This Thursday sees the popular Develop conference make its debut appearance in Liverpool.
Set to bring together the best and brightest game developers from across the UK for a day of learning, sharing ideas and networking, Develop in Liverpool boasts an impressive range of sessions and panels. Below are details of the currently confirmed panels.
Highlights include the keynote by Michael Denny, senior vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, Europe, and speakers from Bizarre Creations, Natural Motion, Team 17 and Jolt.
Those interested can still register here; tickets currently cost £265 plus VAT. The event takes place at Liverpool’s Arena and Convention Centre, and offers a unique opportunity in a city many consider the cultural capital of the north.
OPENING KEYNOTE: Quality, Relevance, Innovation
The talk will provide a visionary insight into what Sony Computer Entertainment First Party studios are looking for now and in the future when commissioning Original IPs from Independent developers.
Speaker: Michael Denny, senior vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, Europe
EVOLVE: Turning Browsers into Gamers for Fun and Profit
The biggest platform with the most potential isn’t owned by a manufacturer or run out of Redmond. Web browsers and social networks host tens of millions of games a day, bring gameplay to new audiences, allow innovative new gameplay ideas, come with a diversity of business models, and are wide open to new entrants. But what can traditional games companies bring to the party, and where should you focus your efforts for maximum impact and reward?
Speaker: Dylan Collins, Jolt Online Gaming
CODING & PRODUCTION: PlayStation: Cutting Edge Techniques
The talk will provide an overview of the current state of the PlayStation platforms and games from a technical perspective. There will be a coverage of several real-world examples of cutting techniques as used in recent and soon to be released PlayStation3 and PSP titles developed by Sony Computer Entertainment worldwide studios.
Speaker: Neil Brown, senior engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
ART & DESIGN: Blocking to Rocking! The art of LEGO Rock Band
Travellers’ Tales has won endless plaudits for the distinctive and humorous characters in its LEGO games. But having mastered a plastic fantastic take on much-loved cinematic heroes, how would its artists tackle real life musical legends for LEGO Rock Band? Matt Palmer, Head of Animation at TT Fusion, gives us a unique insight into capturing the essence of Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and the game’s other rock gods in LEGO guise while operating within the constraints of the Rock Band format.
Speaker: Matt Palmer, head of animation, TT Fusion
EVOLVE: Five App Stores Under the Microscope:
iPhone, Blackberry, Android, DSiWare, PSP Minis
There’s plenty of excitement around digital distribution of mobile and handheld games, but it’s early days – the various stores are finding their feet, while developers figure out how best to approach them. This session will look at five key digital stores: iPhone’s App Store, BlackBerry App World and Android Market, as well as DSiWare and PSP Minis. What are the trends in terms of pricing and categorisation? Which games are doing well and why? And how are developers increasingly looking to release games across several or all of these stores?
Speaker: Stuart Dredge, online editor, Mobile Entertainment
CODING & PRODUCTION: Role of the Production House in Game Development and Marketing
Created during the early development stages of a video game, concept movies can often lay the foundation in the creation of new games. They can be used as an influential selling tool by developers to gain universal buy in from international publishers whilst also giving the development team a vision of what they’re working towards, helping lock down important factors such as the overall look, style and feel of the game. Some of these movies never see the light of day once the game is complete but others serve a multifaceted purpose and are used as a powerful internal and external marketing tool. Tony Prosser, Managing Director of Lancashire based CG Production House RealtimeUK, will be speaking about the role of concept movies in games development. He will also discuss how they created some of their most well known concept movies and marketing trailers including Motorstorm for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Split/Second for Disney Interactive Studios and Napoleon: Total War for Sega.
Speaker: Tony Prosser, managing director, RealtimeUK
EVOLVE: What the Music Industry Can Tell Us about Digital Distribution
The last few years have been turbulent for the music industry as it grapples with the transition from physical goods to digital distribution. What can the games industry learn from the music industry as the sales and delivery of interactive entertainment increasingly move online? Simon Watt of Universal Music reprises his very popular Brighton talk with an updated explanation of what the music industry has got right – and wrong – and what it means for games.
Speaker: Simon Watt, vice president technology, Universal Music Group
CODING & PRODUCTION: How to Get More From your Music and Audio Team (panel)
Harry Potter, Project Gotham Racing, Heavenly Sword, The Getaway, and Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix series are just a few of the titles covered by the careers of an illustrious panel of leaders in their field. Whilst managing hundreds of thousands of game audio production dollars, procuring music, dialogue and sound design services from both in-house and external game and movie sound resources, these senior players fully recognise the commercial imperative and inextricable link of what they do in audio provision with corporate goals, gameplay objectives and console technology. Drawing on their years of experience seeing the good, bad and downright ugly of audio in games, they will distil critical insights for producers, programmers, artists and designers about how to get the most from their audio team and thereby realise the maximum potential for sound, music and dialogue to rock their game production.
