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Saturday was the second ever Game Anglia conference at the University of Suffolk, which was co-founded by our own Mark Backler. There were some fantastic speakers at the event and there was plenty of advice on getting a foot in the door for games industry jobs.
I’m two weeks in to my role as Lost Words PR and Marketing intern and I have been surprised at how much I have learned already. I have gained a lot of insight into the gaming world. I think it goes to show that if you want to learn something new, all you need to do is read about it and explore different platforms. Going to the conference was a unique experience for me and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and engaging with people who played the game.
As a non-gamer in some respects, I didn’t think I would get anything out of the talks or particularly enjoy them, but I found Bill Roper’s keynote talk most enjoyable and incredibly insightful. I think a lot could be taken from it and not just to get into the gaming industry. He has worked on games such as Warcraft and Diablo.
Bill has worked in various game companies and on a plethora of games that have been developed over the last couple of decades. I thought Bill was an excellent speaker as he didn’t dress up what it was to be a game developer and the tribulations you have to go through to get a game developed.
When it comes to developing a game, Bill spoke of the importance of working together. It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but being a team is vital in game development and marketing. You rely on people playing your game and providing you with feedback in order to make it into something that, firstly, you envisaged and will make people want to play it and buy it, and secondly, to make it as playable as it can be.
The theme of this years Game Anglia, was community. This refers to not only communities of players but the game development community too. Bill said building a community of players was the same as building a game. As an independent developer, you often start with an extremely small team – it could only be one or two of you when the initial concept is born, but through working together, you build your team up over time to make it and change it according to feedback you get on the game or things that haven’t worked as you initially thought they would.
Another great piece of advice Bill gave, was that if you have a vision, you need to build the technology for it. Bill started in the industry at a time where the internet was a new concept, and not many people had access to it, or played games. Over the years, Bill moved companies and at Cryptic Studios, developed multiplayer games such as Star Trek Online. Now, there are many programmes you can use to develop your own game, but, you may to have develop your own technology to make it happen.
The competition is high now. Not just for game developers, but for the gaming market. 51% of all gaming is now mobile, however, despite this, the market for PC games and consoles is still strong. Marketing your game is now just as important as developing it. According to Intel, over 4,000 games are released each year, which is on average, 11 a day. Making an online community for your product is now crucial to its success and grabbing players attention.
The top three pieces of advice that Bill gave were:
One of the best things about Game Anglia is being able to see what other people have been developing in the region. Providing feedback about their game and having the chance to try out other games is great to as you can see what others have done well. My top three games from Saturday were:
We also got some amazing feedback with players describing the game as; beautiful, charming, stunning and unique, just to name a few! It was thrilling to have so many people there to play Lost Words and give feedback on the game.
“This game looks so beautiful! I love that, you, as a player, have to use your own creativity to progress” – Ben.
“Absolutely stunning game. It’s like playing through a pretty storybook – I would love to play it to completion”.
“Beautiful visuals, sweet vocal work and just charming beyond belief! I am 100% lost for words. Look forward to the final release”.
“Absolutely amazing. The visuals, sound direction and story all make this game a very charming one to play”.
You can now follow and wishlist Lost Words: Beyond The Page on Steam.