THE MAGAZINE FOR THE WORLD’S GAMING ELITE
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A Signed Copy of Garry Crawford’s NEW Book.
Interview: Brant Nicholas Beenox’s Executive Producer Interview: game nation
INTERVIEW: DAVID SOBOLOV
INTERVIEW: NeiL CHANNING
PLUS: ANTIX LABS » TNG + BLUR STUDIOS » FIKSU » WOMEN IN GAMES » MATT STAWICKI
› HELLO Welcome to World Gaming Executives John Armstrong WGE Director
hat is WGE? Many magazines, groups, associations and networks claim to be by the Game Development Industry for the Game Development Industry; the World Gaming Executives Magazine and Group is about the individuals who make the games, gaming, mobile and comics industry what it is today...and what it could be tomorrow. Over recent years the ‘Executives’ portion of the title (bit too late to change it now) has become somwhat of a misnomer, as the group also incorporates the people who want to become Executives in the industry or people who over time will almost certainly affect decisions made by Industry execs. This new WGE monthly digital magazine will showcase some of their work and histories in article and interview formats: to include new studio start-ups, game artists, pro game players ‘gamers’, executives, innovators, gamification, marketers, voice over actors, in fact every facet of the games world.
Editor in Chief Michael Rohde
Assistant Editor John Armstrong
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ian Howarth
Image Credits: VoxPop - Arcade: Antonio Aiello Women In Games - Wonder Woman: Eithne OHanlon Adam Howden - Dragon Age: fortyseven communications David Sobolov - Diablo III: Blizzard PR - Halo Wars: Edelman
Contact: Editor: email@example.com Sales: firstname.lastname@example.org Articles: email@example.com
WGE Advisory Panel: Since its inception in 2007 WGE has been approached by a number of journalists and bloggers to contribute our thoughts on News items and PR from the world of games. Believing that the people best qualified to answer many of these questions are industry specialists from within the WGE Membership, we have created an Advisory Panel. POKER Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott Pro Poker Player - WSOP Bracelet Winner GAME ASSETS Ruke
Game Nation - Founder
INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT Sam Collins UKIE - Commercial Manager GAMIFICATION Gabe Zichermann Gamification Summit - Conference Chair GAMBLING Kevin Flood Pureplay Manu Gambhir Ryzing - Founder & CEO Justin Thouin ex-Virgin Gaming & Cryptologic - COO Julian Beck Sky Betting and Gaming - Games Delivery Manager VIDEO GAMES Dee Jay Randall Capcom Vancouver - Technical Director Jonathan Seidenfeld Ex-Licensing Manager at Sony and Sega - Radiance Digital Entertainment (Shanghai) VP Publishing & Business Development Aaron Pulkka Disney, Sony, THQ, Blizzard, Global Distributor Lee Jacobson ATARI - SVP Licensing/Digital Publishing MOBILE GAMES Tony Pearce TeePee Games - CEO Suresh Sudera Head of Games - Vodafone Jani Karlsson Head of Games (ex-Nokia) Tim Satchell Infomedia, ex-Head of Mobile at BSkyB Axel Hoehnke Mobile Monday Hamburg - Founder Neil Wooding EA Mobile - Development Director at EA AUDIO David Sobolov Voice Actor Adam Harrington Voice Actor Zach Hanks Voice Actor Mary Kurek Visibility Consulting - Professional Networker, IGDA/Casual Connect Writer Khris Brown Studio Director - KBA ART Miguel Oubina
Nuclei3d - Director of Creative Services
COMICS Antonio Ribeiro Wayno
Anima Serra (Brazil) Producer ToonSeum - Board Member
Game Nation: Interview with Ruke
Interview: David Sobolov VO artist
The making of Drogba
Spider-Man: Edge of Time
LICENSING GameLicenses.com - CEO and Managing Director for Game Gurus Scott Kirk WOMEN IN GAMES Maryann Morrison Woman Poker Player Magazine Editor & Womens Poker Club President Belinda Van Sickle Women in Games - President/CEO Our thanks to all these people who have volunteered to help and contribute to the continued success of World Gaming Executives. Michael Rohde has over 20 years of professional experience as a writer and editor. He was recently named the Editor in Chief for World Gaming Executives new magazine, which is proving to be an exciting adventure through which he hopes to meet many innovative people in the gaming industry. Mike is available for freelance work to edit manuals, technical specs, in-game content, website pages or any content that requires a professional touch. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
22 Starting out: WGE speaks to Students new to the Gaming world 24 A dam Howden: Interview with Adam Howden VO artist.
34 G ame licensing 36 Interview with Tony Pearce from TeePee Games
FIksu: Measuring an Apps success
KIDS GAMES Bravo Valenti Bravo’s World - CEO Kevin Richardson Nickelodeon Games - Senior Producer JOBS/CAREERS Marc Mencher Gamerecruiter.com - COO TV/MOVIES Jeffrey Dickson Paramount Pictures and Games, Video Games Producer
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37 Stuck in the Past
Profile: Jonathan Seidenfeld
Neil Channing Black Belt Poker
Breaking Stereotypes: Russian market
Women In Games International
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It’s a Game Nation Daniel T. Ruke is the President of Blink, a nontraditional creative agency. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Daniel is a father to four daughters, visits Disney World over six times a year and is a creator of worlds (more on that later). The man even has a secret, dedicated Star Wars room that contains all the toys he has been collecting since childhood. Known simply as, Ruke, Daniel is a creative illustrator, designer, artist and businessman who transforms visions into reality, offering clients the best results and highest quality service. In 2010, Ruke combined all of his experience and talents to create the genesis for Game Nation, the world’s first Experiential Video Game Theme Park and Resort.
n the past Ruke served on the South Florida of total interactivity where, with everything you chapter of the IGDA (International Game do, you earn a higher score, experience points Developer Association). He worked on that and reputation. It is a place where your dreams board as an advisor and has done special projects and fantasies will come to life. You will be able to help shape their future. Because of his passion to become anything you like and live out the and drive for societal improvement, Ruke consults character you create in th e actual park. But it’s monthly, free of charge, with no less than five not a video game. It’s a physical large-scale theme start-ups, entrepreneurs and businesses looking park and resort. to advance to the next level. Daniel does this through several international networking groups as That’s right, Daniel, along with a team of eight an effort to give back. Participating in workshops world renowned professionals, is building a video nationwide allows him to help game theme park. The team includes people see a previously Robert Ward, Cole Peacock, Marc “By the eighth unrecognised future for their Mencher, Janice Barrocas, Adam year of running my Farmer, Rich McGrath and Thomas companies. This philanthropic work has led him to earn the Ruke. Their experience includes creative agency, respect of industry peers theme park and resort destination I realized I had and become internationally development, investor relations, reached all the renowned. licensing and sponsor relations, goals I had put in government and community It’s a wonder he has time to partnership specialists and risk front of us.” head up Game Nation. If you management. Most recently, Atari haven’t heard of Game Nation; at signed on as a partner, which first impressions you might think it’s a gaming blog basically guarantees Atari-inspired rides. This or website. But you would not be further from the partnership should set gears running into smooth truth. When dealing with Daniel Ruke you have to motion for Game Nation. This dream team covers think big, as in, real big. In Daniel’s words, “Game all the necessary aspects of building a successful Nation’s mission is to create a realistic experience theme park. that immerses you into a story. By combining video game mechanics with interactive physical Ruke’s vision of building a theme park stretches themed attractions, we are creating the world’s back to when he was a kid. Daniel told WGE of his first Experiential Video Game Theme Park and childhood, “A favourite childhood memory of mine Resort.” Visitors will become players as they step is when my mom took me, without my brother into a re-creation of worlds based on popular and sisters, to a new house we had bought. She video games filled with myths, legends and arenas. walked me straight through the house to the back Instead of just rides, you’re immersed in a world door, opened it, and in front of me was a quarter
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After entering the video game universe, it was only a matter of time before the seeds of Game Nation were planted.”
in 1993 called Ruke Illustrations. I focused on entertainment and themed venues and grew that company into blink, a full service marketing and advertising firm in 1998. When most artists/illustrators didn’t want to touch a computer, Ruke embraced it. Not only was he able to create hand painted murals, but the use of technology enabled him to contribute to the overall design and theme of entertainment venues and destinations.” Ruke continued, “I wasn’t just contributing to these venues, but I also started representing them in the marketplace. By the eighth year of running my creative agency, I realized I had reached all the goals I had put in front of us.”
Daniel told WGE a story about the inspiration behind the planned theme park, “I remember some time back I had a conversation with my wife Sarai. We were talking about where we wanted to live when I retire not that I will ever really do that, but we had reached a point in our lives where we could contemplate it. We thought about what’s out there and none of it appealed to us. We realized that we would never fit into your typical community with a golf course and clubhouse. After all, where would I park my flying car? We wanted to live in a Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or even an extreme sport themed community, a place where, instead of a golf course, we’d have a theme park to play in. And forget about a “72% of American clubhouse you’d play Bridge households play card games in! It had to be tree forts with ziplines leading video games. to a clubhouse high in the Additionally, 45% trees! The biggest difference of parents play was that we wanted a place computer and were everyone could gather and play video games, a video games on a central hub of technology weekly basis with and entertainment. We their children.” recognized that the places of the future have been developed by a generation that will not exist much longer and there’s not a place for us or the generation after us. At that point, we knew it had to be a large scale project and that we weren’t the only ones who wanted it. So, after several
Understanding that brands are felt, not read, Ruke expanded his illustration company in 1998 into blink, a non-traditional creative agency. The atmosphere offers employees the artistic freedom to create “And even as revolutionary work while making clients a young kid, I successful. Ruke has always looked for the created my own client’s uniqueness in branding, product image and sales cycles, all of which separate the client little inventions. from their competition. This was a major shift In fact, on my in his career. He was now able to represent high school projects and companies from an advertising career test, the and marketing capacity, as well as contribute to results suggested the creative development of their products and services. His drive and passion keep blink on that I should be the forefront of art and communication. a mechanical
of an acre with filled with 190 trees. She said to me, “This is your playground. I literally took over the entire yard, building cities for matchbox cars, miniature Star Wars movie sets and a theme park. We charged the neighbourhood kids candy to go on the rides. Our favourite was a domed monkey bar structure that I turned upside down and hung between two tall trees. After loading it full of friends, my brother and I swung and spun it until everyone fell out or got sick. The back yard also saw many fires and explosions as we made our own engineer.” By blink’s eighth year of operation, Ruke pyrotechnics. Why my mom never stopped decided to expand from entertainment and us, I still don’t know. This world building destinations to video games. This expansion passion has obviously continued and one of opened up a wide range of opportunities for blink and the my favourite pastimes is expanding my Star Wars collection brand, Ruke. The studio didn’t stop at representing video (theBestStarWarsCollectionEver.com). It’s a 600 square foot games, they helped develop them. In Daniel’s words, “After secret room in my home where my kids and I play with my examining what I really wanted to get into next, I decided Star Wars toys on miniature movie sets that we built.” to jump into the video game industry. I got in pretty quickly and started representing them from a marketing perspective At the age of five, Ruke realized that art would become his and because of my illustration and production background, life. His private training began at age eight and continued started contributing to their development. until his graduation from Ringling School of Art and Design. Daniel told WGE, “I have been professionally trained since the third grade as an illustrator. After graduating with a BFA in the department of illustration, I started my first company
years of conceptualizing, sketching and building models of where I want to live and play, I was inspired to step out with Game Nation. So if you’re wondering how I came up with the idea, well it was a natural thing. It’s just what I do. And if you’re wondering why...well, cuz it’s where I want to be.” Daniel is living his own personal dream life and feels fortunate to make those dreams come true, “I’ve wanted to develop a theme park integrating technology as long as I can remember. I had the art. I had the vision. And even as a young kid, I created my own little inventions. In fact, on my high school career test, the results suggested that I should
be a mechanical engineer. I must say that I’m very fortunate to have been able to surround myself with my passions and hobbies and be able to make a profession of it. When I was very little, wondering about a career, around middle school, my mother told me words that I live by to this day, “Do what you love and figure out how to make money at it.” The creation of Game Nation is a combination of all my talents, expertise and most of all, passions. It’s quite frankly what I’ve been working towards my entire life. With total immersion and complete interactivity, Game Nation will merge video game mechanics with physical themed attractions, creating some of the most unreal experiences gamers have ever had. Ruke will tell you, “Work is not my life. I live my work.” It’s been about a year since WGE first heard about the Game Nation project and we wanted to know how things are progressing? Daniel replied, “Very well. Look, we’ve all wanted to walk down the street of our favorite map, fight our most feared villain and save the princess. And that’s exactly what Game Nation is going to allow you to do. That’s very infectious and a lot of people want to make it happen.” While the Game Nation team has not yet identified a development site yet, Ruke did tell us that, “We have identified several sites and many more have been brought to us. With a project of this nature, from the job creation to the economic impact, a lot of people want the park in their town. We need to make sure that the property and project matches.” Ruke prides himself in creating cultural brands and being a keen observer of not only audience demographics, but, more importantly, their psychographics and social graphics. Daniel explained that, “Our target customers are families who are looking for vacation and entertainment for various ages. According to The Entertainment Software Association, 72% of American households play video games. Additionally, 45% of parents play computer and video games on a weekly basis with their children.” WGE are intrigued by the Realm of Etheria and the Domain of Xeridon that is mentioned on the Game Nation website. We asked Daniel, what are they exactly? He told us that, “Game Nation is going to be the ultimate storytelling destination. So there is an overall story arc that ties the worlds together. But from a simple perspective, Etheria is the medieval world. Alternet is the alternate reality world. Chroma is the cartoon world. Xeridon is the future world and GN Sports is the sports world. Now if you look at what we did, every video game made fits one of those genres. So, while each of these serve as a storytelling device, there is a practical reason as well.” If you are interested in a newsletter and updates on the latest happenings for Game Nation, you can sign up at http://www.demandgamenation.com/. Game Nation also has a Facebook page that you can join: http://www. facebook.com/DemandGameNation. And, of course, there are always investor opportunities available.
