XDS 2016 Advance Program
Without leveraging heavy amounts of outsourcing for our character and environment pipelines, we would not have been able to accomplish what we did in the time we had. We had roughly 8 months of dev time to create over 250 characters and over 30 environments. This is work that had to be integrated with internal approval as well as Lucasfilm approval. Because of the latter, we had to tweak our entire pipeline to allow for fast iteration and multiple rounds of feedback. I’d like to go into how we worked with our vendors – Sperasoft and Mindwalk – and how we were able to tune our process to give us the best quality results and fast Lucasfilm approvals.
Following the success of the vendor-only session at XDS 2015, this year we are hosting a panel discussion on “How to Sell Your Company’s Services”. XDS has organized a panel of developers in decision making roles to talk about what works and what doesn’t. Attendees should be those in a sales and marketing role for external partners. We hope attendees will walk away with practical advice on how to engage clients and sell their services effectively.
Localization of a mobile game title is usually a last minute product in the development cycle. Localization is vital to any mobile game because, with quality localization it gets you more players & downloads, plus a higher possibility of your game being featured. This session will go through the process of localising a mobile title within a four-month development cycle. It will go through the steps starting with developmental pre-planning, making your localization vendor part of your team, and planning for curve balls such as schedule changes and updates.
Outsourcing engineering is hard, but there is big upside if you can get over the initial hurdles. Learn how EA partners with Globant to leverage co-development with a high degree of integration, scope, and complexity to deliver world class AAA titles like NHL and UFC. This talk will cover topics such as “when” and “how” to engage, best practices for builds and workflows, how to protect IP and how to foster a single team mentality to maximize productivity. No more excuses!
An operational overview of how Zynga San Diego uses Hansoft to manage multiple projects, both live and in development, using internal and external art, design, engineering, and quality assurance resources. The talk will include how production organizes and balances long term planning, regular product releases, and a rigorous content release schedule to stay competitive in the mobile arcade space with nearly half of the development and testing occurring offsite. Coordination occurs around the world including Spain and India.
This talk will serve to celebrate and examine the collaboration between EA and Faceware in establishing high-end facial capture technology, and demonstrate real-world examples. Discussion points will include the use of floating licenses to enable distributed teams to use licenses more efficiently, how EA’s automation wrapper increases throughput, and the way EA is now working with vendors such as Animation Vertigo and Original Force to scale production throughput.
Building on the successful sessions of 2015, Beyond Negotiation 2.0 will use the gamification of negotiation training to explore how to navigate the ever evolving, long term relationships now required in a world of large scale developments and persistent service models. This session applies equally to vendors and buyers; helping them to better understand each other’s positions. As we uncovered at XDS Ignite, negotiation – especially at studio or portfolio level, is now more akin to relationship management than the more traditional bargaining model. The feedback/review portion has been updated to incorporate this. Sign-up for this session will be required.
User Experience/User Interface design can make or break a game. As games have evolved, and users want quick access, convenience and little upfront commitment before being able to enjoy and feel rewarded by the experience. Despite how important we all understand UX/UI Design to be, Development teams can struggle to find the right individuals who have the right combination of UX Expertise and UI Artistry. This session will look at ways in which UX/UI external development can be integrated into your process, how it fits within the production pipeline, and how an outsource partner can push the game and the team to get the best results possible. The Audience will have a key understanding of the best ways to integrate a UX/UI outsource partner into their internal process.
Let’s do this! This session is a broad panel delivered by all XDS Advisory Committee members and geared to industry professionals and service providers looking to move XD to the next level. The committee with address the fundementals of external development (101), discuss a few war stories, and offer suggestions to advance external dev to the next level based on experience and current trends.
