Now that broadband Internet access is available to billions of people, video games can be more than discrete, unchanging products. Games can live and grow over time, and it's never been more important to understand what it takes to keep a live game fresh and exciting over time.
That's why Game Developers Conference organizers want to draw your attention to some of the great GDC 2019 talks aimed at helping you become a better live game developer. Even if you don't think of your game as an ongoing service, knowing what works (and what doesn't) in live game development will make you a more well-rounded game maker.
Notably, game industry veteran Rich Vogel will be at GDC 2019 in March to present an exciting talk on "Lessons Learned In The Trenches Developing Games As A Service." You want to see this talk because Vogel, now a VP at Certain Affinity, will discuss his journey as a studio director building Fallout 76, Battlecry, Star Wars the Old Republic, and Star Wars Galaxies.
Vogel aims to weave a narrative that talks about how each one of these titles changed the way he approaches development in general, as well as running a game-as-a-service. He will discuss the lessons he learned working on each title and provide great examples from the trenches that helped shape what he did on his next game in terms of project management, leadership, recruiting, and running a live service!
Plus, Grinding Gear Games (the folks behind the sleeper hit Path of Exile) will be at the show this year to show you how they found success with a free-to-play online action-RPG. In "Designing Path of Exile To Be Played Forever", Grinding Gear's Chris Wilson will show you how a plan for long-term, sustainable development took Path of Exile's active playerbase from the thousands to the millions.
Wilson will walk you through how to structure releases into seasons with predictable release dates and scope, how to re-use content for rapid development, how to use procedural generation to keep content from feeling stale, how to employ multiple overlapping axes of randomness for additional replayability, how to design deep gameplay systems that keep players engaged and how to grow a community over a long period of time!
And in "Cooking with G.a.a.S: The 'Armello' Approach to Post-Launch Game Content" League of Geeks lead producer Lisy Kane will reveal how the studio successfully pivoted to tackle a live game. During development of the studio's 2015 hit digital boardgame Armello nobody planned on it being a "live" game, but that's what ended up happening. Come to this talk to learn what tools, processes and third-party services contributed to the ongoing success of Armello's GaaS longtail. In addition, you'll also learn about community best practices and what studios should be investing in now for future GaaS titles.
Finally, don't overlook "A QA Perspective on Live Game Production", presented by RETO MOTO lead game tester Michael Vork Larsen. This talk offers a unique QA perspective on the pitfalls and lessons learned from a growing and evolving game as a service. Working on Heroes & Generals, a game that merges first-person shooter action with a strategic layer where player decisions can turn the tide in an ongoing war, the RETO MOTO team has evolved their development and test processes over the years into an effective agile model.
Make time to swing by and you'll learn how a proven agile test flow for a large production on a live game can improve the quality of the product, lower the risk of failure and make for a happier workplace. You'll also walk away with practical advice you can use in your own projects, so don't skip it!
Further details on these talks and many more are available now on the GDC 2019 Session Scheduler. There you can begin to lay out your GDC 2019, which takes place March 18th through the 22nd at the (newly renovated!) Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Bring your team to GDC! Register a group of 10 or more and save 10 percent on conference passes. Learn more here.