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years later. You never know where opportunities are going to take you in life. Frankly, I chose this because it was the area of show business where I was able to find the most consistent work and it didn’t require me to be on the road half of the year to make a living. I have a GREAT face for radio! Do you have your own home studio? I have a home studio with an extraordinary story... It’s just a converted closet with $40 worth of foam on the walls from Target - and by a quirk of lucky acoustics it sounds as good as any studio I’ve worked in out in the world! In terms of what you could bring to the Character you played, which was your favourite character to VO? I hate to play favourites since I’m fortunate to have played so many good ones, but I tend to have enjoyed the delicious intelligent villains a lot like The Arbiter in Halo Wars and Darkseid in Justice League Heroes, and does anyone remember Malebolgia in Spawn? That was a really fun one. Lately I seem to be booking more characters with
known. I expect Diablo 3 should make quite a splash too, but I can’t say much about it yet. What are your own favourite video games to play? I love what I do and it’s fantastic that so many people get excited about the work that voice actors do in general, and although I’ve acted in almost 50 video games, I’ve rarely actually played them! I just got an X-Box 360 so maybe your readers could suggest a great first game to start me out available on that system. When I visited the Quake Wars Enemy Territory booth at E3 a few years ago they wanted to shoot a video of me playing my character, but the game was
David Sobolov Voice over actor
ou started out in the Theatre - is this a good grounding for a VO Actor? Why? I mainly voice evil villains, creatures, and heroic characters that require a bigger than life performance. They sometimes also have moments of nuanced emotion and intensity that need to be quiet but compelling. Performing in front of a live audience in a theatre gives the voice actor a great tool kit to work from emotionally and technically, but most importantly, the ability to give the director a characterization that’s ‘large’ enough so he/she can dial down the intensity if necessary. It’s far easier in the fast paced environment of a studio session to ask an actor to pull back on what he/she is doing than try to get them to give more. How did you start in Voiceovers? What was your first paid Gig? My first paid voice gig was unusually juicy for a voice actor’s first time out... it was a radio play where I was playing a teenager who had committed a terrible crime and was insane. Fun!! What was your first video game voiceover? I played several characters in what was reported to be one of the first games ever to feature an extensive amount of voice work, Homeworld in 1999.
What do you consider was your big break? That’s a great question, because at the time I thought playing Robocop in Robocop Alpha Commando for 40 episodes was my big break, but here’s the catch 22 in a voice actor’s career, over time your resume and reputation grows and you get to know “ Do some people who believe community in you and enjoy your theatre... take work who will continue some acting to hire you when lessons... they can. It’s always a process of working and and never let auditioning for more anyone squish work, you can’t rest on your dreams your laurels. There are no matter how times when bookings are plentiful and times many people try when they’re not, no - and they will!” matter how much experience or talent we have. Did you imagine that you would earn your living from VO? When I was a student at the Neighborhood Playhouse acting school in New York when I was 19, I had no idea I’d be making my living this way
more emotional levels, especially one I’m just starting for an animated series called Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters. Which other Voice Actors do you most admire? I work with so many amazing performers. John DiMaggio is working with me on a tv series now and he’s one of the most talented voices in the business. I also love the work of Scott McNeil. If you enjoyed his performance on Beast Wars, you should have heard him 3 feet away working on the next Brilliant. What current projects are you working on? On TV, I’ve just started recording a series called Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters for HUB Network and Hasbro, I also did a guest role on Young Justice Invasion for Warner Brothers, and there’s another series in the wings yet I can’t talk about yet. In the gaming world, I’m working on Diablo 3 for Blizzard, Guild Wars 2 for Arenanet and NCSoft and another one that’s so secret, they haven’t even told me the title of it! What are your ambitions for the future? I just want to keep working! I’d eventually like to get more involved in directing as well as voice acting, too. Do you get recognised by Game Fans? For Which Characters? Of course, only a few fans know my face, but I’d say my voice work in Call of Duty 4 (Lt. Vasquez), Halo Wars (The Arbiter), and perhaps Justice League Heroes (Darkseid) are fairly well
too tough for me to attempt!!! Have you ever thought about making your own game? Where you play the lead character, as has become popular with actors in Hollywood? I’d enjoy doing that with a team, I couldn’t imagine attempting something that huge on my own. You should see the script for Guild Wars 2 - several large thick binders!!!! If so what would the game be about? I can’t tell you that, someone might steal the idea!!!! What was your last project? How did it go? My last session was the first episode of Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters this week. It was a fantastic experience. Can’t wait for the public to see this show!!! What advice would you give to any aspiring Voiceover actors? It’s about acting, not just doing clever voices or copying already established characters. Do some community theatre, take some acting lessons, and never let anyone squish your dreams no matter how many people try - and they will! David’s website recently redeveloped by his niece Anna Sobolov Good can be seen at www.sobolov.com
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Games For Brands Endaf Kerfoot tells us why ‘gamification’ is soon to be the buzz word for the world’s biggest brands
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Which is not to say that any of this is simple - far from it. A clunky in-game ad can alienate players, and be completely ineffective. Game creators remain broadly reluctant to reach out to brands and agencies, preferring to stick to their triedand-tested monetisation channels direct from gamers. It’s clear that a company like Zynga with a large pool of players spending their own money has a more robust monetisation strategy than a company that relies on advertising, but even Zynga is seeing a more compressed cycle of explosive growth in users of new games, followed by steeper drop-offs in player numbers more rapidly. To overcome this, enter stage left advergaming. This is where brands, agencies and content owners commission their own branded, proprietary games. Many companies now offer fantastic games content - and this is an area of particular strength in the UK, where TIGA, representing the UK games industry, has recently created a casual games committee to better serve the interests of studios doing work for hire. Examples include Matmi, 4T2, Kempt, Kerb, TAMBA, Koko Digital and Huzutech.
So, the decision would appear to be between integrating brand messaging into an existing game, and creating a branded game. However, there is another trend which is making waves, and its name is gamification. Many people hy are brands so interested in games? hate the term, but it would appear to be here to stay. In There’s a fantastic book by a British essence, gamification is the application of game author, Tom Chatfield, which is mechanics and principles of game design, essential reading for anyone interested in harnessing the insight into player psychology “One in four why it seems games are so high profile right garnered from decades of video game research, gamers are 50 now. What Tom does is place games in a to marketing. The idea being, if you know how years old or cultural and historical context, right back to to push certain buttons to obtain certain results, above, and 48% which good game designers do, these learnings the emergence of video games, and explore are female” the rise and rise of gaming as a media are applicable to other domains. Thus a website phenomenon. can incorporate elements like progress bars, status badges, achievement points and leaderboards to make And what a phenomenon that is. Some figures - 40% of users more engaged with the content on the site. Facebook users play social games - for a total of 300 million users, and growing fast. One in four gamers are 50 years old Businesses with physical locations can turn visiting those or above, and 48% are female - thus subverting decades of businesses into a giant game, perhaps a treasure hunt based assumptions that male teens dominate this sector. Last year on Facebook Places or Foursquare. Loyalty programmes projections were made that by 2015 the virtual economy can evolve from rewarding members with free stuff to giving in the US alone would be worth $5 billion - figures that them virtual stuff at lower marginal (or opportunity) cost. are sure to be revised ever higher as the social games and People can be ‘nudged’ into doing stuff by tinkering with virtual world bonanza shows no sign of abating (http://www. the presentation of information, offers, price and product pixelsandpolicy.com/pixels_and_policy/2010/01/virtualinformation - and the stats speak of a brave new world economy-value.html) for gamification: The corporate market for gamification is projected to grow from $100m in 2010 to $2.8b by 2016 So perhaps the initial question needs rephrasing. Perhaps we By 2014 70% of corporates are expected to have adopted should instead be asking why it is that brands gamification. According to Gartner, 50% of seem to be so reluctant to dive into the corporate processes are expected to be gamified, “The corporate world of games with two feet. There are with a vibrant market emerging to facilitate this. market for some well-trodden case studies, most from gamification the US, about big brands that have partnered Games for Brands are launching conferences of with Zynga on branded virtual goods inside the same name in London and other venues is projected that company’s games, and the in-game throughout 2011-2012 where creative agencies, to grow from advertising market is estimated to be worth brands and content owners will have the $100m in 2010 close to $1billion already. However, set opportunity to discover what opportunities await to $2.8b by against the $30 billion US online advertising them in the games space. market, this is sure to rise rapidly. Why? 2016 ” Because games are increasingly where From in-game advertising and branded virtual media consumers (i.e. customers) are choosing to spend an goods, through advergames to gamification, this conference ever-increasing amount of their time, and opportunities to will explore all the avenues that organizations can exploit to reach customers via games are proliferating as specialised enhance customer and audience engagement using games, companies emerge to help you spend brands’ digital ad game mechanics and gamification. The opening keynote will dollars, pounds and euros effectively inside games and be Tom Chatfield, author of Fun, Inc. who will explore games virtual worlds. as a cultural and media phenomenon and explain why it is that games became so massively significant in today’s media landscape.
Other presenters include: Jeremy Waite, Head of Social Media – Phones4U; Joshua Saunders, Head of Technical and Creative EMI; Ville Heijari, VP Franchise Development – Rovio; Nick Larder, Digital Director - Starcom MediaVest Group; Dr Jo Twist, Commissioning Editor, Education - Channel 4; Rupert Harris, Innovation executive at the Digital Media Initiative – BBC; Mark Sage, Director of Loyalty - Carlson Marketing EMEA; Kam Star, Chief Play Office – PlayGen; Nicholas Lovell, Founder – Gamesbrief; Volker Hirsch, Director Business Development - Research in Motion; Richard Bartle, legend of the games industry. Registration is now open, and further details can be found at www.gamesforbrands.com Endaf can be reached at: http://twitter.com/endafk email@example.com
FOR A £50 DISCOUNT ON TICKETS USE CODE WGE50 WHEN PURCHASING TICKETS ON THE WEBSITE Endaf Kerfoot is an event professional with close to a decade of experience across a wide variety of event formats, from premium tech conferences to B2B trade shows to seminars and online exhibitions. His experience covers sales, marketing, production, operations and social media.
Take some time out! “DEATH BY XBOX” Or Was It? David Staniforth hopes that the tragic death of his son Chris will help raise awareness of the threat of DVT in gaming. Being in the gaming industry you are more than likely to have seen the story of 20-year-old Chris Staniforth who died from a Pulmonary Embolism caused by a DVT, this has been linked, by his father, to spending long periods of time immobile playing Online Games (Halo) on his Xbox 360. A campaign website www.take-time-out.info has been launched and there has been media attention around the world including Press and TV. The campaign is calling for our industry to take a proactive stance by introducing a ”Robust Advice Video” and “Active Alerts” during gameplay to remind players to take a break and hydrate, Mr Staniforth Snr claims that the advice given out on websites such as UKIE and Play safe do not effectively reach the target audience and are often diluted by marketing messages, He wants the industry to adopt a standard compliance to ensure that all manufacturers and developers carry advice and reminders on the actual game.
“A campaign website www.take-time-out.info has been launched and there has been media attention around the world including Press and TV.”
Take Time Out is also calling for packaging to be marked with “Active Alerts” to give parents a choice in the buying decision.
The campaign also has plans to contact government, Schools, media and other DVT Charities and campaigners to drive awareness.
Endaf has become a passionate advocate of the idea that brands are waking up to the power of games and game mechanics to engage their customers, and as such has been instrumental in putting together the programme for the inaugural Games for Brands conference in London. http://www.worldgamingexecutives.com/events
Airlines have also faced similar issues and have had legal challenges in the European Court and House of Lords from victims of DVT seeking compensation due to negligence on behalf of the airlines for not advising the passengers to take preventative measures in-flight. Although as a result there is now a wide awareness of travellers thrombosis.
UKIE have called a meeting of the Steering Committee and are set to discuss this threat or opportunity to the industry, what would you advise them to consider? What are your thoughts?
http://twitter.com/endafk http://uk.linkedin.com/in/endafkerfoot firstname.lastname@example.org +447899952507
Join the forum and we will pass on your ideas... From David Staniforth (Chris’s Father) To view video link click here: http://bit.ly/rd7o2W
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MAYA REFERENCING: The first thing we do is using references from the footballer in this case that we are going to model to try and get a good match with the real proportions. From each photograph I just paid attention only to some details, as it was difficult to find pictures of Drogba posing with the same expression in different angles.
Fancy a Modeling Career? How to create a realistic model by Rafeal Zabala
y name is Rafael Zabala and I was born in Valencia, Spain. Since I was little I have been attracted to art, in particular, human anatomy. As a child I would draw everywhere until one day I convention ‘Mundos Digitales’ in Coruna, Spain. felt it necessary to start materializing these images There I was lucky to meet Jordi Bares, at the time in three dimensions. When I was about 24 years head of 3D at ‘The Mill’, London. He saw talent in old I started my professional career as a traditional me and gave me the opportunity to go and work artist, which went on for over 15 years as a for them. I have now been working there for a year traditional sculptor, mold and casting technician and a half and I love every single thing about The . I worked in resin, bronze and marble, covering Mill and the CG world. I am private work and commissions very grateful to Jordi Bares for such as sculpting busts or “I enjoy the benefits having put so much trust in me exhibiting in galleries. I also of combining the skills and all the people I work with took on public commissions of a traditional sculptor for their support. like statues or the Captain and a CG modeller and Scott monument in Cardiff My current role at work Bay, Wales, which I made take advantage of the is mainly modelling and for the designer Jonathan potential that those two Williams. have together nowadays texturing Characters for Cinematics and publicity. I also in the entertainment freelance teaching anatomy About two years ago I industry.” and modelling techniques decided to change my career in my own time for different from a traditional artist to a clients. I enjoy the benefits of CG artist. I practiced with combining the skills of a traditional sculptor and a a modelling program which I luckily discovered CG modeller and take advantage of the potential called Zbrush and produced a few pieces. I then that those two have together nowadays in the printed these in leaflets together with some entertainment industry. traditional work to take with me to the CG
SKY SPORTS PREMIER LEAGUE. TITLE SEQUENCE Sky Sports kicked off coverage of the new Barclays Premier League season in 2010/11 with a follow up of our stylised animated intro sequence, featuring some of the game’s biggest stars.
ZBRUSH HIGH POLI MODELLING: After I had a good match I took the model to zbrush. Then I subdivided to almost 2 million polis and start adding detail to the model. I still use at this point references but with a bit more artistic input into the modelling.
Designed and directed by Sky Sports’ creative Justin Bates, the sequence cleverly blends animated game footage of Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe, Arsenal’s Robin van Persie and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney through seasonal weather and lighting changes. It culminatess with Didier Drogba kicking one of his trademark drives into the back of the net. Our CG team worked very closely with the Sky director Justin Bates, to help bring the sequence to life. One of the most challenging aspects of the spot was the modelling and texturing of the individual players themselves. Using zbrush to fine tune and sculpt the characters details we were able to create extremely detailed realisations of the world’s top footballers. The final composite was then digitally graded in baselight by Mick Vincent to add the finishing touches to the final film.
