Freeplay 2009 – Friday

David Shaw, 10:17 am 14th August 2009
Posted under: Blog Babble

Today was the first day of tsumea in a week or two if you’re interested in the content. I’ll mainly be posting my reactions, given the notes I took are barely indecipherable.

Overall I enjoyed the day. I probably didn’t speak to as many people as I should have; my shy nature means I’m not a natural networker, doubly so when I haven’t had much coffee and it’s been a long day. And I probably didn’t learn anything groundbreakingly new. But for methe day did help do what I hope it would, which is to fire my brain up again about game development and remind me what I should be doing. It’s given me a few pointers on how to tweak my work approach that I suspect will be more likely to result in good games.

The sessions I saw:

The New iKid on the Block: A discussion panel on the practicality of developing on the iPhone. I’m starting to lean more towards the iPhone, although alongside other desktop games. Basically, the advice was to develop to the specific iPhone strengths (touch screen, accelerometers, connectivity, camera, maybe the compass?) and try not to directly compete with the big boys now coming into the market.

Agile Development: I think the speaker was a late fill-in, so this workshop was a bit freeform. I’m most likely not going to be working on a large team in my projects (and if so, probably not in the same building), so I’m not sure if any formal processes, even ones as freeform as agile development, are strictly needed. But still, I liked hearing a wave of software engineering speak. It helped reawaken some long dormant neurons.

Case Study – Imperial League: This wasn’t so much a case study of Imperial League as the whole of Primal Clarity, a group that focuses on the business of Unreal mods. They can win contracts for prototyping ideas in Unreal engine, send in game submissions to government initatives and other interesting ideas.

Weapons of Mass Cosntruction: A talk on procedural generation to make artists lives easier, mostly consisting of videos showing what they can do. Pretty interesting. I’m not sure how useful they’ll be to me if I work in 2D, but it’s nice to know they’re there. It’s an area I’d like to play around with myself.

The art of getting things done: A good pep talk on how to, well, get things done. It did tend to veer more towards team management than solo, but it had useful tidbits like The Cult of Done Manifesto. I’ll read through this in more depth on the weekend, as I need to, bluntly, get more stuff done.

International Keynote: Petri Purho (Crayon Physics Deluxe): A really good keynote. If the video goes up at tsumea, I highly recommend watching it, despite how Petri says he’ll play Spelunky throughout the whole talk. Petri explains creativity in games, and how to brainstorm creativty via prototypes (or as he calls it: “making shit in games, and making shit games”).

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