insight on Sony’s current successes.
Interview by Edge Magazine's Nathan Brown.
David went from years of running console studios to building and then selling a mobile free-to-play company. Now part of the mighty MAG Interactive, he's gone from knowing next-to-nothing about mobile F2P games to hundreds of millions of installs in the space four years. David gives an overview what he's learned in a way that anyone can understand and talks about best practice in current and future games.
In this session, Michael will share his experience gained from years of designing on AAA VR titles like: PlayStation VR Worlds, and Blood & Truth.
* The Challenges of Designing for a New Medium
* Popular trends in the first generation of VR games since VR's rebirth
* The Future of VR Software and the possibilities for emerging genres * 10 things every VR Developer needs to know.
* Feature development and how development priorities need to change when developing in VR.
- How a Game Designer's approach has to change when designing in VR
- Traditional Player Expectations Vs. Player Expectations in VR
- Strategies for opening up your game to new players, audiences, and VR veterans
For the last couple of years Steam has become a competitive space. In the last few months, since Steam Direct launched, that has got even harder. The number of new games on Steam has gone from a handful per day back in 2015 to over 200 per week in March 2018. Can this rise continue? What do these dark omens tell us of what Steam may do in response? Is this a ‘Steampocalypse’ or simply the next iteration in the ongoing story of games development? Should you give up? Move to console? Pivot to mobile? Jack it all in and go work in another industry? Tomas Rawlings - indie developer running Auroh Digital and a co-director of Bristol Games Hub shares with you some of the survival strategies that he and other indies are using to attempt to ensure that they survive the Steampocalypse.
This session will start by outlining the greater complexity of Vehicle AI over Character AI, especially when writing one that controls a simulated vehicle instead of an emulated vehicle, and cover the reasons why you would want to do this in games. I will move on to explain the problems that were faced over time, and the solutions used to overcome them. Finally I'll give an insight into where the Vehicle Specialist Team at Ubisoft Reflections will be taking this topic in the near future.
Fig helped make equity-based crowdfunding successful and turned traditional games publishing on its head. Now they are helping developers understand the value of blockchains in gaming. Join Alex Amsel, Head of Blockchain Development at Fig, for this informative session, which will begin with a primer on blockchain technology and its first use case, Bitcoin. Alex will then introduce the potential uses of blockchains to game developers whilst providing a balanced view of the nascent blockchain sector. He'll wrap the session by taking a look ahead and offering some opinions on the future of decentralised technology and its use in the games industry. Anyone curious about blockchain and cryptocurrency for their next game project will want attend this session.
Aj will discuss life before, during and after signing the "contract of a lifetime". The ego driven rose tinted glasses that can cause you, and your team, danger. Scaling up for a contract and then maintaining that some number of staff when the contract is pulled from under you. This will cover managing budgets, remote workers, non-remote workers, overseas publishers, someone else's IP, contracts, a trip to Disneyland, a trip to another Disneyland, spending more money on "exploration" than you ever have on a game, that game being cancelled and everything that falls in between! How 5 guys in a garage got a multi-million dollar deal, turned into 14 people in a studio and then had that deal killed.
Unity Machine Learning Agents is the revolutionary plugin for those who wish to turn their scripted game AI into a neural network-trained agent able to make reasoned decisions.
The session focuses on the implementation of the ML-Agents into an existing Unity projects. The talk includes a quick introduction to Machine Learning that does not require any prior knowledge on the topic. Alessia will cover how this is approached by Unity and how to get up to speed with the API efficiently. You will be introduced to exciting examples of what has been done with the ML-Agents, and then look at a feature demo breakdown to understand how it all works within the engine. The session aims to provide you with the tools necessary to understand and start working with Imitation Learning and the workflow of neural network training based on a Unity environment.
I will be talking about how new technology channels, and particularly VR, are opening up opportunities for content makers to develop new formats for storytelling. In particular there is a wealth of opportunity for traditional media creators in formats like TV and film to reach new audiences and generate new revenue streams.
With over 25 years’ experience in the video game industry as a geographer and culturalization strategist, Kate Edwards has been involved in the world-building process for many, many game titles, from major franchises such as Halo, Fable, Age of Empires, Mass Effect, Call of Duty, and Tomb Raider to an assortment of various indie games. She has truly seen it all when it comes to geopolitical and cultural issues that can negatively affect the ability of a game to be distributed and enjoyed by a wide range of players across diverse geographies and cultures. She has also seen game designers miss key opportunities to create more robust worlds that engage players by leveraging more of their local cultures. Come hear about the little-known field of content culturalization and how it assists game creators with building better worlds that account for a wider range of cultural, geopolitical, and environmental aspects.
Answers to questions like why nobody writes about your game and why nobody can find it. Real world examples of the horror and how developers are working to overcome it.
An origin story of the UI artist in video games. Simon and Hayley will discuss their different career paths into the games industry and how the impact, responsibilities and perceptions of the role have evolved over time. Both will explore practical examples of UI problems they from previous projects, including Batman: Arkham Knight. The historical context will be established and then illustrated with personal experiences, professional tips and amusing anecdotes. From creating simple interfaces to over-the-top animated compositions, assisting in the creation of in-house UI tools, comprehending coder art and serviette designs, and seeing UX become a discipline in its own right.
How do you build an audience around your game even before it’s released? How do you turn loyal fans into brand advocates who celebrate and promote your game for you? We look at case studies from the world of TV and big brands and explore how a revolution in social media data and advertising can be harnessed to take on the big publishers and win.