DROGBA TEXTURED: After I finish the model in zbrush I produce and export the maps that are going to be used later on by the team of textures.
To view the final sequence in video visit: http://bit.ly/pDM3AH (Youtube Video user uploaded content- WGE claims no rights to this video nor had any involvement in its uploading or creation)
Agency: BskyB Producer: Nick Canham, Sarah Cloutier Creatives: Justin Bates Director: Justin Bates Post-Production / VFX Company: The Mill VFX Producer: Lucy Reid Shoot Supervisor: Tom Bussell 3D Lead Artists: Tom Bussell 2D Artists: Darren Christie, Pete Hodsman Art Department: Jimmy Kiddell, Ian Wharton
ZBRUSH MAPPING: Then it comes the texturing using also photoshop which in this case it was done by another team of people that textured and rendered each model.
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Doubleday books. Other clients include G.T. Interactive Software, Wizards of the Coast, Milton Bradley, and The Franklin Mint. Matt told WGE what it was like to get started in the video game field. “I started out working on any project I could get, but after a while it seemed that games and publishing was where the work I wanted to do was at.” He continued by explaining the type of work that he does in the video game industry. “I have been more involved with creating cover art than any other aspect of the gaming industry. The challenge I find in doing this kind of work is creating an image that is not only powerful but also faithful to the feel and style that has been established for the specific game.”
Matt Stawicki Game box cover artist tell us how he started...
rom superhero comics to the illustrations of Frank Frazetta, Matt Stawicki has always had an interest in fantasy. Since beginning his professional career in 1992, he has created many images for a wide range of products and clients including video game covers, collectible card images, book covers, collector’s plates and fantasy pocket knives to name a few. Matt was born and raised in Delaware. He attended the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design. Matt told World Gaming Executives, “Since graduating art school in 1991 I have been a freelance illustrator with a special passion for fantasy and science fiction subjects. I always loved knights in shining armour - or not so shining armour - damsels in distress and of course dragons! Who doesn’t love dragons?” Matt has the skill and talent to bring his passions together in illustrating the art for a product. The paintings of noted illustrators like N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish are among his traditional influences.
Also, the films of Walt Disney, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are sources of inspired imagery.
Matt talked to WGE about his approach to drawing different characters, “Some characters are already well known and that in itself makes them fun and exciting to draw. However, in some cases the subjects are not as well established and that offers a chance for more artistic interpretation. I find the gaming market is still a very exciting field with a very diverse subject matter that provides a great opportunity to create dynamic art!” http://www.mattstawicki.com/
Art Credits: • 1. Spiderwick video game box cover • 2. The Magic of Recluce was done for the new cover of the L.E. Modesitt novel by the same title • 3. Copyright ‘Wizards of the Coast’
Like many illustrators, Matt is influenced by the wonderful work and technological advancements currently taking place in the illustration field. In the last few years he works primarily in “digital paint.” He pointed out to WGE, however, that computers are not the “push button” solution many perceive it to be. The same craft and attention to design must be present for the artwork to succeed no matter what the medium. Matt’s clients include Harper/Collins, Penguin, Leisure, Bantam and
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NT: Do you reuse digital models which were originally captured with 3D scanning and, if so, does that help you monetize your investment in these services? JD: Yes, in addition to actors’ faces, we’ve also done full body scans that are invaluable across different projects. We do sometimes share assets across multiple projects and it does help our modeling budget a lot.
TNG & Blur CONVERSATION WITH ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY VETERANSÓ TNG VISUAL EFFECTS NICK TESI AND BLUR STUDIO’S JED DENJEAN
lur Studio knows how to draw the masses into the cinematic genius of videogames. Over the years, their enthralling game trailers have become as epic as feature film trailers, with compelling visuals, intense audio and rich storytelling. A big part of what makes a game trailer convincing and alluring is the realism of the characters in the scene. For the team at Blur, this is where 3D scanning from TNG Visual Effects comes in. TNGs Founder Nick Tesi (for WGE) sits down with long-time client CG and Character Modeling Supervisor Jed Denjean to discuss ways that 3D scanning technology impacts the final product. NT: In general, how do 3D scans help you achieve your overall production goals? JD: Blur is constantly trying to raise the quality bar for our cinematics and realistic human faces have become an absolute necessity. The quality of our characters will literally make or break a project. We had to look beyond just traditional modeling at some point and the scans from TNG were the perfect complement to our modeling team. NT: How do 3D scans (ours or anyone else’s) aide your production schedules? JD: TNG’s scans help our schedules in two ways. First, we don’t need to wait for our modelers to
be 80% done before we can show our clients what their hero characters will look like. We work with them in finding actors or talent that will match their vision, and then we can give them the assurance that the final product will match the talent 100%. It usually takes more time to find and book the talents than it is to get the final geometry after the scanning session. Quality has always been top notch, and TNG is very flexible in terms of delivering both geometry and textures in a format that would fit our pipeline the best. They’ll always adapt to our needs for a specific topology or way to capture skin detail during the scanning process. NT: Tell us a little more about what you scan most often and which current projects incorporate this technology. JD: At Blur, we’ve only scanned people so far, and maybe one day it will make sense to scan props as well. You can find TNG scans in the recently released Batman Arkham Asylum 2 trailer. The guard being tortured in the chair is a scan of one of our animators. The scan is so accurate; everybody had a lot of fun working on one of their co-workers. TRAILER FOOTAGE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yehXQf9ph1c There will be many more in the coming weeks, but most of them are still awaiting release.
NT: Is there anything else you would like to share about 3D scanning as a tool in your production toolkit? How has my company helped you during our time working together? JD: Blur has created a solid relationship with TNG over the years. We love working with you and your team because we know you’ll always make sure we’re happy with the final product. TNG is very flexible in terms of schedule, delivery dates and most importantly file format. It’s great to be able to just send over a reference mesh with our preferred topology before we start a project, and be able to literally plug the scans into our pipeline without having to retouch anything. I know we’ll be using them for all our projects in need of 3D scanning. NT: Just curious - why do you have a single vendor approach for 3D scanning? JD: It’s still a relatively new technology for us, and we’ve really only been using it for the past 3 years or so. TNG has always made us feel comfortable with the process and the results so there’s a lot of trust there. We’re not sold on a single vendor approach for everything we do, but in this case we’ve been so happy with the final products that we’ve never even considered looking elsewhere. NT: Thanks for your time, Jed. JD: Thanks, Nick. It’s been fun. Now back to work for both of us. Nick Tesi is founder of TNG Visual Effects and brings more than a decade of entertainment industry experience. He honed his extensive knowledge of the gaming industry by working with such companies as Blur Studio, THQ, Midway, Sony, 2K Sports, Bioware and EA. Jerome (Jed) Denjean is a CG and Character Modeling Supervisor at Blur Studio with more than 16 years of proven experience. His recent projects include trailers for DC Online Universe, Brink, Prototype and Dragon Age: Origins.
ABOUT BLUR STUDIO Blur Studio is an Academy and Emmy Nominated production studio based in Venice, California. Founded in 1995, the company provides award-winning character animation, visual effects and design for a wide range of media, short films, large format films, commercials, concept art, feature effects, game cinematics and broadcast design. Blur is recognized at one of the top producers of Video Game Trailers in the world. Notable clients include FOX, Disney, Universal Pictures, CBS, Microsoft, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, EA, Lucas Arts, Warner Bros., Activision, Sony, and Nickelodeon, among others. For more information, please visit: www.blur.comBOUT TNG VISUAL EFFECTS
ABOUT TNG VISUAL EFFECTS Founded by entertainment technology veteran Nick Tesi, TNG Visual Effects offers advanced 3D scanning and motion capture services for clients in film, TV, gaming and commercial industries in Los Angeles and on location around the world - on time and on budget. TNG Visual Effects (North) provides on-location 3D scanning services throughout Toronto and Vancouver. The TNG team offers the right mix of technological know-how, mobility, customer service, efficiency and affordability. They understand how to work with producers, directors and A-list talent, making the most of their precious time and ensuring their understanding of the process. The investment in digital models can be priceless for some productions, including those where talent is unavailable for reshoots or with long franchises where talents age over the series. In addition to heads and bodies, the company also scans props such as weapons, buildings, vehicles and any other items needed by production. TNG clients include Fox Studios, Summit Entertainment, Blur Studio, Acne Media Inc., Evergreen Productions, HBO, Stargate Studios, Spark Unlimited, Troublemaker Studios and Alvernia Studios, among others. For more information about TNG, please visit: www.tngvisualeffects.com
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Removing “Loading, please wait” definitely helps to build the player’s sense of immersion, and based on initial playtesting feedback, we hope to continue to apply this technique in several ways in the future.
Brant Nicholas Beenox’s Executive Producer speaks to Antonio Ribeiro about their latest Spider-Man release
he game Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions was a huge success. What changes can we expect to see with the latest release, Edge of Time?
What is the story of Spiderman Edge of Time? The story is about an evil scientist from 2099 who goes back in the past in order to destroy Peter Parker and rewrite history. Miguel O’Hara, as Spider-Man 2099, witnesses this event, and has to Beenox wanted to create a fresh, new gameplay experience for the players. Our goal was to build work closely with Amazing Spider-Man in order to a deep narrative experience between prevent his rapidly approaching Amazing Spider-Man and Spiderdeath that will cause Miguel’s future “It’s awesome to to not exist. Man 2099, who are the only two versions of Spider-Man that can know that we’re share the same timeline within Spider-Man: Edge of Time has delivering games the Marvel universe. One of the a concept of no separation that even our fans best aspects of this project was between the levels. Do you think outside of North you could have created a new the opportunity to work with Peter David, co-creator of Spider-Man America can love!” idea for games in the future? Our goal from the beginning has 2099, in writing the script. been to immerse the player into the story of Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. To do this, Beenox created custom streaming technologies to constantly keep the game loading new content as the player advances. While streaming isn’t new as a games industry technology per-se, we hope that more and more games will move toward this direction in the future. While every game may have unique needs depending on the design, at Beenox, we definitely enjoy doing everything we can to create deep, seamless narrative experiences for our fans.
Are Marvel going to transform Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time into comics books in the near future? While we would love to see our fans’ enjoyment of the stories from Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time grow into full-blown comics on their own, it’s really up to Marvel to see where this fits in the larger Spider-Man universe. Our focus remains firmly on delivering the best games we possibly can!
How long did the game take to create. From the very beginning to its publication? Beenox came up with the concept of Spider-Man: Edge of Time while developing Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. After realizing how perfect the fit was for Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 to interact throughout the story, our team kicked the title into full gear and jumped right in! They were able to craft this experience and take it to completion this year! Is Spider-Man: Edge of Time ready to be played with Beenox have built up a fine reputation in recent years. 3D technology? What has been the secret of your success? Spider-Man: Edge of Time will be released on Nintendo 3DS. Without a doubt, our successes at Beenox are directly Playing the game in 3D really makes you feel like you are the result of having an awesome team of people that are Spider-Man. For example, when the two versions of Spiderpassionate about everything we do! Not only that, but we get Man talk to each other through time, each character has his to spend our long Quebec winters reading comics of course. own screen – each screen shows its own timeline. It really The Beenox management team really works hard to make enhances the gameplay experience. sure that we’ve got an awesome environment to spend our days in, and that the team is How many hours of gameplay can we “Without a doubt, constantly challenged to come up with more expect in Edge of Time? our successes and more creative ideas every day! The very nature of the concept and storyline at Beenox are is all about the urgency of the situation directly the result What makes the Beenox team tick? Do your Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 of having an guys play a lot of games themselves? are in to prevent the collapse of the world. At Beenox, while we are all huge fans of video So, as a result, the gameplay also moves at a awesome team of games, each individual has his own interests, very fast pace. How long the game will take people that are strengths and knowledge. It’s the fusion of all to complete is really tied to how much of the passionate about that coming together that has built Beenox’s content players hope to earn and unlock for everything we personality as a studio. It’s that combination their characters along the way! that helps inspire us to constantly push for do!” better games every time, offering our fans an Who wrote the story of the game? Does experience they will take with them even after the entire team participates or the idea come they put down the controller. ready and approved from Marvel? As the main developer on upcoming Activision Spider-Man Why is there no PSP version of the game? titles, the Beenox team is effectively the shepherd of the Spider-Man: Edge of Time is coming out for Xbox 360, brand and takes that role very seriously. We came up with this PS3, Wii, 3DS, and NDS. While there haven’t been any new concept to Activision and Marvel and they quickly fell in announcements about other platforms, the game will be able love with the idea. Then, Beenox worked hand-in-hand with to reach a wide audience of people with the different versions Marvel’s veteran writer, Peter David, co-creator of Spider-Man of the game that will come out. 2099, to craft a tightly-focused, thrilling, fast-paced adventure.
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programs offered in various locations around the world that offer great ways to immerse yourself and gain the skills needed. The tricky part with this is that no one can make you learn. It takes passion, focus and self-discipline to use the time wisely if you hope to emerge with a strong enough reel to get hired at the end.
“If you post a sample of your work, one bit of advice is to never react negatively in return if it gets flamed. Just thank them for their feedback and work hard to see if there is something positive that you can hope to take away from their input on how to further improve your skills.”
There are also a lot of great books and free tutorials available through the multiple industry portals out there. Regardless of whether one is interested in chasing a job in code, design, or art, these portals are highly worthwhile to investigate. Posting samples of your work in appropriate professional forums for feedback is a great way to get free and focused mentoring. Industry experts frequently lurk and post under unknown handles so always be professional and polite.
and there’s no better way to get black-listed in the industry than to tell someone who is already “on the inside” that they don’t know what they’re talking about. One last bit is to bear in mind that there are several well established, as well as newly emerging, markets for games. Each one has its own pro’s and con’s. I’ll leave a discussion of this topic for another essay. If you would like to work on “Next Gen” consoles, keep in mind that many of the roles for larger studios are highly specialized (i.e.Concept Artist, Level Artist,
The games market in Brazil is getting bigger every year. What you from Beenox think about games market in Brazil? It’s great to see the growth that’s underway, not only in Brazil, but also throughout all of Central and Southern America. We’re seeing more and more involvement on our forums from members of these markets and it’s awesome to know that we’re delivering games that even our fans outside of North America can love! Last year Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 included one map (in Rio´s favela) with Brazilian Rio de Janeiro accent voices and it made a lot of success here in Brazil. Don´t you think the sales would be a lot bigger if the games came with Portuguese translation? It’s great to see that video games have reached a level of success and a fanbase that reaches internationally. While it would be awesome if we could appeal to every market out there and translate the game for every fan, since there are so many languages out there, we would probably never finish making the game! What we do is make sure we capture the largest number of people we can and give the majority of international players out there the same quality experience as everyone else. Do Beenox have any plans to produce further Spider-Man games? While Beenox definitely has some great games underway, our projects following Edge of Time are still confidential. All we can say is to stay tuned for more info in the months to come! What would you say to someone who wants to enter the games market? We are asked this question a lot, and while there is no easy answer, it honestly depends on where the individual’s gifts are, combined with where their passions lie. Just like any dream, it depends on how hard you are willing to work to achieve it and if you have the base aptitude to do the work demanded for the role.
