Develop picks out the best sessions from this year's casual games conference

Five things you shouldn’t miss at Casual Connect

Germany-based casual games conference Casual Connect is set to see another stand-out year in 2011.

Over 1300 industry professionals are expected to make the trip to the beautiful and media-friendly city of Hamburg from Feburary 8th – 10th, where they will be greeted with a host of lectures and sessions on all of the major issues and exciting advances facing the casual games industry today.

Develop has picked five (or six) of the very best talks set to take place at this year’s event, arming you, our good readers, with all the information you’ll need to get the very best out of your time at the Congress Centre in Hamburg:

The Future of Browser Games 

Paul BAKAUS, CTO, Zynga Germany
CTO of Zynga Germany Paul Bakaus is currently helping create new technology set to be used in upcoming Zynga titles developed worldwide.

As a prominent member of the largest social games company in the world, Bakaus should have more than a little interesting insight into the direction in which browser games will be heading over the course of the new decade.

Before joining Zynga last year, Bakaus co-founded Dextrose AG. Here he began creating the Aves Engine, which is the very first commercial and plugin-free browser game engine. He also created the popular user interface framework jQuery UI.

The Flight of Angry Birds: Creating Mobile Bestseller 

Peter VESTERBACKA, The Mighty Eagle, Rovio
After claiming over 50 million downloads worldwide, it wouldn’t be too daft to wonder if there are now fewer people on the planet who haven’t heard of Rovio’s mega-hit Angry Birds than those who have.

It is a casual gaming phenomenon played by Prime Ministers and road sweepers alike, and it has taken Finnish developer Rovio from relative obscurity to being one of the best known video games studios of the moment.

Head of Rovio’s North American offices Peter Vesterbacka is well placed to give attendees an in-depth explanation of how this entertainment icon was thought-up and created, hopefully inspiring one or two people to have a go at something similar themselves.

How To Succeed On The PlayStation Network: Exciting Stunts with Joe Danger 

Sean MURRAY, Managing Director, Hello Games
Hello Games managing director Sean Murray is best known today for his work on the PSN hit Joe Danger, but has experience in the development industry as technical lead on projects like Burnout 3 and Black at Cirterion Games and as technical director at Kuju.

In this session, Murray will expand on the process that lead him and three friends to develop racer Joe Danger, and the way in which to go about making a title geared towards success on Sony’s difficult but worthwhile and well-respected digital platform.

Top 7 Social Metrics for 2011 

Albert LAI, Co-Founder, Kontagent
Albert Lai, currently co-founder of Facebook-funded viral analytics platform Kontagent, sold his first internet company for a seven-digit figure while still a teenager. Most recently he was CEO of photo-sharing firm BubbleShare, which was sold in 2007. These days he is based out of San Francisco and Toronto.

This presentation will revolve around the top metrics for social game developers using a three-step framework: User acquisition, retention and monetisation.

Through this Lai aims to deliver social metric benchmark ranges in our industry that fit within this framework. As well as this, reasons behind why the metrics are so important to a social game’s lifecycle development will also be outlined.

HTML5 versus Flash

HTML5 for Game Developers

Malte UBL, Customer Solutions Engineer, Google
Google customer solutions engineer Malte Ubl is one of the curators of the well known JavaScript conference. He is currently busy building a HTML5 based real time Twitter client Streamie.

This session will introduce game developers to the web programming model for HTML5, outline the relevant developments and overview the libraries and services that are emerging to support HTML5 games.

The Adobe Flash Platform – A Look Into The Future

Sven CLAAR, CEO, Flex Squad Central Europe
Sven Claar has over 10 years experience in building richt clients based on technologies from Adobe, (Flex 1.0/1.5/2.0/3.0, Flash Builder, Flex SDK, Flash Catalyst, AIR, Flash Player, LiveCycle Data Services, LifeCycle ES, ColdFusion, Flash Media Server). He shares this knowledge with customers and the community to help people in building front-ends and applications with Flash.

This session will allow attendees a chance to see a new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs that will enable advanced 3D experiences across screens through the Adobe Flash Platform runtimes, currently known as ‘Molehill’. It will also address ways to develop and deliver games and applications to a variety of existing and upcoming devices like Android-based phones and tablets or the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook.

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