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Mobile game dev sessions to attend at Develop: Brighton 2019

Our top picks of the mobile-related talks at this year's show
Mobile game dev sessions to attend at Develop: Brighton 2019

Thousands of games industry professionals are set to return once again to the Develop: Brighton conference next week on July 9th to 11th.

This year’s event sees three full days of tracks, covering everything from game design, business, coding, discoverability, trends and more.

Heading to the show are speakers from the likes of Jagex, Big Pixel Studios, Hutch, Rovio, Google, PlayStack and more.

For those attending for the mobile games industry, we’ve picked some of the top talks you might want to attend.


Mobile: Bringing Old School RuneScape to Smartphones

Who: Christopher Knowles, Jagex
When: 12:00 to 12:45
Where: Room 6
Description: A retrospective on the development of a fully-featured mobile client for Old School RuneScape (OSRS) allowing play with desktop users. The client launched on 30th October 2018, with two million downloads in the first week. RuneScape launched in 2001, so the primary challenge of the mobile port was dealing with a large, legacy codebase written without any consideration of mobile, and an equally large body of game content designed for desktop screens and input.

OSRS is a reboot of the 2007 version of RuneScape, and is still entirely Java-based on desktop and uses a software renderer. A feasibility test in 2016 showed it could be made to run with a modified version of RuneScape 3's C++ hardware renderer. However, for production this required a substantial re-architecting of core areas of the client. Because it uses Java, running OSRS on Android was relatively straightforward. Rather than rewriting for iOS, we instead used Intel's Multi-OS Engine middleware.

From here, the bulk of the engine work was graphical (dealing with a complete lack of alpha channel, an inability to scale interfaces, and chipset issues), interface-based (refactoring to allow touch support, and dealing with a lack of right-click in hardcoded interface systems), and fully supporting a mobile application life-cycle and onboarding flow.

The OSRS content teams also completely reworked the game's interfaces for mobile, including spacing issues and touch-based UX. The session will also discuss the tooling built around the project, including the system developed to manage deploying branch builds to phones as needed.

A retrospective of OSRS Mobile, which brings the full game experience to phones and allows PC and mobile users to play side by side.

How to Grow a Studio in 365 Days... and Counting

Who: Georgina Felce, Big Pixel Studios
When: 12:00 to 12:45
Where:  Room 5
Description: In 2018 Big Pixel was acquired by WarnerMedia with four full-time employees. Within the space of one year, the company’s headcount has grown six-fold and had almost as many studio spaces!

Big Pixel’s Studio operations manager, Georgina Felce recounts the past year of rapid recruiting and profile raising, building a studio from the ground up.

This session tackles the tough questions, ‘How do you define a company culture when you’re still growing?’ ‘How do you recruit a diverse team when time constraints mean you needed the position filled yesterday?’ ‘How do biscuits promote inclusion?’

This session offers insights on a measurable framework for encouraging thoughtful studio expansion. The do’s, don’ts and should have tried's of rapid games studio growth!

Secret Recipes for Great Art: Diversity, Familiarity and Trends

Who: Jack Gilson, Rovio
When: 14:00 to 14:45
Where: Room 6
Description: Jack will focus on the methods he uses to understand the audience in order to build the best possible art style for F2P product. Jack will cover what he believes are the three foundation areas that he found crucial during the production cycle of a game and those are;

  • Team diversity, and why building a diverse art team is just as important as great design.
  • Familiarity, how to build an art style that is appealing yet fresh using familiarity by understanding your target audience.
  • Trends, trends are important to assist in crafting something popular and potentially helping grow a product organically.

Jack will explain why believes that been aligned on these core principals are perfect for a healthy and successful art style that can assist with a launch that can lead to a broader audience, cheaper user acquisition and can be turned into a brand.

Predictable Delivery with Scrum and Story Points

Who: Harvey Wheaton, NaturalMotion
When: Tuesday / 17:00 to 17:45
Where: Room 2
Description: The session will walk through a case study focusing on how we approached our User Stories, Story Points and Velocity to and what we learned along the way.

The session will look at the core principles and practices that have helped us improve the accuracy of our planning and predictability of delivery and how we have refined the approach for subsequent projects.


Monetising Live Ops

Who: Ian Griffiths, Hutch
When: Wednesday / 11:00 to 11:45
Where: Room 6
Description: This talk will explore how to operate and monetise free-to-play-games as a service and will look into why we at Hutch use live ops.

Using the case study of Top Drives, the number one car racing card collection game, we look at how to deliver an evolving and responsive experience that can keep players engaged in the long-term.

1500 Game Pitches Later... A Publisher's Notes on How to Sell Your Game Idea

Who: Rob Crossley, PlayStack
When: Wednesday / 12:00 to 12:45
Where: Room 1
Description: I get asked all the time for feedback on pitches, what publishers are looking for, what direction developers should go in, how much developers should ask for, etc etc. This session will offer extensive, sometimes candid insight on what I'm thinking when looking at your pitch.

10 Best Practices When Building & Growing a Mobile Game Studio

Who: Mathias Royer, Tilting Point
When: Wednesday 14:00 to 14:45
Where: Room 1
Description: Building a business comes with trials and tribulations. For companies, growing multiple studios across different countries can be challenging - especially when dealing with recruitment/hiring, establishing company culture, planning for long-term and even understanding local needs.

This panel will highlight 10 best practices for managers and executives when dealing with company growth across regions, including: hiring a team versus hiring individuals, establishing company culture organically and without control, trusting your gut when in doubt and the importance of short-term success.

An Overview of Stadia Game Development

Who: Sam Corcoran, Google
When: Wednesday 14:00 to 14:46
Where: Room 2
Description: Come learn the basics for what it means to make a game for Google's new game platform: Stadia. From the inputs / outputs of Stadia to how your team can work in a cloud development environment, Sam Corcoran from Google brings details to Develop.


Help! Games Under Attack!

Who: Dr Jo Twist, UKIE
When: Thursday / 11:15 to 12:00
Where: Room 2
Description: It's been a hell of an 18 months and I think it is time the community perhaps had a bit of a session to contextualise the World Health Organisation 'gaming disorder', loot boxes, the blurring of lines between games and gambling, Brexit, and what the hell is next.

There is a lot if uncertainty, but a lot of mis-reporting of what is actually going on, and what the potential future looks like for games, for our industry, for us as creators, innovators and businesses.

Businesses and creators of all kinds will be armed with myth busting truths, will have some ideas as to what they need to look out for, and come away comforted that It's All Okay and this is just our cultural birthing pains.