This is a larger question that could be answered in a short article, so I’ll try to be brief. An option like “get in by joining through QA” is always a path worth considering. Working in QA is a great way to get an understanding of a broad sample of games (depending on the company’s portfolio), and it can also help you to learn a lot about the industry’s inner workings (i.e. Why some things that fans constantly demand are just never done by game companies.). That said, in my humble opinion, the best way to get “on the inside” at a developer is to gain experience through building or doing the thing that you hope to pursue as an occupation. One great way to make progress when starting from scratch is to pick a company who’se games you love and investigate their current job postings. Look at the requirements for the listed positions, learn the difference between the roles, pick one you would love to do, and come up with a plan to gain those skills for yourself. For Art roles, a demo-reel that shows only your best work is indispensible until you have built a resume/CV with shipped titles that can speak for itself. If the individual is struggling to set aside the time needed to teach themselves what they need to know, there are several academic games industry
If you post a sample of your work, one bit of advice is to never react negatively in return if it gets flamed. Just thank them for their feedback and work hard to see if there is something positive that you can hope to take away from their input on how to further improve your skills. If you can take their advice on-board, update your work accordingly, and then re-post showing that you were able to turn-around some nice improvements, you just earned some credibility from the people that might frequent that thread. This is an essential skill for survival in any creative industry. We pour our hearts and souls into our work and it’s easy to get emotionally attached. Just remember that it is impossible to please all the people all of the time. We are always pushing for something better year after year, and the ability to take criticism constructively without reacting negatively is a survival trait. Again, just keep in mind that the ‘lurkers’ are watching,
Rigger, Character Artist, 3D Modeler, 3D Animator, Tools Programmer, Rendering Programmer, Gameplay Programmer, etc.) While this answer can barely start to do justice to the effort needed to break into the industry, I hope it is helpful in at least providing some options for getting started. Do you have any Brazilians in the Beenox team? Not for the moment! What’s next for Beenox? For the moment, we can’t say very much on our next projects. There will be more info to come in the next months. Follow us on facebook.com/Beenox or twitter.com/ beenoxteam!
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Starting Out! Interview: Laura Volpato Games Student at Image Campus
aura, please tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Laura Volpato, I’m 21 years old, I went to an art and communication high school because I wanted to be an artist. My first 3D animation career was at “Da Vinci” school, but later I found out that it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. So, I dropped out and ended up studying Video Game Development at Image Campus. When did you realize you wanted to study game development? On the list of things I like to do, playing video games and watching anime are my favorite. So, I wanted to study something related. Sincerely, I didn’t see myself doing anything else, so I decided to try video games and I loved it. The career at Image Campus was mostly focused on programming, and I definitely don’t regret that because I liked it very much. I began my career having absolutely zero knowledge about programming. It was like speaking Chinese for me, but as soon as I began to understand it, I knew that was what I wanted to do. So you’re also a gamer! What games do you actually play and how did you end up in the gaming movement? Yes, I’m a hardcore gamer! I have to thank my high school friends for showing me different games. I joined them on LAN parties and started playing Counter-Strike and Age of Empires 2, so I started playing with them. A few years later, a friend of mine showed me Lineage 2. That’s a game I’ve played for over two or three years. I love MMO’s. I’m playing WoW and expecting Guild Wars 2, but I also like FPS and RPG games. What’s your opinion about the present state of the gaming industry in Argentina? I really don’t have much experience in the industry yet, but for what I’ve heard on Image Campus and ADVA (Argentinian Game Developers Association), you can tell that our industry is growing really fast. There are lots of companies working on game development right now and I really hope that it keeps growing because we have many talented developers that can create many good things. Vostu, for example, the company I’m working for right now, grows every day.
“I think it’s great for the industry to have both opinions, from men and women. I don’t think that being a girl limits me in anyway in working in this industry as long as I know how to do my job; but I know most of the guys are surprised to find gamer girls working in this industry.”
What are your expectations and goals in this industry? I’d love to develop my own RPG or MMO in the future, or be part of a development team that works on any type of game (that are my favorites). Do you think that being a woman affects your career in this industry in any way? No, I haven’t felt any differences. Since I was in college I used to get along with my classmates. Our teachers had the same treatment for all of us and I feel the same way at work. I think it’s great for the industry to have both opinions, from men and women. I don’t think that being a girl limits me in anyway in working in this industry as long as I know how to do my job; but I know most of the guys are surprised to find gamer girls working in this industry. Are you working on any game project right now? I am, we’re developing a game for our last University project. It’s a game that looks like the famous ‘Diner Dash’. Any advice you can give to other girls that are considering studying and/or working in the game industry? If it’s what you like, then go for it and work hard. Work on new stuff everyday and learn because there’s always a new algorithm, program or technology to apply. We want to thank Laura Volpato for taking the time to do this interview with us. Laura was interviewed by PMSClan Gamer and Journalist Julieta “Lucita PMS” Martino
Interview: Michael & Jeff Agosh Gamedev Students at Full Sail - USA
o tell us a bit about your personal journey into video games? Where did it start? My brother Jeff and I have been interested in video games our whole lives. We have been thinking of video game concepts since we were little kids. Every time we thought about what we wanted to do with our lives everything came back to video games. We found out that Full Sail had video game degree programs and we decided it was a good fit. We do have a strong business sense and entrepreneurial drive, so we enrolled in the Entertainment Business program. With all these factors in place we expect to both manage our game studio’s operations and be the creative drivers behind the games. Have you created any games to date? Not exactly, but we have begun in earnest the process of defining and testing our game studio venture. The Full Sail schedule is intense, and prospective team members are also busy with their studies, making it challenging to assemble our “dream team.” However, we continuously scout Full Sail for potential talent to partner with, and we have several great concepts planned and ready for graduation day to launch development. What games did you play growing up? Jeff and I played a lot of games growing up, every Super Mario Bros. game, Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda games, Donkey Kong Country 1-3, Sonic, Pokemon, Mortal Kombat, Gauntlet Legends - we’ve played a lot of games and these are just some of the games that inspired us to get into the video game industry. You’ve been studying at Full Sail. How’s that been? Full Sail has been a great opportunity to network and meet people, however, the schedule is so full that we have focused on developing plans for our studio, networking with other creative individuals that may play a role in developing our game titles, and exploring game concepts we will pursue in earnest as soon as we graduate. Full Sail has been very helpful and we have received great insights and support from our instructors. Full Sail might be the best school for all things entertainment. We feel it has helped us get ready for the real world and the launch of our game studio. Any tutors deserving of a mention here? Our parents, Rob and Maria Agosh, have been very supportive during our time at school and we couldn’t have made it this far without them. Also, a few of our teachers have been helping us throughout our time at Full Sail helping with the business. Also, we’d like to give thanks to Rob Burrows, Rolando Ramos, Ana Reina, Kip Roddenberry and Linda Rohrbaugh. Does Full Sail have a mentoring program? Full Sail doesn’t really have a mentor program that we know of.
You and your brother are both into game development.Is there competition between you or do you work together? What are you working on at the moment? Any screenshots to share? Jeff and I make a great team and we normally work together, but we can get pretty competitive when developing ideas and even playing video games. We are not working on anything at the moment; we have several ideas though. All we need is a team to put them together. We really wish we had some screenshots to share with you. Our most ready games for development are a survival horror game, which would essentially be our first “AAA” title, our second is an action-RPG game, which will be launched on XBLA and the PSN. We assure you they are both far more unique than the genre implies. And so to the future. What’s your ambition? Do you intend to create your own studio? Why? What would benefits be? My brother and I are very eager to start our own studio after graduation; it has many benefits, among the most important is creative freedom for the video games we will make, another benefit is that we can pick the team who fits best with the games for which we are going to develop. In terms of our ambition, we want to become the top third party developer with our deep stories for games as well as the unique yet familiar gameplay. If you could work with any other Studio or Publisher who would it be? We would be very interested to work with Epic Games, and the EA Partners program has us very interested. EA is doing a great thing for growing developers. If you could shout out to everyone on WGE what would you ask? Contact information of developers and publishers. And guidance from start-up companies on how to reach maturity. If the WGE community could connect us to relatively young development teams that would be appreciated. What’s the best piece of advice you have been offered? Don’t get discouraged in getting your business started. We’d like to thank Rob Burrows for that piece of advice. What advice do you most need? We need advice on how to attract video game programmers and designers to our company to help us make video games and gain a reputation in the industry. Also we would like advice on how to gain the interest of investors to get the company off the ground.
“In terms of our ambition, we want to become the top third party developer with our deep stories for games as well as the unique yet familiar gameplay.”
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recording of him announcing my name as if I was on X Factor. That would’ve made a pretty enviable text message alert tone for my mobile.
Adam Howden Voice over actor
dam Howden is creating a name for himself as a voice over actor in video games. You might recognize his voice from such games as Dragon Age and Fable III. Adam recently took some time to answer a few questions for World Gaming Executives.
books, I acted quickly and recorded a new reel. She seemed impressed and then decided to give me a go. Very soon after that I was sent over to various studios to voice commercials, corporate videos and eventually games.
You’ve worked on commercials “Recently I How did you get into the field of and corporate videos but your voice over work? career now seems firmly focused finished voicing I trained as an actor at the Drama on video games. What are you the lead Centre London, which was mostly working on at the moment? character in what theatre based training. I graduated Recently I finished voicing the I hope will be in 2005. Quite soon after that I got lead character in what I hope will my first TV job, a small part in an be a big game for Ubisoft. I’m not a big game for SAS drama called “Ultimate Force” allowed say what it is yet but it’ll Ubisoft. I’m not definitely look good on the CV. I starring Ross Kemp. The job itself allowed say what was over in a flash with just two days have also been working on Dragon it is yet but it’ll Age 2 DLC (Dragon Age: Legacy) of filming. Fortunately for me I got definitely look chatting with one of the other actors for BioWare and a game for (Simon Lenagan) and I told him I was good on the CV.” Nintendo along with fellow voice really keen to get into voice overs. actor Peter Dickson of X Factor fame. Very conveniently for me he had just started a voice agency with an agent friend Generally with games you record your dialogue (Leigh Matty) and told me to contact her. I sent her my first attempt at a voice reel. She quickly got without the other actors in the booth with you. back to me saying that she liked my voice but my Sometimes though the sound engineer can play reel was BAD and I needed to record a new good you the other actor’s dialogue if they’ve already recorded it. I have to admit I giggled a lot when one. Leigh made no promises to take me on, but I heard Peter Dickson’s voice talking to me. His heeding her advice and noticing she didn’t have anyone with the same vocal quality as mine on her voice is great and so distinguishable. I wish I got a
Your work as Anders on EA’s Dragon Age series has received critical acclaim, is it a role you have enjoyed? Working for BioWare on the Dragon Age franchise has been a lot of fun and a big learning curve. Dragon Age: Origins was one of the first games I worked on. I played lots of small roles, which is actually harder in some ways than playing one big role because you want to make each character different. So I’ve had to make sure I can actually do all the dialects I say I can on my CV.
Star Wars franchise. The Lucas Arts/BioWare team were really professional and treated me well. Understandably though there was a lot of secrecy surrounding the game. I wasn’t entirely sure which Star Wars game I was working on at first. It was very exciting and it is going to be massive. I voiced lots of different characters and got to really have fun doing all kinds of voices I didn’t even know I could do.
My biggest role in the DA games has been Anders in DA2. I’ve even got a Twitter following just because of Anders. I think he’s quite a popular character because he is well written You’ve worked on an impressive number of games. and has an interesting back-story. He’s passionate about his Do you have a favourite character you have worked with? cause as a freedom fighter. He’s a loyal companion and love Anders in DA 2 has been a really important character for interest. He speaks his mind. He’s a tortured soul but also has me to play. He feels like my breakthrough VO role. And the a great sense of humour. He kicks ass and most importantly characters I voiced in Fable III had some of the funniest, most he loves cats. I’ve had such a positive response from playing bizarre dialogue I’ve done. However, I have a real soft spot Anders. Some people have said some lovely for the role of Fenton Paddock, who I played complimentary things about him. in a PC game called Lost Horizon. It was an “Some unashamed rip-off of Indiana Jones but it was people told The role of Anders certainly raises some my first leading role in a game. I just pretended me how brave I was Roger Moore the whole time I was in interesting questions on the issue of sexuality in gaming. What’s your take on the great they thought the sound booth. My eyebrow was key to my debate? performance and director Phil Evans at SIDE UK I was for The Dragon Age games are very forward thinking. (where I record most of the games) never let me recording the I think it’s amazing you can play the game as a drop it. gay option man or a woman and be gay or straight. Some with the people told me how brave they thought I was for How would you describe your voice? recording the gay option with the kissing and love kissing and How would I describe my voice? My voice agent scenes. It wasn’t that brave of me really as I was (The Just Voices Agency) describes my voice as love scenes.” alone in the booth snogging the back of my hand. bright, young and charming. I would like to add I’ve played gay characters in the past though and clear and engaging to that list. it’s really not an issue for me. I was quite disappointed to read homophobic comments on some of the Dragon Age YouTube You’ve worked on some some of the biggest hits in videos. Come on people, it’s the 21st century and all that. gaming but are is there a video game franchise you wish you had worked on? You’ve also done some work on one of the most highly I wish I’d been in Red Dead Redemption or LA Noire. The anticipated MMOs on the horizon - Star Wars: The Old stories and performances are fantastic. I hope Rockstar games Republic. How did that differ to working on the more come calling soon. traditional console games? As a VO, working on Star Wars: The Old Republic wasn’t really Recently I finished voicing the lead character in what I hope any different from working on any other game, other than will be a big game for Ubisoft and for me, the voice of Tintin the fact that it feels quite prestigious to be working on the in the upcoming game of the same name. I have also been
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The digital world is constantly moving, evolving and changing. Everything is in moshen. Hi there, we are Moshen. We provide clarity of thought, execution of ideas, deployment and distribution of product across the digital world. Moshen enable our partners to engage with customers and generate additional revenue lines in new vertical markets.
