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Getting a Team on Board with Narrative Design - Matthew Weise
Currently working at Harmonix on an unannounced title, Mathew Weise has a background in academics, and was previously the game design director of the GAMBIT Game Lab at MIT.
- Spoke specifically about being a new narrative guy joining existing team
- All aspects that the player experiences can impact the narrative. Art, ui, load time
- Narrative can be anything, not just dialog and cut scenes.
- Don't let other people define you. If you let people treat you like The Cutscene Guy, you will be The Cutscene Guy.
- Games don't have an author. Like most modern media, they're built by teams of people, who all work together to create something, each bringing their own take.
- I originality isn't too many influences, it's too few.
- Experience a broad range of things, and learn to filter and find a new angle.
- Accept that creativity in games is the product of cooperation and hard work.
Still Kicking: The viability of Paid Apps in the Era of F2P - Nathan Vella
Nathan is the cofounder and president of Capy Games. All the hair on his head is the same length, except his eyebrows and eyelashes (they're longer).
- This is not an anti-free to play talk. This is a pro paid app talk. Free to play can be fine.
- In 2010 the ratio was roughly 2/3rds paid, 1/3 free to play. It's now flipped, with ~66% of all new games free to play.
- Instead of chasing Angry Birds, people are now chasing Clash of Clans.
- This leaves paid apps the less fraught marketplace.
- As companies like EA shift to free to play, there are fewer 500 lbs. gorillas in paid, paving the way for smaller teams to succeed.
- Where FTP games need to hit the biggest audience possible, then focus down on whales, paid games should hit invested, high value customers first, then use things like sales and promotions to capture more audience.
- Paid has the advantage of simply not worrying about things like paid user aquisition.
- Paid, especially at low price, is a good place to expiriment with neat new ideas that wouldn't support a FTP game.
- Some genres, like adventure games, puzzle games, or games with a specific story to tell, don't lend themselves to FTP.
- Finding a niche, like rouge-likes, locked room puzzles, or even scandinavian first person adventure horror, can do wonders to boost the attention you receive as a paid app.
- Know that every time you communicate with players, Apple and Google are listening. Make sure you're positioning yourself as something that players want, and that Apple/Google wants to be seen offering to players.
- Start talking about the game early. Get the name out to players, build hype, build a story around your team and game, do crazy stuff to catch that portion of the market that will get really excited about your game.
- If know how to make a video, make one. If you don't, find someone who knows what they're doing. Bad trailers don't help.
- Keep interest up. Make sure to stay on top of localization, ports, and updates needed for new hardware.
- Once the first wave of invested buyers have purchased the game, use sales to capture customers who would likely never have bought the game otherwise.
- Make your sales special events. Have a clear ending, and an easy way to talk about it (e.g. the summer sale, the solstice sale).
- If the game fails, consider a relaunch. Balance the cost of tweaking and repromoting over just making something new and awesome.