Having 30 minutes to wax lyrical on the lessons learned in video game development is one thing, but fitting knowledge, understanding, and still delivering key takeaways in just 5 minutes — with the fear of being “gonged” off the stage if you go over time — is hard.
Five speakers took that challenge at GamesBeat 2016 this morning, and the resulting talks were everything you’d want and need to kick off the last day of the event.
David Levitt, CEO at Pantomime, described the Pantomime Platform, the company’s software for interactive consumer augmented reality that runs across mobile devices, personal computers, and VR headsets. Pantomime’s software libraries let users reach in and interact in shared virtual worlds using their mobile devices, providing a connected, networked experience with the kind of AR now familiar to all of us in Pokémon GO. The difference? It is networked over Wi-Fi and includes vivid 3D graphics, realistic physics, and 3D models of all the participating phones, tablets, and computers. Levitt expects third parties to be able to license and create augmented reality apps from the Pantomime Platform software from next quarter.
Omar Siddiqui, CEO of Kiwi, spoke on “Building Bots for Fun.” Siddiqui, who is also the creator of Sequel, the platform for creating personality-driven bots, discussed the current genres of “gamey” bot experiences that he sees emerging in the industry. He highlighted how game publishers could look at gaming bots in two ways — firstly, for original game bots, including quizzes, puzzles, and trivia, but also as a way to extend an in-game character beyond the game by developing a bot based on that character’s personality. With conversational U.I. taking center stage at present, Siddiqui offers an interesting new way to think about the nature of bots.
System Era cofounder Brendan Wilson spoke about the challenges of starting a company and keeping control. Making games is hard, but making a game company is harder. Wilson shared lessons from being a self-taught entrepreneur in the industry. He spoke of knowing your partners deeply and clarifying expectations at the start. And Wilson explained that your company is its people, not a game idea — you should plan for your intentions for your business’s future, not just your game’s. He rounded out his speech by explaining how to develop an understanding of the potential worth of your game by using social media as a litmus test, building leverage to negotiate with funding sources.
Jay Mattis, the cofounder at High Horse, talked about its move from triple-A (the industry term for flashy blockbusters) titles to indie game development and the lessons he has learned along the way. Mattis brought to light High Horse’s experience in transitioning from a team of 200 to a team of just two while striving to maintain high production values. The big focus of his lightning talk? Lessons learned, how he leveraged business and technical partnerships effectively, and the company’s unique approach to production.
Finally, Dima Veryovka, the cofounder, and creative director at Colabee Studios, shared what it takes to develop games that aim to make a broad social impact by celebrating world culture. Veryovka explained how to uncover the hidden advantages and challenges on your path to understanding, and representing, culture in your work. And he told us how Colabee Studios effectively builds and manages truly inclusive development partnership, a key to developing world games.
And did our five talented, informative speakers manage to get through everything in just five minutes? You bet — in fact, they all exhibited perfect timing: The kind that comes from planning, practice, and outstanding delivery.
Just like running a successful video game company.