Train2Game News: Over 1,600 developers attending Develop Conference

DevelopOn Tuesday 9 July, any Train2Game students lucky enough to attend the eight annual Develop Conference in Brighton will have the chance to interact with over 1,600 developers.

The three day conference will host over 90 sessions covering the whole spectrum of games development. 120 speakers will debate the biggest issues and trends in the industry, from Neil Brown’s session on PlayStation 4, to developments in touch-screen technology, discussions about Kickstarter and funding, global markets and even a session on cyber-psychology.

Lee Schuneman, studio head at Microsoft Lift London, will open the Evolve Conference on Tuesday before Mark Cerny, president of Cerny Games, will give the Develop Conference opening keynote entitled Changing the Game: Developing into the Next Generation. In total, there are nine tracks and seven keynotes over the three days.

Outside the conference, Develop will be hosting its biggest expo yet. Attendees can meet some of the biggest names in the industry including Dolby, Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment, Unity, Unreal Engine and Valve, as well as discovering some of the newest talent in the Develop Conference Indie Showcase.

Centrally located within the expo, the Indie Showcase highlights ten unpublished, independently-developed games selected by a judging panel of industry experts. Delegates have the chance to get hands on with the games and vote for their favourite through the People’s Choice vote.

“With only a week to go, we’re delighted with both the quantity and high quality of content we are offering our delegates,” commented Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events. “We’re lucky to have some fantastic keynotes and great sessions, which will offer invaluable information for every type of developer – from the smallest indies to established studios. I’m really looking forward to welcoming everyone down to Brighton next week.”

Full information on the conference sessions and speakers together with who is exhibiting at the expo can all be found on the new mobile event app, sponsored by Microsoft, or you can find the information on www.developconference.com.

Train2Game News: Steam, Amazon, Google, BBC and more added to Develop line-up

Steam, Amazon, Google and the BBC have been added to at next week’s Develop Conference line-up.

Lionhead Studios and SCEE are also among the final speakers confirmed for the packed schedule of events which take place in Brighton from Tuesday 10th to Thursday 12th July.

“We’re very excited to announce speakers from Amazon, Google and BBC Worldwide, which further display both the increasing convergence between games and TV and the rise of digital distribution,” said managing director, Tandem Events managing director Andy Lane.

“The fact that the Develop Conference draws names from global entertainment giants such as these is also testament to the investment we have made over the last seven years to continually evolve this conference to ensure it always meets the knowledge, networking and business requirements of today’s games developers in Europe.” he added.

Other keynote sessions at Develop include talks from games industry veterans David Perry, Ian Livingstone, Philip Oliver and David Braben who’ll all speak as part of the conference’s Visionaries track.

The Train2Game Blog will be at Develop in Brighton bringing you as much news as possible! There’s more about Develop Conference here on The Train2Game Blog.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: Ian Livingstone, David Perry, Philip Oliver and David Braben to speak at Develop Conference

Train2Game students who are able to attend Develop Conference will be able to see games industry veterans David Perry, Ian Livingstone, Philip Oliver and David Braben speak as part of the conference’s Visionaries track.

The Visionaries Track is being introduced to give Develop in Brighton delegates a unique opportunity to hear and learn from some of the industry’s most influential, inventive and inspirational entrepreneurs, who’ll no doubt be able provide some excellent insights into the industry.

“The games industry has come a long way in a short time. Its social, cultural and economic impact on society is finally being recognised in government and mainstream media.” Said Eidos life President and Fighting Fantasy co-author Ian Livingstone, who hopes to help future developers.

“But celebration of the art form is not enough. The new digital landscape requires new skills and access to finance for the next generation of creative talent to succeed, building on the great legacy of the UK’s trailblazing developers.

“From my experiences with Games Workshop, Fighting Fantasy, Eidos, working with government and investing in Indies, I hope to help point the way.” he added.

Some Train2Game students received advice from Ian Livingstone as they produced Fighting Fantasy games at Make Something Unreal Live last month. Livingstone said he was “delighted” to be a part of the initiative, and you can watch an interview with him here on The Train2Game Blog.

Train2Game News will be at Develop Conference, so even if you can’t make it, we’ll be bringing you news straight from Brighton. There’s more on Develop Conference here.

What are your thoughts on the Visionaries track at Develop Conference?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: Develop Awards 2012 finalists announced

Train2Game students see one of the most diverse arrays of finalists ever for this year’s Develop Industry Excellence Awards, with Develop Online unveiling 96 different games industry based organisations have received nominations.

The Develop Awards are there to reward game development studios both big and small for the work they’ve done in the last 12 months. Nominees range from larger studios like Rocksteady, Ubisoft and EA, to microstudios including Thechineseroom and ShortRound Games.

Of course, this is all on top of David Perry set to receive the Games Industry Legend accolade when the awards take place in Brighton on Wednesday 11th July during Develop Conference week.

The full list of Develop Awards 2012 nominations are below.

