Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Games on Saturday 12th March

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  • Beyond Check-Ins: Location Based Game Design

    by John-Paul Walton and Zach Saul

    This dual presentation will explore common play elements in location-based games. We’ll analyze the popular "Check-In" mechanic (used by products like FourSquare and GoWalla), and take a look at the business and social forces that have influenced its emergence as the popular geo game model.

    The presentation will compare current location-based products, charting their strengths and weaknesses to identify where we believe large areas of opportunity exist in the market.

    We'll evaluate the challenges and untapped opportunities of Geo Games from the technological and design perspectives of the two presenters. We’ll outline how the limitations in location technology can be an elegant part of the game design itself, and how new innovations will help to create richer and more immersive parallel worlds.

    We’ll describe why we think its time to move beyond "social" Check-In systems, to “true games” that engage, challenge, and stimulate players.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Staying Alive: Can Indie iPhone Game Development Survive?

    by David Kalina, Steve Broumley, Peter Franco, Alan Knitowski and Heather Kelley

    In the fourth year of game development, the AppStore has evolved from an indie gold mine to a competitive corporate marketplace. How can an indie developer adapt?

    Every member on this panel has experienced large success in the iPhone market along with their share of failures. In addition, every member on this panel is a developer themselves, touching the content and code directly while also juggling biz-dev, marketing, and PR.

    This panel will dissect the rise and fall of an indie developer. What makes some developers close up shop vs. what makes some developers prosper (and others hang on by the skin of their teeth)?

    From a technical standpoint, we will discuss tips and tricks for developing for the iPhone. We will discuss what the technical difficulties with tailoring your game to the iPad vs. iPhone. And we will discuss which features in the latest hardware / SDK are worth taking advantage of.

    Then we will follow the development through to market and discuss tips and tricks on how small developers can promote their games. What sort of strategies seem to be working? What strategies are dead ends?

    Finally, we will discuss where we see the future of indie development going. And what’s next after the iPad?

    Note: This panel will have a mix of technical and creative, with both programmers and content creators on the panel.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Indie Game Developers: What Platform Suits You?

    by Jack Buser, Sophia Coney, Jesse Vigil, Rade Stojsavljevic and Jamil Moledina

    It starts with an idea and a handful of creative minds, but where it goes from there can be anyone’s guess. Today’s indie game developers face a unique set of challenges, not the least of which is determining which platform will best aide in their eventual success. Video game publishers continue to change overnight, offering developers new tools to implement into their titles and competitive options for extending the game value. With all of these changes, indie developers are left with several unanswered questions: how do I go about choosing the best distribution method for my game? Which platform harnesses the audience that my game is best suited for? How do I fully take advantage of all the aspects that a platform has to offer? This panel brings together representatives from various platforms as well as indie developers to discuss the lessons learned when developing games for traditional consoles, virtual worlds, portable devices, social platforms and beyond.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Keynote: Seth Priebatsch

    by Seth Priebatsch

    The last decade was the decade of social. The coming one will be the decade of games. Over the past years, a few key companies have built, and now maintain, a powerful framework to foster digital connections between our friends, family and colleagues. What comes next is another framework, not another social layer, but a "game layer". And it'll be even bigger. Instead of trading in social connections, the game layer traffics directly in human motivation. It's not about the number of followers you have, or how many people "like" you, but about how you can leverage game mechanics to achieve all sorts of great things. Use them cleverly and they can enhance education, empower local businesses and make your life more fun and more rewarding. Use them incorrectly and well... it's less good. Join Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja of SCVNGR, for a deep dive into the coming game layer, what to be excited about, what to fear and why your life is about to become a lot more fun.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

  • Causebuilding Games: Fundraising & Social Gaming Streams

    by Evonne Heyning and Josephine Dorado

    With the rise of DIY gamebuilding engines the cost of game production now makes it possible for nonprofits, political campaigns and other public organizations to create a game overnight. Trends in social gaming for the social sector include persistent communities for causes, dynamic solution-based crowdsourcing challenges and transmedia campaigns that fit well with video and web planning for large or small groups.

    Are you trying to live video with virtual worlds for your upcoming fundraising event? Need to create a quick game, campaign or experience for your constituents but daunted by the task? Selling virtual goods to raise money for a crisis cause?

    Explore mixed reality production, streaming embeds, twitter and comment community integration, game creation on the fly, collaborative processes for production. Figure out how to get your teams building together in 3D worlds, video mixes, challenges and design jams. Play your passion and make it fun for new people to engage with you!

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better

    by Jane McGonigal

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

  • Storytelling through Advertising: Engaging Players in Online Games

    by Mike Sego and Manny Anekal

    What do Gillette’s Venus, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and Skittles have in common? They have all successfully used virtual worlds and game play mechanics to engage players online. Social games, in particular, continue to be a growing form of entertainment, reaching nearly one out of every two Internet users and offering a unique platform for marketers to reach a specific target audience. However, social games always face the challenge of engaging players in a meaningful way without annoying them or detracting from the online experience. This session shares case studies from leading companies and discusses practical ways that brands have turned to social gaming to develop immersive campaigns that actually engage users and keep within a game’s narrative – and the serious risks of doing it wrong.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom F, Austin Convention Center

  • Surviving and Thriving as an Independent Game Developer

    by Cinco Barnes

    Cinco Barnes, previously Lead Designer of “Star Wars: Galaxies,” currently Chief Visionary Officer of Spacetime Studios, discusses how his company abandoned their charter to create large-scale PC MMO games and leveraged unique competitive advantages to find profitability in the emerging online mobile games market. This presentation covers strategies that Spacetime Studios employed to insulate the company from uncertainty while guiding it to a new market, as well as best practices for transposing well-known PC MMO features onto today’s mobile gaming devices.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Jane McGonigal

    by Jane McGonigal

    Jane McGonigal will be stopping by the SX Bookstore to greet registrants and sign copies of her book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

    At 4:30pm to 4:45pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom D Foyer, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage write-up

  • Console & Casual Games Collide!

    by Tony Mora, Laralyn McWilliams, Mark Spenner, Ryan Schneider and Greg Zeschuk

    The casual games market explosion was among 2010's top tech stories. How will the space evolve? Some of the console video games industry's biggest developers and publishers have started creating casual games of their own. Others have integrated social media features in their console games. Come learn how both games worlds are colliding.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Latin America: The Future of Online Games

    by Sergio Monsalve, Esteban Sosnik, Juan Franco and Andy Kleinman

    The video game revolution is expanding all over the planet. In the past few years, Latin America became a huge market for both video game development and consumption. From companies like Electronic Arts and Vivendi, to homegrown companies like Three Melons, Latin American developers have created a local industry that is becoming one of the most notorious and fastest growing in the digital world.

    We will discuss how some of these companies started, the secret to their success, their vision of the future, and everything that is happening today in the world of video games, online games, social games, etc.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Sabine, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown