yesterday (Saturday… :/) I attended the fantastic workshop made by Intel related to the world of videogames. Apparently it is already some years since the first time they did this workshop, all the past events are recorded in this page, and of course this is due to the importance Intel is giving to the gaming sector, that is pushing a lot the research and improvement of their processors. Lot of people attending, lot of talks made by people from some great companies of the field, but let’s speak about the event from its beginning.
After the breakfast (I skipped it cause I did it at home :P) there was an introduction and then the first talk of James Gwertzman (twitter, linkedin), CEO at PlayFab Inc, “Crafting Your Game’s LiveOps Strategy” in which he discussed about the importance of business intelligence for game industry and he spoke about how games are keeping the interest of players over time by discussing about live events, and then he spoke about problem of live devops and how to solve them and he finished by showing us a live monitoring tool for knowing when and where people are accessing to the game platform.
After him there was a talk made by Jason Vanderberghe (twitter, linkedin but also imdb), Creative Director at Ubisoft. His talk, “Forging Honor: Providing a Coherent Vision for a New IP“, was probably the best one for everyone, this mainly because he is a showman and he made a very funny and interesting presentation about the pitch of his idea of a new style of close combat, idea that ended, after several tries, to the creation of For Honor. He spoke about the pitch in his experience, suggesting to “not pitch your idea but pitch your purpose“, to try to solve someone’s problem, and then he moved on speaking about how to make a good Target Gameplay Footage (TGF).
Then it was the turn of Josh Naylor (twitter, linkedin and website), Senior Tech Evangelist at Unity. I found this talk, “Smooth Like Butter – An Introduction to Unity Optimization“, a bit less involving, too much technical maybe, I have never worked with Unity and it was just before lunch. He spoke about optimizing with Unity, profiling, batching… then I exit and I got my lunch (offered by Intel).
After the pitching session (one minute for each people to show their game… and trust me, some of them were very nice), we restarted with a talk of Becky Allen (twitter, linkedin, crunchbase, website), Audio Director and Composer at Popcap Games, creators of Plants vs Zombies saga. Her talk was indeed all centred on how to create musics for videogames (“Plants Vs. Zombies Heroes Music: From Aesthetics to Launch“) and she went through techniques, tools (wwise) and problems faced before the game was published (like reducing the amount of data related to music near the go live).
The following talk, by Phil Davidson (twitter, linkedin), Producer at FreeJam, was again very very nice. It was “Robocraft: The Power of Cross Promotion” and it was all about cross promotion: its importance, how to do that and some suggestions, with the final purpose of giving you directions to “get your name out there“. He spoke about some cases of cross promotion he faced working on robocraft.
I fell almost asleep on the next one, Mike Hawkyard (I read it Awkward… anyway twitter, linkedin), Managing Director at Amuzo, with “How to Win in The World of Game Dev” gave general suggestions on different aspects of game development.
Last very interesting talk was the one by William Rhys Dekle (twitter, linkedin), Partner at Strategic Alternatives, “How to Get Acquired (for a premium price)“, was all about how to handle the situation in which a games company has, or wants to find, a buyer. He spoke about commodity vs premium exit, so the difference between finding a buyer and show him that you want to sell or being acquired by a bigger company. He gave also suggestions and tricks on how to handle the basic strategies of a buyer, like the question about giving an initial number for a price. I found it even more interesting because those rules are valid in other context, as well. Like, for example, in the hiring process when you discuss about salary.
The last talk was “Rise Above The Crowd, Make More Immersive Games With Your CPU“, by Leigh Davies (linkedin), Senior Application Engineer at Intel. It was not boring, on the contrary I found it interesting, it was all about the wonderful things you can do with a core i7 and how they shape the physics in a game they are developing, for giving a better idea of realism. He spoke also about VR and optimizations and trends on 3D software development.
Those were all the talks of the day. Moreover, there were live pools and questions with nice moments. And I had the opportunity to speak with some nice and interesting guys like game developers, a motion capture actor (Paul), and one guy who was speaking about a VR device, Rovr, who told me about neuroscience related the movement process on our brain (he spoke about a famous test of selective attention and one of inattentional blindness).
So at the end it was a very nice event. I look forward the next one.