“The future of games is very exciting. I have still yet to do Mo-Cap and am dying to give it a go.”
working on Dragon Age 2 DLC (Dragon Age: Legacy) & (Mark of the Assassin) for BioWare and a game for Nintendo called Xenoblade Chronicles, along with fellow voice actor Peter Dickson of X Factor fame. What are your ambitions for the future? The future of games is very exciting. I have still yet to do Mo-Cap [motion capture] and am dying to give it a go. I love doing VO’s but I am a classically trained actor and would love to be doing the whole performance and not just the voice. The way games are going with more and more full performances needed from actors should mean that this is a more realistic prospect. I hope one day to be voicing cartoons and animated movies too. As we all know though, it’s a very competitive business. Do you have any tips for aspiring voice over actors? If you’re an aspiring voice actor the first thing I would recommend is to make as good a voice reel as you can. Do your research, go on voice agent’s websites and listen to their
client’s reels. Work out where your voice might sit in the industry. If you want to voice commercials, what kind of products is your voice likely to work for? What’s your niche? If you’re very good at cartoon type character voices then make a cartoon reel as well as a commercial reel. I would argue that it’s worth spending maybe a couple of hundred pounds to make a great voice reel. My reel cost me about £250. That might seem like a lot of money but it’s been a good investment. I now earn a living from being a VO. If you spend £250 on a reel and never ever get a job I bet you’ll still be able to think of things you’ve wasted more money on and are much less proud of. If you specifically want to voice games then once you’ve got your reel send it to the studios that record the voices. Do your best to get a voice agent. Most work (in the UK at least) comes through the agents, whether it’s games or commercials. There are so many people trying to get into voice work (and acting in general and casting directors are much more likely to take notice if you’re represented by an agent they know and trust. Most importantly, stay positive and be proactive. You can’t expect your career to happen over night, it took me a couple of years before I started to get regular work. WGE wants to thank Adam Howden for speaking with us and we look forward to hearing his voice in many more games.
“If you’re an aspiring voice actor the first thing I would recommend is to make as good a voice reel as you can.”
Moshen has a creative and technical team drawn from the Mobile, Web, Agency, Gaming, Games and Social Media sectors, each having accumulated their 10,000 hours in their field. We believe that each digital element is intrinsically connected to each other and that only by engaging with the consumer across all the sectors can our clients truly succeed. Moshen provide this 360 degree approach.
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ometimes the values and language used by one group of gamers may not be those preferred by everyone. At7addak is an original concept created for Arab gamers by Arab gamers; and is the brainchild of Brahms Chouity (CEO) and HRH Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal (Chairman). “Our vision is to provide the Arab online gaming community with an exciting new concept: Social Network meets Competitive Gaming. At7addak.com will allow gamers who use their existing gaming platforms (such as consoles, PC’s, mobile devices…) to challenge other players globally using their favorite gaming titles. The whole idea started when Brahms Chouity, serial entrepreneur, running 6 different companies, found out his wife was pregnant and decided to take a few years off. He spent the first few weeks of his sabbatical doing what he likes best, console gaming. The first week went by without much objection from his wife, the second, not so much. On the third, she blasted: “If you don’t make a business out of these video games, then one of you is out of the house”. That was all he needed to quit his early retirement and go back to what he does best. He wanted
“If you don’t make a business out of these video games, then one of you is out of the house.”
to create an online community where gamers could challenge each other virtually, for cash and prizes. A kind of Facebook for gamers. He pitched his idea to his best friend and business partner Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal, and the two went to work building the concept and the team needed to develop the website. Fast forward 6 months, and At7addak has just hosted its very first real-life tournament.
Brahms Chouity explained how these events will take place in the future. “Every season, At7addak will host a series of online tournaments, by country and by game title. Gamers with enough experience points will be able to enter these tournaments. Throughout the season, gamers
“We also want to be the dominant media property exclusively targeting the millions consumers in the region who have a passion for playing video games as a competitive social activity, while giving sponsoring brands access to this highly influential demographic.”
battle it out against each other, moving up and down the leadership ladder as they win and lose.” “At the end of the online season, the top gamers from each country will then qualify to enter the ‘Country Championship Finals’. The REAL-LIFE events that we will organized for every country. Gamers will finally meet each other face to face and see what they are really made of, in a tensely competitive environment.” “The winners of each ‘Country Championship Finals’ will win huge cash and prize rewards. Afterwards, all the regional champions will automatically qualify for the ‘Arab Championship Finals’, and for a chance to fight it out for that ultimate title of Arab Champion.”
“We want At7addak.com to become a home for casual and professional gamers, where they can compete in a safe and friendly environment, and showcase both their individual skill and their ability to function coherently as a member of a team.”
“Ultimately, we want At7addak. com to become the largest professional video game league in the Arab world.”
“We also want to give millions of aspiring players around the region an opportunity to compete and improve their skills, while socializing through our thriving online community and live championship events.
“Ultimately, we want At7addak.com to become the largest professional video game league in the Arab world. We also want to be the dominant media property exclusively targeting the millions consumers in the region who have a passion for playing video games as a competitive social activity, while giving sponsoring brands access to this highly influential demographic.“ Good luck with everything Brahms WGE wishes you well. For any enquiries, please contact info@At7addak.com
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Cost per Loyal User Index - This index tracks the fluctuating cost of acquiring loyal users (in the case of the index, people who open an app three times or more.) We believe that the cost per loyal user is a more meaningful measure of ROI than cost per click or cost per download, and so loyal users are the key to building sustained growth for a mobile app business. For more on the Indexes, I encourage you to check out: http://www.fiksu.com/resources/fiksu-indexes
Micah Adler Fiksu
the mix between these diverse traffic sources and icah, in 2011 you introduced Fiksu for also optimize the organic lift provided by Mobile Apps, an app user acquisition obtaining favorable ranking positions within the platform, could you explain this to us? various app stores. All of this is optimized around Born from Fluent Mobile, Fiksu, Inc. was launched obtaining loyal users cost effectively, not just in March 2011 to help marketers and advertisers around downloads. overcome the complex and expensive challenge of promoting “The Fiksu Additionally, in July 2011, we their mobile apps in the vastly Indexes will be introduced our Fiksu Indexes. We crowded app stores. Our flagship examined mobile app actions solution, Fiksu for Mobile Apps, is released on a captured by our platform - more the industry’s first user acquisition monthly basis. than 3.7 billion app launches, inplatform that spans the entire mobile We encourage app purchases and registrations ecosystem, helping brands attract Android users to analyze and report on the large volumes of loyal users and slash to check back fluctuating dynamics of the user acquisition costs. We believe complex app marketing landscape. that mobile app marketing should soon as we will Published monthly, the Fiksu not require guesswork. Our Fiksu be expanding Indexes equip marketers for Mobile Apps user acquisition our Indexes to with a benchmark of how their platform injects cost-efficiency and include tracking mobile app marketing stacks up predictability into campaigns. Some against industry averages, and also of our early clients have included Ask. and analysis of paints a “big picture” landscape com, Barnes & Noble, Gilt, Groupon, the Android of the trends impacting their Hearst Magazines, PlayScreen, market in the business goals. TuneWiki, VH1 and WHERE.
The Fiksu for Mobile Apps platform works by connecting app marketers to a broad variety of traffic sources: from banner ad networks to incentivized download networks to real-time bidding exchanges. We optimize each traffic source individually, perform real-time allocation of
The Indexes include: App Store Competitive Index - This index analyzes the average aggregate volume of daily downloads of the Top 200 ranked free iPhone apps in the U.S. It helps illustrate how the list of top ranked apps become more and less competitive over time.
Will this be released on a weekly or monthly basis? The Fiksu Indexes will be released on a monthly basis. We encourage Android users to check back soon as we will be expanding our Indexes to include tracking and analysis of the Android market in the near future. Basically the industry users should utilize this measuring system to try and evaluate their app sales and improve them, correct? As a mobile marketer, your app is competing for users with almost half a million other apps. The best way to improve your mobile marketing is to more precisely understand the competitive landscape into which you are pouring your budget. The Fiksu Indexes reveal how industry dynamics such as iOS upgrades, sales of mobile devices, advertiser demand and ad network/publisher inventory impact your business goals. Armed with this insight, you can adapt and plan with more agility. For example, maybe your cost to acquire loyal users was more expensive in May than in March and you are trying to figure out why? Our Index shows how much the industry paid on average so you can compare and contrast. Perhaps your app’s rank slipped one month. Our Index shows you the aggregate daily download totals of the top ranked U.S. apps so you can assess the competitive landscape and understand how their volumes impacted your rank. Will Fiksu be offering any tips on how to best do this for mobile marketers with limited budgets? The challenges of app promotion are complex and can easily consume large chunks of a mobile marketing budget. However, they don’t have to. We recently published a free eBook, outlining proven best practices leading brands are using to improve app store rankings and secure critical loyal users without draining their budgets in the process. Where do the stats for the Fiksu Indexes come from? We compile our Index data by examining the mobile app actions captured by our user acquisition platform (the only one that spans the entire mobile ecosystem of ad networks, RTB platforms and incentivized networks). Currently, we can analyze more than 3.7 billion app launches, in-app purchases and registrations to explore and learn from the fluctuating
“Currently, we can analyze more than 3.7 billion app launches, in-app purchases and registrations to explore and learn from the fluctuating dynamics of the complex app marketing landscape.”
dynamics of the complex app marketing landscape.
You have also included in the stats a way to determine ‘Loyal Users’, how is that measured, why was that rule chosen? How do you get data? Clicks on banner ads and app downloads can be misleading metrics. For example, we often observe an order of magnitude difference between different traffic sources in the likelihood that a download interacts with an app long-term. Thus, it is more meaningful to measure users based on some metric of loyalty. For example, did the user return to the app multiple times? Have they made a purchase? Did they register? If you aren’t measuring users based on these types of questions, then you are not really measuring your ROI. The exact definition of a loyal user will depend on the specifics of a particular app. For the Cost per Loyal User Index, we found a good trade-off between measuring loyal usage in a way that is general, but at the same time a good indicator of loyal usage for most apps. Specifically, for the index, we have defined a loyal user as a user that launches the app three or more times. We have found that for most apps, such users do have a propensity to engage with the app on a longer term basis. Who is involved with Fiksu on board level? I serve on Fiksu’s board, along with Jon Auerbach, Guy Bradley and Maia Heymann. For full bios on each of our board members, please visit: http://www.fiksu.com/company/ board-of-directors How did Fiksu come about? Was the ‘app user acquisition platform’ the main product you wanted to introduce or was Fiksu created for many products that are in the pipeline? We’re a team of entrepreneurial mathematicians, technologists and online marketing veterans. The company was founded in late 2008 as Fluent Mobile, Inc. and renamed Fiksu, Inc. in 2011 to reflect the significant expansion of our business model. The Fiksu for Mobile Apps platform was born from the technologies, tools and expertise we developed to successfully promote our own mobile app, the Fluent News Reader. Our app had a very successful launch, but until we
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started promoting the app, the downloads quickly dried up: over the course of two months, we went from thousands of downloads per day at the launch to less than 50 downloads per day. When we started promoting the app, we found that, working with several different ad networks independently, it was costing us about $3.00 to generate downloads for the Fluent News Reader. However, over the course of six months of taking a very algorithmic approach to the efficiency of mobile marketing, we improved that cost to less than $0.30. We were also able to get our app to #1 in Apple’s App Store for our category (News), and stayed there for almost two months. This is particularly impressive when taking into account the fact that we were competing with very wellknown brands, such as WSJ, NYT, USAT, NPR and others. We immediately recognized we were on to something and that the technology we had developed could help mobile marketers supercharge visibility, create volumes of downloads
and build a loyal user base for their apps. The fruit of this labor is Fiksu for Mobile Apps, the industry’s only mobile app loyal user growth platform. And that, as they say, is only the beginning. The core technology and proprietary algorithms deployed in our current platform have far-reaching potential for other forms of mobile content and emerging app store environments. Stay tuned. What are the next steps for the company? At Fiksu, we’ve built a culture of innovation, communication, collaboration and support. We are 50+ strong, and are rapidly growing and looking for smart, passionate, energetic people to join our team. As I mentioned previously, the core technology and proprietary algorithms deployed in our current platform have far-reaching potential for other forms of mobile content and emerging app store environments. So stay tuned for new developments from Fiksu! What are your ambitions for the company? We want to become the number one partner that app brands turn to in order to meet their mobile marketing goals. Finally for all the Finns in the Industry who I know are always happy to have people introduced to their language - Fiksu means Smart in Finnish- why did you choose a Finnish word? The name Fiksu which means smart in Finnish is a play on my own Finnish roots. My mother’s side of the family is all Finnish, and I spent a significant portion of my childhood in Finland.
Before we wrap this up Micah is there anything you’d like to add about Fiksu? I’d like to close by sharing a customer success story that may be of interest to your gaming readers: By all accounts the market for mobile apps is exploding, and within that redhot space none is hotter than the game app. With over one hundred thousand apps in the free Game category in the Apple App Store, mobile games are multiplying at lightning speed.
The most realistic darts app yet!
But no matter the ingenuity, dollars and hours that go into building the next “killer” game app, there is no guarantee it will be seen, let alone downloaded or used, amidst the skyrocketing number of choices. Without massive downloads to drive visibility, and no control over app store real estate, how can you ensure that if you build it, they will come? William Volk, CCO of Playscreen LLC, whose modern mobile twist on an Italian classic reached the coveted overall top 10 list within two weeks of launch, said, “We knew that Bocce-Ball was a great app, but we also knew we would be challenged to costeffectively achieve the kind of app store prominence that’s necessary to compete in the game category. Fiksu played a critical role in getting Bocce-Ball noticed.”
cost per download.
