Please note: the sessions listed below reflect GDC China 2012.
How Games Think
Raph Koster (Playdom/Disney Interactive)
Games change us. They change our brains, they change how we think.
We live in a world where we have always been shaped culturally by literature, history, myth, art, and music. But now games are a dominant new medium. They bring with them ways of thinking. And that means that we, as humans, will literally think differently. We will see the world through the lens of games, and we will change the world using the tools of games.
It cuts both ways, because not all of the ways that games teach us to think are better -- they are just different. And as a result, the world is changing in radical new ways.
In this talk, come learn how games think, and what that means for how we think, and what it means for our future.
Core Games, Real Numbers: Comparative Stats on Asian & Western Games
Emily Greer (Kongregate)
Kongregate is a distributor of more than 200 virtual-goods games developed by developers small and large, Eastern and Western, casual and hardcore. As such, it has a unique perspective on what types of mechanics and characteristics of games have the most success monetizing. This talk will focus on similarities and differences in performance between Asian & Western games, look at site-wide trends and dig into specific game metrics and mechanics to understand what makes games succeed & fail with Western audiences.
Data Analysis in Game Design: What is a Good BI System, at What Stage of a Startup
Harry Liu (Kabam)
* Is your game feature designed well enough to make a smash hit? How do you know? If missed, why?
* You released a new version, a new feature, a new game loop, do players like it? who likes it? Is it being liked enough?
* You have limited producer, engineer and art resource, are they working on the most important things? How do you know? How do they know?
* When you run events to boost DAU or daily revenue, is the event good enough? Or not? Why?
* The importance of Data Analysis in game design and events running.
* What do you need, to do Data Analysis
Come to this speech, and you will get some insights.
Fastest Game in the West
Brandon Sheffield (Necrosoft Games)
This talk will discuss the major trends seen in the Western game market across the last year-or-so, from platforms, middleware, and engines of choice, through to trends in game design theory, player engagement, and beyond.
The talk will draw from Brandon Sheffield's time as editor-in-chief of Game Developer magazine, using exclusive data from the magazine's surveys and articles, such as our Salary Survey, showing how much people are making in the Western game industry; our production survey; the Front Line Awards which showcase the best in tools and middleware, and more.
He will also discuss the trends he's seen emerge through his many discussions with developers from around the game-making world, relating how they differ from Eastern markets.
Journey to the East: 5 Keys to Successful Global Development
Michael Li (Kabam China)
With increasingly rich talent pools and a booming gaming industry, China is an attractive place to open shop. USA-based Kabam, Inc. took the leap in 2010, opening an office in Beijing. Since then, Kabam China has evolved from an exploratory satellite office into a full-scale development studio, capable of producing Top Grossing Western hits like Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North. In this talk Kabam's co-founder Michael Li will share lessons learned from the long (and sometimes rocky) path to establishing a highly functional and successful bi-cultural studio in China.
Publishing Tips for iOS and Android
Eric Tan (Game Loft)
With the China app store reviewing few thousands of apps a week, how can a developer or publisher standout from the rest? Here, Gameloft's Eric Tan will share with you the success formula that had lead Gameloft to becoming App Annie's #1 International Publisher in China. In addition, with Android smartphone shipments growing exponentially, why is the China market so complex? Here, Eric will share the outlook, the key players as well as tips on which platforms to invest so that developers and publishers can generate maximum return in this day & age of limited investment and resources. This will be an insightful sharing session that will no doubt keep you upbeat & optimistic in a challenging China mobile gaming market.
Social Gaming Market in the Russian Speaking Internet Sector
Ekaterina Korkina (LLC EVA Studio)
We are going to present the information about the development of Russian social gaming industry, introduce the figures and take the lid of Russian social media market. Having great experience with partners from Europe, the USA and especially China we can make a conclusion that interest to Russia is growing in the world.
Unveiling the Secrets of Mobile Social Game Operation
Dr. Shumian He (GREE Beijing, Co., Ltd.)
