Next week is Develop in Brighton, the UK’s premiere games industry conference, and I’m going to be involved in two sessions there.

The first session is part of “Evolve“, a single day before the conference proper combining their old online and mobile tracks into something more focused on the edges of the games industry – so now including social and casual gaming as well.

With a panel of industry experts, I’ll be asking the question “What Do Social Networking Sites Have To Offer The Games Industry“:

Facebook and Myspace each have over 100m unique users. The users of these sites are not only coordinating their leisure time through them, but spending their leisure time on them, and even playing games on them. What does that mean for the games industry? How can traditional games and game companies engage with the social networks – their users, their platforms, and the core gamers already using them? Are Facebookers casual-gamers-in-waiting? This panel invites representatives from top social networks to explain what gaming means for their products, and how they can support your efforts as games developers.

Hopefully, given the panel’s strengths and expertise, we can come up with some wide-ranging – and interesting – answers.

In addition to that, as part of the conference proper, I’m going to be talking about Games As A Service: what service design is, what it means for games and products of the future, and how some of the territory Schulze & Webb has been exploring when it comes to unproduct might apply to games. It’s called Never Mind The Box: Games As A Service:

The effort and finances needed to build full retail games is growing unsustainable. But what if you weren’t making a product? What would Games As A Service look like? Services encourage loyalty; they turn products into platforms; they empower users; they play well with others and connect to existing services; and at the large scale, they wrap other products and become super-products. Using examples from inside and outside the games industry – from tiny, open-source Davids to console-licensed Goliaths – Tom Armitage examines already successful notions of service design and explores what it will mean for your games, big or small.

So that’s next week, then. Better start writing them. And if you’re going to be at Develop next week – do come say hello!

It’s taken a long while to put together, mainly because I wanted to write up my very sketch notes into something approximating what I said, and also because I wanted to experiment with a more representative way of publishing presentations online.

Anyhow, I’m very pleased to share Playing Together: What Games Can Learn From Social Software with you.

It went down pretty well at both NLGD and Develop, and I really enjoyed some of the thinking that went into it. I’m working out what to do about that, obviously, but in the meantime, I thought it deserved a wider audience. Do enjoy, and I’d love to hear your feedback on it.

Back from Develop

01 August 2008

So that was Develop.

To put it in a nutshell – or at least, what I remember that can be bounded by a nutshell:

strong ideas, building bands, Kirks and Picards, theatre, cultural studies, mise en scène, horror through constraint, good individuals versus great teams, cultural studies, importing the wrong ideas about movies, rather good chocolate cakes, putting many names to faces, impromptu One Life Left appearance, listening to children, being a good teacher, nuArgs, still needing to play Chain Factor, developers’ main hatred of Flash being its lack of IDE (and static typing), all games are alternate realities, feelies, importance of good user-testing, importance of realistic user-testing, input-behaviour-control, cybernetics as model for AI, de-emphasising behaviour in favour of farming out to concepts, fish and chips in a Hove park, sea air, 2K Boston’s virgin-hiring practices, Kotaku-headline meme, lists of fantasy movies, The Final Countdown on four-player Band Brothers DX, raspberry coffee.

As for my talk, it seemed to go pretty well and people were positive. I’ll try to get it up within the week. I’ve also got some notes from a few sessions I’d like to write up, because my web and design readers might enjoy them. Doing that might make sense of some of those notes.

Thanks to everybody who made it so memorable: it was a pleasure to meet you all.

A Game Is…

31 July 2008

Lots of brain-food and notes to come from Develop, but in the meantime, this cracker from Matt Southern’s session:

“a game is an exercise of voluntary control systems in which there is an opposition between forces, confined by a procedure and rules in order to produce a disequilbrial outcome

(Elliott Avedon and Brian Sutton Smith; emphasis mine.)

It’s been a crazy few weeks, so it’s only now that I’m getting around to mentioning (again) that I’m going to be speaking at Develop Online today. The talk is called Playing Together: What Games Can Learn From Social Software, and it bears a marked resemblance to the session I gave at NLGD a month or so back. I’m looking forward to it, even if it’s a bit nerve-wracking to be talking to a slightly different audience to normal.

Once I’ve given the Develop talk, it’ll be available online. I’m looking forward to sharing this talk with people outside the circle it was initially written for.

I’ve also got a few more talks to put online, which I’ll be organising over the coming week or so.

The first is my session from Skillswap Brighton (and LRUG before that) entitled Settling New Caprica: Getting Your Pet Project Off The Ground, which is all about shipping for yourself and making spare-time projects into reality. I think I mentioned that earlier.

The second is a session I gave to some students at the Polis Summer School, run by Charlie Beckett – a summer school on international journalism and its future. Charlie initially asked me to talk having read an an article I wrote for the New Statesman in 2007. I gave a session entitled “Journalism in a Data-Rich World“, exploring what journalism on the web of data might (and does) look like. From the feedback they gave, they seemed to really enjoy it, which was good.

So those will be coming online very shortly. Then I can stop writing about the past, and look to the future again. Looking forward to that.