This discussion will be led by game designer Richard Franke better known as Miss Kitty Powers. Richard’s 20 years as a designer along with his unique personal experience in the industry put him in the perfect position to chair this conversation. Come share your “T” with Richard and other industry professionals about the ups and downs of our industry and how we can all work together to improve it.
Although art is an incredibly rewarding creative role, sometimes it can be repetitive, tedious and painful. Using Unreal Engine's blueprint, learn how to create a range of tools that can rapidly improve production time for environments and characters.
Fractured Space went into Steam Early Access in November 2014 and yet, without spending any significant marketing money, it has been playable 24/7 ever since and has a vibrant community of players and a loyal core following. This talk will be about what Edge Case Games has done across these years which has made this possible. James will also talk about what the future plans are to not only continue, but to grow the player base, and what he has learned from recent trends in this space.
With so many games releasing across every possible platform, the vast majority of titles are now sent out to their immediate deaths. Only the top 0.1% of games now make any real money -- so what can you do to grasp for one of those top slots? In this talk, Mike Rose from publishing label No More Robots explains what you can do to raise your chances of success in this scary market.
Calling all self taught coders, I can help you! I’ve worked with all kinds of developers, at all stages of their projects and this is a collection of pro tips using real world examples to help everyone to build better, more maintainable software.
In this session, I will concentrate on three e-therapies that cover the three stages of development (patient co-creation; clinical trial; roll out). These are designed for patients with acquired brain injury (stroke, brain tumours, traumatic brain injury) to be able to use with minimal help to improve specific aspects of their cognition (e.g. reading, understanding speech, word finding). As well as therapy elements (some of which are gamified to increase users’ engagement with the e-therapy), the apps also contain diagnostic and outcome measures, so users can see if they are improving or not.
The principles used in task-based rehahabilitation are very similar to those used in normal human learning. I think that web-based applications are a good way to make scientifically proven behavioural therapies available to suitable patients and their therapists.
Why do some games win awards and others don't? After entering the industry just 2 years ago our game Blockships has won 6 awards and 6 nominations. We've taken it to over 20 events, expos, and conferences along the way, appeared in the PAX10, on Ginx TV, and the front page of Twitch. Were we just lucky? No, then, are we simply amazing? No, and in this talk I will discuss how we won these awards, and our strategy for getting them. What we did right, what went wrong, and how you can use what we learned to improve your ability to gain awards and how to make the most of them when you win!
After launching several successful build-and-battle games, Space Ape set its sights on making the next genre defining hit game on mobile. The team decided it was time to break away from what was safe and inject a dose of innovation and adrenaline into every aspect of its latest release, Fastlane: Road to Revenge. From taking creative risks with game design, to implementing a first-of-its-kind influencer campaign that drove hundreds of thousands of installs and creating a holistic new approach to ad monetization and UA that has tripled revenue and DAU, it’s safe to say that the developer’s innovations have found success and helped them push the boundaries of game design. In this talk, Space Ape’s COO Simon Hade will pull back the curtains on the entire development process, breaking down key learnings from this new approach and demonstrating how they will have a lasting impact on the company’s strategies moving forward.
Bulkhead Interactive that started as 6 University graduates 5 years ago. Now they have over 20 developers in their studio. They have released two first person puzzlers and then gone on to create 'Battalion 1944' a back to basics WW2 FPS game. Their Studio Lead Joe Brammer will be talking about the challenges and decisions they made when striving to make bigger and better games, leading to their ultimate goal of making their biggest challenge yet; a first person shooter. Those interested in how to take your indie studio to the next level and grow to new heights will leave this talk with an understanding of what worked and what went wrong for Bulkhead Interactive. As Bulkhead Interactive is built up of graduates and with an average studio age of 26, if you're a University student or a graduate there will be a lot of relevant information in this talk for you.
Mental health is just as critical as our physical health to our well-being as creative professionals, and yet a heavy stigma exists that continues to make people reluctant to openly discuss and address. The silence around the issue is deafening, and further compounds the negative perception. This session aims to have an honest and confidential discussion about mental health in the game industry, how it affects our craft, and what forms of support are available (or not!). In this session, you'll be invited to share your own experiences with others (only if you're willing and able - no one will be asked to do so) and talk about strategies for improving support, plus find out what changes some studios have introduced.
2017 was a bad year for the world but a great year for video games. So how does 2018 compare, so far? How does what we’ve been playing from Jan to June reflect the current state of the video games industry? And is it just us, or have there been even more reboots/remakes/remasters than usual these past few months?
Join Jordan Erica Webber for an incredibly subjective take on what she considers the best five games of 2018 so far, and how she thinks (or hopes) they reflect the direction in which video games are headed. Place your bets now, so you can enjoy the smug satisfaction of having already guessed half the games on her list, or the pleasant surprise of learning about something new.
I’ll share how Wargaming (World of Tanks online game, 130million+ registered users) Special Projects group has successfully used all of the VR & AR tech imaginable to tell heritage stories in partnership with the largest tech companies and military history museums in the world, to engage internal and external digital native global audiences, online and at live events around the world, with heritage stories that actually capture their attention, while simultaneously garnering coverage from the world’s press, and doing important R&D work in preparation for ever-deeper dives into the growing mixed reality space… on reasonable budgets. I’ll use some concrete examples of projects we’ve launched:
- Sturmtiger Mixed Reality Experience – Microsoft Hololens, Google Tango, The Tank Museum at Bovington
- World of Tanks AR App - Google ARCore, Apple ARKit, Microsoft Hololens, Google Tango
- Virtually Inside HMS Cavalier – Google Arts & Culture Platform, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust
- War Knows no Nation - Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Littlstar on PSVR, Award-winning VR narrative short
Open production is the process of making games transparently and honestly, fostering community as you go. This turns the development you’re doing anyway into marketing, engendering trust in you and your team, creating an engaged community ahead of launch, and providing you with violently useful steers, feedback and a growing audience along the way. Taking you through two case studies - Sunless Sea, where the team had limited open production experience, and Cultist Simulator, where the team had prior form delivering games this way - this talk will cover what open production offers, its potential pitfalls, how it fosters an audience for your studio and products, and Kickstarter and funding opportunities.