Bocce-Ball notched over a half million downloads in its first two weeks and achieved top rankings in the US, Italy and other markets all at a low
** Micah Adler: An academic turned prolific technology entrepreneur, Micah Adler combines rich industry insight with complex technical knowledge as the president, CEO, and founder of Fiksu. Previously, Micah was CEO, president, and co-founder of Adverplex, a search engine marketing (SEM) optimization company. His research in algorithms, probabilistic analysis and combinatorial optimization helped the company develop innovative technology to drive profitability for multi-million dollar SEM campaigns. Micah was also the co-founder, president and board member of CourseAdvisor, which was acquired by the Washington Post Corporation in 2007. He has served on the boards of directors for more than 10 Boston-area startup companies. Micah Adler was also a tenured professor of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has authored more than 50 widely cited publications; holds multiple patents; and has served on numerous academic review committees, program committees and editorial boards. He received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his PhD in theoretical computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Appshen's Professional Darts Championship takes all the fun, competitive and social elements of darts and puts them in a 5-star rated application. Easy to pick up, but hard to master, Appshen's unique physics engine has developed a simple but realistic swipe mechanic to throw the darts. Working closely with the darts community Appshen created a level of realism unseen on mobile phone apps before, including lifelike darts sound effects, the authentic sights and sounds of a professional darts tournament and 16 virtual opponents. Professional Darts Championship utilises Apple's Game Center technology, allowing for a wide range of achievements, challenges and tournaments to be won.
“Darts, a game that anyone can play and have fun yet it takes some skill to be really good, even virtually. Awesome fun!” John Armstrong | World Gaming Executives
Available on the
Thisapp appisisdesigned designedfor for both both iPhone iPhone and This and iPad iPad
For more information on Professional Darts Championship please contact our PR and Marketing team on Tel: +44 (0)1524 509036 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Appshen / Storey Creative Industries Centre / Meeting House Lane / Lancaster / Lancashire / LA1 1TH / United Kingdom / Web: www.appshen.com
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to make developers aware they are eager for licensing deals. This is exactly why GameLicenses.com provides a simple risk-free environment for brand managers to make their brands, descriptions and videos available to game developers globally. Developers and brand owners get in touch and partnerships are formed, which means more deals are funded by publishers. It’s a win/win/win opportunity.
Game Licensing W
orld Game Executives recently sat down with Scott Kirk from GameLicenses.com to discuss his site. This interview should prove interesting to all indie game developers who are looking to sell licenses to their games or buy a license to allow them to develop a game for a certain brand. In short, the site pairs developers with publishers and brand managers. GameLicenses. com is open to all platforms, which allows developers and publishers to buy and sell licensed brands for games across console, handheld and PC markets. Scott discusses the payment system during the interview and also answers a question on providing legal assistance. In general terms, how would you describe GameLicenses.com? GameLicenses.com is a website that acts as an introduction service between video game publishers, developers and brand managers. It facilitates these introductions by allowing content owners/managers to post games and brands on the site, which then becomes automatically available to interested partners worldwide. In short, it is a marketplace to buy and sell video game licenses across all major platforms. Our custom licensing system allows publishers, developers and brand owners to globally trade licenses in distribution, development, funding, localization and more.
How does GameLicenses.com benefit indie developers? Typically, large publishers handle all aspects of distribution for the developer including distribution in foreign countries. The problem is that these large publishers generally mitigate risk by limiting themselves to only distributing well-known brands. So the independent developer who has fresh new ideas is rarely given a chance. This is all about to change, as GameLicenses. com puts developers directly in touch with publishers while providing the tools and contacts to rollout their IP globally. Is your system available for games on all platforms? Yes, our licensing system allows the developer to submit games for online, handheld, console, tablet, PC and mobile. No matter what platform you develop on, our system can accommodate it. You’ve introduced brands to the site, why? As mentioned, publishers limit their risk by working with well-known IP because they know games that people recognize simply sell better (and thus make more profit). However, game developers rarely know which brands are available for licensing, which platforms, what terms and even how to get in touch with the individual responsible for making the deals. Brand owners are also eager to make their IP available to game developers, but often don’t know how
What kind of licenses are available? Our custom licensing system is incredibly robust as it allows selling licenses for in-game marketing, rebranding, distribution, porting, funding for development and much more. Each license is completely customizable making the overall possibilities limitless. So whether you have a demo and you’re looking for funding, or you have an MMO and you’re looking for distribution partners globally, our licensing system can accommodate your needs. What kind of publishers are you focusing on? The obvious choice is to focus on publishers who help put games into the hands of the people that want to play them. However, there are other publishers that may not fit into this role. For example, there are many content producers who may be interested in
“Our custom licensing system is incredibly robust as it allows selling licenses for in-game marketing, rebranding, distribution, porting, funding for development and much more.” purchasing a license to rebrand games, advertisers looking to turn games into their advergame and even other game developers looking to purchase your engine to make their own games. You can add as many, or as few, licenses as you want and make your game available to publishers of all kinds. How does the payment system work? Are the licenses auctioned off to the highest bidder? Not necessarily. There are three different options for each license to allow customization on how a sale is made. You can set the license to Ask, Auction or Fixed price. Setting to Ask directs interested parties to a message form that requests them to
the developer. Whether it’s through press releases or contacting publishers directly, we get the message out to the people that want to know about it. Do you share your commission with individuals that may help orchestrate a deal? Yes. We have a Game Licenses Operative program, a first in the video game licensing and services industry. Not only do we have the most extensive library of licenses per game available from our developers, now we also have the only Operatives program that allow operatives who make referrals to earn money too.
get in touch for further information. This is best used by individuals who are unsure exactly how much to charge for their licenses. Choosing the Auction option automatically creates an auction environment that allows third parties to bid on the license, however the highest bidder is not always the winner of each auction. The license owner may select a lesser offer because it comes from a partner who has better distribution opportunities, or they can choose to auction off non-exclusive rights for multiple regions and platforms. The Fixed Price option is for those who know exactly what they want, as it allows the developer to cut to the chase and define the definitive terms of an agreement. All three options were designed specifically to increase the opportunities for each licensor and to promote partnerships between publishers, developers and brand owners. I noticed you provide legal assistance to developers? True. Orchestrating deals with publishers and brand owners can be tricky and many indie developers are unaware of the potential pitfalls. Game publishers have their team of legal advisors to work on their behalf, but often game developers choose to go it alone as they do not have anyone looking after their own interests, which inevitably results in an unfavourable deal or worse. However, now indie developers can have access to our experienced lawyers on an as needed basis. Our lawyers offer flat rates for each task, which allows developers to know exactly how much they will be paying ahead of time, rather than other
lawyers who may keep the budget open ended and delay proceedings to increase their billable hours. To be clear, GameLicenses.com does not earn any revenue from these transactions and is providing this as a service purely for the benefit of indie developers. How does GameLicenses.com generate revenue? There are several ways we generate revenue, based on commission and advertising. We take a 10% commission on every license sold that resulted from an introduction on our website. The benefit to this business model is if a license isn’t sold, and the developer doesn’t earn any money, then we don’t either. It’s a no-risk situation for the developer.
“If our users have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them, after all we are building this site for them and feedback is always appreciated.” We also have advertising-only options that allow companies to better have enhanced listings or advertise their external websites/products to our user base. Do you promote licenses on your website or do you approach publishers directly on behalf of the developers? For games that we believe publishers would have a significant amount of interest in, we do pound the pavement and contact publishers on behalf of
We believe that while our promotional and marketing activities are good, they are nothing when compared to the power of the community. Word of mouth has long been known to be the most successful of all marketing tactics because it shows real people who are proud enough to stand behind a company’s core activities and beliefs and tell others that yes, I can recommend their services to others. This is our way of rewarding their loyalty. As we see it, there really is no better way to show our thanks but to allow those participating to share in our success. What are your plans for the future? Good question as we have many plans to expand our reach. We’re initially focusing on creating a strong user base as that will be imperative to the sites long term success. We’ll be doing that by trying to get the message out there that we’re around, and localizing our website for other languages to increase multi-region partnership opportunities. If our users have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them, after all we are building this site for them and feedback is always appreciated. Thanks for taking time to speak with WGE Scott.
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60 Second Interview:
Stuck in the Past
hat is TeePee Games? TeePee Games is a rapidly growing discovery platform for social, smartphone and online Flash games. Powered by the robust and intelligent discovery engine Geronimo, TeePee Games is able to provide users with a personalised set of game recommendations by gathering and analysing data about their online behaviours and stated interests.
and has been extremely well received, attracting more than 100,000 monthly active users in less than three weeks.
Why should people sign up to TeePee Games? It’s free for consumers to use. TeePee Games members will find that we can offer them a unique games discovery service not available anywhere else - we help them to find games they’re sure to enjoy playing. The more an individual uses TeePee Games the more comprehensive “The most our “gaming profile” important factor of them becomes to us when which in turn helps to considering improve the content recommendations that a game for are made.
Specifically, what platforms does TeePee Games support? TeePee Games currently supports Android, Facebook and online Flash games. Our Android app provides users with inclusion on access to a large directory our discovery of games, allowing them With so many games platform is to browse content by available on digital genre, view user ratings platforms it’s hard to quality” and directly download get a game noticed titles to their handsets. The Facebook and attract users. For developers and app works in a similar manner to our publishers we can help bring in more portal, utilising Geronimo so that users users to their games by providing can find and play games most pertinent another avenue for that title to be found to their interests. and played. Games companies will also find that the user base arriving to How has TeePee Games been received a game from TeePee Games is likely to since launch? have a much higher level of stickiness. Brilliantly! We’ve experienced an Each game we sign up is meticulously incredible rate of growth and have had indexed so that it is only promoted and glowing reviews from a number of our recommended to its target audience members. TeePee Games continues i.e. individuals who play similar titles or to receive thousands of new user sign those who have expressed an interest in ups each day which I think is a great that particular type of game. indicator of just how popular the service is becoming. The Facebook app officially launched at the end of July
How the Supreme Court’s Decision in Brown Fails to Appreciate Modern Technology: By Eric T. Gerson How do developers and publishers get their games featured on the discovery platform? Companies interested in getting their games featured on TeePee Games can contact our trusty Head of Content and Chief Scout Darren Newnham. We’re always on the lookout for new games to sign up and are happy to hear from all developers and publishers. The most important factor to us when considering a game for inclusion on our discovery platform is quality - we have stringent quality controls in place to ensure that our members are only presented with the best games on a given platform. Finally, what’s next for TeePee Games? Are there plans to launch the service on other platforms? We hope to expand our discovery service onto a number of additional platforms, from smartphones such as the iPhone and Blackberry through to other social networks. The potential for TeePee Games growth is huge; the scope for expansion is as far and wide as the digital gaming landscape. For now though, we’re very much focused on signing up new content and improving the usability of our website, Facebook app and Android app.
n April 26th, 2010, the Supreme Court agreed to rehear Video Software Dealers Association v. Schwarzenegger, a Ninth Circuit decision invalidating a California regulation of video game violence. Oral arguments were submitted in front of the Supreme Court on November 2nd, 2010, and the Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit decision 7-2 on June 27, 2011 in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. This marked the first time our nation’s highest court ruled on the level of First Amendment protection afforded to violent content in video games. Given our current technological landscape, the decision by the Supreme Court to rehear the Ninth Circuit case wasn’t terribly surprising. As technology develops, video games are able to achieve higher and higher levels of sophistication, with impressive visual fidelity and increased interactivity. Our modern highdefinition consoles and motion-based controllers provide gamers with a level of immersion that has previously never been reached. Utilizing such technology, contemporary titles like L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted 2 and Mass Effect 2 have portrayed intricate, emotionally moving storylines on par with some of Hollywood’s most classic films. However, this increased level of sophistication comes at a price. It stands to reason that as video games become more realistic and interactive, the line between “virtual” and “reality” begins to fade, and the violent content within
such games has the propensity to be much more dangerous for children (a class of persons who have been noted as lacking “that full capacity for individual choice which is the presupposition of First Amendment guarantees”). As such, these advances in video game technology provide state legislators with more ammunition, making the balance between freedom of expression and the state’s interests in the protection of minors as pertinent as ever.
“...the line between “virtual” and “reality” begins to fade, and the violent content within such games has the propensity to be much more dangerous for children...” But does the Supreme Court’s recent decision truly factor in these modern considerations? Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem so. As mentioned above, the case was decided on June 27, 2011. However, the law being addressed was signed by Schwarzenegger on October 7th, 2005 - nearly 6 years earlier! Seeing as how the Xbox 360 didn’t see the light of day until November 22nd of that year - not to mention that the fact that the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii weren’t released until late 2006 there is no way the law’s drafters took
into account the elevated levels of immersion provided by modern gaming technology. As such, before litigation even began, the decision was already technologically outdated. Fast-forward to the oral arguments heard by the Supreme Court this past November. An evaluation of the transcript produces few if any references to games of the current console generation. In fact, the only current-generation titled mentioned was MadWorld, a standard-definition Wii title that portrays black-and-white, highly-stylized cartoon violence instead of photo-realistic gore. So what, then, are the Justices considering in making their evaluation? The one game referenced more than others is Postal II, a computer-based first-person shooter that was released back in 2003! Neither of these titles are a proper representations of what today’s gaming technology is capable of portraying. The majority’s opinion in Brown is similarly devoid of modern considerations. Justice Scalia looks for “longstanding tradition[s]” of regulating violent content instead of appreciating the power of our advancing technological universe. Scalia also relies on theories espoused by Judge Posner in American Amusement Machine Association v. Kendrick, likening the violence and interactivity of video games to that of choose-your-ownadventure books and classic literature like The Odyssey. Needless to say, we
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“We should make every effort to understand new technology. We should take into account the possibility that developing technology may have important societal implications that will become apparent only with time. We should not jump to the conclusions that new technology is fundamentally the same as some older thing with which we are familiar.”