GREE, a global mobile social gaming company, launched its first mobile social game Fishing Star (Tsuri-Sta) in 2007. The game has attracted a large number of loyal players and maintained a high level of revenue ever since. Taking Fishing Star as an example, I would like to discuss how to drive in-app purchases effectively, from both theoretical and practical point of views, and further reveal the importance of platform in game operations.
Working in the European Market
Ian Baverstock (Tenshi Ventures LLP)
Whether you are looking to take your games to a European audience, partner with European developers or are considering investing in companies there; the European market is complex and varied. This talk will provide an up to date picture of the industry in Europe; the relationship between different types of business and the markets they operate in. It will go on to outline opportunities and challenges that are arising from the rapid rate of change in the market that is happening today.
From Console to Mobile: the Best Practices to Build Multi-Platform Games
Xu Wang (Ubisoft Shanghai)
The differences between mobile and console are reflected in different aspects, like complexity, production value, design methodology, technical requirement, update method and scale of the team. This will naturally drive console development to put more focus on pipeline, technology and communication, while all these will also bring huge benefits to mobile products development. This session will focus on sharing how to apply these best practices in console development to mobile products development.
Improve Your Games' Quality by Managing your Designers
Florian Dhesse (Virtuos)
Chinese game companies are facing a fierce local competition and will one day face worldwide competition. Game Design is a fairly young discipline in China and it's crucial that local designers improve the quality of their games and help reducing costs. A dedicated and active management can support designers to grow their skills rapidly. Good management is a universal challenge that any industry faces. Management needs to be tailored to the specificities of the discipline and industry. This session will share examples, methods and tools Virtuos has used and improved over 5 years to manage Chinese Game Designers.
Little Hands, Foul Moods, and Runny Noses: Developmental Research Meets Emerging Technologies
Carla Fisher (No Crusts Interactive)
Children have unique intellectual and physical needs that designers must take into account in order to create engaging gaming experiences. This session aims to help developers build a foundation of knowledge by uncovering existing research on children and technology from a variety of fields, including child developmental psychology, human computer interaction, television, and market research. The discussion will provide information on developmental psychology specific to games, UI design and input control considerations, co-play, and age-appropriate storytelling. Guidelines will focus on touchscreens and physically active devices, however, most findings can be easily applied to any children's game design product, regardless of platform.
Making Games for Gamers in HTML5
Henric Suuronen (NonStop Games)
Mobile and tablet gaming is the hottest area of gaming at the moment. When looking at the top grossing charts on these platforms it seems that lately more and more games with deeper gameplay have started dominating the charts. Games with a more serious style or real social interaction such as PvP, alliances, chats and community are on a strong rise. This session will dive deep into how design deeper games and not just cow clickers, games that attract for the gameplay not for the animation. The session will also argue why core games is actually the right way to go when developing games in the much hyped technology html5.
The 5 Domains of Play: Applying Psychology's Big 5 Motivation Domains to Games
Jason VandenBerghe (Ubisoft)
The 'Big 5' model of human behavior has come to dominate the world of motivation psychology. Its facts-and-figures approach to the human mind seems that it should have a lot to offer game design. The speaker has spent much of the past year translating the principles of the Big 5 into guidance for designers, in order to improve our models of "player archetypes". Ever wondered what the opposite of an 'achievement player' is? Neither had the speaker, until the Big 5 showed the way.
The Business of Art Direction: 7 Critical Precepts
Rick Stringfellow (EA Sports)
Making games is getting increasingly complex, with new genres, more platforms and wider audiences. Within the context of EA Sports, we deliver over 14 titles per year on at least 9 different platforms, from multiple studios. Everybody's role is expanding to deal with this. Over the past decade, Rick has been using 7 precepts in Art Direction to help him manage every aspect of production, from debugging difficult digital content to establishing new visual processes. This talk will focus on how these precepts are applied to solving everyday visual challenges within game development across all types of game, platform and audience.