Everyone who makes games is in the business of designing for an audience, but understanding what players want has become increasingly difficult the broader and more diverse the audience for videogames has become. Combining cutting edge psychological research with practical game design techniques, this How To talk puts player enjoyment into a more concrete perspective by answering three questions.
What do players want? The ten psychological motives players have for enjoying games, from the victory motive to the narrative motive, provide every possible reason for players liking the emotional experiences of games. The most common mistake game designers make is assuming they are a typical player: they’re not, and neither is anyone else.
Does my game have what players want? The most reliable way of tracking audience preferences is to look at what players are already playing. Here, marketing and game design have to learn to work together to find the all-important balance between the familiar and the original.
Could my game appeal to a wider audience? You can make changes to a game to help it appeal to a wider audience – but you have to be certain you aren’t destroying the core experience just to go fishing for the mass market. Commercial videogames today have to court and keep an audience, and to do that you need to know which player motives your game can deliver, and which other motives are compatible with it.
Don’t guess at your audience: understand them, and yourself, and learn to make better games.
Mafia III’s development story included the founding of a new studio, the creation of a timely narrative packed with difficult subject matter and the rebuilding of a proprietary engine and toolset for a new generation of console platforms. It would be fair to say that it wasn’t simple and certainly it wasn’t all plain-sailing, but the resulting game won many plaudits for its narrative and laid the foundation for Hangar 13’s next phase of growth. As the studio prepares for another expansion with a brand new team – Hangar 13 Brighton – Global Studio Head Haden Blackman and Vice President of Development Andy Wilson reflect on 20 years (and counting) of building a AAA console team from the ground up. For this fireside chat, GamesIndustry.biz's Chris Dring will interview Haden and Andy about their experiences building teams and games at studios such as LucasArts and Hangar 13 – including a look back on Mafia III and key learnings that will impact the team’s future projects. The pair will touch on a variety of subjects universal to all forms of games development, from the smallest indie to the largest AAA teams. Topics covered will include studio culture, working across multiple sites, building proprietary tech and the challenges of working with sensitive subject matter.
This year’s Develop Vanguard Award winner Jade Raymond’s first job out of university was as a programmer for Sony, where she was part of Sony Online's first Research and Development group. From programmer to running her own studio, Jade’s spent her career working on game changing and innovating franchises like Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
In 2015 Jade made the brave move to form Motive Studios with Electronic Arts, where she’s currently developing original new IP. She also oversees PopCap Vancouver and is responsible for the HD Star Wars portfolio across EA.
A trailblazer and innovator, during this fireside chat Jade will discuss her journey so far as a dev, her views on the future for her and the industry.
Laying bare the inner workings of the games media, Lewis explains how indies can earn their place in the press and on influencer channels.
Are you writing or considering writing a custom engine for your next game project? This session discusses the lessons learned from developing Wargroove for Windows, Mac, Linux, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Playstation 4, using a custom engine written in C++14. It explores why Wargroove went with a custom engine, whether it was the right choice, and how big of an undertaking it was. It also seeks to answer whether a custom engine is the right choice for you, what challenges lie ahead of those who go down that road, which skills will be required of them, and how this choice affects the wider team, beyond programmers. Finally, it provides some practical tips that should be helpful if you are interested in writing your own engine.
Through 17 years of operating one of the world’s largest free to play MMORPGs, Jagex has gained first-hand experience of how a focus on elevating the importance of player engagement and empowerment can drive an increase in loyalty and retention – RuneScape’s average active player lifetime is over seven years. Jagex’s CEO, Phil Mansell, will discuss how to nurture player engagement to drive player investment and how to bond a community of players through shared experiences for long-term retention.
From the winners of the Community Management Award at the MCV Awards 2018, discover how to cultivate fandom within a gaming community, how to stoke its passion, and the essential ingredients, both inside and outside of the game experience, that contributes to player loyalty.
As a social media manager for a community of almost half a million on Facebook alone, Grace Carroll is used to dealing with passionate fans. This talk will cover a number of key points for anyone interested in managing online game communities - dealing with negative sentiment, growing a community and above all, keeping the fans informed and excited without giving everything away. This talk covers the important basic knowledge of online community management and some tips and tricks to finding the voice of your game.
Learn about the development of the art of cinematography; the tricks used in movies to subconsciously communicate emotion to the audience. Explore how and when these can be applied to games to create more effective interactive experiences. Learn a potted history of cinematography, and how it can be applied to interactive games to engage players' emotions.
Anyone with a stake in their game's presentation. Camera tools programmers, level designers, cutscene animators, game directors.
After the initial excitement that a great idea brings, the next phase can be daunting. Does this game have any chance of commercial success? Is the space too crowded? Is it feasible for our team to build it? This talk will provide a number of techniques that you can apply at various points in the game’s lifecycle to help you make better-informed decisions and improve the chances of your game’s success - whether you are looking to validate the initial idea or refine the game during production or even post-launch.
