main

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Vera Velichko: Succeeding with the Visual Novel | Casual Connect Video

September 19, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

Vera-Velichko-featured-image-960x540.jpg
I make something beautiful and teach my team to do it. It makes me happy every day. - Vera VelichkoClick To Tweet

User Interface is the connection between the customer and your code. The CEO and Art Director of Owl Studio has a passion about what makes User Interface good or bad. In her lecture at Casual Connect Europe 2017 discussed this and how to build effective interfaces as well as how to direct the user’s attention to the right place at the right time. This presentation will help you whether you are an artist or not to design better layouts that help increase user engagement and retention.
One tip Vera shared was: “Passive and active colors for user interface UI needs a good balance, using gentle shades that won’t tire the eyes.” To learn more, see the full lecture and slides below.

DOWNLOAD SLIDES

Vera Velichko is CEO and Art Director of Owl Studio

Vera Velichko, CEO and Art Director of Owl Studio, has always been determined to have a company of her own, but for many years it seemed like a distant dream as she continued working as an employee. But finally, two years ago, the time was right. “I realized that there is no time like the present, and if I wanted to achieve my dream, I had to do it there and then.” So, with some friends, she began working on her first project, a visual novel called One Day in London. The company has developed into a team of twelve and they still work with this visual novel (an episodic project) as well as doing outsource artwork. During the past year they have completed seven projects together.

Doing Something that Really Matters

Today Vera firmly believes that the work she is doing means something; it really matters. This year Owl Studio’s online school for artists begins. Each day brings interesting tasks; each new project brings new challenges for Vera and the team. She revealed, “I can make something beautiful and teach my team to do it. It makes me happy every day.”

Almost all her life Vera has been working as an artist. While studying fine arts, she started accepting what it would be like to live on the salary a painter could make. But then Vera discovered that the game industry offered a brilliant opportunity to make real money doing what she loves. So she made a portfolio of her work and began doing freelance work as a game artist. At first she were working for almost nothing, but the work allowed them to continue improving the portfolio. And as the portfolio became better and better, the more opportunities it generated.

A pelf portrait by Vera

Building a Business

With the creation of Owl Studio, Vera entered a new stage of her career. Suddenly she must be involved in business development, networking, team building, setting up process, and many other aspects of building a business that she had never done before. Their motivation to succeed comes through seeing a goal and moving toward it. When she looks to the future and see there is something still needed, Vera just keeps moving on.

The biggest challenges she has faced recently is making decisions for the company. Vera reveals, “How can I find out that my decision is right? How can I be sure it doesn’t hurt my team?” She has realized that, although there is no way to be sure something is the right decision, it is still her responsibility as the leader. This continues to be the most complicated aspect of running the company.

Building the Team

For the members of the team Vera searches for those who can combine creative talent with responsibility, but it is a rare combination. This is because the art that Owl Studio makes is much more than a job or a way to make money. She explains, “We are trying to make a graphic with soul and spirit, that will take a user to a new world. It’s impossible without talent. And we work with customers and abide by deadlines, and this would not be possible without responsibility.”

The most difficult positions to fill are the team leads. This employee must have the very unusual ability to be a leader while also being a team player. And next most difficult to find are the UI designers.

Vera has discovered that there are no standard methods of how to work with the team members because everyone is unique; an individual approach is necessary. So she tries to find a way to connect with every employee, but recognize that is also important to know the moment to let them go.

Her commitment to team members is evident when Vera relates the proudest moment of her career. It was when she realized what an apprentice had accomplished, something more than Vera could do alone.

Developing and Testing a Visual Novel

Owl Studio’s first project: One Day in London

When Owl Studio began working on their own project, they used play tests of their first demo to form the final vision of the project. They were testing UI, storytelling, sounds and perception of the image, and as a result of these tests they made changes and adjustments. As they tested this visual novel, the most interesting results came from seeing the differences in feedback from the different story lines. The choices the users made changed their perceptions of the entire story. It was a very important discovery.