Working the Crowd: Engaging Players through the User Interface
Joe Kowalski (Double Fine Productions)
The first thing a player encounters when they start up a game is the main menu. This is an opportunity to make an impression and forge an emotional connection with the player, yet most games underutilize it. In this context, I will examine my own work as a user interface designer, which includes Guitar Hero and Brutal Legend, and I will discuss why game UIs should consider emotion an important part of the user experience.
Creative Panic: How Agility Turned Terror Into Triumph
Nathan Martz (Double Fine Productions)
Creative Panic is the story of how Double Fine used agility and creativity to turn a terrifying tragedy – the cancellation of our biggest game – into a transformative experience that saved the company. Starting with a behind-the-scenes look at how Double Fine used the Amnesia Fortnight rapid prototyping process to create original games, we will discuss the inspiration and ideas behind Amnesia Fortnight and how it is central to the way Double Fine generates new ideas and promotes other creative voices at the company. Building on this foundation, we'll use examples from three of our games (Stacking, Once Upon a Monster, and Iron Brigade) to dig into the process of going from those early prototypes into full games, presenting specific case studies of production challenges that their projects faced and the solutions that were employed to overcome those issues. Attendees will leave not just with ideas for how to promote innovation within their studios, but for how to overcome production obstacles and successfully turn prototypes into products.
Playtesting and Metrics: Getting the Most Out of Your Usability Testing
Jordan Lynn (Volition)
This talk discusses how to integrate back-end telemetry into an existing playtest program to create more satisfying user experiences. Specific examples, drawn from AAA titles Red Faction Armageddon and Saints Row: The Third, will highlight successes where this integration provided valuable information, as well as areas where we identified potential improvements. This talk will discuss the benefits of integrating these two methodologies and will provide tips and tricks to avoid our missteps and get the greatest positive impact on your game's user experience.
Rapid, Iterative Prototyping Best Practices
Eitan Glinert (Fire Hose Games)
Great, innovative games don't just magically happen; they're almost always the result of lots of trial, error, and prototyping. If you care about exploring to come up with something different and new, if you don't want to just rehash the same old tired FPS mechanics, or if you're trying to get team buy in on the new project then you need to experiment. This session will cover why it's worth spending a significant portion of development on prototyping, 8 lessons for how to do it effectively, and 8 common pitfalls to watch out for and avoid. We'll draw from the prototyping phases of Dance Central and creative indie titles Slam Bolt Scrappers and Go Home Dinosaurs for examples.
Small Steps in the Dark: Embracing the Continuous Prototyping Mindset
Tim Ambrogi (Final Form Games)
The wisdom of integrating prototypes into the development process is gaining more acceptance every year, but using them effectively is far from simple. Tim Ambrogi of Final Form Games wrestles this multi-faceted, polysemantic concept to the ground and extracts practical, applicable methods for making great games with confidence.
The Cultivation and Management of Game Artists
Jairo Woo (Xpec Software)
Here I would like to share the division, position and importance of different artist types; how to cultivate artists based on their speciality; how to ensure their overall growth; how to manage their performance; how to adapt them to various projects and requirements; how to promote their close cooperation and realize the function of team working; how to improve the artists' work efficiency to make the project roll on smoothly.
The Last 10: Going From Good to Awesome
Benson Russell (Naughty Dog)
Learn about the unique polish process and nontraditional development phases timing used by Naughty Dog to create all the Uncharted games. Find out how adding more time and polish tasks to the Alpha phase, in particular, can take your next game from good to great. Senior Game Designer Benson Russell explains the Naughty Dog definition of a polished game, details the non-traditional timeframes the team allocates for development phases, and reveals details of exactly how the polish process runs internally. This session will delve deeply into: recommended timing for development phases; the "rolling finaling" process in which Naughty Dog works toward gold master candidate status level by level, rather than all at once; the intentional tiered approval system for game changes after hitting Alpha; the importance of one high level designer constantly reviewing the game and sending feedback; changing the team's mindset to support this; and more.