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Justice Alito, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association
are in a much different world than the one in which Posner made his 2001 ruling (before the release of last-generation consoles like the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube). Today, with devices like the Microsoft Kinect taking the controller out of the player’s hands, and games like L.A. Noire pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible with modern graphics technology, video games have pressed far beyond the type of interactive experience obtainable through the written word alone. Luckily, not all of the Supreme Court Justices in Brown were so stuck in the past. Justice Alito’s concurrence (with which Chief Justice Roberts joins) takes a much more modern approach. As Alito astutely puts it: “We should make every effort to understand new technology. We should take into account the possibility that developing technology may have important societal implications that will become apparent only with time. We should not jump to the conclusions that new technology is fundamentally the same as some older thing with which we are familiar.” And though he ultimately agrees with Scalia’s ruling, Alito does so while still appreciating modern gaming developments such as motion controls, persistent online worlds, three-dimensional images, and the propensity for this technology to amplify what are already “astounding” levels of violence. In truth, Alito’s decision to agree with the majority’s outcome regardless of their dated approach - is probably the right one. Even considering today’s advanced technology, we haven’t quite reached the point at which our precedent addressing video game violence needs to be completely reassessed. Video game graphics still haven’t achieved true photorealism, and motion controllers like the Microsoft Kinect are still imperfect. In other words, gamers - even minors - can’t completely lose themselves within games. Modern video game violence is still too distinct from reality to be considered offensive on the same level as obscenity - a category of speech which has historically been deemed unprotected due to its inherent offensiveness. However, the same may not be true three, five, or ten years from now as we progress into the eighth and ninth video game console generations. Only time will tell what the next PlayStation or Xbox will be capable of, but it is apparent that the majority’s approach in Brown will no longer be applicable as technology continues to progress. As Alito posits, “we should make every effort to understand new technology.” And once video games take a leap into full immersion and become virtually indistinguishable from real life, a reevaluation of our First Amendment approach will not just be warranted; it will be necessary. Masur Law Article References: http://www.worldgamingexecutives.com/page/masur-lawarticle-references This column is presented by MasurLaw, a New York Citybased full-service transactional law firm focused on the media, entertainment and technology sectors. MasurLaw also has deep experience in many other industries including gaming. To contact, visit www.MasurLaw.com or email email@example.com.
NEW TRAVEL: Right before take the taxi ride, the user fills this easy form, not all the information is needed, but the most the better. Here the user may: 1. Type the taxi registration -----------------------------------------------------2. The user may pick the place to go (this with the help of google maps) -----------------------------------------------------3. Take a picture of the taxi registration or other taxi ID according to the country -----------------------------------------------------4. Type an average travel time -----------------------------------------------------5. Share in this two social networks that is about to take a cab Right after the user hits “list” a new trip is begun and registered in our database.
olombia and countries in Latin America have the highest rates of kidnapping in the World and are continually listed in the kidnapping hotspots of the World ‘League Table’. Companies like Foonkie Monkey in Colombia are trying to reduce the numbers of ‘express kidnappings’ where victims are taken to cashpoints and traditional kidnappings where victims are taken and held for ransom. http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Kidnapping#Statistics THE COMPANY EXPLAIN THEIR MOBILE APP. Taxi Seguro is the solution for one of the most common security problems in Latin America’s cities and in other countries (Spain and Russia), this is the express kidnapping. This form of kidnapping involves taking passengers of taxis hostage and threatening them with violence in order to obtain debit and credit card numbers. With debit cards having a maximum daily withdrawal limit, these kindappings can often last several days so that the criminals can empty the passengers bank account. TAXI SEGURO FUNCTIONALITY: The application starts with the user’s registration, basically we take vital information as name, Id, email, gender and a Facebook and twitter connection. The user also creates a username and password, this whole information is sent to the Taxi seguro Database and web service infrastructure.
During the trip each period of time (10 Seconds) the user’s position is refreshed by the help of the GPS, beyond show the point in the screen, the application also sends this new position to the user’s database online. The time of the ride is also shown and sent as well to the user’s account online. THE APPLICATION HAS VARIOUS TYPES OF ALERTS: 1. If the taxi takes more than expected by the user, the application sends first a moderate alert via social networks, if the ride takes really too long, the application activates a high level alert which sends a new Facebook wall message, also sends an SMS to the trust people. --------------------------------------------------2. If the way that the taxi takes is not congruent to the expected different ways, the system sends a new moderate alert, the far the taxi Is from the according way of the ride increases the priority of the alert. --------------------------------------------------3. If the user hits the “Panico” (panic) button the application immediately sends a high priority emergency including, social network messages with the information of the ride (position, time, taxi registration number and the picture taken of the taxi), also sends an SMS to the people of trust; this is the highest emergency alert. Now if everything goes well as usually happens the user hits the “travel ended” button, and in case of not the application sends an alerts to the user (vibration alert) and messages to the travellers chosen “safety friends”. Making travel in Colombia and Latin America hopefully much safer.
zbekistan is a relatively small country located near the Caspian Sea, sandwiched between Kazakhstan in the north and Turkmenistan in the south, and shares a short border with Afghanistan. Uzbekistan might be best known for having 30 to 40 earthquakes per year. In 1966, an earthquake nearly destroyed the capital, Tashkent. According to Iskander Nematjanov - an animator and game developer - Uzbekistan is also home to an emerging game development industry, of which he is very optimistic. World Gaming Executives talked to Mr. Nematjanov to learn more about his company. “We make games in Uzbek, English, Russian and German. In the future we plan to make games in Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese. We make quest, puzzle, action, RPG and many other types of games.” Iskander told WGE of his plans to expand throughout Europe. “Now we are selling our products in Uzbekistan and Russia but we plan to sell them all over the world - because the theme of our products is education. It means our products are universal.” Iskander’s studio, Barsajdar Technologies, boasts a team of 15 people: 1 director, 1 musician (a highly ranked specialist who can also compose original tracks), 2 artists (who have earned distinguished international achievements), 8 designers (they work on 3D Max, Maya, Flash, 4D Cinema and Blender) and 3 motion designers. The company is currently working with Uzbekistan’s State Respond Service (Ministry of Emergency) to create a cartoon and PC game to educate people on how to prepare for an
“Now we are selling our products in Uzbekistan and Russia but we plan to sell them all over the world” because the theme of our products is education. It means our products are universal.” earthquake. His company created a cartoon called, “What must be done at the time of an earthquake.” Iskander told WGE, “The idea of the animation was mine but the State Respond Service needed a cartoon, so we created it for them.” He then discussed the PC game, “The game will teach children the right behavior at the time of an earthquake. The genre of the game is “quest.” The game is being developed with Adobe Flash + Action Script technology.” Mr. Nematjanov earned a university degree in International Law and told WGE of his continuing education, “I graduated from the refresher course of lawyers in the Ministry of Justice of Uzbekistan and received a diploma. I have completed a course of UNDP on computer literacy (Certificate). I ended a course on Risk Management at the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade of Uzbekistan. In 2009, I founded the software company “Barsajdar Technologies” and chose education as the theme for my products, which include games and cartoons.” There’s a good reason why Iskander’s passion revolves around earthquake education, “Because I have three sons and I love children. As a father, I want to create useful games for children.” It is no wonder then that Iskander’s aim for the future is, “To become a great developer of educational PC games!” WGE thanks Mr. Nematjanov for taking his time to speak with us.
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WGE: What would you say are Radiance’s greatest strengths as a developer? JS: Radiance is very strong in the creation of 2D and 3D art assets. That said, perhaps our greatest strength is our ability to monetize an IP. For example Radiance is highly advanced when it comes to constructing an item shop, a great amount of detail is needed, but it’s something we’ve done many times, and we have a deep talent pool coming out of the Chinese game industry. The ability to “hook” a player with a free game and make them want to convert to a paying customer is a rare ability, although I’ll admit it’s more commonplace over here than in the West. Also, we’ve just signed a deal with Turner that will utilize our skills in the area of racing game development in a genre that requires realistic physics combined with very precise control, a sort of console on a PC meets MMO type of game.
Radiance Digital Entertainment
adiance Digital Entertainment is a Shanghai Radiance has grown to become one of the based game development studio that has premier independent development companies in been in existence since 2005. The founder China. The combination of Western style console and CEO, Monte Singman, has been in the game development and deep know-how from the industry since the 1980s, when he developed Chinese MMO development sector has enabled the first entertainment software in China which Radiance to bridge the gap between both worlds. incorporated graphics into the program. He then They recently signed a development deal with went on to create several early PC Turner to develop an online games. In 1990 he moved to racing game based on Turner’s “I’m always on the US where he held positions Cartoon Network IP. The Radiance with Electronic Arts, Capcom, art outsourcing studio attracts a the lookout for Accolade, and Infogrames. He has variety of top tier Western game new ideas and worked on dozens of titles across companies. Radiance currently opportunities that all platforms in capacities ranging has three finished MMO titles that advance the goals from programmer to executive have been localized into English producer. for which they are now in the of the company.” process of finding suitable overseas In the early 2000s, Monte founded publishing partners. Zona, one of the first middleware companies focused on Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming. WGE Interviews Jonathan Seidenfeld, Radiance When Zona was acquired by Shanda Interactive VP of Business Development. in 2003, Monte stayed with the company, eventually becoming Shanda’s Head of Production, WGE: How and when did you first get into responsible for all new titles initiated by the the game business? Tell us a little about your company. His depth of experience in both console background in the industry. and online gaming led him to take the plunge and JS: My first job in the game industry was with Sega start his own game development studio in 2005. of America, where I started in 1992. I had just Thus Radiance Digital Entertainment was born. returned from a few years of teaching English in Japan. Sega hired me to work in their Third Party
Licensing Department, mainly to act as a liaison between Sega and Japanese third parties operating in the USA. I was originally hired for my Japanese language ability, but in the end I found I loved the business, worked hard, and began to see myself as part of the global game industry.
WGE: What are your main responsibilities at Radiance? JS: My chief responsibility is to license our games to foreign publishers. We have 3 finished games that have been localized into English and are now ready to find homes in various territories. I encourage all interested parties to get in touch with me about this. To a lesser extent I work with the outsourcing group to find new opportunities, but that business seems to pretty much take care of itself. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and opportunities that advance the goals of the company.
From Sega I moved over to Sony in anticipation of the then upcoming Sony PlayStation. I was the seventh employee at SCEA, and the first person there with any game industry experience. I started out as an evangelist for the PlayStation, giving demos and signing up publishers and developers. I probably signed up about a quarter of the original PlayStation licensees. I had a hand in establishing the Third Party Relations department at Sony, and was deeply involved in the PlayStation launch. As Sony grew, it evolved from startup culture to more of a staid, corporate culture. After a few years I decided to move on, and worked with several startup developers and other technology companies with a game industry focus. WGE: How did you get involved with Radiance Digital Entertainment? JS: I first met Monte back in my Sony days, when he was with Capcom. We met “I’m loving every again when I worked with him briefly as minute of it. I a consultant for Zona, probably in about feel lucky to be 2001. Shortly after arriving in China, I involved in such an learned that he had his own company, he is highly visible in the industry over here, exciting and fast so we got together again and resumed our moving industry.” relationship. WGE: How is working in a Chinese game company different from working in a Western company? JS: Oh boy, that’s a really big question! One needs to be prepared to get involved in wildly different projects from what’s in the job description. You need to be able to wear many hats. The culture at Radiance is fairly international, so it is more similar than some of the other places I’ve been. Your question could and should be the subject of a whole other article, which perhaps I’ll write someday.
WGE: So what’s on the horizon for Radiance? Is there anything you can tell us about future plans? JS: Well, we’ve got a lot going on right now. In the near term we will be bringing our games to new platforms including smart phones and mobile, and moving more heavily into the SNS world. We are also working on some new game designs that we plan to announce in 2012. Finally, we just got the appropriate government licenses to operate online games in China, so we are now developing the infrastructure to support a domestic publishing operation. It’s possible we will publish foreign games and others not developed by Radiance, but that decision has not yet been made. WGE: It sounds like you’ve got enough on your plate to keep you busy for a while. JS: We sure do, and I’m loving every minute of it. I feel lucky to be involved in such an exciting and fast moving industry. Thanks for taking time out to speak to us Jonathan, much appreciated.
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As for developers, they can access Antix’s Game Developer Kit, port or write their games and then have those games certified and then placed on the Antix Warehouse for further distribution by Antix’s partners and clients. When developers do get the kit they initially see AGP as an execution environment for games, but really it is several things: it’s a software client that enforces the digital rights of the content, it manages the life cycle of the game from installation through execution and it eliminates the impact of fragmentation that’s due to device differences in CPUs, APIs, OSes, physical input mechanisms, binary packaging, etc. AGP separates the distribution format of the game from the execution format - this is a significant achievement. Antix make the point that the many different devices that exist today all have different execution formats - AGP levels the playing field so that developers can create a single digital binary to address them all. Consequently the AGP gives game developers exactly what they want - maximum distribution across different devices with minimum development work with all the benefits of native code whilst simultaneously creating new user models. The AGP brings value for developers because they can write for multiple targets the home and mobile with a single SKU.
Antix Labs I
magine a native gaming environment that enables consumers to play the same game on any kind of device as well as copy and share those games both over the internet and peer-to-peer via wi-fi, bluetooth or sd card in a manner that protects the rights and the revenues of the game developers and publishers. Sounds like a utopian world for gamers, publishers and developers, doesn’t it? Apparently, that’s exactly what Antix Labs is creating. Francis Charig is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and the Chief Executive and founder of Antix. Prior to forming Antix, Francis was the co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of Tao Group, the pioneer of binary portable, high performance multimedia software. Francis set up Antix in 2007 with former employees of the Tao Group, whose high performance media solutions had been deployed in tens of millions of phones, TVs, cameras and other products from manufacturers including Sony, Panasonic NEC and HTC. This team is currently designing and developing the Antix Game Player (AGP), which has tremendous value for both developers and consumers. A series of blue chip companies presented AGP in September at both IFA in Berlin and IBC in Amsterdam.
On the consumer end, gamers will be able to download, install, play, copy and share C and C++ based games through AGP. The service is similar to MP3 sharing, but goes further in that consumers can send multiplayer games to a friend, who might have an entirely different console or device; they will share these games over a network such as the internet, or via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The Antix Game Player has already been ported to various connected TVs, mobile phones, tablets, PCs and various browsers. We saw the first big brand in the stores, Samsung launched AGP on select TV models a few months ago and there are reputed to now be around 20 million sets worldwide that are potentially accessible to AGP. Antix is already being distributed on devices with preloaded games from publishers like Polarbit and a number of smaller publishers. Major branded titles will be announced during this year. Preloaded games are typically locked versions so that consumers can try the game but easily download keys when playing in order to progress further. In mobile, gamers can expect the first major operator to announce later this year their requirement for the Antix Game Player.
“Antix Labs’ tool chain is straightforward and familiar: it offers plug-ins for both Eclipse and Visual Studio; compilers are GCC; and it’s easy to integrate various game engines. Best of all, it’s free for qualifying developers.”
Necessarily platform agnostic; it can demonstrate games running on a TV when the developer had no idea during development that it would run on the TV nor was he targeting the TV specifically the results are impressive. The Antix Game Player (AGP) consists of a number of components: a data format, a piece of client software, a set of tools, a digital rights service, a warehouse service, and in selected cases may include an optional Antix store - this collection fills in the gaps that aren’t provided by the operators, manufacturers or game developers and ultimately delivers the key components necessary for providers to offer a comprehensive end-to-end service.