Chair: John Broomhall, independent audio director
Panelists: Dan Bardino, SCEE; Adele Cutting, EA; Nick Wiswell, Bizarre Creations
ART & DESIGN: Resurrecting the Alien Breed franchise
If you’re lucky enough to have a much-loved retro game to work with, how do you bring it up-to-date without damaging its DNA? Team 17’s design manager John Dennis outlines some of the challenges and opportunities the studio has faced in bringing its classic Amiga game Alien Breed back to life in the form of Alien Breed Evolution, which it is set to self-publish for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Speaker: John Dennis, Team 17
EVOLVE: Keeping Northern games development on the map (panel)
Game making has a long history in the North of England and much to be proud of, but there’s no denying recent years have been tough, with key studios closing and others fading from prominence. What can be done to ensure the region remains a hub of game development excellence, and what help is already available? Could local studios do more to support each other, or is it better every studio fights for itself? A panel of leading insiders debates the issues.
Chair: Toby Barnes, MD, Pixel Lab
CODING & PRODUCTION: A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time Lighting
The talk focuses on the techniques used in the real-time lighting implementation for Blur, but with a particular bias for how things were done for the Playstation3. Beginning with a high-level discussion of the problems at hand the swiftly talk moves into how these were initially solved in a cross-platform way, but then later optimised for Playstation3. Along the way the speakers share their thoughts on light pre-pass rendering and SPU programming techniques, and offer a helpful ten-step guide to migrating your lighting to the SPUs.
Speakers: Stephen McAuley and Steven Tovey, Bizarre Creations
ART & DESIGN: Why is Playing Games Fun?
Recent research in neurobiology reveals multiple ways in which the "pleasure centre" of the brain can be tripped, and thus multiple ways that players enjoy games. This research also dovetails with the latest player satisfaction models, which show that different players enjoy very different aspects of play. This session explores seven different ways in which the brain responds to play, each corresponding to a different play style, and thus different kinds of videogame. By understanding the variety of ways that a game can provide enjoyment, developers can learn why their games are fun – and how to make them more fun for a greater number of players.
Speaker: Chris Bateman, MD, Hobo International
EVOLVE: Digital Distribution: From Blue Sky to the Bottom Line (panel)
Signing a deal with Steam is no longer enough. From branding to social media marketing; from price discounts to community management, this panel will address what developers need to do to maximise revenue from their digital distribution strategy.
Chair: Nicholas Lovell, GAMESbrief
Panelists: Mark Morris, MD, Introversion Software; Tero Virtala, CEO, RedLynx; Oliver Birch, account director, PlayReplay
CODING & PRODUCTION: 6 Ways to Get More Bang for Your Buck
The bad news: budgets are tight and time is short, yet everyone still wants quality. The good news: there is no shortage of talent! Outsourcing, offshoring, contractors and freelancers – thousands of externals are ready to help you stay under budget and make better games, or, if handled badly, to wreck your project. From formal outsourcing to co-development and remote teams, Beriah’s Kevin Hassall reveals six tricks to get the very best from this wide world of talent.
Speaker: Kevin Hassall, Beriah
ART & DESIGN: Open Mic – Voice Control in SingStar the Method and the Madness
Applying cutting edge technology to casual games in a way that enriches the end user experience in a non disruptive way. Voice recognition technology is notoriously unreliable and most user experiences with existing technology have been poor. The voice recognition technology in SingStar was designed to allow users to select songs and navigate menu options. This presented its own set of unique challenges from both technological and usability standpoints. This presentation will cover the challenges and pitfalls of using voice recognition technology in SingStar.
Speaker: Charlie Hasdell, designer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
EVOLVE: We’re All Indies in This Together
Digital distribution, downloadable content, and casual and social games are fast re-writing our ideas about what a game can be. Leading this charge are a new wave of small, innovative and entrepreneurial developers with very different business models – and often different aspirations – to the conventional games industry. Enter indievision, a new trade body for a new breed of studio. For the first time in public, founder Robert Swan outlines why the new indie sector needs to work together, and what joining indievision can do for you.
Speaker: Robert Swan, co-founder, indievision
CLOSING ADDRESS: The Ups and Downs of Backing 60 Start-Ups
Richard Farleigh, High Tech Entrepreneur and Dragon (from Dragon’s Den)
After the conference, you will have the opportunity to network with delegates from an event running alongside Develop – Software City – designed to showcase the region’s dynamic technology sector. Now running in its third year Software City attracts an international audience and is an opportunity for businesses and investors to make valuable connections, share ideas and hear from world-class entrepreneurs.
Develop in Liverpool and Software City have teamed up to host a joint post-conference networking party for all their delegates. The party will be held in PanAm on the Albert Dock.
Your Develop pass will allow you free access to the party where you will have the chance to meet attendees and speakers from both events, including Software City’s star speakers Richard Farleigh of Dragon’s Den fame and Julie Meyer co-founder of First Tuesday, CEO of Ariadne Capital and one of the recently announced ‘online dragons’.
Click here for more detailed information on session times, the venue, and more.