21 Aug

Mobile Mavericks Podcast: Gamescom & Mobile Games

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining George Osborn on his Mobile Mavericks podcast.

Since we attended Gamescom last week, we talked quite a bit about how such events cater to mobile games and why we are not seeing a bigger mobile presence.

You can listen to the podcast below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

20 Aug

SDKs And Libraries Used In “The Way Home”

As we might have already previously mentioned, The Way Home is running on the great Cocos2D engine. We also used a few other 3rd party library and services and we’d like to mention and thank them with this opportunity:

  • AFNetworking – this is almost boilerplate code, required by any iOS app that has any server component
  • Dropbox – Our level editor stores all the created levels directly on Dropbox, so we can access them across various devices easily.
  • Everyplay – To record and share replays of the levels. Their SDK is easy to understand and well documented
  • Facebook SDK – For interacting with the Open Graph
  • Facebook Tweaks – For minor adjustment of effects, animations and UI layout. You can find more info about this bit in here
  • Google Analytics – For tracking, of course.
  • Parse – For sending push notifications
  • TapStream – For tracking installs
  • TestFlight – For distributing the app while in development
  • Vungle – To display video ads. Their SDK is not perfect, but after reading the docs a few we managed to integrate it.

Thank you to all the devs working on these libs. They rock!

19 Aug

Visiting Gamescom and GDC Europe

Some really smart people scheduled the European Game Developer Conference in the exact same week and location as Gamescom. Since we were already attending the Big Indie Pitch we could not miss the opportunity to network with fellow game developers, publishers and industry veterans.

As with all events of this scale, in the evenings sponsored meetups take place in various locations outside the main event. Usually for networking over some snacks and drinks. No game developer should miss these opportunities of talking with people, so we were present at one event every evening.

Right on Monday we attended the Mobile Mixer, organised by PocketGamer. To take a break from talking, playing and drinking, the organisers held a discussion panel. People in the panel debated what mobile platforms can do to evolve and outperform other platforms. Some of the panelists included the CEO of Paradox, Oscar Clark – Everyplay and Unity Evangelist (this fellow really enjoys talking and he does have a lot of fascinating insight + a quirky hat), one of the founders of The Dutch Game Garden and some top executives from advertising networks.

Mobile Mixer Panel

Two points struck me from the panel discussion:

  • Fredrik Wester (Paradox Interactive) mentioned that they have a rule in their games, to never ask money from their players based on frustration.
  • Oscal Clark shared some experience about why an App Store driven by charts is broken. In the past, when he introduce top charts in an App Store, revenues for the platform owners dropped considerably because the top games were already more or less ubiquitos, so there was no incentive for users to re-download them.

Tuesday was the Big Indie Pitch, organised by Pocket Gamer again. And a swell job they did! Following a speed-dating workflow, we pitched to members of the media, sponsors and organizers. You can find more info about this over here. One interesting point is that both here and at the Mobile Mixer from Monday, there was a contest where people played Timberman for a chance to win some VIP passes for the upcoming event in London. Nice way to attract attention from the right crowd!

Big Indie Pitch Table

Wednesday Vungle organised a meetup in a pretty fancy location. We met a bunch of very interesting people over there and enjoyed a few drinks. The organizers were super open and friendly, giving us a lot of new info about their video ad platform and what is to come.

Thursday we followed the Gamescom calling, feeling a bit envious on all the people we saw around the city flashing their event badges the day before. We started with the business area which was quite temperate and calm. Most stands were exclusively for the press. The only lively places were the stands for each country with UK, Spain and Holland sticking out. The big companies (Rockstart, 2K, Activision, Blizzard, etc.) had big and closed areas, accesible only to the press.

In the evening we attended the Chartboost meetup where Bleau met the guys who developed Timberman and this happened:

Timberman group shot
Note: Only one beard is real. Guess which one.

Friday was solely dedicated to the Gamescom entertainment area. Oh boy! That’s a lot to cover! 6 enormous halls packed with huge stands, cosplayers and waiting lines.

One of the huge halls

Some major cosplay

The big game companies brought their best. The only line which we thought was worth waiting in for almost one hour was the Oculus demo area (note: one hour is a short waiting time ). Here we got a chance to demo the Oculus playing some Eve Valkyrie. The experience was not disappointing. So what if we looked funny from the outside, twisting our heads like mad men? We actually could inspect almost every inch of that sci-fi cockpit and dodged some missiles. And looking out the side window in space was quite something.

The Indie Mega Booth, while much smaller compared to the rest of the stands, was pure visual pleasure. We discovered several games which are a blast to play: Out There, Chroma Squad, Broforce, Typoman, The Next Penelope,

A few monsters playing Broforce

Oculus Testing

One observation: Twich.tv was present everywhere. Kind of gives a sign of how powerful of an influencer it has become.

For more photos from the event head over to our Facebook Page and click that Like button for the photos you enjoyed. If you will also like our page, we’d be grateful. 😀

19 Aug

Thoughts and tips from the Big Indie Pitch

moWOW Big Indie Pitch 2014

As you know, last week we attended the Big Indie Pitch in Cologne.  If you have not heard of this event before, it’s a great way to present your game to a lot of journalists in one single event.  Although Twitter and Facebook are cool for making new contacts, there’s nothing better for starting or building connections and relationships than meeting the person directly.

This edition was pretty exciting as there were over 20 indie games competing for the prizes and the media attention.

We didn’t take home any prizes this time. We did however meet a lot of people and had a great time. Now, here’s some tips if you ever attend such an event:

  • Squeeze your pitch in half the allotted time – We had a total of 4 minutes (3 for presentation / play + 1 for questions). We had the pitch and presentation down to 2 minutes. However, you also have to add to that the journalists’ play time and the questions at the end. Add to that the time required to move from one table to another. We ended up pitching in 1.5 minutes and left the rest for play time and questions.
  • Your game matters more than you at the tables. Your names and the studio’s is enough. You are giving them business cards anyway.
  • If possible, leave any bag or backpack out of the pitch. It just gets in the way
  • Learn to play and explain your game upside down. With emphasis on the explaining part.
  • If you have some story or details to tell before the play, don’t show or hand the demo while doing it. Naturally, instead of listening to you, everyone will want to play.
  • If possible, have a special test build or demo build for the pitch with enough resources unlocked or powerups unlocked for all the media + for showing additional press and other devs after the pitch.
  • On the same topic of special build, make sure that the demo can be easily restarted for the next table. Otherwise you will lose time
  • At each table there are usually 2 journalists so if possible have 3 devices.
  • Have business cards ready. Use the presentation time to also hand them out. Two birds with one time stone. If you want to hand out more than just business cards, have them prepared in stacks ready to hand out, especially if you are pitching solo.
  • Don’t count on the wi-fi working. It usually does not. Find a workaround for this.
  • A portable battery to recharge your devices really comes in handy and ensures that you can show your game to a lot more people.
  • Always check on Mobile Mixer party and other parties happening around the Big Indie Pitch (especially before it). Extra connections, extra networking, plus a lot of fun.
  • Stay for the pirate party after the Pitch. A lot of the quality networking actually happens after everyone is a bit more relaxed. Also, a lot of people come to the after party to meet all the devs who pitched. And what’s not to like about a pirate themed party.

It’s true the tips are skewed a bit towards mobile game showcasing but hopefully our problems and tips will help you discover potential details that you haven’t considered. Good luck on your next pitch!

P.S. You can check out the winners on Pocket Gamer.