By sharing the visualized methodology for collaborated project management, our intention is to walk the audience through the challenges we faced in creating mass art content with a condensed core game team. What we found through this process was that it was extremely important to be 100% transparent with our partners. Also crucial, was treating the internal /external teams as though they were one, comprehensive and unified dev team. With this at the forefront of our minds, we have brought the traditional “over-the-fence” outsourcing model to the next level – *customized integration*. We will focus on the value to be brought to both the game dev team and the distributed studio. Attendants will understand the step–by–step methodology for ramping up an external team in a very short period of time, along with the strategy for significant and detailed integration with the core game team. The main purpose is to leverage external, scalable resources, to strengthen overall game development capability and to create greater games on a larger scale.
Members of EA’s UFC animation team will provide an introduction to UFC titles, discuss how the internal team operates, review their history with external development, and give an in-depth look into the workflows and pipelines for both gameplay and presentation assets. With respect to external development, the team will reveal the documentation process, demonstrate video reference, discuss the importance of visiting external partners, review and feedback process, and metrics on much of the game was developed externally.
Riot Games aspires to be the most player-focused game company in the world. Being “Player-Focused” for the Localization department of Riot essentially translates into always delivering quality, being culturally relevant and making sure that localized versions of League of Legends provide the players with the exact same amount of fun as the English version. In this presentation Valerio Starna, European Localization & QA Manager of Riot Games, and Sergio Herrero, Localization PM of Keywords, share how they are tackling the ever-growing localization of League of Legends, while keeping 67 millions of players happy.
Applying the core principles of lean management to mobile game live operations, Playsoft has set up a unique approach that drastically changes the external developer/ publisher relationship and spectacularly improves the games KPIs. The approach allows the team to constantly focus on Player’s needs. The short iterations in product development (one week sprint) allow the Product Owner (publisher) to take decisions frequently to orient the development towards the players expectations based on metrics (and not feeling).
We will show how the project success is built through an early definition of standards, the development of a new testable feature every day, the implementation of real condition testing and more over the pursuit of continuous improvement for the team. We adapted the famous build-measure-learn loop to gaming live ops, adding systematic A/B testing for each 2 weeks releases. Playsoft’s live ops lean approach not only allows to create great games that keep players happy but helps to build a trustful and solid relationship between the publisher and the developer!
Expert Panel: Virtual Reality’s Impact on External Development
This industry panel will include external development community members from a cross-section of the industry who are working in VR/AR. The panel will focus on the technical and creative challenges of developing in VR and best practices. We will also peer into the crystal ball and make some group predictions for VR forecasts (what hardware will win the race, what game genres will be most popular, etc). The audience is encouraged to ask questions, or offer insight based on practical experience in the development of VR titles.
This highly practical session will educate and empower developers looking to contract a composer or sound design / VO studio for their next game. A joint session between developer Fugitive Games and audio outsourcing studio Hexany Audio, both parties will discuss their recent collaboration for the title Into the Stars focusing on two key areas. 1) analysis of work-for-hire and License deal contracts, emphasizing copyright ownership and negotiation, and 2) remote workflow practices and methods for concepting/design and asset integration, highlighting the use of the audio middleware in conjunction with UE4. The two parties will detail what worked particularly well in their collaboration along with areas that could have been improved. This session will be extremely beneficial for developers working with external audio providers and offer immediate and tangible solutions for improving pipeline with remote contractors in the sound and music fields.
An insider’s look at the evolution of Ubisoft’s Node studio, based in Shanghai – addressing the challenges, successes and lessons learned throughout its mandate to constantly raise the quality bar in supporting and collaborating with Assassin’s Creed. The presentation will explore various topics including stakeholder relationships, ownership, scalability, change management and lessons learned, and the constant aim to exceed expectations.
Su Lu was the outsourcing manager in 2K China for over 7 years in charge of external services and vendors management. However, after 2K closed the Chinese affiliate, she joined Sheer Tianyi. Su Lu will address the inner workings of a Chinese local vendor, how to to best work with Chinese partners, and how western game companies appear through the eyes of a Chinese vendors. Questions and thoughts from the audience will be encouraged.