Antix Labs’ tool chain is straightforward and familiar: it offers plug-ins for both Eclipse and Visual Studio; compilers are GCC; and it’s easy to integrate various game engines. Best of all, it’s free for qualifying developers.
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“The first Grading involved top players like James Keys, James Mitchell, Jerome Bradpiece and Sunny Chattha. Subsequent Gradings have uncovered talents such as Owen Robinson, Jamie Burland and Sam Razavi. I think the talent is out there, we simply act as facilitators and our system does seem to attract some of the best young prospects around,” said Neil. “Besides the possibility of a WSOP package, Black Belt players enjoy other benefits, such as, “Challenge Channing” which Neil likes to use as an opportunity to meet site members. “Challenge Channing is a chance for me to meet the customers. Myself and fellow Black Belts Sam Razavi and Richard Ashby are always on the site and we play at all stakes. That particular table is 25c/50c and I’m there most Tuesdays
Neil Channing Professional Poker Player
eil Channing is an English professional poker player and author based in Maida Vale, London. In 2008 he won the Irish Open Poker Championships. In April of this year, he launched Blackbeltpoker.com, a community site for players. In the past few months, this new poker site has seen tremendous growth and popularity, one of the reasons being that Black Belt Poker will back their best players in live tournaments. Neil has developed a reputation on the poker circuit for helping young players with stake money. That’s one of the benefits of joining his poker site: eight Black Belt players made it to this year’s World Series of Poker, who Neil had a financial interest in. During the 2011 World Series of Poker, Neil took time out of his busy schedule to speak with World Gaming Executives. “We sent four qualifiers whose progress I was following very closely. All eight and all four qualifiers made day two, five of the eight and all the qualifiers made day three and two of eight and one qualifier cashed.” Neil told us. Neil takes a personal interest in his players and has a few little rituals. One of these included heading to downtown Las Vegas right before the WSOP
starts, “I take the Black Belt team downtown to Binnion’s Horseshoe” explained Neil, “so that they can soak up the atmosphere, get a sense of the history of the event and really feel the occasion.” WGE asked Neil how Black Belt “Our players all Poker started. join to our social “I first started network, which backing poker is pretty original. players about four years ago I also think the with James belts system is Akenhead and totally unique” Sunny Chattha, two excellent players. The team grew to around six guys within a year and it was around then that the genesis of my idea that became Black Belt Poker developed. I grew the team to around fifteen players, who I was entering into every event they played, after that, with the intention of developing it into a business.” The current team does have nice wins under their belt and others who are developing into future stars. Ideally, Neil would like to have around 30 Black Belt players, and said “we are just in the process of recruiting some more.”
“The site has a staff of six lead by our CEO Warren Wooldridge, and a team of Blue Belt and above players who are involved in creating content, said Neil. The site contains articles, blogs and strategy guides that are written by the top players. Neil continued, “Nik Persaud has been involved from the start and last year Richard Ashby became a shareholder and a fellow Black Belt.” WGE asked Neil how Black Belt Poker stands out from the rest. Neil responded, “In terms of forums, the UK has never had a Pocket Fives or a 2+2 where players can really hang-out and discuss strategy.” Neil likes to think of it as a Facebook for poker. “Our players all join to our social network, which is pretty original. I also think the belts system is totally unique.” Each time you rank up to a new belt, you earn new types of rewards. Neil then discussed how the site started and the nature of the ‘gamified’ approach, “When we started the business I was very aware that the whole Belt Up process is meant to be aspirational. It was necessary to have some players at the top as Blue, Brown and Black Belts so that new players could see what they had to work up to. Getting to Blue Belt could take a few months and Brown and Black a little longer so we invented The Grading as a way of fast-tracking some of the country’s top young internet pros.” Players start off with a white belt by downloading the software and the more they play, the higher they rise in belt rank, and the more incentives they receive.
chatting away and taking on all-comers.” Neil and the other Black Belts are always on the site and will play at all different stakes. Neil continued, “Black Belt Poker is part of the iPoker network. We started off as a very small part of that larger thing, but of course being on a network means there are always a lot of games to play. iPoker is third in size behind Stars and Party,” and WGE understands they are close to grabbing the number two spot. Neil was happy to say, “Although a small part of that network, we have doubled in size in the last few months.”
“Originally we took fifty players and put them through a series of trials. They had to play an intensive period online over a month and write strategy articles and blogs along the way. They were expected to communicate with the media, to discuss their experience via social networking and to try and learn and improve by discussing hands and ideas. We ran workshops and they were expected to speak at these.”
Before we finished talking, WGE wanted to ask Neil about the differences between playing poker live and playing online. “Playing online is obviously a totally different game to live. You can play many tables at once and you’re giving away a big edge if you aren’t tracking your opponents with software. I often get asked for backing in live tournaments from players who simply cannot beat online. Those people are usually not a good bet,” Neil answered. WGE also wanted to know if Neil plays other online games. “I don’t really get time for other online games. I used to be a massive Pacman addict but now I spend way too much time grinding Facebook and Twitter.”
“The best 8 players were given a $25,000 WSOP package. We spent $250,000 on the first Grading in an attempt to build our first team of Blue and Brown Belts. We have run two more since and sent players to the Irish Open and the Aussie Millions.”
If you’re looking for a social poker community in a setting that helps you learn the game and provides many opportunities, you should check out blackbeltpoker.com. Start playing a few hands and next thing you know, you could be sporting a Black Belt at the World Series of Poker.
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Breaking Stereotypes The Truth about the Russian Market
ompanies are looking to grow by moving into new markets. More and more businesses are testing the waters of the Russian market to figure out its opportunities. But does anybody know what really is going on there? How many Russians use the Internet and who are these people? Do they pay or just play? Do they have any peculiar online behavior? How does the Russian market compare with other markets? Finally, is it worth the effort? Julia Lebedeva from Nevosoft, a leading Russian casual and mobile game developer and publisher, breaks three common stereotypes about the Russian game market. STEREOTYPE #1 People believe that there are not many Internet users in Russia Is it true? Let’s look at the numbers. In 2005 we had about 18,5 million Internet users. By 2011 the number has reached 60 million! This is almost half the population. And if we compare this number to the amount of Internet users in other countries, we will see that 60 million is not that little. Besides, 38 million Russian Internet users play video games. The absolute number of Russian gamers, 38 million evenly split amongst male and female, is even higher than in the UK or Germany. Now the question is: do these players pay any money? STEREOTYPE #2 Russian players are not payers The latest research by Newzoo indicates that Russian consumer spending on
games will grow to $1.5 bn in 2011. By 2015 the social game sector alone is believed to reach the same number. The majority (56%) of money is spent on PC and MMO games. The $570m spent on PC games includes $210m spent on direct downloads and $50m second-hand trade. MMO games gross $270m, leaving console games behind with $225m. Boxed revenues are still relatively high considering the fact that 75% of PC or console game buyers also download free illegal copies. Online casual game destinations, games on social networks and mobile devices each account for about 10% of total game spending, and together take an impressive 48% of all time spent on games. With the Internet access spreading fast across the country and local as well as international game companies launching localized highquality games in Russia daily, the market is clearly set for strong further growth. So far everything seems just great. There are many Internet users in Russia, there are many gamers and, what is even more important, many gamers actually pay for games. What is left? STEREOTYPE #3 The Russian market is believed to be very difficult to enter Among the main reasons there are cultural backgrounds, language and localization issues and billing. And I have to be honest, there are some differences to consider. For example, “Mafia Wars” is one of the most popular games on Facebook (who didn’t play
it at least once?) While “The Prison” is one of the most popular social games on the Russian social network Vkontakte. But you are wrong if you think that the differences are that huge. If we have a look at Top 10 of the most popular games, they are pretty much the same on Facebook and on Russian social networks. Western developers, who already know how to survive in hazardous Facebook environment, will be able to work in the Russian social networks as well, all viral methods are similar to Facebook. We can observe the same situation in the casual games sector: though the audience differs a bit, hits remain hits. For example, Nevosoft’s title “My Kingdom for the Princess” got to the top 10 on all the world leading casual game portals. It got the Great Games Award in 2010 as the Best Sim/Tycoon game. And it also was a best-seller of the year on our Russian portal Nevosoft.ru All in all, the Russian video game market might be just a perfect direction to expand right now. It offers a lot of opportunities to those who know how to seize them. Don’t let stereotypes drive your business! Article submitted by Julia LebedevaCasual video games industry public relations manager. Ms. Lebedeva also acts as a partner relations manager for Nevosoft (Russia) responsible for finding new game content and localizing into Russian.
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WGE MAG: 49
She’s been a hardcore casual gamer for more than 15 years and loves hidden object games on the Macintosh. World Gaming Executives recently sat down with Belinda to discuss Women in Games International. She started by telling us, “Women in Games International was conceived in 2004 to further the advancement of women in the global video game industry as well as promote more inclusive game design and gameplay environments. In 2005, the organization hosted its first day-long conference in Austin, Texas. Since then, WIGI has grown to over 4,000 members and is one of the top professional organizations in the video game industry.”
Women In Games Interview:
Belinda Van Sickle President/CEO of GameDocs
elinda Van Sickle is President/CEO of GameDocs, a game industry service provider specializing in distribution, consulting, packaging, localizations, web promotion and B-to-B documents. She started her video game career in 1996 at Activision, working as a writer, copyeditor, designer and layout artist in charge of all game manual copy. In 1999, she was one of the founding members of Ignited Minds, an ad agency that specialized in game packaging. At ATVI and IM, Belinda worked on manuals for all of Activision’s releases from 1997 through 2005. She left IM in 2005 to start her own company. GameDocs has since worked on packaging and promo materials for Blizzard, Vivendi, Disney Interactive Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Konami, Midway and many other AAA and independent publishers. Belinda started volunteering for Women in Games International in 2006 by spearheading the WIGI LinkedIn group and the Community Mixer series. Since then, she has become CEO of the organization, leading WIGI’s efforts to promote and encourage women’s achievement in video games. Belinda has an undergraduate degree in Feminist
Studies and Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master’s in English with a focus in Creative Writing from Sonoma State University. Ms. Van Sickle has “WIGI makes a spoken at industry difference for conferences such as everyone in the GDC, Casual Connect, game industry NAB and others. Belinda has been by providing interviewed for several low or no-cost articles on the game educational industry for publications and networking like Wired, GameSpot, GameCareerGuide, opportunities.” the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Into Tomorrow podcast. She has lectured or taught at the University of Southern California, California State University-Fullerton, the Art Institute of California-Los Angeles and Westwood College.
Joining WIGI was a natural fit for Belinda. She told WGE of her history with the group and the reasons she joined. “I have been involved with non-profits and women’s issues since the 1980s. I attended WIGI’s second conference in January 2006 in San Francisco. I started my career at Activision and had worked with many people in the industry and had a lot of contacts.” You might assume that Belinda would know many of the people at the event, However, I noticed I didn’t recognize anyone at the WIGI event. I started to think about how isolating it can be to be a woman working in video games, especially programmers and artists. Isolation does not lead to career growth or a positive work experience.” Belinda continued by telling WGE, “I joined WIGI and started the online community for the organization to help create more opportunities for women to grow their careers collaboratively over time. In November 2006, I hosted the first WIGI networking mixer in Los Angeles by reaching out to this new online community.” Belinda is now the WIGI CEO. WGE wanted to know how WIGI makes a difference? Belinda explained it this way, “WIGI makes a difference for everyone in the game industry by providing low or no-cost educational and networking opportunities. Most of our events and programs are open to anyone at no cost, allowing students, folks in-between jobs and those working independently to learn from leaders in the industry as well as expand their own personal business networks.”
for VC funding. Nanea Reeves has a huge executive job and major respect among the top tier of game industry leaders.” She concluded with, “I have been very lucky to have an awesome group of organizers on the WIGI Executive Board. I learn from them all the time.” It’s always interesting to learn how many men join “women’s” groups. WGE posed that question to Belinda. “All WIGI events and programs are open equally to women and men. We have at least 50% men at our major conference events like GDC and E3. Our WAM Women and Men networking events in Los Angeles and San Francisco also have a strong male presence close to 50%. We believe in collaborative career building over time grow your industry network to grow your career. The game industry is over 80% male. It’s vital for women to work with men and vice versa. Besides, I’ve been in the game industry going on 15 years because it’s fun and the people are great regardless of gender.”
“The best way to get involved is to join the WIGI LinkedIn and Facebook groups.”
At this point, you might be thinking of Belinda as someone that many look up to. We figured there must be someone who she considers a personal mentor/heroine in the world of games? “Through WIGI I have met many fabulously successful women in the game industry. There are a few who have really inspired me, women who have started their own companies, ones who have sold their companies and started another, women who are in top executive roles at major publishers.” Belinda then got down to naming names, including, “Margaret Wallace inspired me with her talk at the 2010 Gamesauce conference about her company’s search
Like all successful groups, WIGI is growing. Belinda told us of the group’s plans for the future. “WIGI is re-launching the GameMentorOnline program in September 2011. The program is the only one of its kind in the game industry, matching professional mentors with proteges working in the industry, trying to get into the industry and in-game educational programs. We are working with the Girl Scouts to create a game design badge for all girls in scouting. We’re looking forward to more growth in 2012 by providing more member benefits and more chapters around the world. The Executive Board is meeting with publishers and developers to gain insight on how to better serve companies and their employees. WIGI is also working with the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles to create a comprehensive study of game industry demographics with the intention to inform the industry on ways to create more diversity.”
To wrap up, WGE asked Ms. Van Sickle how people can become involved with WIGI. “The best way to get involved is to join the WIGI LinkedIn and Facebook groups.” Belinda finished with telling us about the networking opportunities, “You’ll get plugged into community discussions as well as learn about our events and programs. For people in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Vancouver, we have frequent WAM networking events in those areas. We have major events at GDC Online in Austin, GDC San Francisco and E3.” WGE would like to thank Belinda Van Sickle for taking the time to talk with us about Women in Games International.
50 :WGE MAG
Vox Pops! Soundbites from the Games Industry. Favourite games of game devs 1000 Games Industry members polled.
Baldur’s Gate series
Curse of Monkey Island series
4/ Shadow of the Colossus 5/ Mass Effect series 6/ Batman Arkham Asylum 7/ Starcraft 8/ The Legend of Zelda 9/ EverQuest
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Published on Feb 1, 2012
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