Naughty Dog is known for the level of polish that we apply to our shipping titles. We believe it is one of the most important aspects of the game development cycle, yet it also seems to be one of the most marginalized in our industry. This talk will go over the approach and principles that we use to make our games as polished as possible. We'll go over the methods we use internally, the approach to scheduling that we take, the level of detail that we look for, and how we strike the balance of making the game awesome while still shipping on time.
Cutting the Pipe: Achieving Sub-Second Iteration Times
Niklas Frykholm (Bitsquid AB)
Short iteration times both improve the quality of content and reduce the time it takes to produce it. When creators can see immediately what their content looks like on the target hardware they can quickly fix problems, add flair or play with different design ideas.
This session will show how we designed the content pipe for War of the Roses and the Bitsquid Tech to achieve sub-second iteration times (from a change is made, until it can be seen in-game, on the target hardware) without compromising on the runtime performance. The talk will present a number of ideas and techniques that the attendants can apply to their own pipelines to improve compile times and achieve a more dynamic and iterative workflow.
Effects Techniques Used in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Marshall Robin (Naughty Dog)
This talk will examine the technology and tools used to produce particle effects in Uncharted 3. We use a highly data driven system coupled with a node based shader editor to control particle behavior and rendering. The particle runtime is SPU based and all particle processing is done without PPU synchronization. The presentation will give an overview of the tool pipeline used to author and process particle assets, a detailed walk through of the simulation and rendering runtime, and some shader techniques used in our effects.
Faster C++: Move Construction and Perfect Forwarding
Pete Isensee (Xbox Advanced Technology Group, Microsoft)
For performance engineers, the most exciting new features of the C++11 Standard are move construction and perfect forwarding. Anybody who has analyzed C++ performance issues knows that the most inefficient aspect of C++ is object copying. Games often get bogged down copying objects inside frame loops. Rvalue references, a new C++ language feature, enable move semantics and perfect forwarding, completely eliminating unnecessary copies. The problem associated with the creation and destruction of temporary C++ objects goes away. The result: major performance improvements in common code. Simply recompiling with C++11 gives an automatic performance boost, but the true power comes when you add move constructors and move assignment operators to your own classes. This talk shows how to branch at compile time based on the condition that an object is moveable or not, with background on how rvalues really work, along with recommended idioms and best practices.
Runtime CPU Performance Spike Detection Using Manual and Automated Compiler Instrumentation
Adisak Pochanayon (Netherrealm Studios)
This is an advanced talk on code instrumentation which will first cover manual instrumentation, code detours and function trampolining and compiler specific options including compiler automated (or compiler assisted) instrumentation (CAI), naked functions with platform specific inline assembler, and linker function wrapping. Then, some time will be used to describe a spike detection profiler API used by MK that is implemented using both CAI and manual instrumentation on multiple platforms.
Using The New Flash Stage3D Web Technology To Build Your Own Next 3D Browser MMOG
Independent Games Summit
Daosheng Mu (XPEC Entertainment Inc.)
Eric Chang (XPEC Entertainment Inc.)
This Talk will discuss how Flash 3D engine developed by XPEC solved the challenging technical issues for 3D browser MMOG. Topics will include how to build high performance Flash 3D engine, how to effectively overcome the garbage collection memory management problems most Flash developers suffered, and fast loading tricks by streaming techniques, and so on. This engine has been used for the development of several Flash 3D browser MMOGs at XPEC. We will also share the experiences we learned from the development of the Flash 3D browser MMORPG "Maze Myth", which has been expected for online operations in Q4 2012 in Taiwan first.
Designing Fun: Easier Said Than Done
Kim Swift (Airtight Games)
The game industry is a fascinating field to work in and everyone's experience is vastly different. Kim's path has definitely been a unique one, from creating the hit game Portal, straight out of DigiPen for Valve, to becoming a Creative Director for Airtight Games at an early age. During this talk, Kim will walk through her game industry design experience to talk about lessons learned, good moments and not so good moments in an attempt to amuse and to educate. Hear about design principles for creating games for a more mass appeal, how to work best with a team of talented, passionate developers, and how to create an enjoyable and fun game.
