GDC: Console to Mobile

At GDC 2012 this year, I had the opportunity to present a session on some of the things we learned during Vector Unit's transition from mobile to console development.

Originally the speech was meant to cover a whole range of topics, from development to marketing, but the GDC organizers asked me to focus specifically on production learnings, and to see if I could fit it all into a 25 minute session.  I did, but it was a little tight -- my biggest concern during the presentation (other than the general concern about not totally choking :-) ) was making sure I didn't go over my time limit.

I've been happy to see a little coverage about the presentation in the press.  I think this article by Dennis Scimeca in Pocket Gamer in particular sums up the main points pretty well:

GDC 2012: Vector Unit's Matt Small on what console devs need to know about mobile gaming

You can download the full powerpoint of the presentation here: GDC 2012: Stranger in a Strange Land. I don't normally put down much in terms of speaker notes, but this time around there was a translator providing simulcast Japanese translation and I had to detail out a little more of what I planned to say in the notes for her reference.  The upside to this is you can pretty much read through most of the content of the speech alongside the slides in the downloaded file.

Here's a link to a copy of the SCRUM spreadsheet I mentioned.  No warranties on its formulas or effectiveness, of course -- please feel free to use it or modify it for your own purposes as you see fit.

Example SCRUM

Finally, I wanted to share a couple of links to articles that I referenced or that inspired parts of this session.  

First off, the survey by Owen Goss that I got my sales figures from.  As Owen himself points out, these numbers are not necessarily reflective of the market as a whole, but from what we've seen at Vector Unit they seem to be at least somewhat on the mark:

Results: iOS Game Revenue

And finally, a great article by Emeric Thoa of the Game Bakers that dovetails with many of the things I talked about and also talks about Owen's article:

Money and the App Store


GDC 2011 game startup presentation slides now available

A few people have asked me for a copy of the PowerPoint slides I presented at GDC 2011 earlier this month.  Sorry for the delay -- am finally getting around to posting them now, in PDF format.  Link at the bottom of this article.

It might be a little light on content without the speaking part, but at least it's an overview of the presentation and a reminder to jog your memory if you went to the talk.

At some point when I have more time I plan on breaking some of this out into separate articles, about forming a company, pitching to publishers, etc.  "When I have more time" probably means the end of May, after Riptide GP is finished, so don't hold your breath. :-)

Thanks again to everyone who came out for the presentation -- I really had a blast, and I hope people came away from it feeling like there was some useful content there.

Presentation:  Tales from the Trenches:  Startup Advice from a Vet

HTH meets H2O

Matt Small, Andrew Silber, Detmar Peterke, and Ralf Knoesel prove they are masters of water physics and beer drinking.On Thursday night, March 3, 2011, history was made when Hydro Thunder Hurricane developers Matt Small and Ralf Knoesel sat down to dinner with two of the developers of H2Overdrive to eat foods, drink beers, and gossip about the wet, wild world of water racing video games.

Andrew Silber and Detmar Peterke of Specular Interactive were in town for GDC 2011, and agreed to meet with us at Thirsty Bear Brewery in San Francisco.

We were pretty stoked to meet up with these guys.  For one thing, as I've said before we're huge fans of water racing games of all shapes and sizes, and H2Overdrive is a primo example of the genre.  Detmar actually worked on the original Hydro Thunder at Midway (as did several of the Specular team) and Andrew worked on Offroad Thunder around the same time, so it was awesome hearing about the bad old days of arcade development and getting a little behind the scenes scoop.

For another thing, reading the forums out there you'd think there's this intense rivalry between our two studios -- particularly since Specular has the HT pedigree, and because H2Overdrive and Hydro Thunder Hurricane came out around the same time. 

And maybe there is a little element of competition there.  But it's the healthy kind that still gives you room to drink beers together and share war stories. 

So thanks again for meeting up with us, dudes.  We'll definitely swing down to Irvine one of these days for Alco-Thunder Part 2.

GDC: We Out

Well GDC is winding down and it's been a really great week.

I gave my presentation this morning on game startup advice, and I think it went pretty well.  Didn't barf or flip out so that's good at least.  And got some really good, really specific questions from the audience afterwards.  

Feels good to get that out of the way because it was definitely taking up a lot of my brain space over the last week or so.

Now that the presentation's done, I feel like I can finally look around and take stock of the week.  It's been pretty productive, lots of great meetings and all -- but my favorite part of GDC is always the chance meetings, running into people on the sidwalk that you haven't seen in 5 years and catching up.  Always reinforces what a small industry we all work in.  And what a vital one -- the energy, the vibe around GDC is great.   There's something I love about walking around downtown SF and seeing it overrun with OUR PEOPLE. 

Now just a few more meeting and we're out.  Looking forward to relaxing this weekend.  And not practicing my speech in my sleep.

Vector Unit at GDC 2011

Creative Director Matt Small will be speaking at GDC 25 this year, hosting a 60 minute presentation entitled "Tales from the Trenches: Startup Advice from a Vet".  

The presentation will give an insider's look at the first years of Vector Unit, from our inception as a couple of guys working out of a home office to the development of Hydro Thunder Hurricane and beyond. We'll provide a candid overview of how we got our company off the ground, and provide attendees with a roadmap tailored to established game professionals who dream of some day striking out on their own.

Date and time still to be announced.  Check back for details!