Our takeaways from Gamelab 2019 Barcelona
Last month, we sent Sam Roach, an xR developer here at Make Real to attend Gamelab – an annual games and interactive entertainment conference held in Barcelona. Gamelab 2019 saw the likes of speakers from Blizzard Entertainment, PUBG, FIFA and Sony.
The event seemed to tackle and discuss three key themes; Prototyping and Indie Games, Community and the Value of non-games experience for the future of games. Sam shares her highlights across these three themes and what it means for the future of the industry.
Prototyping and Indie Games
Prototypes are more than demos or vertical slices. Fred Markus spoke on why making it indie isn’t as easy as you may think. It’s not hard to look around at some of the successful ‘indies’ of our time and think … those guys aren’t indie. They aren’t. They have big publishers or triple-A backing and these success stories can make you wonder why you aren’t successful. Being successful is hard. So when you work on your prototype be prepared to fail. Be prepared to fail a thousand times, because like an artist learning to draw – you probably aren’t going to nail it the first time around.
Then when you’re developing your game, remember the hardest section of what you want to achieve. The combination of everything you want to put in front of the player. If that isn’t fun or can’t be achieved technically the chances are your game isn’t going to succeed.
Another conversation that found its way to the forefront at Gamelab 2019 was the subject of inclusivity and community. It’s a particularly broad subject as well as an interesting one. Relating to everyone today, with the rise of online communities and common discussions regarding aggression in online games.
One of the ways in which industry attempts to thwart bad behaviour in their platforms is through regulation, especially through human moderation with customer service teams readily testing content and chat.
Though moderation by companies may be more challenging in VR than it is presently in text-based chat. One of the benefits of VR is the increase in physical body language, 6DOF allows users to express themselves more visually than in traditional games which use text or chat-based communication. This adds to the feel of humanness as users can utilize gestures and body language discouraging negative behaviour that people can exhibit online but not typically in front of peers. Essentially assisting in creating a natural feel peeling back the layers of online anonymity to communication which can help distance the keyboard warrior.
The Value of non-games experience for the future of games
Video games have always had a broad background, borrowing concepts from film, product design, web design, board games, big data and a variety of cultures – does being a video game expert affect the quality of your content?
We were reminded by Brendan Greene in his talk surrounding his experience developing PUBG (Player Unknowns Battlegrounds) that the general battle royale game design was first constructed through mods. He shaped this with help from arma forums whilst having no professional experience within the games industry. This is of interest as the game mode was tested quite thoroughly whilst freely available as a mod, before being developed into a cash-generating game in its own right.
Continuing from this Jack Attrige discussed his background in film as a tool to the development of story-driven experiences. While alternatively to this, we look to Gris, created by industry vets this incredibly beautiful indie game shines as an example to what seasoned developers can create.
This developer doesn’t think that games lose anything by being generated by field experts but would emphasise the benefits of taking aspects of all cultures and media to develop the most original content. Whilst mods proved as an excellent form prototype we are reminded once more of what Fred Markus emphasised, getting your core content in front of users as quickly as possible may be the absolute key to success.
For more information on upcoming Gamelab events, visit their website.