Building a Brand as an Independent Developer
Chris Charla (Microsoft Studios)
"Smaller, cheaper, faster" could be a mantra for independent development. But building a game is only half the challenge of success. In the olden days, developers could leaving marketing up to the publisher. Today, as an independent developer, that's not an option. So how does a developer without access to large-scale resources cut through the noise in the marketplace and ensure that their audience actually knows about their game and is eager to buy it? In this one hour session we'll look at some strategies from across the game industry that have succeeded and failed, as well as questioning some "conventional wisdom" about promoting your game. Attendees will leave with concrete information about successful strategies for building a brand and audience as an independent developer.
Creating the Trailers your Game Deserves!
Kert Gartner (Independent)
You've got an awesome game that you've been slaving on for years and it's time to show the world. But then you realize… All I have is iMovie and don't know how to make a good trailer. Creating an engaging trailer that will build excitement for your game is an art unto itself. If you don't know how to effectively promote your game in 1 minute or less, we'll show you how. Learn from the experience of a long time video professional and visual effects artist on what it takes to get eyeballs glued to your game.
First Steps: Starting as an Independent Game Developer
Ichiro Lambe (Dejobaan Games, LLC)
All indie studios -- whether in Shanghai, Boston, or Tasmania -- face similar startup challenges. Studio founders coming from AAA or other industries must now simultaneously manage a brand new team, convince the press to write about an unproven entity, and explore new publishing opportunities, all the while creating great games. In this session, Ichiro Lambe (creator of the award-winning indie game AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! -- A Reckless Disregard for Gravity and contributor to the Portal 2 ARG) discusses how to start a small studio, avoid common pitfalls, and grow into a successful company.
FTL: Faster Than Light Postmortem
Matthew Davis (Subset Games)
The story of how two guys who didn't really know what they were doing managed to make something people wanted to play. Matthew will be covering the FTL development from its early prototyping onward, through its successful Kickstarter, beta period, and ultimately successful launch on Steam. They managed to learn a few things on the way and he hopes to pass some of it on to other aspiring developers.
Self-Publishing or Find a Publisher?
Wen Chen (Coconut Island Studio)
As digital distribution is playing a more and more important role in game distribution, the wall which used to stand in middle of indie developers and end customers has been pushed over for good. Self-publishing becomes the dominant choice of most of indies while we still have another publishing mode namely finding a publisher. This session will compare these two different publishing modes based on our own experience and give the audiences our suggestions.
The Unlikely Story of Johann Sebastian Joust
Douglas Wilson (Die Gute Fabrik)
In this talk, game designer Douglas Wilson reflects on his no-graphics motion-controlled game, Johann Sebastian Joust. He tells the story behind the game, from its origins as a simple game jam prototype to an award-winning title exhibited around the world. Based on these experiences, Doug shares some of the actionable lessons he's learned along the way. He explains how folk games and playground games offer useful precedents for developers working on physical games, and explains why he finds it fruitful to think about motion-controlled games in terms of slapstick and subversion.
Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit
The Battle Royale of Mobile Social: Friends or Players?
Jussi Laakkonen (Applifier)
Facebook has over 500 million monthly users on mobile and is driving millions of installs for mobile games. Japanese heavy-weights Gree and DeNA are minting money and have both spent over $500 million to expand to western markets. Apple announced over 150 million GameCenter users and is integrating deeply with Facebook, while Google is increasingly embedding Google+ deeply into Android. When will Chinese powerhouses like Tencent start expanding abroad?
Welcome to the Battle Royale of Mobile Social. The giants are at cold war for the ownership of the Player Graph. They all want know who you are, what do you play and with whom, and do that for hundreds of millions of players, so that they can become the platform that your game will depend on for acquiring and retaining users and in turn charge you a platform fee on every payment.
