I was able to speak at the East Coast Game Conference last week. It was a good time. I gave a talk on Unity 3D. The room was pretty full and I was able to meet quite a few folks afterwards. I always enjoy talking to people after my talks.
I was able to attend some good talks as well. I listened to Luis Cataldi, from Epic talk to students and those trying to get into the game industry. He had several great points. He said,
Good habits trump raw talent.
This is so true in almost every field. Talent is awesome, but many times it is about grit. It is about sticking with something and working it out. Figuring out what went wrong and what the problem was and then fixing it. It is about not giving up and continuing to move forward. It is nice when we can work smarter and not harder, but sometime we just need to dig in and work harder. And that is ok. In fact, usually that is much better than having all the talent in the world and not working that hard. So, if you aren’t the best developer in the world, or the best artist, writer or whatever … don’t worry – just work. Diligence pays off – every time.
He also said,
Do less, better. … Make an awesome broom closet, not a mediocre city.
Here, he was discussing creating portfolio work to present to companies to try and get a job. If you want a job in a game studio, chances are you will be working on some part of an engine, or creating some tool for the game developers to use, or you will be tasked with making the flooring of the buildings. These are all very limited in scope and require a great deal of domain knowledge. These types of game companies want someone who can spend time getting something done at a fantastic level. He also mentioned, that in regards to your portfolio, you are judged on your worst piece, not your best. So if there is one in question, it is best to leave it off. Only show your absolute best work.
I met up with Dave Voyles and David Crook, both Microsoft employees, and was able to enjoy a meal with them. There was great conversations and plenty of good food. I then headed back to put the finishing touches on my presentation. It felt a little awkward talking about Unity 3D in Epic’s backyard. I love both engines and am so jealous that these tools weren’t available 25+ years ago when I was getting started.
The keynote was presented by Mike Laidlaw, the Dragon Age Creative Director at Bioware. His talk was fantastic. I enjoy the Dragon Age series, but unfortunately, I hadn’t had the opportunity to play Inquisition yet. I’ve been working on getting my game development site off the ground and between that and consultant work, I’ve had very little game playing time. Still, it was great to hear him talk about the game.
I dropped in on David Voyle’s talk on WebGL. Unity is working on getting this to work, but there are still some missing pieces in many of the browsers. WebGL is still a great way to get your website to be able to utilize your GPU. If you haven’t taken any time to look at this great technology, spend some time to get to know it.
I had lunch with David Voyles and David Isbitski, formerly with Microsoft, currently with Amazon. After lunch, I was able to hear @thedavedev talk about in app purchases and a lot of support data that discussed best practices for monetizing apps.
I also attended a talk from David Crook where he gave an overview of Azure for game developers. I personally think Azure and Game Development go together like peanut butter and jelly.
I wrapped up the sessions I went to by attending a session on “Idle Games”. I had never even heard of the term. These are games that basically play themselves or require you to click to progress. It was fascinating hearing Anthony Pecorella, from Kongregate, talk about this new genre of games. He talked about games like AdVenture Capitalist 2014, Cookie Clicker, A Dark Room, Candy Box, Tap Titans, Bitcoin Billionaire, DripStat, and Swarm Simulator.
Overall, it was a great conference and I had a good time. This was the second time I’ve spoken at the East Coast Game Conference and I hope to go back next year.