Friday, May 25, 2012

Nordic Game and Nordic Transmedia Meetup

Yves Bordeleau from Cyanide and Asta Wellejus from Die Asta
Experience talking about the upcoming Game of Thrones game.

It’s Friday mid-day and the transmedia track at the game conference Nordic Game has about half a day left; right now I’m listening to a presentation of the game version of Game of Thrones (pictured above, sorry about the quality :).

Now, Nordic Game is a game conference. 1600 people, most of them coders, gamers and other industry people; lots of game showcases and a lot of talks on how to create and co-create and finance and market games and game content.

On the transmedia track, talks have been slightly different. The Nordic Transmedia Meetup day on Wednesday 23rd drew a crowd of 70+ producers from the Nordic countries. The theme was financing, with some sidetracks into unconference territory as well. Some key take-aways, especially from investor Doug Richards, was the importance of actually understand what need your project or product is addressing. It’s basically always useful to do a NABC (Needs/Approach/Benefits/Competition) analysis of any given project.  Another take away from Doug’s feedback to people pitching their projects to him was that one should never reveal too much about one’s company or product, especially when talking to potential investors. If no one knows your metrics and what you’re worth, you could be worth anything!

In the open discussions many different issues were treated by the participants; from the art of collaborating with music in a transmedia setting via how to create a framework engine for the pre-production of transmedia projects to an idea of a Kickstarter-like online service for selling content.

Randy Pitchford from Gearbox in the US – they’ve made games like Borderlands and Halo spin-offs – talked about how to manage the image of a company. He stressed the importance of letting the employed invest in the company, to encourage them to think about image and profit. There is, he observed, a need to really invest in the people at the company as well; as you spend a lot of time on yourselves, this investment permeates the image of the company.

Andrea Phillips gave a great presentation on ”Why Games need Transmedia”, highlighting the fact that games are about experiencing flow. By breaking up the frame of a game, it is possible to let the story flow over to other media. This would also, she argued, be the most natural thing. When a player sits at his or her computer or console he or she wants to game, not watch cut-scenes for minutes. There is also a real and tangible need to know the Context and the Backstory, in order to be able to create and develop it all into a coherent whole.

@jonatchoo on designing - "Don't Expect Anything Original from an Echo"

Jonathan Jacques-Belletête from Square Enix / Eidos talked about designing, issues and solutions that can be applied to a number of other areas aside of game development. Key take away would be the advice to use Originality mixed with Familiarity when designing just about anything – originality will make the brain log your content in more ways with more new connections, so that it can be retrieved easier, while familiarity will add a feeling of comfort, security and even nostalgia.

All in all the Nordic Game conference and the Nordic Transmedia Meetup was and is a success, in getting people from different industries get together and discuss the issues and opportunities gaming and transmedia can offer across the board. My only regret is that I've not yet been able to clone myself to attend more presentations, talk to more people and network even more. The next step in the Nordic Transmedia saga will hopefully be a Nordic Transmedia Finland meetup in Oulu at the Nordic Panorama festival in September. Details will be posted later!