The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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7:10pm on Wednesday, 12th February, 2014:
I'm sitting at Schiphol airport waiting for my pizza to be made, so at last have time to write something about the Casual Connect conference.
The first thing to note is that there are lots of people here I know from other conferences. OK, so there are throngs of marketing types, but lots of designers and developers too. There was a big indie presence, which was recognised by an indie demo area where maybe 100 games were being shown. It was refreshingly forward-thinking (although most of those indie games I saw were flawed in one or more ways).
The second thing to note is that there were some good presentations — not simply puff pieces saying how great the speaker's company is, or marketers parroting information given them by developers but with no understanding as to what it means, or sales pitches for their yet-another-database-disguised-as-metrics product. There were some genuinely interesting talks. I was particularly taken by Dayton Bird's talk on direct marketing: he's not a games person, but what he was saying was at times extremely relevant, I also found out that I was hopeless at determining which of two ways to present identical copy was the best, but comforted to know that he didn't know why using one format over another is better either — it's just that he doesn't care which is better, so long as he knows which is better. With my academic hat on, I want to know why rather than just what; actually, the same applies with my design hat on...
My own talk was so-so. With only 20 minutes to explain myself, it was never going to be as deep as I wanted it to be. I'll upload it to my web site later this week. Some people in the audience got it, but a lot were more "who is this guy?". I think I managed to sell a few more copies of Raph Koster;s A Theory of Fun, though, so I may be indirectly responsible for some impr0vement in a few games several months from now.
Ooh, here's the pizza ... I'll write more later.
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