A look at July’s Develop event, including its new game jam
This year’s Develop conference will take place July 8–10 in its usual home, Brighton, and will introduce a number of new tracks and sessions.
Foremost among these is the inaugural Develop Game Jam, which will take place during the main conference (Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10). The theme is yet to be set, but the conference organisers are taking team submissions for the 48-hour coding competition now.
Prior to that, on the first day of the conference, Develop will hold its regular Evolve day – an exploration of the cutting edge, and future, of game development, from console gaming to hardware-agnostic experiences and virtual reality in your living room. As well as talks from developers, including SkyDIEving studio nDreams, which will discuss its upcoming Oculus Rift game, Evolve will also feature a psychology sub-track for the first time.
This will explore the ways in which developers are working with psychologists to shape design decisions, monetisation and other areas of games, and will also highlight the ethical issues of employing such strategies. The track will look at both real-world examples of applied psychology and the ongoing areas of research within the gaming sector.
The main conference also has a new track that will focus on marketing, and joins the existing design, art, coding, business, audio and production threads. This new section will examine the increasingly essential art of marketing your game successfully, irrespective of whether you’re a multi-studio developer or a bedroom coder. Speakers such as Simon Byron, director of games at UK PR agency Premier, and Jason Avent, who co-founded Brighton-based studio Boss Alien, will offer advice on building audience engagement without undermining the integrity of your game.
Capybara’s Nathan Vella, one of the brains behind Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and currently working on Super Time Force and Below, will deliver the indie track keynote. He’ll be joined by other indie big hitters, such as Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell and Dlala Studios’ AJ Grand-Scrutton, and the track will be supported by another new addition: Indie Boot Camp.
Boot Camp sessions will be free to attend and will centre on real-world guidance to making your startup a success, with a selection of established indie voices offering their advice and examples of the mistakes they made along the way. There will also be an indie development showcase, which will highlight some of the best new projects currently in production.
There are big names elsewhere, too. David Braben, Peter Molyneux and Mark Cerny will all deliver talks for the design track, while artists will benefit from a keynote address from Aardman Studios’ Gavin Strange as well as sessions by Media Molecule’s Rex Crowle – responsible for Tearaway’s charming visual design – and Sony Computer Entertainment art director Joel Smith.
Another Media Molecule
face is studio director Siobhan Reddy who, together with Bossa Studios’ Roberta Lucca, will head up the business track with a joint keynote. Other confirmed speakers across all the tracks include EMEA regional director of Twitch, Stuart Saw; game designer and AI specialist Richard Evans, offering a session on coding; and ExPlay director and former Remode CEO Ella Romanos, who will talk about game design.
Develop’s regular Evolve day will be an exploration of the cutting edge, and future, of game development
Additions to the threeday event include the Indie Boot Camp and a new marketing track