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How Presenter Slides captures serious business stuff and isn't a silly game

Presenter Slides is serious business software for the potential go-getter and does not dilly dally with any game stuff that takes you to hell or anything.

Joel Couture, Contributor

February 28, 2023

6 Min Read
the inside of an office is shown in a window on a computer screen
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This interview is part of our Road to the IGF series. The IGF (Independent Games Festival) aims to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize independent game developers advancing the medium. Every year, Game Developer sits down with the finalists for the IGF ahead of GDC to explore the themes, design decisions, and tools behind each entry.

Presenter Slides is serious business software for the potential go-getter and does not dilly dally with any game stuff that takes you to hell or anything.

Mathias Schifter and Brin Žvan, developers of the Best Student Award nominee, sat down with Game Developer to chat about deciding to throw games away in order to chase valuable business dollars through important business software (Serious Business), the processes that went into creating this cutting-edge business software that will definitely increase your business and seriousness levels, and the vital message it sends to potential serious businessfolks when you usually end up broke and physically destroyed by its end.

Who are you, and what was your role in developing Presenter Slides?

We’re Mathias Schifter and Brin Žvan. We're full time entrepreneurs, part time business men, and big fans of virtual meetings.

What's your background in making games?

We both studied for our master’s degree at the IT University of Copenhagen. However, during the making of our thesis, we decided to run a competitive business cost analysis on our project. This led us to take a U-turn from games as we saw that enterprise software such as Presenter Slides is something that is a better fit for our wallets.

presenter slides video of fitness software

How did you come up with the concept for Presenter Slides?

Our approach to it was two-fold. First, we looked at the needs of a modern and dynamic office workspace of the 20th century! We saw that a suite of tools that allow users to present a myriad of different and unique experiences is something that will resonate well with our target market.

Secondly, as we are academics (and entrepreneurs, part time business men, and big fans of virtual meetings) after all, we decided to look into the scientific papers on the matter. Our work is primarily based on the paper by Miguel Sciart and Douglas Wilson titled "Now it’s Persona: On Abusive Game Design." While developing our software we wrote a business strategy that builds on their theories titled:

"There is no Abusive Game Design: A typology of Counter Game Design"

What development tools were used to build your game?

Before we answer, we would like to clarify for any future investors that our software does not in fact contain any "game," but rather a suite of useful visualization and presentation tools.

The primary tool used was Unity 3D due to its state-of-the-art capabilities for rendering pie charts. There is also added value in making our presentation software compatible with the US military so recruits can view informational presentations directly from their simulated battlefields.

Lastly, due to our lack of funding, our audio and art software was substituted with legally obtained stock images, sound bits from Freesound and 3-dimensional models from Polly Pizza. As we are yet to receive our 100 dollars back from Steam, we see these low acquisition costs as an excellent return on investment.

What interested you in creating such effective, wonderful presentation software that taught me a lot about pie charts? Why does productivity sing to you devilish heart?

While studying games (for two years at a level of masters to be precise), we realized that they are an unprecedented waste of time. We wanted to leave a mark on the world by offering an alternative to such leisurely activities and pie chart production software fit the bill for our goals.

a dark screen representing a map with mountains and a river

Many players may feel lost in the bounty of business knowledge in your game. What drew you to capture this feeling of being lost and confused in the slightly sinister and dangerous (yet morally fulfilling) world of Presenter Slides?

When working with such complex and potentially useful software, there is always a need to separate the professionals from the lay-people. The sink or float approach from the get-go ensures that only those in the real pursuit of knowledge will obtain it. To any reader afraid of such methods, we want to (non-legally) advise that Presenter Slides can be opened and closed as many times as they wish and that there is no trial period. They may simply open it again at a later date if their first experience with it happens to be a sinking one.

Presenter Slides asks the player to take fitness seriously to succeed in business. What appealed to you about exploring your vital vitality? In reaching out of the game into the player's world to make them realize the seriousness of BUSINESS PRESENTATIONS?

Our thought process is that only those who want to use, and abuse, all parts of their machine are worthy of true business success. After all, our bodies are more than just fingers and eyes and we need to use all of these senses creatively for maximum profit. And remember, in a healthy body resides a healthy mind.

Your important business tool uses many different visual styles. What drew you to keep shifting visuals?

Through rapid iteration we saw quick and continuous improvements in our technology, but due to the company's ecologically friendly NO-WASTE policy not a single pixel was wasted and they all found a profitable home in the finished piece of software!

We would also like to point out that such an approach means our users experience a multitude of experiences which they can proudly add to their CV.

a windows 95 style pie chart

Likewise, Presenter Slides is clearly state-of-the-art with its computer presentation. What thoughts went into designing this cutting-edge computer design?

We researched software that pushes the boundaries of presentation recipients. This was done by analyzing and testing the limits of users by pushing their social boundaries, overwhelming their senses, and breaking their understanding of conventional rules. This is a maximalist approach to being seen in today's minimalist market where it’s hard to tell one product from the other.

Players will explore a call center in hell (because call centers are important and are everywhere). What ideas went into shaping a hellish version of a call center, and why was it pretty much exactly like a regular call center?

That's a great question.

We just wanted to ensure that we include the key call center audio cues: always a notification, always a ringtone, always a broken printer, and always a radio playing calming, yet corporate, music within hearing range.

Paperwork is important stuff. What thoughts into capturing the appeal of filling out a million important files (well, maybe slightly less than that), therefore drastically shaping millions of lives?

When we sat down to start drafting the first version of our software we had one goal: simulate the most interesting part of being a business person. During the testing phases we noticed that non-corporate users might feel a sense of attrition as they perform their indentured servitude job. But that’s a sacrifice we, as CEO’s, are willing to make on our employees' behalf.

You typically leave the game with very little money or strength. What message do you want this to send to the businesspeople of the future?

At the end of the day, only 1% of the business world benefits even if the 99% put some effort into it. But for those persistent (and lucky) enough to become the strongest, we wanted to present our 20 minute state of the art market research presentation which reveals the secrets of our design.

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