There is no doom and gloom in this session; it is a resoundingly hopeful discussion that aims to destigmatise failure and provide an opportunity to learn and grow from our most challenging experiences. This session follows the course of project that is destined to fail and discusses the factors that can contribute to such a fate. The session also looks at the aftermath, both personally and professionally, of a project that comes to an abrupt end, and the process of picking up the pieces and leveraging your hard-won wisdom to do it all again, only better. Simon begins before the project starts a vital time to plan for success, whilst preparing for failure. He then moves to the initial prototypes with their freedom to experiment. Then to the heady rush of taking a demo on the road, where hubris and humility mix with equal measure. And finally, into that odd space beyond a project where the painful and liberating process of dis-entangling your sense of self from the game takes place.
Assets are at the very core of any Unity game, and yet the asset pipeline can be one of the most opaque systems to developers. In this session, one of Unity's internal developers will deep-dive into the process your assets will go through from being dragged into the project window, to being loaded by the engine when you hit play. This session will also feature a low-level look into how assets, dependencies and scenes are represented within Unity and how you can use a deeper understanding of these systems to improve your game’s performance and your studio’s development experience.
More and more we are seeing really great foliage in games. Not only does it look good, but it runs efficiently in the engine as well. In this presentation we’ll be identifying and analysing foliage in current generation games and then diving into practical advice and implementation, working within technology and time constraints, and finally what we can do to push the quality to be as good as it can be.
Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt all areas of human activity and gaming is in the vanguard of that assault. Forget Bitcoin and CryptoKitties, the ability for players to own their in-game assets, sell them on, or use them in other games - Overwatch characters in Super Mario Kart? - will radically impact the sector, providing opportunities for the current leaders to grow their businesses or go the way of one-time leaders such as Midway, THQ and Acclaim.
Games offer something no other medium can: an immediate dialogue with its audience. To play a game is to make decisions about where to go, what to do, and how to do it. But how does one personalize those choices, so they become memorable, powerful experiences? Cash DeCuir offers a practical framework for examining stories and maximizing their impact in an interactive medium.
This talk is going to use the development of a Sony Funded PSVR game as a case study in how to optimise for large numbers of dynamic objects in a VR environment. The nature of the project required many custom solutions that departed dramatically from the typical Unity render pipeline. Using code examples, performance benchmarks and GPU traces from the project the talk will walk through modern graphics pipelines, shader/lighting optimisation and performance bottlenecks. We will compare this to a more typical high performance VR project and show how to understand where Unity performs well and where alternate solutions may be needed. While this talk will focus on Unity and PS4 as the primary environments many of the elements discussed are applicable to different engines and platforms. The talk will be constructed from the dual experiences of the Lead Programmer and the Lead Technical artist on the project.
AI is the next big thing. It's already better than you at chess, so we made it more playable with artificial stupidity. It's already creating killer robots, but for some games, that's OK too. And best of all, AI can recognise cat pictures, so when it drives a real car, it probably won't run over your pet. Games have always lead the way in AI, so how did we do it and where will it go next ? This is the story of when AI is useful, when it’s magic, when it’s an illusion, and even when it’s a mistake!
This talk is all about Lootboxes. Not the scandals, legal consequences, but how they work, why they work and how to use them properly - without the danger of being called "Using Lootboxes". We will examine the origin of the mechanic, how it should not be used, but how it can be used efficiently without upsetting players (or lawyers).
If you consider random loot in your game and are asking yourself what the loot box scandal is all about - and why this doesn't happen for many games which feature them, but only a few, then you are right here in this session. You will learn how to use them with Do's and Don'ts.
In an industry where your team is your strength or weakness, this talk will cover how to create a positive company culture, a work environment where your employees want to be, and more importantly where they want to give you their best. Taking a look at examples from other companies, industries, and cultures, this talk will reflect on how to successfully manage company morale, how to attract the right staff and one of the most important topics: how to retain talent.
Game development is a fast-evolving industry, with younger generations having more input into the way it's shaped. Recruitment for talented staff, especially for smaller studios without big budgets, is becoming challenging, so companies need to look at other ways of attracting new talent. With a national average of 25 - 30 year olds staying in jobs for only 2-3 years, you also need to look at new ways to hold on to your staff.
And to help you walk the fine line between "domineering boss and push over", Nina will also be talking about how to nip damaging behaviour in the bud and how to work with your team to get to the root of why it's happening.
Large teams, small teams, global teams – there are so many different ways that studios are organised these days. And, the world has changed enabling teams to work remotely around the clock in London and Singapore on the same project. We’d all like to see crunch time becoming a thing of the past, so this roundtable discussion will dive into different company cultures and explore new ideas for killing crunch without killing your studio’s soul.
Creating original IP is hard. We all know that. But how you exploit it, value it, monetise it, and perhaps most importantly, how you protect it, are critical if you want to give your IP the best chance of success. Come and hear from this expert panel - chaired by Will Freeman, who will share their advice and experiences of how to get the most out of your IP and keeping it safe along the way.
Do you want players to care deeply about your story? Then you need great characters that grow and change like Walter White or Daenerys Targaryen. Your story can only ever be as strong as your protagonist is memorable.
But how do you write meaningful character arcs that aren't destroyed on a whim by player's agency? How can you preserve your story's integrity when players are in control of the character's fate? Some people say it's impossible and,indeed in most games, characters don't change. This session will show you that it's not only possible, it's essential to engage players on a deep personal level.
