The conference part of GCAP is over, so I thought I'd share the take-home messages and insights that I gleaned from each presentation. Feel free to add your thoughts via comments below.
Tax Obligations/Contractor Agreements - PWC / Marshalls + Dent
- Get a lawyer and an accountant. All this is quite specialised, and can be a trap for amateurs. Don't think of it as a cost. A good lawyer and accountant will make you money, not cost you money.
Does Size Really Matter - Seon Rozenblum, Jarryd Campi [3 Sprockets]
- If something needs fixing or investigating, do it now, don’t just add it to a list.
- In Unity, once your prefab setup is locked down for props etc, create a script to create them from a source model or game object and save it as a prefab. Also have the ability to check/update existing prop prefabs.
- Generate thumbnails via editor scripts.
Retention in Game Design: The Mister Spock Approach - James Calvert, Andrew Cunningham [Six Foot Kid]
- Use Analytics in a scientific way to answer your game design questions and improve the game experience for new and existing players.
- Check player retention after game played for 1, 7 and 30 days.
- Record the points within tutorial that players leave (~65% of players should get through tutorial).
- Early adopters will play longer than regular players.
- Add the ability to remove certain countries and pirates from searches so they don't skew the results.
I Hate Your Face. How to Work With People You Love and Love the People You Work With - Nicole Stark & Jason Stark [Disparity Games]
- If you live and work with someone, make sure you spend time apart so you don't drive each other crazy.
Make The Box, Ship The Game - Don Meadows
- Work out exactly who you are targeting and how you will advertise the game to them by creating a mock up of a game box, placing it in your local game shop (with their permission of course) and see who picks it up.
- Develop the screenshots/text from left to right but cut features from right to left as scope needs to be decreased.
- See Gears of War on X360 for a perfect box.
IARC: Classification Goes Global (and Free!) - Joshua Cavaleri [Tresscox Lawyers]
- International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) is an international initiative that aims to streamline the classification/rating of digital games for the major territories around the world including the USA, Canada, European countries and even Australia. There will be an online questionnaire, that once filled in for your game, spits out a rating for each country. Hopefully launching late 2014.
How to Release Your Game on Nintendo eShop - Ed Valiente & James Steele [Nintendo]
- Same sort of requirements/setup as the Apple App Store except more stringent checking before game release. Europe (the old PAL regions) and America have separate approval teams. You can even generate promo codes for journalists so reviews for your game will be ready the day you release.
- Don't have to support Wii U specific hardware features, though it is highly recommended.
- Separate version of Unity is currently RC4 that is based on Pro v4. It’s free for registered developers and supports all Wii U features. Still has some issues that need to be fixed before can be used to ship a game.
- Need full dev kit if you use Unity at the moment, but they are hoping to support the cheaper dev kits in the future. More information on pricing once you sign up as a developer (see https://wiiu-developers.nintendo.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
- You game must be classified. Nintendo can classify your game in Australia at a discounted rate.
- You can use the Miiverse to directly communicate with your audience.
- Wii U has 13-24 males as its biggest player demographic, but greater percentage of female players than competitors.
- For sales information, check NeoGAF and quarterly Nintendo sales reports. Also ask after sign up as developer.
From EA to Multiplay: Nnooo’s Tale Of Console Development - Nic Watt [Nnooo]
- Going multiplatform reduces risk.
- Marketing and PR is hard. Hire someone to help.
ID@Xbox: Self-publishing on Xbox One - Jean-Francois Prevost [Microsoft]
- Sign up via http://xbox.com/id. When you pitch your game/company, don't forget to mention what individual team members have done outside your company.
- If you are accepted, they will loan you two dev kits.
- Check the Xbox One technical game requirements as soon as you are accepted.
- Unity support is on its way. Pricing can be discussed after you have been accepted as a registered Xbox One developer.
- Every subsequent game will need concept approval.
So that's about it. I decided not to attend Day 3, as the programming/Unity stream mostly covered things I'm already familiar with. The GCAP conference program was really good as usual, and I highly recommend checking it out next year if you've never been before. Apparently GCAP 2014 will be in Melbourne just before PAX Australia, which has has just been announced to be on 31st October to 2nd November 2014.
- Paul (@pbaker05)