Talks

Talks

I’m a frequent presented at Game Developers Conference, PAX, PAX Dev and other game development conferences. Topics include game monetization methods and game monetization strategy, game design, game production, game marketing, indie game development and breaking into the game industry.

Designing in-game purchases

This talk has been presented at Game Developers Conference Next ’13, GDC China ’13, PAX Dev ’13, the East Coast Games Conference ’13 and Flash Gaming Summit ’13. Talk description:

In-game purchases are here to stay. Now more than ever it is clear that players are comfortable spending money in browser, mobile, and download games. But just because players are willing to pay does not mean game developers know how to give them something worth buying. This talk gives practical, hands-on guidelines and processes for designing your game’s monetization. Core loops, feature design, economy design, user interface tips, user experience flows, and forecasting tools are all covered in this actionable talk from a 11 year design veteran who has successfully made the leap from designing paid games to freemium games.

Game Design is Business Design

This  talk has been presented at Game Developers Conference ’13, IGDA Leadership Summit ’13, Digital Taipei ’13, GDC Online ’12, GDC Europe ’12, the East Coast Games Conference ’12, and has also been given directly to companies Epic Games, DoubleFine and  6waves. Talk description:

“The game industry has changed.  A rapid shift is underway as we move from a packaged goods dominated past to a digital dominated, free to play present.  More players then ever enjoy the widest range of gaming experiences of any time in our industry’s brief history.  In this new world, the role of the game designer has changed dramatically.  The successful designers of our digital present are not only masters of creating fun, but also masters of a variety of business models and monetization design.  In this talk, BioWare San Francisco’s Design Manager will talk about the changing role of game designers and present various case studies of how they can successfully apply business design to their practice.” View the talk…

Unlock your creative potential: 7 steps to becoming a game designer

This talk was presented at PAX Prime ’13, PAX Prime ’12 and Focus on the Arts ’13. Talk description:

“Game Design is simultaneously the industry’s most romanticized and most misunderstood profession. Everyone wants to be a game designer. Everyone thinks they are a game designer. Yet, few understand what a game designer’s job truly is or how to become one. This presentation takes a peek behind the curtain to explain what being a professional game designer is and what it isn’t. It then presents 7 concrete steps that aspiring game designers can take towards becoming a game designer.” View the talk…

What is Game Design? – IGDA SF Microtalk

This microtalk was presented to the San Francisco IGDA chapterin April ’12. It was a summary of the learnings to date from the “What is Game Design?” project. Talk description:

“In early 2012, I embarked on a quest to answer a simple question, “What is Game Design?”  I had design conversations with some of the best game designers in the world, including Soren Johnson, Lead Designer of Civilization 4, Ray Mazza, Creative Director of Sims Social, and Paul Barnett, Senior Creative Director for BioWare. Find out the breadth of possibilities for what happens when the world’s best design minds attempt to quantify their unique profession.” View the talk…

Flash Development Life – FGS 2012

I moderated this talk on the state of being an independent, Flash Game Developer at the 2012 Flash Games Summit. Talk description:

“In this panel, the veteran Flash developers behind games like Monster’s Den, Thing Thing Arena, Mytheria and Dragon Age Legends get together to talk shop. These devs – who have tens of millions of plays between them – have worked on big games and small, ranging from mobile to Flash to social, with funding from corporations, portals, boot strap and crowd source. In this open, free-flowing discussion, they will discuss topics important to a Flash developer in 2012, including mobile, social, funding sources, 3D, polish, metrics, multiplayer, and any other topic that bubbles up from experienced devs discussing their craft.” View the talk…

Dragon Age Legends’ Road to 100k Likes – GDC Online 2011

This talk on the pre-launch marketing campaign for Dragon Age Legends was presented at GDC Online in October of 2011. Gamasutra gave it on of the top quotes of GDCO, and the talk has the honor of being streamed for free on the GDC Vault. Talk description:

“We live in a new world where borders between game developers and their players have broken down, where a Like can be more valuable then an ad campaign and where your fans can literally reach you 24 hours a day.  In this metrics driven talk, Dragon Age Legends’ producer Ethan Levy explains the successes and failures of the game’s innovative pre & post launch social marketing strategy.  From its MMO style Closed Beta program, to its fully animated trailer, to getting a Facebook game front paged on IGN, Dragon Age Legends was a game of firsts in the social gaming space.” View the talk…