Join 'Heavy Rain' Lead Game Designer Caroline Marchal and BBC Drama Producer John Yorke to understand how to create characters that empower players for maximum emotional impact.
Nintendo Switch is the hot new kid on the console block, but should you bring your indie game to it? Having ported a few games to the platform (including Mike Bithell’s Subsurface Circular) Tony talks through some of the pros and cons. As well as discussing the business case and marketing angle, he also talks through the design considerations in porting to a device that has controllers and a touch screen, and ways to integrate some fan (and reviewer) pleasing platform-specific features without ballooning your project’s scope.
Mobile gaming competition is increasingly becoming a global sport. Mario Viviani, EU Technology Evangelist for Amazon Appstore, will discuss the future of mobile eSports gaming and how Amazon is working with developers to build community and connect players through competitive play.
The session outlines both the elements & principals of art, their use in traditional visual composition and the subsequent practical application of this to the medium of video games art. Delegates to will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of composition & the various techniques + methodologies employed in traditional art.
Thanks to digital distribution, social media and streaming platforms, the art of video games marketing has changed significantly over the last few years. New players keep entering the scene, which makes it even harder to pick the right marketing channels for small to mid-sized indie developers and even big publishers. In this hands-on talk, Michael Schade, CEO of ROCKFISH Games, will share his best marketing stunts on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and imgur, which helped to make EVERSPACE, the studio’s debut title, an indie surprise hit on Steam and Xbox with over 400,000 copies sold and still selling strongly.
Live streaming has been growing for years and has become huge part of the video game industry. But what does streaming mean for gamers with disabilities? In this session, Tara will discuss live streaming and it’s impact for viewers and streamers with disabilities, provide an introduction to Twitch Extensions and Mixer Interactive, and tell you how you can leverage this new tool set to bring forth a new level of inclusion in your title or build accessibility tools for a whole new audience.
In this live fireside chat, three production veterans will share experiences and ideas around how Games-as-a-Service affects team organisation, leadership, culture, and tools. The panel will address challenges of distributed development, scaling large productions, and new challenges brought by developing for VR/AR.
Technical Art is a fairly new specialisation within Art teams, is not strictly defined and often means different things to different people. In this session we take a deep dive into the variety of different specialisations, roles and responsibilities which are broadly categorised as “technical art”. How do you build a technical art team? Hiring is notoriously difficult for these positions; we also cover what we look for in potential Technical Artists, common ways that artists transition into more technical roles and ways to foster cultural adoption of Technical Art within your team.
In this 2 hour workshop, attendees will make a paper prototype of an action-based combat game. After a short introduction, they will develop their own twist on an urban zombie shooter. Their prototype will allow them to balance movement and combat rule-sets, as well as gain insight into potential AI behaviours and weapon systems, all without a single line of code. Ideas will be shared for prototyping time-sensitive reactions, tracking statistics, and other fast methods of finding the fun in a concept.
Game designers will learn practical methods for rapid prototyping of game systems. These will help you improve your designs, and increase your ability to communicate them to your team.
This discussion will provide a forum for you to talk about best practice when dealing with trolls – learn how to engage professionally and stay in control of your message online. Plus, share war stories and experiences – good or bad - with other developers to avoid costly mistakes and improve your community management.
PONToon is an exciting project that uses a range of new and developing technologies such as games development, 3D/virtual reality, social media and web/mobile apps to engage, support and up-skill women in order to aid their employment opportunities. The project is centred around community development, social and economic inclusion and equality. It aims to produce a method of working that's not only scalable and transferrable but also applicable to broader demographic sets and geographical regions for continuing impact.
Drawing from his own experiences as a colour-blind gamer and developer, Douglas goes into detail about how the colour blind see the world, and how this can make some video games very difficult to play. He also addresses the issue of why developing for colour blindness is so difficult, with anecdotal examples from the development of Alien: Isolation and Halo Wars 2, and why some colour-blind solutions can still fail to make the game more playable. The aim of this talk is to deepen delegates understanding of exactly what colour blindness does to a gamer’s experience and expose them to some practices and solutions that can help make their games more accessible to the colour blind.
The Roblox platform has exploded over the last few years with game creation skyrocketing and developers earning real money for their creations. This interview will be with Roblox developer, Thomas Hoeksema, who has successfully created multiple games on Roblox. Hoeksema will offer insight into his entrepreneurial experience in creating a virtual studio that leverages expertise from developers located around the world to create successful games on the Roblox platform. Roblox is unique, as it puts the ultimate success in the hands of the developer. Ultimately, does Hoeksema see Roblox as a stepping stone to other opportunities in the game creation world or is the Roblox platform itself an opportunity to build a formidable and successful career? Find out!
Creative Director of BAFTA-winning Bossa Studios, Chet Faliszek will expand on the impact of AI not just on the narrative of games but also deep in their core designs. Former writer of iconic games at Valve, Chet will share a perspective on how Bossa is creating the games of tomorrow with the help of AI.
Industry trailblazers Mike Bithell and Rami Ismail have both had great success and are out spoken industry champions. This intimate fireside chat will let them discuss their experiences over the last few years, tell you what pit falls to avoid and discuss what they think about the future. This session should be full of entertaining insights and valuable lessons. They'll answer a few questions from attendees too.
Interview by games journalist Will Freeman.
Inclusion of gamers with disabilities is easiest to achieve when it is tackled from the start of development. But to be able to do that you need to know where to start and how to think about tackling these issues. Whether you're just starting out on your accessibility journey or an experienced practitioner wanting to share experiences, come and join this discussion about how to plan for and implement accessibility.
