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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Recap of the "Get Into The Austin Game" mixer

I made it to the "Get Into The Austin Game" video game mixer for a few hours tonight.

The presentation part of the evening didn't really have any new, earth-shattering info, but Amaze Entertainment's Rodney Gibbs is an entertaining (and despite the self-deprecation, deftly talented) emcee, so it was painless.

The content was largely a super abbreviated portion of the "How to Break Into the Game Industry" conference I attended almost exactly a year ago.

But the meat of an evening like this is meeting new folks and refreshing relationships, and that went well, if a little low-key.

I met Jason Hughes from Naughty Dog; audio and post prod dude Benjamin Martin (yes, he got a copy of my voice demo); designer Patrick Moran (also from Amaze Entertainment); and touched base again with Tamir Nadav (now a designer (WOOT!) and still an incredibly "passionate, pleasant guy"); and Rodney (who just seems like a nice guy with whom to go to coffee. Or for a pint or few).

What was different about tonight is I usually go "just" as a voice talent. But I'm also a technical director for enterprise software and services (which means I'm a big gun software / service / project / personnel manager), so I took the opportunity to drill into folks about the kinds of questions in which I'm interested on that front.

Questions like, "OK, you're doing a library for the Sony PS3 SDK, so ..."

  • How does that get released to Sony?
  • What does the certification process look like?
  • How do they do interoperability testing?
  • Since you can't test every permutation of every development house's application of your library in the SDK, how are bugs reported back to you?

Or, on the licensed IP front:

  • What's the percentage of original to licensed IP that you do?
  • What's the ratio of development budgets for a licensed versus non-licensed IP?
  • How does profit sharing differ?

Or, on revenue models:

  • Yeah, I'm sure it seems frustrating that you don't get to share in as high a royalties return when the publisher does well, but by choosing to take money up front (and assuming you stay in scope / schedule / budget) you're guarateed a more stable revenue / profit model, regardless of whether the publisher markets the game adequately.


Don't know why I wasn't having these conversations before. Probably because I didn't want to scare folks off from hiring me as "just" a voice actor; but, whatever, they're not hiring me for that.

And it was validating that I know my stuff, and it applies to other vertical markets. Now to just get them to admit that.

As an aside, Jo's Coffee is a nice little venue on that reclaimed West side of 2nd street. I hadn't been there before. Nice digs.

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