Who do you think deserves awards? Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

DEVELOP INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2012: THE FINALISTS

CATEGORY: CREATIVITY

NEW IP
Brink (Splash Damage)
Dear Esther (Thechineseroom)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
Monstermind (Bossa Studios)
My Horse (NaturalMotion Games)
Zombies, Run! (Six to Start)

USE OF A LICENCE
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
Battlestar Galactica Online (Bigpoint/Artplant)
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (TT Games)
LEGO Life of George (LEGO Group Denmark)
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers (Stainless Games)
Peppa Pig (Strawdog Studios)
Team Hot Wheels Apptivity (Big Bit)
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (Doublesix Games)

USE OF NARRATIVE
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
Dear Esther (Thechineseroom)
Driver: San Francisco (Ubisoft Reflections)
Misfits: Community Service (Mobile Pie)
Where is My Heart? (Die Gute Fabrik)
Zombies, Run! (Six to Start)

VISUAL ARTS
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
Battlefield 3 (EA Dice)
Dear Esther (Thechineseroom)
Rayman Origins (Ubsioft Montpellier)
Trine 2 (Frozenbyte)
Wonderputt (Damp Gnat)

AUDIO ACCOMPLISHMENT
Battlefield 3 (EA Dice)
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
Beat Sneak Beat (Simogo)
Driver: San Francisco (Ubisoft Reflections)
Okabu (Hand Circus)
Total War: Fall of the Samurai (The Creative Assembly)
Zombies, Run! (Six to Start)

PUBLISHING HERO
Connect2Media
IndieCity
Indie Fund
SCEE Xdev
Steam
Thumbstar

CATEGORY: TECHNOLOGY & SERVICES

TECHNICAL INNOVATION
Enlighten (Geomerics)
Kinect Sports: Season Two (Rare)
Monstermind (Bossa Studios)
MotorStorm RC (Evolution Studios)
My Horse (NaturalMotion Games)
Circus Challenge (Pitbull Studio)
Team Hot Wheels Apptivity (Big Bit)

USE OF ONLINE
Aurora (nDreams)
Eve Online (CCP)
Monstermind (Bossa Studios)
Minecraft 360 (4J Studios/Mojang Specifications)
PlayStation Home (SCE)
Trials Evolution (Red Lynx)
World of Tanks (Wargaming.net)

VISUAL OUTSOURCER
Atomhawk Design
Axis Animation
Cubic Motion
Dimensional Imaging
Imagination Studios
RealtimeUK
TrioViz

AUDIO OUTSOURCER
Nimrod Productions
Outsource Media UK
Richard Jacques Studios
Side
The Audio Guys
Wave Studios

SERVICES
Audiomotion
LocalizeDirect
Pinewood Studios
Testronic Labs
Universally Speaking
VMC Game Labs

TOOLS PROVIDER
Autodesk
Epic Games
Firelight Technologies
Hansoft
Havok
NaturalMotion
RAD Game Tools
Unity Technologies
Xaitment

ENGINE
BigWorld Client (BigWorld Technology)
CryEngine 3 (Crytek)
Havok Vision Engine (Havok)
HeroEngine (Simultroncs)
Marmalade (Ideaworks 3D)
Unity 3.5 (Unity Technologies)
Unreal Engine 3 (Epic Games)

RECRUITER
Aardvark Swift
Amiqus
Avatar Games
Datascope Recruitment
OPM Jobs
MPG Universal

CATEGORY: STUDIOS

NEW STUDIO
Thechineseroom
Big Bit
Bossa Studios
ShortRound Games
Six to Start
Toxic Games
We R Interactive

MICRO STUDIO
Thechineseroom
Dakko Dakko
Mobile Pie
ShortRound Games
Six to Start
Rodeo Games
Tanukii Studios/Room 4 Games

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Mind Candy
Zattika
Playground Games
NaturalMotion Games
Stainless Games
Rovio Entertainment
nDreams
Wargaming.net

INDEPENDENT STUDIO
Blitz Games Studios
Bossa Studios
CCP
Crytek
Frontier Developments
Mediatonic
Preloaded
Rovio Entertainment

IN-HOUSE STUDIO
The Creative Assembly
EA Dice
Rare
Red Lynx
Rocksteady Studios
TT Games
Ubisoft Montpelier
Bigpoint Hamburg

SPECIAL AWARDS

DEVELOPMENT LEGEND
As previously announced, the winner of this award in 2012 is David Perry, who will attend the gala ceremony to collect the honour.

GRAND PRIX
Our final prize is the ultimate accolade, decided solely by the Develop team and awarded to the European games studio that has made the biggest impact on the business in the last 12 months.

Train2Game News: David Perry to be named Development Legend at Develop Awards

Train2Game students will see David Perry honoured for his achievements in the games industry with the title of Development Legend at this year’s Develop Industry Excellent Awards.

Perry has almost three decades of experience in the industry, working on over 100 games across 29 different platforms. Among them are titles including Earthworm Jim, The Terminator, Messiah and The Darkness.   More recently, Perry has headed up cloud gaming service Gaikai as CEO, and he’s one of the longest serving members of the Game Developer’s Conference Advisory Board.

