Which simple tips deliver the biggest value to developers?

Evasyst's Mark Ollila, Madfinger's Marek Rabas, Gamevil's David Mohr, Gram Games' Jeremy Glazman and Pixel Federation's Martin Jurášek weigh in

Which simple tips deliver the biggest value to developers?

Our Pocket Gamer Connects events are stuffed with knowledge and specialist advice, from what's going on in the East and how to best monetise your games to any number of industry-related topics.

This year's PGC London event was no different. One such useful panel was 'Which Simple Tips Deliver The Biggest Value To Developers?'.

So many options, so little time

The session delved into some of the more straightforward - but nonetheless important - tips for games developers for anyone from seasoned pioneers to frugal indies.

Topics discussed included what you need to start a company with, how to haggle with a publisher and whether you should go with the Unreal engine or Unity.

Chairing the panel was Evasyst CEO Dr Mark Ollila (pictured, bottom left) and taking part was Madfinger CEO Marek Rabas (pictured, top right), Gamevil Com2uS Europe GM David Mohr (pictured, top left), Gram Games senior developer Jeremy Glazman and Pixel Federation UX games designer Martin Jurášek (pictured, bottom right).

Check out what advice our panellists had to give by clicking on the link below.

Click here to view the list »
  • 1 What tools do you need to start a studio?

    A logical place to start, the panel was asked what tools they thought you'd need to start your own games studio.

    Gram Games senior developer Jeremy Glazman explained that while he himself has never started a company up, he had been there on day one for several. 

    First off, Glazman advised that you need a game engine, but that developers should not build their own unless it's their own product they're making.

    “If that’s not your product then don’t do it, it’s a terrible idea,” he said. 

    You'll also need a build system from the word go so you constantly play, test and understand the game you hope to finish. 

    “How are you going to test this thing that you’re making?" says Glazman.

    "Especially on mobile or console, if you can’t put it on a device very easily, then you’re not going to play it and then you won’t be able to get it.”

  • 2 The engine debate: Unity on Unreal?

    Which engine is better to start off with, Unity or Unreal? As the top two third-party game engines in the industry, it's a question many developers face.

    There are of course other options, including making your own engine, however.

    While different members on the panel preferred Unity over Unreal, most agreed that your choice of engine should play to your team's benefits, and thus should be adaptable to such a decision.

    “I think it’s what fits your team. If you put together a team of Unity developers then don’t use Unreal," said Gram Games senior developer Jeremy Glazman. 

    "So, really, work to the strength of your team the best that you can.”

  • 3 Find a publisher or self-publish?

    Is it better to seek out a publisher off the bat or just do it yourself? Much like the previous question, it's down to you and the experience within your team. 

    Madfinger CEO Marek Rabas noted that working with a publisher at his studio, which has released titles such as Shadowgun Legends, was not necessary given the experience he's accumulated in the industry. 

    Gamevil Com2uS Europe GM David Mohr however said the decision on whether to partner with a publisher comes down to burn-rate

    “That depends on you, your company and your goals. At the end of the day, it is a question of burn-rate more than anything else," says Mohr. 

    “If you’re small, and you don’t need a tonne of money to sustain yourself, and you just want to keep growing very carefully step by step, maybe as Marek did, then that’s great, and you can do that. That’s fine.

    “If you want to scale, go big and not have to deal with all those functions that a publisher can take care of, such as localisation and marketing, then maybe you should talk to a publisher."

  • 4 Tips for negotiating with a publisher

    To kick off the topic of publishing negotiations, Evasyst CEO Dr Mark Ollila explained that he believed that the best negotiations happen when both sides leave feeling slightly uncomfortable, as it meant an actual discussion had occurred. 

    He then went on to explain that if both sides walked away happily, it was likely that one of them got "screwed" in the deal. 

    Gamevil Com2uS Europe GM David Mohr was then tagged in to give his view on how to best handle a publisher in talks and explained that the age-old advice of going in high still rang true.

    “You should go in high in negotiation, whether it’s your salary or a publishing deal, because then you can go in with the maximum of what you want, and know what you want, then find the middle ground," he said. 

    “I would also say, depending on your studio background, be sure to have someone there who knows what they’re doing from a business and legal perspective.

    "So, whether that’s an agent or a lawyer, get that.

    “If you’re a small studio of creative/artistic people, then just hire somebody to help you with that.

    "Agents usually work on commissions, so they’ll only get money if there is a deal, whereas lawyers might cost money, but they’ll save you a lot of money later on because there may be publishers out there who want to screw you.”


A footy game fanatic and experienced editor of numerous computing and game titles, lively Chris is up for anything - including running Steel Media! (Madman!)