While competition is hotting up for indie game devs, fresh opportunities continue with ever more tools, services, and other resource emerging to help turn your ambitions into reality. To help you become one of the winners, the Indie track brings together the indie community plus a few super star speakers to share hints, tips, lessons, and dreams.
From players to creators, Orthors will be diving into the key aspects faced when making their games - from figuring out how to develop a game with no coding experience, to watching their game being published on the Apple App store. Building a game has its layers and they aim to help people to be better prepared for the hurdles they may face whilst walking the same path. Orthors realised the importance of branding, and the impact it has on taking your IP/ project that one step further is something that is usually overlooked. They will go over how to set yourselves apart from other games studios by displaying their creative processes, how to self assess and refine ideas and the importance of putting a face to your brand. Business is a worrying side within the gaming industry that most people shy away from. A pivotal moment for Orthors was being told to set up their business legitimately and get an accountant. Brilliant advice! They will break down the important lessons learnt in regards to running a games studio from a business perspective, with the hope that you won’t need to suffer the same setbacks. Orthors learnt at an early stage the power of networking. They will take you on their journey of how they were able to meet key figures such as Dan Gray (CCO, UsTwo Games), Jay Ann Lopez (Black Girl Gamers), Stephanie Ijoma (NNESAGA) and many others who have directly and indirectly helped to shape them as a company.
Indie studios are known for taking risks and trying out bold new design that shape the future of the whole industry. But why should indie be the unpaid R&D arm of big studios? Small devs have a different superpower - speed. In this talk, narrative director of inkle, Jon Ingold, will detail how not being innovative, and taking as few creative risks as possible, allowed the award-winning studio to produce Overboard!, a hit game with a fresh concept and +85 metacritic, in just 100 days.
inkle were shortlisted for their game Heaven's Vault in the Develop:Brighton Indie Showcase 2019.
Julia believes there are many things to think about when deciding whether to self-publish, and when to start to consider putting the success of your project into someone else's hands. There are myths and horror stories that can put people off. One of the most common gripes relates to developers feeling like the publisher just didn't give their project enough attention, and so, there follows a story of unspent potential. Also, while it's certainly beneficial to be entrepreneurial, it can be daunting to imagine the pursuit of commercial success warping the direction and vision of the project. With a flurry of new boutique publishers and money flowing left, right and centre, is publishing still relevant? What does a ‘third party publisher’ mean anymore? On the other hand, in addition to the obvious potential marketing and brand upside of working with a publisher, there are longer term strategic opportunities to consider. Perhaps the relationship will lend itself to potential stability in future, and of course, the funding publishers can provide is certainly lucrative in helping you reach the next step in your studio's roadmap. As someone who makes spreadsheets for most of her life decisions, Julia talks through the different considerations and map out the scenarios, but with the experience of someone who has been privy to these relationships, both during active projects and negotiation stages. There are myths and horror stories that can put people off. The most contentious relates to developers feeling like the publisher just didn't give their project enough attention, and so follows a story of unspent potential. Nobody likes feeling like they are dancing to someone else's tune, and could fear losing the creative control of their project. While it's certainly beneficial to be entrepreneurial, it can be daunting to imagine commercial success warping the direction and vision of the project. What's more, with a flurry of new boutique publishers and money flowing left right and centre, is publishing still relevant? What does a third party publisher mean anymore? At the same time, in addition to the obvious potential marketing and brand upside of working with a publisher, there are longer term strategic opportunities to consider when working with a publisher. Perhaps the relationship will lend itself to potential stability in future, and of course, the funding publishers can provide is certainly lucrative in helping you reach the next step in your studio's life cycle. As someone who makes spreadsheets for almost life decisions, I will talk through the different considerations and map out the scenarios, but with the experience of someone who has been privy to these relationships, both in active live projects and negotiation stages.
Sally, CEO of Silent Games will be discussing how the studio was founded, what funding pots are available for UK-based Game Developers, and tips for successfully pitching to publishers and investors. Sally will also cover how to keep a studio running financially while searching for investment, as well as how to build your studio culture and brand from scratch.
The gaming industry has its positives but it has its clear problems. Diversity, or the lack of it, has come to the forefront especially after Black Lives Matter campaigns last year putting pressure on companies globally to do better. This talk will highlight three key areas:
From this talk as well as highlighting some of the issues, you will come away with new ways that you can truly embrace and champion diversity.
While working predominantly as a work-for-hire studio, in 2021 SockMonkey Studios launched their own IP, Fish Tanks. This talk will focus on some of the challenges SockMonkey came face to face with when creating their own game, as well as the downright mistakes, and what they learned on the way. The talk will cover issues associated with cost, design, timing and marketing in a 'warts and all' look at what can go wrong when making your own indie game. The talk will also feature the good side of own IP development as well as the, sometimes serendipitous, opportunities and collaborations you can encounter along the way – such as SockMonkey’s work with the renowned global charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
Top game development teams know that regular playtesting is the difference between a successful launch, and being forgotten at the bottom of the Steam charts. However many of the tools large game studios rely on are out of reach from indie and small game teams, due to being expensive or requiring specialist skills. This discourages small teams from doing playtesting, which has an impact on the quality of their games - issues are often not discovered until late, when it's too late to fix and fewer options are available to fix them In this talk, Steve will share how to run effective and affordable playtesting throughout game development, including: - How to find unbiased players to take part in playtests - How to find the right research method for your development questions - How to gather and analyse playtest data - How to prioritise and incorporate feedback from playtests into a development schedule You don’t need a full-time user research team, or lots of money, to build quality games. Save time and money by running usability playtests throughout development so that you can fix problems quickly and affordably!
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I absolutely love coming to Develop, it’s a brilliant, brilliant conference – you just know you’re guaranteed to meet everyone.
Jo Twist, OBE
There’s something creative about Brighton, so it’s the perfect place to have the conference.
Develop is a very important place – it’s one of the few developer focussed conferences we have in Europe and that makes it very valuable.
It’s really nice to see some of the younger people in our studio come to Develop, interact with other people in the dev community and make new contacts. I think it’s really important to learn from other people.
If you really want to have a good interface with the British game developer community then this is the place to come.
A lot of the opportunities that come from being here are speaking to other developers who are doing exactly the same thing as you. And there are some good parties – it’s very much a pleasurable work experience!
Develop is a really great way to network, it’s also great for going to talks and finding that little tip that you didn’t know before and thinking – oh I’ll bring that back to the team!
There’s really something for everyone at Develop and the experience of being around like-minded people is really useful.
Develop is an excellent way of catching up with people – there’s a really nice community feel here.
Mike Bithell Games
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