Develop Conference In Brighton – Day 1

Running from 9th-11th July, 2013 sees the gaming conference Develop open its doors for the 8th time. With over 1600…

David Howland


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Running from 9th-11th July, 2013 sees the gaming conference Develop open its doors for the 8th time. With over 1600 developers, delegates and press descending on sunny Brighton, the 3-day conference hosts over 90 sessions and includes around 120 speakers, with talks looking at a host of different areas of the gaming industry; from business to design to production and so on.

The conference’s highlight should come on Wednesday 10th July when industry legend Mark Cerny is set to deliver one of seven keynote speeches, this one about the next generation of gaming, with the lead architect for Sony’s Playstation 4 set to demonstrate the console.

This diary will, over the next 3 days, attempt to cover as wide a range of information about different the industry sectors as possible, not only covering the talks and the all important keynotes, but hopefully with the exhibition side of things also set to kick-off on Wednesday, some insight into what’s on the gaming horizon.


EVOLVE KEYNOTE: London Calling: ‘Beyond The Box’ In Connected Entertainment


Day 1 of Develop is the ‘Evolve’ day, which largely focuses on what’s cutting-edge and innovative in game development, and kicking things off is Lee Schuneman of Microsoft’s newest studio Lift, delivering the opening keynote address.

Schuneman’s talk is quite broad, giving an account of his journey into the games industry and how he and his partners at Lift approach game development. His personal journey began, as he mentions a few times, at the age of 26 when he started approaching games companies, ultimately landing at Rare and serving as director on the N64 smash, Diddy Kong Racing.

17 years later, Schuneman structures his talk around the gaming analogy Struan’s loop; Do a thing > Get a thing > unlock more things, repeat. “Gaming is everywhere” says Schuneman, who plays a brief Skrillex sound tracked video to demonstrate this, insisting that the gaming market is split 50/50 between genders (the conference attendees does not support this theory).

The talk is business-centric, with attention to buzz words like “creativity”, “ambition” and “new”. He talks of a “dotocracy”, a process whereby Lift employees all present ideas and each employee is given 6 dots with which to vote on the best ideas for any given project to move forward.

Schuneman wraps up the speech insisting on the importance of word-of-mouth promotion, with competition for high scores and social media being important. He mentions that Lift currently has 4 free to play games, each for connected devices, in planning, though details of them aren’t forthcoming.