Ludicious Unconference Summary

David Stark / Zarkonnen
1 Feb 2016, 6:32 p.m.

Near the end of January 2016, I organized a small unconference about games as a part/counterpart of Ludicious, a Swiss games conference. The following are the notes we made during our sessions, including transcripts.

If you attended the unconference and would like to contribute additional notes, thoughts, or summaries of what was discussed in one of the sessions, please get in touch.

I also wrote a postmortem of how it went from an organizational perspective. A future unconference is vaguely planned towards the end of 2016. More details will forthcome.


How far can games go? Can they hurt?

  • Types of pain: emotional pain, physical pain, frustration
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Pain relief
  • Pain as a "benefit"?
  • Milgram, Stanford prisoner, Death penalty
  • Ethics!
  • Games as training to handle pain
  • Empathy
  • Examples: Banner Saga

The Indie Bubble

  • FTL went on Steam -> $$$
  • v1.0: Steam = Rich
  • Greenlight Gold Rush
  • Open the Floodgates
  • Now:
  • "Good" games with 75% positive Steam reviews
  • "Bad" games with fewer
  • The pie is still split so that 3/4 of $ goes to "good games"
  • But there's many many more bad games now.
  • "Triple Indie" is like Romero's ideal Team size (~9)

Marketing Skill Share

  • Why are people afraid to show their product?
  • A Twitter account is not just for the release!
  • Tweet about the process. The programmer-hero fighting to make a game.
  • Do we need an Incubator? A publisher?
  • Different channels for different markets. Twitter not for all.
  • "It's gonna sell because it's awesome." is not a marketing strategy. What makes it awesome? How do I communicate that?
  • presskit()
  • Fix distribute(): Notifications, verification, match-making are value-added.
  • Marketing needs a plan

Alternatives to Unity

  • Unity -> most experience
  • three.js,,
  • all from scratch
  • good to know different tools
  • people don't know how engines work
  • Gamemaker, Cocos2d, UnrealEngine, Godot, Panda3D, processing, openframeworks, ps.js
  • Unity -> different Devices
  • Unity -> good for 3D, not so well for 2D
  • Just Get Them Going!

Games & Consciousness

  • Entertainment drives digital Technology
  • Body: Hardware, Brain: Software <-> Interface
  • The "mental space": where is it?
  • You're either present or in thought, not possible to be both at a time -> Hardware problem
  • If you get to the edge of your knowledge, your body energy goes up (brain energy consumption), it "interests" you. Also: decisions with impacts do this as well.
  • Problem early edu games: gameplay (in mental space) then Math-Problem, bam, takes you out of the game.
  • Experiences/Memories and Sensory Stimulation is processed the same way. Both are "reality" for you
  • You need relatable experience to be able to relate/project yourself into something.
  • Twitter/Email successful because: Dose is like hints, but not enough to fullfilling.
  • Today, people are programmed by devices and experiences.