The sessions in the Management Leadership Track cover broader scale topics that go beyond a single team or project.
- Working Nowhere and Everywhere: The Zen of Running a Virtual Studio – Chris Natsuume, Creative Director – Boomzap Entertainment
- MBA Lessons Applied to the Game Industry: Part 2 – David Edery, Founder – Fuzbi, LLC
- Outsourcing for 2010 and Beyond – Alexander Fernandez, President – Streamline Studios
- Company Culture Panel
- Philip Rosedale
Founder and Chairman of the Board, Linden Lab
- Clinton Keith, Certified Scrum Trainer – Clinton Keith Consulting
- Jen Maclean, 38 Studios
- Philip Rosedale
- Barbarians at the Gate: An Interactive Case Study in Studio Leadership – Justin Quimby – Quimby Heavy Industries
- 7 Secrets to Sourcing and Hiring Top Talent – Marta Daglow, Daglow Consulting Group
- Perspectives- The Developer/ Publisher Relationship from both sides of the aisle…
- Developing for New Audiences – Don Daglow, Interactive Entertainment
Creative Director – Boomzap Entertainment
Boomzap is a completely virtual studio: no physical office, and all staff working from home on flexible schedules. The team is composed of full-time, exclusive contractors worldwide, many of whom have never met in person. This way of doing business has given us access to some of the best developers in the world, lowered our labor costs, almost eliminated our capital expenses, and provided our workers with extremely flexible lifestyles that provide a high work/life balance. The results speak for themselves: 100% staff retention and eight AAA quality casual games developed on time and under budget since 2005. In this lecture, Chris Natsuume will be going over the pros and cons of running a virtual studio, walking through the particular mechanics and processes the team has used to make it work, and sharing some of their hard earned lessons. The focus will be on small, agile studios, but there will be lessons for larger studios looking for ways to cut costs, improve lives, and increase productivity.
- Better optimize virtual team communication and time/task tracking.
- Create workable virtual development pipelines and practices
- Improve staff management, hiring, and retention in a worldwide distributed workforce.
Founder – Fuzbi, LLC
“This is part two of last year’s well-regarded lecture on MBA lessons applied to the game industry. If you’re not interested in spending two years in business school, attending this lecture is the next best thing!”
President – Streamline Studios
Outsourcing used to be a way to lower the overall production costs on a project, then it evolved into a way to ensure quality and lower the internal burn rate for studios. As the business of games continues to rapidly change, this session will focus on the important factors in choosing a partner, as well as what to look for, and what to avoid. This talk will give studios and publishers a view from the vendor’s perspective on what makes a project and relationship successful, what the warning flags should be from both sides, and why it’s important to create win-win partnerships to get the best possible product.
- What to look for in an outsourcing partner
- What makes an outsourcing project successful
- Warning signs that should be large flags on an outsourced project
Founder and Chairman of the Board, Linden Lab
Philip Rosedale started Linden Lab® based on a belief that innovative success stems from self-directed creation, collaboration, and openness. Like the virtual world of Second Life® Linden Lab is built on a system which fosters and rewards creativity, individual initiative, and interactive participation.
Our guiding principles – also known as the “Tao of Linden” – steer us in our mission to help people realize their full potential by connecting them to a revolutionary virtual universe. These principles include working together, showing initiative, making day-by-day progress, being transparent and open, having fun and approaching tasks with panache.
- How to rely on individual and collective resourcefulness to achieve company goals
- What is the Love Machine
- What is the Rewarder
Certified Scrum Trainer – Clinton Keith Consulting
Culture and High Performance
How company cultures and support and grow high performance. This talk is about a studio’s cultural influences on performance at every level. This isn’t a cookbook on how to create a high performance culture, but observations on the influences of culture and the challenge of influencing it in ways that impact performance.
- Stories of studio cultural practices and their impacts
- Descriptions of high performance teams and some of the things they have in common
- Things to avoid
Quimby Heavy Industries
Leadership matters most when disaster strikes. Being part of a game studio requires the ability to navigate through the difficult waters of significant project change. The reality of our industry is that sometimes project changes are imposed or “strongly suggested” from outside the development studio. This session presents attendees with a case study of such a studio leadership challenge. After being armed with current change management techniques and background information on the company, the project, and the key personnel involved, your group will brainstorm a roadmap for managing the change within the studio.
- An overview of current change management and leadership techniques
- Techniques for effective change management across a game development organization
- How to contextualize change within the framework of your studio’s culture
Daglow Consulting Group
Every CEO, Studio Head and Hiring Manager/Director in the games business wants to attract great people for their team. But those same top performers are being pursued by mega-publishers, social media giants and well-funded tech startups. Whether a company is small or large, there are critical strategies that managers can employ to attract strong candidates… and to get a higher number of acceptances. This workshop will review seven key secrets of hiring top talent, including opportunistic hiring, how to do “branding” in employment, identifying core competencies and closing the deal.
- Checklist of steps to take when launching a new search
- Checklist of ways to prepare for interviewing the top candidates
- Checklist of ways to maximize the odds your offers will be accepted by your first choice candidates
Perspectives- The Developer/ Publisher Relationship from both sides of the aisle…
Michael Saladino (moderator)
Ben Geisler, Frozen Codebase LLC
Ideally, the Developer/Publisher Relationship is a partnership to create high quality games that make money for all parties concerned. Like any relationship, however, this one takes hard work tempered with a little understanding. In this talk, you’ll hear from a veteran publisher talk about the pros and cons of dealing with new developers, and what they really want from the development process. You’ll also hear from an independent developer who will discuss their concerns, fears and pet peeves in dealing with their publishers.
This talk is meant to be high level and informative. Though the information may be considered more
Take Aways: For publishers, this is a chance to hear the unvarnished opinions of an independent developer beyond the financial imperative, and to learn what they are really looking beyond just the contract stage, and during development itself. Learn what you can do and say to create a stronger relationship with your developer partners.
For developers, this is a chance to hear about publishers concerns and the reasoning behind those concerns. From understanding these concerns, you can build strategies to instill confidence in your publisher partner that you were the right developer to hire.
New platforms like the Wii and new categories like Casual and Social Media Games have brought millions of new players – and billions of dollars — into the games industry. This presents a challenge for many game designers and producers, because “new audiences” aren’t just a new wave of people “just like the old audience.” They’re players with different tastes, different expectations, and different criteria for what they’ll buy through different methods at different price points. Sometimes they’re the same players we’ve always served, but now they’re looking for something to play with their kids. Sometimes they’re players we’ve never reached before, players who finally found the games that would make them gamers.
Thirty-year industry veteran Don Daglow has been working on games for these new audiences, just as he focused on new genres like Sims, RPG’s and MMO’s during prior generations. In this session he’ll share a checklist of design and production approaches that help teams find new processes and new mind-sets to address new audiences, and ways to avoid some of the traps that come with doing things the old familiar way.
- Ways to “begin with the end in mind” that open up designs for new audiences.
- Separating how we look at genres, platforms and delivery systems in our complex new marketplace.
- Ways to get from “new audience” to “my audience,” and when it’s time to pick “a different audience.”