Where does this leave you, your game and most important your players? Is gaming better with friends or players? How do you create a meaningful social experience on mobile? How do you best leverage the mobile social networks to grow your game instead of taking part of the cost per install arms race?
Join this session for an analysis of the state of mobile social and the key network in the Western markets. You'll learn about best practices for building truly social experiences that make your game go authentically viral. You'll take away strategic insights about which networks are best for you or if it is better to be go solo.
Bejeweled Blitz: One Year in the Life of a Top-Grossing Mobile Game
Giordano Bruno Contestabile (PopCap Games)
First launched in 2008 on Facebook, launched as a freemium game in December 2011 on iOS and occupying a perennial top stop in the charts, Bejeweled Blitz is one of the most successful, and longest running, cross-platform social games. This talk aims to offer an honest, unadulterated view of what operating a cross-platform social game means, and how PopCap had to completely change its practices to succeed at it. Between others, you'll hear about how PopCap strives to marry a strong focus on "finding the fun" with a keen eye on metrics; how Facebook and mobile usage patterns differ; and how different aspects of the game's design and operations, including some that you would not expect, can strongly influence results.
Controls You Can Feel: Putting Tactility Back Into Touch Controls
Zach Gage (STFJ)
For those of us used to developing games for standard console controllers, touch screens can be difficult and daunting. The stakes are high: while great controls can bring players into the game more seamlessly than ever before, poorly designed ones can leave players feeling uncomfortable and frustrated.
In this talk, critically acclaimed artist and game developer Zach Gage addresses what it takes to develop successful controls (and therefor successful games), for touch screen devices. Although innovating controls might seem like a new challenge for game developers, it's actually a pretty old one. When the game industry was young, all the controllers and buttons we now take for granted had to be invented and designed, (often in tandem with the games they were meant for). Through examining classically successful console games, we will develop a language for discussing and dissecting the quality of specific control paradigms. Attendees will be taught how to use this language to find (or invent) the right paradigm for their touch game. Further, we will use this language to assess the triumphs and failures of specific control schemes across a multitude of touch games. Although this session is specifically about touch devices, the lessons learned can be applied when designing for any new console medium, Wii U, PS Vita, PS Move, Kinect, etc.
From Japan to the World- the Status and Future of Mobile Social Card Games
Xiaolei Zhang (D2C Inc.)
Japanese mobile social game market is a unique market, as you can see in the Japan AppStore Top Grossing Rank list, there are almost Card battle games. As 3 titles of D2C are long-term consistently ranked in the Top 25 of the Top Grossing, and we have long been researching the promotion and marketing of mobile games, it can be said that D2C is the company best understand the Japanese market of mobile game. This presentation is due to analyse why Card Game is so crazy in Japan by introducing the process of development, marketing and operation of some of D2C's Top-Ranking iOS games, such as "the Sekigahara Kingdoms"," blast Bakumatsu Kingdoms "," Pirate Fantasy " and " SpotMonsters ". And analyse the status and look into the future of social card games according to the current performance of the global market.
Getting out of the Garage: Managing Teams, Customer Relationships, Cloud Servers and 97 Other Things to Handle Growth
Iman Mostafavi (Limbic Software)
This session will use Limbic Software as a core case study for understanding and overcoming the technical and operational challenges that come with rapid growth. Learn how Limbic continues to evolve from an installed user base of zero players to over 25 million after shipping three original game franchises for iOS (TowerMadness, Nuts!, and Zombie Gunship). Dealing with scale is one of the toughest challenges for any business. This session is a great chance to learn from the successes and failures of a high profile independent app developer.
How Chinese Mobile Can Win the West
Darya Trushkina (Game Insight)
How can Chinese mobile publishers win over Western customers and monetize an audience of more than 300 million mobile users? International publisher Game Insight has already successfully launched multiple #1 top-grossing apps in North America. Learn the most important do's and don'ts of how to attract, retain, and monetize Western mobile users, including correctly optimizing for platform and hardware; nimbly adjusting to constantly changing OS versions and Terms of Service updates; and speaking directly to an audience with an entirely different cultural vocabulary and mindset. The Western mobile audience offers an enormously lucrative opportunity for any content publishers savvy enough to crack the code. You won't want to miss the "insider" information and crucial insights that will be shared in this session!
