This week, Brian and myself have been ensconced by the seaside in Brighton for the Develop 2009 conference. We spent three days inside a hotel, learning from others, talking about Quarrel, catching up with old friends and making new friends. Neither of us had attended the conference before (somewhat surprising given we’ve worked in the games industry for more than 25 years between us), and now we’re feeling like we’ve missed out a little bit in the past. Although, I’d be thankful to not stay in a room with windows that howl at night again.
From our point of view, the event seemed pretty well organised and the sessions were of a pretty high standard. The best bit for us though was that although the event was busy, it never felt overwhelming – and that made it much easier to find people we knew and also to meet interesting new people.
I had a couple of favourite sessions, one from the Evolve track on Tuesday and one from the main conference. The former was David Edery‘s talk regarding the future digital distribution (slides available here), which was of course hugely relevant for us. I was also glad to see someone in games who’s actually read and understood the book The Long Tail correct a few myths! The other talk was the LEGO Design Keynote. This was particularly inspiring for me because it showed how LEGO, TT Games and NetDevil are working together and planning long-term success rather than just aiming for that short-term hit (which LEGO admitted didn’t work for them in the past).
Speaking of the Evolve track on Tuesday (which we were, if you look closely), I apparently urged a “ban” on the use of the word casual as it relates to games in my talk “A Game Is A Game Is A Game”. I don’t remember asking for a ‘ban’ in as many words, but I did say it was ill-defined and non-descriptive and that we shouldn’t use the word anymore… oh, I see how they may have gotten that idea. But, for me, the main point was about urging people to just focus on making great games, which I did, and we then had a good in-room discussion about that. I have to admit I’m surprised/delighted to see so much coverage across the web, but clearly what I said rings true one way or the other with the industry at large. Which was kind of the point. I do hope to be asked back, but time will tell!
Brian attended a few more sessions than I did at the conference, and I’m sure he’ll be on here soon to tell you about those.
If there’s any interest, I can make the slides for my talk available Slides with notes for my talk are available here.