Robin Hunicke, one of the games industry’s most talented developers, has been named as the Indie Keynote Speaker on Thursday 14 July at this year’s Develop:Brighton.
Over a career spanning an impressive 12 years, Hunicke has worked on a number of titles that have shaken the industry, including Journey (9/10 IGN), Boom Blox (9/10 Eurogamer), MySims (8/10 Game Informer) and The Sims 2 (94% IGN). She’s also the co-founder of indie studio Funomena, where she’s currently working on two upcoming titles: Luna and Wattam.
Though her glowing resumé reveals the depth of her knowledge, Hunicke’s candidacy for the Keynote spot is bolstered by an incredible commitment to fairness and diversity of both thought and participation in game design and culture. Recently recognised with an Influential Woman in Games award, Hunicke has also spent several years involved in the organisation of Indiecade while holding the role of Professor of Art, Games & Playable Media at UC Santa Cruz.
She believes game developers can create novel, experimental games by designing for feeling, and her talk will aim to highlight this by focusing on the core artistic and emotional inspirations at the heart of Luna, which focuses on themes of personal transformation. The talk will explain how decisions in art, sound and gameplay design are integrated via “Feel Engineering” to reinforce the games underlying themes and narrative.
“The quality of Robin’s output speaks for itself,” said Andy Lane, Managing Director at Tandem Events. “As someone who’s worked with both big studios and small indies, we know Robin will offer valuable insight and inspiration in her keynote, with her talk kicking off a day of great sessions from a talented cast.”
Other sessions in the Indie Dev Day include:
Pitching is Courtship
Shahid Ahmad, Indie Developer
How does someone in charge of budget for financing video games think? As a developer, how do you give yourself the best possible chance to unlock those funds? In this session, Shahid shares his experiences in commissioning over a hundred games. If you’re a developer and you’re looking for funding for your game, you’ll want to know how to give yourself every chance of success. In “Pitching is Courtship”, Shahid shares some of the things he looked for in a developer and their pitches when he was making funding decisions.
Killing the Indie Crunch Myth: Shipping Games Alive
Simon Roth, Machine Studios
Crunch has become commonplace in AAA and indie development, but it is often misunderstood, misrepresented and, more often than not, outright harmful to a game and the team developing it. This talk will explain the myths surrounding productivity and overtime in the indie games pipeline, illustrate how to avoid the common pitfalls and offer realistic strategies that can be used to keep your team healthy and your milestones on schedule.
Console Porting Indie Games with Network Support: Worth it?
James Parker, Ground Shatter
This talk aims to provide an understanding of the additional elements required to port games to console platforms. It’ll go into the knowledge you’ll need when trying to do network play with a micro-team, along with examples of who is currently doing this kind of work and what help is available.
How to Succeed and Where You’ll Fail: Money, Marketing, and Making a Mark
Chair: Joe Brammer, Bulkhead Interactive
Agostino Simonetta, ID@Xbox
Phil Elliott, Square Enix Collective
Gordon Van Dyke, Raw Fury Games
Howard Philpott, Bulkhead Interactive
This 30-minute panel will be discussing multiple avenues to success as an independent developer or studio, focusing on PC & Console. This panel will focus on the often forgotten parts of indie development; how to fund, market, and make a significant splash in the gaming community with your indie title. The speakers are interested in helping developers build sustainable and viable studios, audience members will have multiple opportunities to ask questions to the panel throughout the talk.
Alongside the expo, there are also a number of free-to-attend Indie BootCamp sessions.
Super Early Bird passes are available until 27 April, saving delegates up to 30% on a three day pass. Indie Dev Day passes cost just £90 if booked by this date.