Now there are no longer significant changes to the project mechanic from episode to episode, so Owl Studio is no longer doing play tests. However, they do get feedback from users on a daily basis and use this information to constantly improve the project.

The monetization method Owl Studio uses for One Day in London is premium. This is simply a result of the visual novel genre; there is no opportunity to monetize within it for using the free-to-play principle.

Vera has seen dynamic growth in mobile games, as well as hearing many colleagues talking about new trends in this sector of the game industry, and expects this to continue over the next few years. In response, she is teaching the team and students to understand the specifics of mobile art.

The Essential Skills and Attributes of Good Interface Design

There are two essential skills to the basis of good interface design. The first is understanding the features of the project and the target devices. The designer must be able to imagine how the user will use this. The second is understanding the topography and visual design. As Vera points out, not every artist can understand how to work with texts and infographics.

Vera describes the difference between UX and UI design this way: “UX design is the process of establishing the logic system that controls the application. UI design is the process of making this system beautiful.”

Casual Heroes by Owl Studio

The software to design good graphical user interface will vary depending on the artist’s habits and preferences. Some possibilities include Photoshop, Illustrator or Animate. The only essential is providing a portable network graphics set.

For someone who is considering UI design as a career, Vera emphasizes the importance of playing games while thinking about how you do it. Also, study the topography design. These are the two most significant steps toward becoming a UI designer.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Petri Ikonen on Designing Games, Creativity and Putting Players First | Casual Connect Video

September 15, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

featured-image-960x540.jpg

Petri Ikonen, Creative Director at tracktwenty, joined EA in 2012 when they opened their mobile game studio in Helsinki, Finland. With responsibilities that include supervising the studio’s design team as well as doing many hands-on design tasks, he is vitally involved in developing tracktwenty’s creative culture and processes. At Casual Connect Europe 2017 in Berlin, Petri discussed the challenges of creating SimCity BuildIt.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Justin Booth-Clibborn: Branding for a Sustainable Difference | Casual Connect Video

August 20, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

Kismet_screenshot_Resized-for-GameSAUCE-960x540.jpg
Emotion is key, and often, that comes through character-driven storytelling. - Justin Booth-ClibbornClick To Tweet

In order to compete in this overly saturated and ultra-competitive mobile gaming landscape, having a compelling brand along with good creative ideas is key. This emotional connection is needed for both user acquisition and user retention. Justin Booth-Clibborn, Head of Business Development at Psyop explained during his session at Casual Connect Europe that simply showing fun gameplay only goes so far. He stressed that “connecting people through storytelling emotionally with your own tone of voice and personality” is extremely important in building and sustaining your brand.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Michael Albertshauser on Influencer Marketing: An Area of Explosive Growth | Casual Connect Video

August 12, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

Michael-Albertshauser-featured-image-960x540.jpg
A good influencer is not a YouTube, Twitch or Instagram star, but a star. - Michael AlbertshauserClick To Tweet

“Influencers are not as concerned about price as you might think,” stated GameInfluencer’s Head of Influencer and Campaign Managment Michael Albertshauser at Casual Connect Europe 2017. In this lecture, Michael highlighted the results of their survey involving 500 influencers. With insights on influencer perspectives and marketing deals, Michael educated publishers and marketers on how to be a better business partner for influencers and secure better deals and content.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Daniel Tozer: New Technologies, New Legal Questions, New Solutions | Casual Connect Video

August 11, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

Daniel-Tozer-speaking-at-CC-Europe-2017-featured-image-960x540.jpg
You can't properly advise on virtual reality if you've never tried a VR headset. - Daniel TozerClick To Tweet

Virtual reality has brought about a plethora of opportunities for hardware manufacturers, advertisers, content providers and many other types of business in the games industry. With these opportunities come legal risks too which is where firms like Harbottle & Lewis can provide specialist advice. Daniel Tozer, a Partner at Harbottle & Lewis, spoke at Casual Connect Europe 2017 on the key questions facing developer’s real-world responsibilities in relation to VR.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Tara Mustapha: Thriving in the World of Esports | Casual Connect Video

August 2, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

taramustapha-960x540.jpg

Tara Mustapha is currently a consultant after spending over a decade in the game industry as a game designer at Playabl, EA, Microsoft and Foundation 9. Tara’s fascination with esports began with Starcraft: Brood War, to travelling to Las Vegas for IGN Pro League events, Madison Square Garden for League of Legends, and achieving 12 wins in Hearthstone Arena 1x.

