We could really use some kind of acronym. IGDA Leadership Forum is hard to say and type.
John Vechey's keynote sounded like *Good to Great* in practice. Their core is to make great games. Everything else they change. They jump on new platforms and new trends.
Scott Crabtree - I saw his happiness in the workplace talk last year, and realized that I've gone a whole year without doing a goddamn thing about it. There's nothing stopping me from trying to implement some of his stuff at Torpex:
- having a recognition shout-out period before each meeting
- how about some house rules on negativity: you need to say x positive things before you can say 1 negative thing?
- institute a "fan mail" system where anybody can gift anybody else a little something
- standing desks. exercise balls. free weights
- cutting down on the multitasking. science shows it makes you stupider
There's more than that. I'll need to dig up his old and new presentations and make a checklist out of it.
Kim Pallister - intrapreneurship - how to innovate within a large company. Reminded me of my Spider-Man 2 days, and if I had known that stuff, things might have been smoother back then.
Alex St. John - took a bunch of my beliefs and said they're wrong:
- I thought Farmville created new gamers. He said, Farmville didn't create new gamers. They came from online poker, pogo.com, casual. There was online poker, then the government cracked down, and a lot of people went to play Zynga poker. And from there, it's a short hop to Mafia Wars and Farmville.
- I thought most casual gamers are women over 35. He said about half of those women over 35 are just the credit card holder, buying games for their children. The games are babysitters.
- I thought Farmville peaked because that's what happens. Games peak. He said Farmville peaked because Facebook started preventing most notification spam.
He also had an interesting point - suppose you have a non-paying customer, but they invite and/or entertain friends who become paying customers. You can calculate the monetary value of that non-paying customer.
And, it wasn't in a talk - he's giving the talk tomorrow - but I had an interesting conversation with David Edery, that went something like this.
Me: We're about to wrap up our current project, and then maybe we'll prototype something new to pitch.
David: (Like I'm crazy) Why are you pitching prototypes?
Me: Because pitch documents suck?
David: Dude! Pitch movies!
David shows me the pitch movie that got Splosion Man funded - 45 seconds, all done in a 3d package. His arguments:
- if you're already established talent, you don't need to prove you can make a game, you just need to sell the vision.
- prototypes can go wrong in a pitch meeting. They can crash, they can turn out to be not fun that time, they're never polished, so all people can see are the flaws.
- prototypes take more time to make than pitch movies
- prototypes take programmer resources
- publishers frequently greenlight games on the basis of pitch movies
David: I'm surprised you guys didn't know that.
Me: Well, we'd been told that before, but...it's just not how you create games!
David: No, but it's how you get games funded.