“A truly progressive games developer who started coding games as a kid in the UK, David’s career has touched every topic and theme of the business that matters: coding, design, publishing, distribution, licensing, creating original content, working with brands, free-to-play, online gaming, writing, cloud gaming and supporting students,” said Develop and MCV editor-in-chief Michael French.

“Over the last 30 years he’s had multiple number one hits in his career, and the games and services he has devised or worked on have set the bar for many that followed. We look forward to welcoming him on stage this July to collect his much-deserved honour.” he added.

David Perry said he was grateful for the accolade.

“I’m incredibly flattered by this award. I’m from Great Britain and have incredible respect for the people that have been recognised in previous years. My mother is going to be blown away; she thought she was buying me that first Sinclair ZX81 to do homework on.”

Previous winners of the Development Legend Award include Ian Livingstone, Peter Molyneux, David Braben, Charles Cecil, and Phil Harrison.  The Develop Industry Excellence Awards take place in Brighton during Develop Conference week on Wednesday 11th July.

What are your thoughts on the award for David Perry and his illustrious career?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News, Media Molecule revealed as Develop Conference headliners

Develop Conference logo

Many Train2Game students already know that the Develop Conference is one of the biggest games industry events in the UK.

It’s been announced that leading UK games developer Media Molecule, the studio behind multi-award winning LittleBigPlanet, will headline this year’s Develop Conference, which takes place 19 – 21 July in Brighton.

Industry luminary Phil Harrison, co-founder and general manager of London Venture Partners, will interview Media Molecule founding directors Alex Evans, Mark Healey and Kareem Ettouney for the conference’s Opening Keynote session: Living Inside a Molecule.

“We’re delighted that Media Molecule is opening the conference this year,” commented Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events.

“They are the pioneers of user-generated content and remain one of the most creative studios around. It will be fascinating to hear their stories from the trenches – and who better to help them relive their tales than the man who helped them on their way: Phil Harrison.”

The Train2Game blog has previously promoted the potential importance of LittleBigPlanet 2 to Train2Game students, with a in depth rundown of why available to see here.

The user generated content tools allow LittleBigPlanet players to create their own levels, with the Train2Game blog reporting that the best community level creators even being hired by Media Molecule.

And in an interview with the Train2Game blog last month, Red Faction: Armageddon Lead Level Designer Jameson Durall recommended Train2Game students get their hands on the LittleBigPlanet creation tools purely for the experience of building their own creations.

The sixth Develop Conference will take place at the Hilton Metropole in Brighton, UK, from 19 – 21 July 2011. It attracts around 1300 game developers from over 20 different territories and has become firmly established as the leading conference in Europe for games developers.

The Train2Game blog will be sure to report on the biggest news to come out of Develop later this month.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Media Molecule giving the keynote? Do you see them as one of the top British studios?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Always look on the bright side of life

One publisher thought he'd be better as a monkey...

You’re no doubt studying the Train2Game Games Designer, Games Developer or Games & Animator course because you have a creative vision. You have an idea for an awesome game that you want to develop, publish and show the world.

It might be difficult to ‘sell’ your idea to a publisher, but that hasn’t stopped developers in the past, including those of Bejeweled – one of the most popular games of all time. The casual title has sold over 50 million copies since it was launched by PopCap ten years ago. The game has won countless awards and is available on PCs, iPhones and Facebook with 200 million games being played everyday.

However, things weren’t always so rosy as PopCap’s Dave Bishop told an audience at The Develop Conference yesterday.  The industry veteran revealed that when the first build of the game was completed in 2000, a variety of publishers turned down the opportunity to buy Bejeweled for just $60,000. Given the success of the title in the decade since then, a few of them probably that regret that decision!

Bejeweled isn’t the only game that had trouble finding a publisher: Hello Games programmer Sean Murray also spoke at Develop yesterday and revealed that they struggled to find a publisher for Joe Danger. The game was eventually released through the PlayStation network selling 50,000 copies in its first week and was well received by critics. It therefore seems reasonable that Murray extracted some revenge on these unnamed publishers, and some of the reasons they had for declining Joe Danger had the Develop attendees laughing:

“Name me one popular game with motorbikes?”

”Collecting giant coins feels unrealistic to me”

”I can see this working as a Facebook app”

”We want games that are less about fun right now”

”We love the theme, but with a different game”

”We believe the iPhone will be largely unsupported”

”Can Joe be a monkey? We like Monkeys”

They verge on the ridiculous don’t they? A popular game with motorbikes, how about Road Rash or Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost & Damned!? Collecting giant coins seems to have worked for Mario over the years and whoever thought games weren’t supposed to be fun eh?

So, what message can Train2Game students take from the ballads of Bejeweled and Joe Danger?  Well first of all it’s that you should never give up, as Bejeweled shows that even one of the most successful games of all time struggled to begin with. Secondly, these games show that you can’t always rely on a publisher to give you the support you think your game deserves. However, thanks to the wonders of the internet it’s now easier than ever to get your independent production out there with Steam, the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live all providing outlets for indie developers.

So, what do you think about the comments made at Develop yesterday? Do you think you’ll try to rely on a publisher, or will you take the self publishing route? As usual, leave your comments here or on the Train2Game forum.