Korean Mobile Market and Penetration Strategy for Chinese Developers
Eliot Shin (Neowiz China)
From 'revenue' side, US mobile market is No.1 in the world. For 2nd position, UK, Japan and Korea are competing. 'Korean mobile market' is really potential and its ARPU is also highest level in the world. Korean mobile market has some differences comparing to other countries. More and more Chinese developers are approaching for Korean mobile market but they are facing some trial and errors in the beginning.
What is major market characteristics and present trend for Korean mobile market? How's the references of Chinese mobile games until now? What is the key things to consider to penetrate into Korean market? Are you looking for good Korean publisher?
Here you can get some meaningful insight for Korean mobile market.
Mobile Monetization Optimization: Successful Strategies for Freemium App Developers
Richard O'Connell (PapayaMobile Inc.)
You have users – now what? In the last 12 months the monetization of mobile games has changed rapidly from premium to free-to-play business models. PapayaMobile's Richard O'Connell will explore the various strategies employed by successful mobile developers in maximizing the revenue generated by free-to-use apps and how planning for the user lifecycle can transform the commercial viability of your titles.
Mobile Social - The Future is Quality
Struan Robertson (NaturalMotion Games)
With competition in the freemium space more fierce than ever, how do you ensure that your title manages the double-whammy of a great launch and a long life? Using the highly successful My Horse and CSR Racing as a case study, NaturalMotion's Struan Robertson highlights the ways in which teams need to build not only the right mechanics for their game pre-launch but also an incredibly high quality experience for increasingly sophisticated users.
My Game's A Hit... Now What Do I Do?
Becky Ann Hughes (PlayFirst)
So, you've launched your game and it has rocketed up the charts. It's a bona fide hit. Now what do you do? That's the multi-million dollar question because success in the App Store can be very short lived. How do you go about building your game into the kind of hit that stays high in the top grossing charts month-after-month, year-after-year? In this session, Becky Ann Hughes, VP of products and strategy at PlayFirst, will talk through the evolution of Diner Dash, from its first launch as an iPhone game over three years ago to where it is today.
Premium to Freemium: Pivoting Monetization Method for Best-Selling Apps
Paul O'Connor (Appy Entertainment)
The tide is irresistible. The market is speaking with its wallet. The majority of downloads and profit on Apple's App Store are generated by apps with in-app purchases. Every week brings a flood of new freemium apps attempting to capitalize on this method of monetization. But what about premium apps left behind in this new App Store gold rush? Must catalog titles concede the field to this new breed of app and accept diminishing revenue outside the App Store spotlight? Appy Entertainment reveals how they converted two best-selling premium apps to freemium monetization and increased their audience, grew their revenue and made the games better in the process.
UberStrike: The Rise of Hardcore Social + Mobile Gaming
Ludovic Bodin (Cmune Limited)
What happens when you merge the hyper-accessibility & distribution power of Facebook games a la Farmville with the core gaming experience a la Call of Duty?
This is happening right now on Facebook, what Facebook called the third generation of social games, where newer companies such as Cmune, with HQ in Beijing - China, are coming into untapped areas and satisfying new types of users, who don't want to play FarmVille but might want to play strategy or shooter games. Building such kind of games requires a new game design and marketing paradigm, new technology such as Unity3d, and a new relationship between developers and players.
The session will examine what it took to Cmune to build UberStrike, the #1 First Person Shooter game on Facebook with over one million active players per month - all acquired organically - and over 6M players across its existing channels, while taking the lead again on freemium FPS on tablets and next-gen consoles such as the Ipad3 and the Android Tegra-powered devices including the upcoming Ouya.
