San Francisco Meetups – Week of October 14th, 2013.

I went to three meetups in San Francisco this week.

First, I stopped by briefly to the Bay Area Software EngineersThe Promise of 3D Printing” event. It was really cool to learn a bit more about 3d printing as a technology. 400 people attended!

I wish I could have been there for the whole time, but I had to duck out early to make it to the San Francisco Game Development Meetup‘s monthly gathering. This is always a popular meetup, over a hundred game developers met in the Marriott bar to hang out, talk, and show off each others games.

I had some great conversations with fellow independent game developers (and a few freelancers) while I was there. I don’t always go to this meetup, but I went last month as well, and I enjoyed myself. It’s nice to see such a large group of developers interacting with each other. Although due to the nature of the bar, it’s sometimes hard to get around the room to meet many people.

Also this week was Corona SDK Meetup Group’s Monetizing Cross-Platform Apps panel, hosted at YetiZen. Surprisingly I haven’t visited YetiZen before. They host many events there, but I just haven’t been able to make one until now. It’s a nice space, I appreciated all the art on the walls and the pile of board games in the middle.

Corona ran the meetup, but it wasn’t Corona specific. It was more about monetization of apps in general. The panel had representatives from Inneractive, SponsorPay, Vungle, and PlayHaven. It was nice to see so many competitors sitting together talking about monetization in general, and not trying to pitch themselves as why they are better than one another. They also each have slightly different offerings, and even brought up the fact that many profitable games use services from multiple companies, and they work nicely together.

Those are the San Francisco Meetups I went to this week. If you’d like to meet up with me at a future gathering (or even just one on one), please send me a message and we can work out the details!


Apps are a service, not a product

The most common mistake I see unsuccessful* developers make is treating their apps as products, rather than services.

Now by unsuccessful*, I mean financially. I hate to classify the ability to make money as a success for a game. There are so many games I would classify as successful that don’t make any money, and likewise there are games that may make some money (maybe not enough?) that I wouldn’t call successful.

Let me try again:

The most common mistake I see unprofitable developers make is treating their apps as products, rather than services.

(ok, better? Let’s move on…) Continue reading Apps are a service, not a product

AppCampus Funding

I just learned about this program and thought some of you might be interested.

AppCampus is a program run by Aalto University in Espoo, Finland to help developers create apps for mobile. It’s sponsored by Microsoft and Nokia, and is taking applications from people all over the world.

Developers can receive $27,000, $68,000, or $95,000 in funding to help develop their app ideas. AppCampus won’t take any owner or equity for this investment, they just require that your app be exclusive to Windows Phone/Nokia Store for the first 90 days. (Afterwards can release cross platform everywhere else)

Cool program, I would encourage you to submit an application! Never know if you’ll get selected and can get some funding to help out your development.


ASU CIS105 class and SVCC wrap up

Last week I had the honor of guest lecturing for CIS105 at Arizona State University.

ASU CIS105 Workshop
Students created their own apps for Windows Phone 8 and submitted them to the real Windows Phone store. It was cool helping them sign up for DreamSpark and go through the entire development process in just a matter a days. Very inspiring considering most students had not done any kind of development before.

My favorite part was hearing student’s questions after the lectures. There were some good ones! I hope some of the students felt inspired to continue learning about programming and app development.

As soon as I landed back home in the bay area, I went to straight to Foothill College for Silicon Valley Code Camp.

Silicon Valley Code Camp 2013
I’ve never been before, and I am glad I got the opportunity to. It was a fun event with a very diverse variety of people, from students just starting out to experienced industry veterans.

I didn’t get to go to as many talks as I would have liked, but I got to hang out at the Microsoft booth for a bit and talk with people. We had a few different Microsoft devices for people to play with, and let people know about some of our resources such as App Builder, MVA, DreamSpark and BizSpark.

I had planned to just go Saturday and take Sunday off to rest, but I ended up making it back there for a couple of hours on Sunday just because I enjoyed myself so much the day before.

I definitely look forward to the next time I get to visit ASU, and will make plans to attend SVCC 2014!


Resources for Game and App Developers

I’ve added a new page to the blog that has links to various resources that game and app developers might find useful.

Developer Resources

I will grow the list over time with more links, but for now I just wanted to make sure I put up all the links I mentioned during my lectures at ASU this week.

Hopefully some of you find it useful!


Gamasutra: Make Purchasing Present

I was going through my RSS backlog and ran across this blog entry on Gamasutra. Ethan Levy, a monetization design consultant, makes an excellent point about in app purchases.

It’s not just enough to have them in the game, but you have to make them present. Let the user know about them, and why they might like to do so, without breaking the game flow or interrupting their experience.

It’s a short article, read it for yourself:
Gamasutra: Ethan Levy’s Blog – Make Purchasing Present.


September Meetups in the San Jose

septmeetupThis week I went to two new meetups, both in San Jose.

New to me, I should say. These meetups have been going for a little while, I just haven’t attended them before.

On Tuesday, I went to the South Bay Game Development Group. I don’t know why I haven’t heard of this event before, it was a lot of fun. They meet monthly at the 7 Stars Bar & Grill.

It was a small-ish group of 30 or so people, which gave me a chance to talk with everybody who was there. Some were showing off their games, and others like me were just there to socialize. I always worry about going to meetups in bars, sometimes they can get really loud and it’s hard to talk to people. 7 Stars was a good venue. It never got too loud, and while I didn’t have any myself the food looked pretty good.

I got there early and stayed late, and when I left there were still over a half a dozen people taking turns trying out a game on the Oculus Rift somebody had brought. I will definitely make to their next meetup on October 29th. If you’re able to get to San Jose I would recommend that you do too!

The other meetup I made it to this week was Tech in Motion’s Mobile Gaming event. Tech in Motion is a group that runs a series of tech related events, from mobile UX design to healthcare. This month’s theme was game development.

This first and last parts of the event were for socializing, including free drink tickets which was rather nice of them. In the middle they had two lectures. One from Nvidia talking about the Shield, and the other from Raindrop Games, a small indie studio that released an (unsuccessful) iOS game. I like listening to post-mortems of projects, both successful and “failures”. You can learn a lot from what doesn’t work. I didn’t agree with everything Josh said, but he had learned some valuable lessons the hard way and was able to realize some of his mistakes.

Many of the people I met there were new to game development. It was interesting to talk to people who weren’t experienced with game dev, but eager to learn more about it.

I like going to new meetup groups. It’s nice to see a mix of new and familiar faces. If you’re aware of any other awesome San Francisco Bay Area meetups I should check out, send me an email and let me know!