How does a designer know that an idea is going to work? Our ideas are always going to be coloured by personal biases, which can help or hinder our concepts. In this talk, Thomas and Mata discuss the limits of human creativity and how a generative method can help us overcome our biases. The talk contains a practical example of game concept generation through simple tools that are available to all. These generative approaches won’t replace human skills of imagination and artistic expression, but they will have an impact on the future of game design roles. By embracing them now, we can learn to use them to enhance our games and stay competitive in our skill sets.
Game designers will assimilate a practical technique, including simple tools, for creating new game designs through procedural concept development.
Key members of Frontier’s audio programming team demonstrate how to create a bespoke VMS to mitigate an excessive voice count that’s draining CPU time and memory resources - leading to a cluttered mix that’s hard to tame. For the uninitiated, development of such systems can be a significant time sink and middleware isn’t necessarily the answer. Over the last five years, Frontier has developed bespoke technology to overcome some of those third party shortcomings.
This talk will provide an overview of that development across a number of titles including forthcoming Jurassic World Evolution. A brief critique of previous implementations will provide an historical perspective and reveal lessons learned and key insights into choices made. An outline of the latest system's functionality and implementation will show how programming best practices such as generic systems, code reuse and separation of concerns can greatly help VMS development at your studio.
The plan: make a game, sell loads of units, use the profit to make the game of your dreams, never worry about money again The reality: make a game, sell a modest number of units, question all your decisions, panic about what to do next In this talk, James Parker, director at Ground Shatter, talks about how the company went from a largely self-funded single-person developer to a fully-fledged microstudio with a six-figure publishing deal and its own label-maker. He will cover the highs, the lows, and the stumbling blocks along the way; from finding and then losing a publisher, to the importance of singing, making your first hire, firing your accountant and how it's possible to fund a studio expansion when your first game sells only an average amount. Warning: May contain survivorship bias.
This session will cover the the 6 key areas that are required for any Live Ops game - events, promotions, new content, new features, community management and problem management. As well as an overview of what each area should include, the session will give insight into how to implement these within your game and your team, what tools and processes you should be using, and how to plan ahead to make the transition to live ops, and scaling of your game, as efficient as possible.
While the rise of conversational interfaces has seen us welcome Alexa and and Siri into our homes and fueled the conversation about AI, we’ve made fewer strides when it comes to having satisfying conversations with game characters. Yet character-driven mobile games like Bury Me, My Love show the way forward for pervasive narrative games, while simultaneously, ‘chatbot games’ are emerging, such as event with its natural language input. What do advances in AI mean for the ways in which we design interactions and conversations with game characters, and what are the new possibilities for game design: particularly when we are telling ongoing, pervasive stories? This talk surveys existing games and tools and the best practices these indicate for the future of social simulation and AI-driven characters in games.
Attendees will learn about game design possibilities leveraging AI tools and techniques, and considerations when designing social simulation games featuring conversational characters.
If you are looking to raise investment in your business, you will most likely be considering the numerous benefits of the SEIS and EIS arrangements. Such benefits can include various generous tax reliefs to investors who buy shares inappropriately qualifying businesses.
On March 15th, the Finance Act 2018 introduced certain changes to the SEIS/EIS rules, some of which will impact a number of games businesses seeking to raise investment using these methods.
Crucially, companies issuing any new SEIS/EIS based shares after this date will need to ensure that they still qualify under these new rules, or risk any tax benefits being restricted or even clawed back.
This session will explore some of the key rule changes, some of the potential impacts and a few potential strategies that might help you out.
TAKEAWAY: Attendees can expect to get a broad understanding of the changes to the SEIS/ EIS rules and some ideas about how to address these moving forward.
Story driven games are back with a vengeance. The renaissance started when the title Lifeline paved the way for text adventures to reach a new audience on mobile devices. More and more platforms are offering an exciting experience - some linear, some interactive. In addition, voice-controlled devices like Alexa or Google Home are giving story-driven games a new dimension. But how does game design and storytelling work when visuals are no longer the primary way to excite your audience? And how to monetize these stories? This talk will offer some insights on creating story driven games for voice controlled devices and the special constrictions these platforms enforce. Some basic experience in story telling and some basic technical understanding are necessary to get the most our of this talk.
Batman: Arkham VR is a story driven VR experience where the player becomes the BATMAN. This talk is NOT about HRTF, inter-aural delay or sound propagation. This talk is about telling the story with audio in a VR experience, using it to maintain player immersion and how sound is used to support VR gameplay.
The latest phenomena impacting Games is the rise of the use of Block-Chain techniques and Crypto-Currencies. Building on his experience working on the design and monetization strategy for Reality Clash (www.RealityClash.com); Oscar will explore the design questions that every games developer considering working an ICO, and block-chain secured assets or platforms. This will explore the following: * Impact of Crypto-Currency on Game Funding * Use of Block-Chain technologies in Games * Adding gameplay through secured transactions * Common Design Problems.
You will learn to:
While developing Abandon Ship, Team Lead Gary Burchell kept track of all marketing-related data, from trailer views to individual social media posts. All of this was focused on one drive: building up as many Steam Wishlists as possible. Join him as he goes through the data, breaking down strategies that helped get Abandon Ship covered by major outlets dozens of times, attaining a newsletter with thousands of subscribers, gaining a million plus views on YouTube and over a hundred thousand wishlists – all with no prior marketing experience. Learn from the successes and mistakes that allowed a remote working micro-studio, self-publishing its first title in Early Access to hit 4th in the Global Top Sellers charts on Steam – yet also why it may not be a challenge you wish to take on alone.
