Posts added by alison


09 Nov 2009
Some Thoughts From Develop in Liverpool

jon

It was just great to have Develop in our home town, hopefully they will come again.  My feeling about this year’s Develop was that it was ‘Two Tribes Go to War’ to stretch the Scouse analogy.  Developers seem to fall into two camps, those working for large console game developers or ‘Dinosaurs’ as we might call them and the Indie App Store gang ‘Mammals’.  The Dinosaurs are in recession, general game revenues are dropping (sales down 16% in UK according to MCV) and traditional publishers finding it really hard to raise debt funding.  The Mammals are in a whole different boat, low overheads, ownership of IP and decent revenues for some on mainly their iPhone titles.  Don’t get me wrong most of the skill still sits with the big developers but 2009 will mark the start of a new console cycle ‘the App Store’.

One of the speakers really summed it up, when someone in the audience tried to draw an analogy to previous console booms and slumps he started very clearly that this is like ‘nothing we have seen before’.  I feel that this is spot on, the industry has changed and there is no going back.

Stuart Dredge’s talk focused on the 5 app stores,  iPhone, Android, PSP, Blackberry and DSi sales figures are hard to find but we can all see that the model works well for both consumer and producer.  As he himself said there are many other app stores, off the top of my head Orange App Store, Windows Mobile, Wii Store channel (Wiiware), PSN for PS3, XBLA, Intel for Atom PCs, Ovi from Nokia and I am sure many others.  Other the next few weeks we will look at each in detail from both a business and technical veiwpoint and try and think about their pros and cons.

03 Nov 2009
The Mystery of Finance

Having attended an Investment Event last night I started to wonder about how and why people invest.  I am currently reading Quicksilver by Neil Stevenson which is set in the 17th/18th century which is a period which marks the invention of finance, paper money, short selling and many other wonderful things.  Almost as soon as money was invented so was fraud, bubbles and bankruptcy.  At one point in Quicksilver everyone discovers that the Goldsmiths kind of early bankers have empty vaults and all their money has gone.

Surely we have learnt something from these kinds of shocks, well clearly not as the recent history of banking shows.  So thats great but what does it teach us about now.  Well it is clear that within 5 years there will be more online revenue in the games industry than through retail.  When you go for lunch everyone has an idea for an iPhone app (always a good sign of a boom) 10 years ago it was ideas for websites or was it tulip bulbs I forget.

We all like to follow the crowd and investors more than most, this is generally good if you can get in early enough but strangely investors are running scared of iPhone and haven’t even really noticed that download games change the rules.  There have been a couple of big investments I think Glu mobile got a fair amount of money but most UK investors have a strange disconnect they know iPhone is successful but don’t seem able to unpin the risks.

24 Mar 2009
It's a new kind of FPS with even more blood spilt…

FIRST PERSON SURGERY

It’s a matter of life and death.

Onteca are developing ‘This is Surgery’ a First Person Surgery Game for PS3 Network. ‘This is Surgery’ looks and feels like

23 Mar 2009
Fourteen Elements

http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20011012/garneau_01.htm

Hey up,

An excellent article on the fourteen elements that make more than just a good game. Very readable – with pictures.

13 Mar 2009
Games Design Doc Sites.

This is Surgery Games Design Document Blogging:
Have been looking at different Games Design Document Sites. Has anyone got one they know that they’d recommend.
http://www.gamasutra.com/features/19970912/design_doc.htm
http://www.pagtech.com/
http://www.obscure.co.uk/articles-2/preparing-a-game-demo/

24 Feb 2009
Of noobs and leets and crossing over…

Alison’s Blog.

alis
Being the noob amongst the leet at Onteca has its pros(everyone assumes you know nothing about their stuff)and its cons (normally because you erm don’t).Working with Onteca this year, attending Crossover Kids and working on an MMO created by young people, has been great. Challenging what I know as a writer and pushing me to think about what I need to. This blog is about ‘Crossover.’


So, ‘Crossover’ is:


‘…an extraordinary series of ‘innovation labs’ for creative professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds: game developers, tv and film producers, web designers, animators, theatre practitioners and others. Each Crossover lab is an immersive, five day incubator fostering new collaborations and original ideas for cross platform media content and services.’

Jon and Max put me forward for: Crossover Kids (Dec 1 – 5).‘Crossover Kids’ said it would:


explore the future of children’s media and develop original ideas for cross-platform projects. Based on the knowledge that:


‘Children have always loved TV, but the days when passive viewing was their only option are well and truly over. They’re media literate and demanding more sophisticated, interactive content which is fragmenting the market. So what does this mean for content creators? A decline in traditional TV commissioning and falling budgets? Or a framework for innovation and collaboration?’


I wasn’t sure on the idea of being incubated with a load of content creators. But, on the promise of a paid trip down south,(Thank you North West Vision and Media) a hotel spa and a country walk, I bought myself a nice new networking cardigan, packed my bestest walking boots and swimming cossie and set off to deepest, smartest Sussex to find:


non-stop work and no time for a sauna, or even a stroll around the grounds. But it was jolly good work, planning, pitching and thinking a lot about how multi platforms can be used with a young audience. I spent time thinking about how creative ideas can be best delivered to an audience of children who probably don’t even think about the word ‘virtual’ because to them it just is.

‘Crossover Kids’ comes highly recommended. Over the five days I worked on ideas involving Bluetooth mapping, MMO worlds and erm robot alien ponies. Obviously it was the alien ponies idea that I chose to develop. (See Recon Ponies Blog to follow.) It was constantly relentless, equally rewarding and hugely funny. Mentors were excellent and networking opportunities allowed for me to make some good contacts with lovely folk, specifically:


Childs Eye
Mustard Corporation
Unexpected Media
Red Bedlam
Tuna Technologies
Grierson Awards
Wak Studio
Poddington Peas
Milky Tea
and Capsule films


Friendship and creative seeds were planted in December and as we turn into spring I’m pleased to say they are growing.


Following the Crossover week, I also attended the first Crossover Kids pitching event, which was held at the Princess Anne Theatre, BAFTA, London on Thursday 11 December. We saw a couple of new CBeebies ideas including a great news programme aimed at 4 year olds ‘What’s your news?’ I pitched along -side virtual world creator Kerry Fraser Robinson(Red Bedlam), producer Emma Hindley (Grierson Awards) and animator Sara Quick (Tuna Technology) our multi platform animated cartoon/ website/robot: ‘Recon Ponies’. We’re still looking at developing this idea. Interest and funding most welcome. We thinks it’s got legs (and a nosebag.)


Crossover enabled me to extend the thinking that I had already been doing on my work with Onteca, specifically working story narrative in MMO and developing cross platform ideas. I am still very much a noob but with leet aspirations.