Tara is also vitally concerned with the progress of women in the games industry and has been a board member of Women in Games Vancouver. At Casual Connect Europe Tara and Christina Dunbar participated in a fireside chat discussing the challenge of finding leading women in the industry and how they can thrive in the world of esports. Recently Tara described her life and career with Casual Connect in this exclusive Gamesauce Q&A.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Artur Grigorjan: Develop Local While Selling Global | Casual Connect Video

August 1, 2017 — by David Radd

TS_2-960x540.jpg
If you can’t see the value of a certain tool, then most likely you don’t need it. - Artur GrigorjanClick To Tweet

As one of the biggest mobile publishers in the world, Playrix has a lot of insight on how to resonate on a global scale. Tune in to an interview at Casual Connect Europe between Catherine Mylinh, VP of Marketing at Vungle, ad Artur Grigorjan, Marketing Growth Director at Playrix, in a discussion on how to grow a loyal player base and how to scale this approach to drive engagement and monetization. One of many tips Artur shared was: “More money will be pumped into user acquisition so as a smaller developer try to look out for optimizing your game for smaller volumes. Do not compete with higher budgets. Focus on your game first, UA (user acquisition) second.” See the full session below.

Casual Connect Europe 2017

Dean Takahashi: Covering Gaming’s Modern History | Casual Connect Video

July 27, 2017 — by David Radd

dean-takahashi-featured-image-960x540.jpg
I enjoy that my job is different every day, and I still get paid to play games. - Dean TakahashiClick To Tweet

Mobile gaming gave development a medium to spread across the world. This presents a challenge for developers to generate jobs and interest in their games over the many evolving types of technology. The rate of change is accelerating and each region needs to be competitive. At Casual Connect Europe 2017, Dean Takahashi of GamesBeat at VenturBeat, guided attendees on a world tour and provided insight into how Europe fits in to this. During his presentation, Dean pointed out that “Mobile games now lead the game industry for revenue.” Furthermore Dean explained, “If there is a reason to change the order of things in the world, then new platforms are the way to do it. To maybe invest heavily, to dive into these new regions, new platforms in the game industry is a way to create new jobs.”

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Tarush Agarwal: How Partner Networks are Advancing the Industry | Casual Connect Video

July 23, 2017 — by David Radd

Toca-Hair-Salon-3-1920-pxl-960x540.jpg
Listen and understand motivations, build strong relationships, and find balance and compromise. -…Click To Tweet

As the dynamics of app stores change, what does that mean for developers and business models? At Casual Connect Europe, Head of Business Development at Toca Boca, Tarush Agarwal, highlighted how the company is leveraging partner networks and utilizing a diversified business model in order to reach new consumers across the globe. Afterall, for developers searching for creative solutions and to add value for their customers, developers should “Think global at a local approach to do global deals”, Tarush said. “We want to be where consumers are”.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Riana McKeith: The Art that Helps Define the Vision | Casual Connect Video

July 21, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

2016-10-07-RianaMcKeith-featured-image-960x540.jpg

Riana McKeith is an art director at Berlin based mobile games developer Wooga. She is one of the art directors in Wooga’s internal Puzzle Studio, that focuses on the development of mobile matching games. In her role she’s overseen the visual development of many projects and at the same time served as art lead for FUTURAMA: Game of Drones, a match 4 puzzler that launched earlier in 2016. At Casual Connect Europe 2017, Riana dove into story narration through art. Learn more about Riana and game art in our exclusive Q&A below.

DOWNLOAD SLIDES

logo
SUPPORTED BY