All games need paying players to grow. Finding them is only the start of the challenge. This session will cover methods for exploring the right product-market fit for your games, the strengths and weaknesses of different UA channels, and the importance of optimising your campaigns and games for both paying and free players. Relevant metrics and case studies will be included.
Veteran indie dev, Jake Birkett, will talk about why you are spending too long making your game and how much a "good" game can earn on Steam.
Recent events in the world have helped the continued changes in the landscape – resulting in increased diversity, but there’s still a way to go! This discussion is for anyone wanting to discuss helpful, productive and interesting ways to encourage more inclusion and less prejudice in our industry.
Multi bafta-nominated composers Olivier Derivière (Get Even, Remember Me, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag – Freedom Cry) and James Hannigan (Red Alert 3, Dead Space 3, Harry Potter) discuss the state-of-the-art in music for videogames.
The early days of videogame music promised much - a new form of music – perhaps even a new art form. Integrating music composition deeply with gameplay was an exciting new world of creative opportunity. So where did all the truly inventive ideas go? Is linear music plus a few standardised interactive techniques overlaid really the zenith of game music design?
Game Music Connect co-founder, James Hannigan, was an acclaimed early innovator and proselytizer of interactive music composition whose extraordinary journey from the nascent days of highly flexible midi music to unbridled ‘quad-A’ linear orchestral scores furnishes him with a unique, historic and thoughtful perspective on the role, function and placement of music in games.
Meanwhile, creating music for Get Even provided radical composer Olivier Derivière an apparently highly rare opportunity for a deep and early involvement with developer The Farm 51. They trusted him to realise a unique vision for an intricate integration of music and sound design from the get-go which led to a recent Bafta nomination. But with the proliferation of today's middleware tools why is such an approach so rare?
As our company was formed by three programmers with no business background and without any business courses/modules, almost everything we've learned has been from making mistakes on the job or by looking back on how we could have done things better. While that suggests we’ve made a lot of mistakes, we are still going which means we must be doing something right. In this talk will I will highlight all the things I wish I'd known at the start that we should've done differently. There will be special focus on the aspects that I think would have significantly improved our business prospects. This includes areas that weren’t really highlighted to me by the mentors and advisors I talked to when I started (and the areas that were which I didn’t really act on). People will leave the talk with a better understanding of what it takes to run a business and all the things they should be considering, even before starting, to get the most success from their company.
If there is one thing that Bossa Studios is known for, it's taking risks. The likes of Surgeon Simulator, I am Bread, and now the very first Community-Created MMO, Worlds Adrift, are just a few of the creative and unique projects that came out of Bossa and enticed the gaming industry.
But have you ever wondered about the people behind those games? How have these creatives been found and moulded into the developers they are today? Has it always been this way? What's next to come?
This talk will cover the unique approach to picking out the right people for the company as well as the flexible approach to production. Expect to leave the talk with a better understanding of the creatives behind Bossa, the attributes we look in people, how they are brought together with projects and the ways we keep them focused and passionate. Perhaps you will see yourself in this talk or you will wish to adapt the same process with your own teams. Perhaps even come up with something brand new! Either way, it's all about finding the best and brightest people, and finding the right ways to allow them to be as creative as possible.
Videogames are at their root about empowerment and escapism. Virtual Reality especially offers unprecedented options for immersion, enabling users, and freeing them from their physical constraints. People with disability are usually considered a niche market, an afterthought, a reasonable casualty in the existing marketing paradigm. With 1 in 5 having a disability, there is a large demand for entertainment by the people who need it most, but are notably discriminated against by VR titles available. Looking beyond the initial wow factor of VR, the truth is that people with transient or permanent disability look at VR as the primary tool by which they can expand their otherwise limited gaming and entertainment experience, making them an ideal core target.
The talk provides insight on the necessities, challenges, and requirements that disabled gamers meet daily, and practical, cost-effective approaches that developers may use to reach a wider audience that will persist past the initial curiosity wave.
Join Bill Harms, Narrative Director at Hangar 13, for a discussion and presentation on how he and the team at Hangar 13 created the primary characters in Mafia III, including their motivations and political beliefs, with never-before-seen deleted scenes from the game and casting footage. The discussion will also cover how the characters evolved during development and how elements outside of narrative, including design and the actors themselves, helped shape what you see in the game.
Taking a look at our character and VFX pipelines, and how limited resources and a powerful subject matter informed some of the technical and artistic choices on Hellblade. We’ll discuss key lessons learned throughout the process, the successes and the failures, and share our thoughts on what it means for future art pipelines at Ninja Theory.
Focussing on the practical audio design work from conception through prototyping to in-game integration, Philip will reveal how the audio team at DICE developed the sounds of the ‘heroes’ whilst needing to unify the sonics of all Star Wars eras into one holistic soundscape. He will detail examples which show the direction, emotional target, creative design and technical implementation for their sound design.
I will be talking about how a studio with the majority of staff working remotely managed to successfully release a game globally in consoles and Steam, including Nintendo Switch. I will go in detail about the problems we encountered both during development and pre-release production. Decisions about changing or removing features of our game because of these problems, the impact on the software architecture and post-release steps. Interesting information about what is needed to release in Asia, localisation and the required specifics of age ratings. Finally, I'll talk about what new developers need to ensure they take care before they try it.
