So I submitted a speaking proposal to FGS for a panel. I wanted to have a topic that would focus on game development, and not on ways to maximize profit. Last year’s panels and speakers seemed to almost entirely focus on making money, not touching on what makes the products worth paying for. A good game is going to result in profit. I thought about what I know and would be able to tell other people about, and game polish seemed like the most appropriate topic. With that in mind, I set to work on putting a panel together and hashing out a basic framework of what would be talked about.
To me, the most important thing was to get a solid panel, full of well known, experienced, respected, and diversified people. Naturally I would be on it, as it’s my panel. I reached out to Greg to speak from a sponsor’s perspective, and he readily agreed. Together, we chatted about who else we wanted to ask to join us. Jared Riley from Hero Interactive was my first choice, and Greg quickly agreed. Jared makes high quality games that are almost always highly polished. He is also someone that I talk to on at least a semi-regular basis. He quickly agreed, seeming really pumped at the topic and people involved. The 4th member was a longer road. We weren’t sure who we wanted, but we decided we wanted a 2nd developer. It took a bit to narrow it down, and we had one or two people who weren’t going to be at FGS this year… but we eventually brought Daniel Stradwick (garin) in. After that, I felt we had a perfect group… myself from a gamer perspective, Greg as a sponsor, Jared from his dev role running HI, and Daniel as a dev who works 6+ months on massive RPGs.
I named our panel, “Game Polish – Make Your Games Shine,” which I thought was a really catchy title… always an important thing. I also wrote up a catchy session description. However, what I’m guessing resulted in our panel being passed over is the lack of fully describing the benefit of the panel. It was something I had a hard time doing, as it just seems so obvious to me how beneficial this topic is… if you don’t make a game that has all the little things done well, it’s going to wind up pissing off too many users to the point where they stop playing it. I tried to put this into more business-like terms, but I didn’t really have much substance there. There was also an option to add a secondary abstract that was much longer, but I did not include one of these. I have a hard time putting my thoughts down well into writing, and when it’s something formal I tend to be curt.
My other fear is that I am the cause of my panel’s rejection. I’m not a sponsor, I’m not a developer… I’m just a gamer. I could see some of these people look at who I am on paper and think I’m not qualified to be speaking, or am not a big enough name to be on a panel. I really hope this is not the case. Besides the fact that I have the support and ear of many of the top portal owners and developers, I did also run the most popular casual flash game ever created for 3+ years. I may not fit inside that little box of sponsor-developer… but I damn well know what I’m talking about, I provide a completely different perspective on things than most industry people, and that seems like something that other people would benefit from.
Now I am anxiously waiting to see what the speaking topics will be at FGS. Hopefully looking at them I’ll see that my panel was outclassed. I will be very disappointed if this year’s topics all deal with profit and don’t have anything to do with game design. And I am disappointed in having my panel rejected… I was looking forward to having the opportunity to share my insight with everyone. Oh well… there’s always 2011.