User Acquisition: The Latest Trends, Tools and Best Practices
Clay Kellogg (Chartboost)
Mobile gaming is a global industry - the difference between success and failure is based on reaching your audience in a cost effective manner. What is your distribution strategy? How do you tailor your strategy for each market? How best to maximize your return on your marketing investment?
Engaging the Sense of Touch in Android-based Games
Ken Lam (Immersion Corporation)
Bob Heubel (Immersion Corporation)
Touchscreens have become the default UI in mobile devices, but with their adoption, the lack of tactile feedback is a common complaint. The best gameplay is multi-sensory – HD graphics and quality sound are no longer sufficient to stand out from the crowd. Satisfying today's mobile gamer requires haptic feedback for greater fun and engagement. Haptics let players feel what is going on – powering intuitive experiences that delight. Console gaming has long included "rumble" feedback to engage players with this sense of realism. With the explosive growth in mobile gaming, Android developers can now offer similar effects in mobile games by leveraging new free tools and solutions that easily integrate this feedback into their designs.
In this session Immersion's Haptic Expert Team, will demonstrate how haptics enhance mobile gameplay in games like Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto III and Sega's Sonic and will show how developers can quickly add these gaming effects with the free Immersion design tools that extends the existing Android vibration method. The presentation will give a general explanation of the sense of touch and haptic feedback (including background on haptics and the user experience), compare basic tactile feedback with high-definition haptics, technically explain the design tools and coding process, and will discuss good design principles for creating haptic effects for mobile gaming.
How To Define And Evaluate Reasonable KPIs For Mobile Games
Leo Cui (TalkingData)
Competition stiffens in mobile games sector today. Deeper data analytics becomes critical for game developers/publishers to understand details of their business operation and get maximum out of it. How to define reasonable KPIs for different types of games? And how to calculate all these metrics such as LTV, CAC, and 1-7-14-30 days Retention? How to read and analysis these metrics in different phases of a game's lifecycle? And how does these metrics play compared with industry benchmarks? Leo Cui, founder and CEO of TalkingData will tell you the answers in this session.
What's New In Monetization: Making the Most Money from Your Mobile Game in 2013
Erik Lundberg (W3i)
How will recent changes such as the release of Apple's new iOS6 mobile operating system, new Apple app store redesign, new Advertiser ID, the emergence of low cost Android tablets, and Windows 8 market share impact mobile game monetization in 2013? Attend this session to learn how these latest market trends will affect your business in 2013. This session will reveal how mobile game developers make the most money from their games. We'll look at case studies, key industry metrics & insider research. Topics discussed will include how to make users want more of your virtual currency in freemium games, how to maximize in app purchase revenue, and how to significantly increase your revenue from ads and offers by monetizing the 97% of users who don't typically make in app purchases. Best practices and industry benchmark data will be revealed.
Level Design Workshop 2012
Joel Burgess (Bethesda Game Studios)
Matthew Scott (Valve)
Steve Gaynor (The Fullbright Company)
The level design workshop presents a chance to learn about the role of level design as an integral part of the game design process. Designers whose credits include Bioshock 2, Left 4 Dead, Skyrim, Half Life 2: Episode 2 and Fallout 3 will present and discuss fundamental level design concepts, such as layout, flow, pacing and narrative, and apply those concepts to a variety of game genres. The workshop will be an interactive tutorial session for attendees of any skill level.
MDA: The Game Design Workshop
Robin Hunicke (Tiny Speck)
Marc LeBlanc (Electrified Games)
This full-day tutorial delivers the best lessons from the annual MDA Game Design workshop. Taught for over 10 years, and consistently rated one of the top sessions of the US conference, this hands-on tutorial teaches you how to analyze, design and improve the games you work on by applying the MDA framework. Participants complete several hands-on exercises, and learn a new vocabulary for describing games and discussing them with co-workers and collaborators - as well as several complete, playable paper games. Regardless of your current title or background (student, designer, artist, programmer, marketing or business person) you will leave the workshop with a better understanding of games, how to talk about them, and to how improve your future games through guided iteration.