As the games industry seeks to encourage and exploit new player populations in order to actively expand its user base, the pressure on the games industry to ensure its work is socially responsible will grow exponentially. Not only are equality, inclusion and diversity key to growing an audience, they are also key to user wellbeing: a topic that will come increasingly under scrutiny as technologies that the games industry is very publicly exploring and utilising, such as artificial intelligence and extended realities, push further into people’s everyday lives. This talk, delivered jointly by Ziggy’s Wish MD Ravi Thornton and CTO Jordi Sola, is designed to help foster a responsible, adaptive mindset for the games developers of the future; to make sure they start thinking about tomorrow’s questions today, rather than playing catch up in the face of potential criticism further down the line. Ziggy’s Wish specialises in creating Applied Narratives and Applied Narrative Technology tools for scientific research projects focused on intersectional social impact. Using case studies that discuss the challenges around user vulnerability and resilience, as well tangible methods to evidence social responsibility, this session will leave games developers better prepared to ensure that their industry not only embraces and supports the important and growing trend for new voices to be heard, but also drives its continued momentum.
A detailed look at how to grow an audience for your game on Social Media, from the team at Happiest; who in 18 months have organically amassed a following of over 3.5 million followers.
This session will deep-dive into how and why you should go about building an organic audience on social channels, the best 3rd party tools to make use of, how to produce and package your content for maximum impact on social, and ultimately how you can maximise the return on the time you spend marketing on social channels.
We'll take a look at some examples of content that have worked well for us at Happiest, as well as those performing best in the gaming space to discover why and how they are achieving the results they are.
Art Director, Kieran Crimmins and Lead Artist, Christian Bense from Criterion games discuss creating an interactable AAA X-wing Cockpit for PSVR and working with Lucas Film.
This masterclass is produced in partnership with BAFTA Games
Horizon Zero Dawn is critically acclaimed for its sound, dialogue and music score. However, at its inception, this open world project presented a paradigm shift for Guerrilla Games, noted for the rather more linear Killzone series. Using some key examples from the production, Audio Lead Bastian Seelbach will recount a story of dramatic changes in complexity and scale, explaining the audio team’s problem-solving approaches to tackling and overcoming challenges that open game environments introduce, while trying to find the voice of this brand new world called Horizon Zero Dawn.
The Physically Based revolution has been around for a while now. Even though you have adopted PBR successfully, you might still have many unanswered questions about how it works. Why doesn't the Substance Designer preview viewport match the results in engine? While we're on that topic, why no viewport in any program matches another software's viewport exactly, ever? What are Linear and Gamma precisely, and why do we bother with them? What practices which were absolutely common before Physically Based workflows arised, are going to break the realism of your materials in subtle ways? This talk has (most of) the answers to these, and many other questions you might have about Physically Based Rendering. Claudia Doppioslash guides you through the maze of Physically Based workflows, showing you how the physics of light impacts your workflows in practice. And including only sporadic references to mind-bending physics.
As developers, we want to engage with the largest audience as possible. But how often are the challenges, current approaches and solutions to inclusive play considered? This talk will begin by discussing methods that are currently employed that allow players of varying abilities to enjoy games that are currently in the wild, including what hardware, software and any modifications are needed to simplify input and maximize enjoyment. We will then offer tips and tricks when considering inclusive play, providing attendees with several techniques they can implement in their own titles.
The purpose of this talk is to share FitXR's insights from acquiring the first 10000 customers for their top selling app BOXVR. The talk focuses on lessons learnt from using traditional user acquisition methods such as search optimisations, ads, marketing campaigns, competitions, social media campaigns, store placements, influencers, reviews, in game features and community management. Sameer will discuss the success of each type of method and elaborate on how FitXR used the lessons learnt in improving their game design, and in increasing engagement and retention.
Sensible Object just shipped the world's first Alexa-powered board game, When In Rome. With over 40 million smart speakers in the market, this is a major platform opportunity for developers and studios. In this talk, CEO and product lead Alex Fleetwood will talk through the custom tools they have developed to develop, playtest and ship quality games on this new platform, share insights from the front line, and talk about their plans for the next 12 months.
Attendees will learn about the potential of voice AI as a gaming platform, understand evolving best practices around development, team structure and collaboration, and takeaway an understanding of what it's really like to develop games for smart speakers.
Simon Byron and Jonathan Smith wrap up this year's conference in the only way they know how: by eliminating every single attendee until only they remain standing. Come join them for this interactive session, which comes with beers, laughs and your chance to win an all-access pass to next year's Develop.
Using examples from her work on such prestigious productions as The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, God of War 4 and Fable 3, Shannon Potter explores the art of story-telling sound citing favourite examples of narrative and mood support including ambience and character sound design. She’ll also discuss best practice process to ensure both in-house and outsource audio teams best set themselves up for success in achieving a holistic, cohesive and deeply integrated aural gameplay experience.
In keeping with Develop Conference tradition, John Broomhall is joined by a panel of esteemed colleagues and friends for an inclusive town hall style discussion with conference delegates about the current state-of-the-art of music, sound and dialogue for games and what the future holds for game audio business, technology and creativity.
There’s something creative about Brighton, so it’s the perfect place to have the conference.
Develop seems much more informal and friendly than other events and that makes it stand out as a conference – people really look forward to Develop.
There’s a pretty good social element to Develop. A lot of the opportunities that come from being here are speaking to other developers that are doing exactly the same thing as you. And there are some good parties – it’s very much a pleasurable work experience!
There are many ways you can be part of Develop:Brighton 2018 - including speaking in the conference, taking a booth in the Expo or becoming a sponsor.Find out more