21 May 2017

Nordic Game 2017 takeaways - part 1

It was hot in Malmö, which is weird for a country in the North. Nevertheless, these are the other interesting tidbits I saw at Nordic Game 2017.

The Huddle

The show began with a detailed overview of how "the Huddle" was made in Inside. This was a really inspiring talk, it was totally why I wanted to come to this event: to learn about the inner workings of cool things in games. The best insight about this blob is how the animation was done; the legs and arms don't drive the blob, although it looks that way. Instead there is an ingenious IK system that drive the animations.


Another inspiring talk was about the implementation of Six, the character in Little Nightmares by Tarsier studios. An interesting idea was their "Locomotion Animation Overrides", they change specific animations in character animation setup in function of the state of Six.

Also worth noting is that the character interacts with objects in the world, but the objects also interact with the character. This two-way animation communication makes a very rich world.

The IK of Six was done with IKinema, which is a full body IK solution. This makes Six standing on stairs and other objects in a natural way, and makes her grabbing or climbing naturally. Because this can look sometimes weird they added something they called "Positional fixup": the player character will walk closer to the object that it wants to pickup or interact with, making the animation look smooth and natural.

"Things look better with audio" was a very inspiring quote from the talk. They discussed how sometimes when objects interacted with the player character you could notice intersecting meshes or other visual artifacts, but by adding sound somehow you don't notice these misses in the visuals, making it look good.

Mobile games

I attended a talk by Jonathan Jordan about the past, present and future of mobile games. Nothing much I didn't know there, but it was good to hear and see. Maybe the best bit was this:

  • 70% of the successful mobile games use portrait mode
  • They feature short play sessions

The full talk is on youtube, so check it out, definitely check out the part about "Where are we going"

Experiments and mobile games

The next talk was about how a/b testing was applied at King for their games. Not a really good talk for me, it was very general without much (if any) concrete examples.


Then there was the session from Jamie Jackson of the slingshot cartel.

He said that there are three types of gamers nowadays:
  • Players, people who play your game
  • Viewers, people who watch games and want to learn - they're also players.
  • Broadcasters (on twitch and youtube), who also play

He then described how their game provides for these types of players in DRG Initiative. The idea resembled a bit what happens in the hunger games: viewers can vote and steer what happens to the players in the game, while the broadcaster is the game master who can set up the votes. Cool idea!

Social Media

The next talk by Natalie Griffith was about how to handle social networks to promote your game. The slides were the same as at Develop Conference 2016 and can be found here. I learned a lot from this talk; how important a plan is, what AIDA is and what social networks are best applied at each stage.

Then there were a few very useful Facebook tips:
  1. Post regularly
  2. Don't post too much (no more than 1 post per day average)
  3. Make sure you create enough reach by posting smaller news before posting something important.
  4. Choose good moments to post (not at night, for example, when everyone is asleep)
  5. Mix up media types
  6. Use native FB video, no links to youtube
  7. Use subtitles in your movies (58% of the audience whatches the movie without sound)

She provided this link to some resources at the end.


And then happy hour began!

And then a German Games Party!

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