Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't be scared. Those cute monsters are your customers.(c) UPDATED with pictures!

"Don't be scared. Those cute monsters are your customers."

This was written in a presentation of game creating software at the Casual Connect conference. And it was true about my situation there. I'm kinda hikikomori and people are often like monsters for me. Those are especially possible employers who have always been perceived like some higher monster forces able and most likely to splash my brains on the nearby walls just because of what I am.

This event made me see and believe that there ARE serious and important people who are COOL people and are proud of it.

Having arived to the Rus hotel where it was to take place I discovered I forgot to rewrite the press ID I received in the PDF version of the press card. Thanks God people at the reception table only needed our second names to give us the press badges and kits.
And then we started exploring the territory. I haven't taken any photos at lectures of day 1 since I was running around with a video camera.
Pic by Anton Karpenko and Sasha Paleeva
Wednesday is the specialization day at university, and skipping those classes can give you a great pain in the ass.
Last year's class where we were making a TV programme. I've left this group this year because of severe misunderstanding with the teacher I had. The new one is not bad, and I wanted to make a report for her to show that I've really been doing something work-related and not just skipping her class for fun.

The only way to avoid this is to make something useful for the subject. Since I have it as TV journalism, I decided to make a video news piece to show to the teacher. It's gonna be a boring one - as most teachers like.

But one more video has been planned - for my YouTube, not the teacher. For people who will undestand how much fun we've had at CC.
Pic by Anton Karpenko and Sasha Paleeva
We didn't know anyone there, but I had a list of people Vlad introduced me to. I also had a meeting scheduled, and the girl who I was going to talk to said she'll be at the Nevosoft booth. I knew her name is Yulia Lebedeva, I saw her pics in Vlad's article and I knew something about her from the same source. I feared my bad memory for faces will intrude, but fortunately an extremely sweet blonde girl has been recognized unmistakeably.
I don't own the photo.
It's from www.ukrainianiphone.com

She used to work as a radio DJ and host, and then switched to PR in the gaming industry. Yulia works for the Nevosoft company that develops and publishes games and has a curious website - it's not just a games distribution source, but also a social network of those who play casual games. The users put up contests among themselves - like, for example, the screenshot one where people should make up a story to match a screenshot.

Julia's journalist skills have turned out useful in this industry as well - she does  weekly video review of 3 best games of the week as well as the App2Top news site.

Casual games are called like that since they're designed for a wide audience, not just for geeky gamers who spend days, weeks, months and years playing. Casual ones are more of time killers. They don't require constant participation, and therefore can be played by anybody including busy people who sometimes need to have a short brain-rest at work or something not to fall asleep in a line or in transport. 

It was still hellish morning when I finished this very 1st interview. Mokona and I were still sleepy and enjoyed coffee and tea in the hall. Of course I was running around with the video camera. Again. XD

Bright vids near companies' stands were capturing our attention one after another. We even spotted a true sweet lolita on some company's banner! LOL she even had a proper headdress. =) Have a look at the top part of the poster.
Photo from www.ukrainianiphone.com

We stopped near one of those screens where the heading of this post appeared. This company was presenting something a bit different than a game - it was a software that lets people make hidden objects games themselves.

A nice guy from the company (check out the link in the 1st paragraph) told us that this thing is suitable for common PC users, that is - you don't need to be a professional developer to try making your own game. A person can try and decide whether they'd like to do it further or not, and if they're interested, they can purchase the full version of the program that involves much more features.

Lectures of the industry professionals were the main part of the event. We headed to our 1st one. I was running around with the video camera.

All experts were telling something interesting even though I'm completely new to the topic. At first some issues were a bit hard to understand, but the more I listened the more I got what is being talked about. Mokona must have felt more confident since she's into games for a long time, and she also explained me some things I had no idea of.
Pic by Anton Karpenko and Sasha Paleeva
Taking notes... ^__^

Despite all pieces of information were different I managed to outline a few main ideas. I think I'll write more details in the article, but here I'll provide a few trends in the shortest form possible.

  • The audience of casual games consists of DIFFERENT people. It's not true these things are only played by disappointed bored women of age 40+. As one of participants said in his CC review, that definition is offensive towards women. And I do agree with him. I don't see anything bad in a woman playing some stuff to distract herself from unpleasant thoughts, a bad mood or loneliness.
  • What is more, PCs are gradually losing their position of main platforms for casual games. Of course developers won't give them up totally in the nearest future since there are still lots of users who play casual games on their computers. But portable devices are becoming the most interesting and attractive targets for both creators and players. People are getting busier and take their devices to the places they go to instead of staying wired to a big PC even if it's a laptop is inavoidable.
  • Ukraine doesn't really suck in game developing. Here's the issue on which I've heard 2 opposite points of view. One of the lecturers said that the leading countries of the industry are the USA, France and UK, with Germany and Italy following them. As you see Ukraine's not on the list. On the other hand, I got to know that about 40% of games are developed somewhere here. I guess it means that successful companies aren't based here, but still the main workforce is in Ukraine and some other non-popular countries.
Ok, enough of the official article teasers, I hope you'll soon be able to read all that in some printed media if Ukrainian editors are nice enough to me.

There was a huge break after the first lecture. Time to meet people. ;) A tall young man asked if I'm Vlad's friend. The answer was "yes", and then I looked at the badge. Anton was one of those Vlad said I should meet, the guy who knows everyone and everything there. :) And I cannot disagree with that.

The photographer with cute Angry Birds earrings (that turned out to be handmade by herself O_o) was Sasha, also a friend of Vlad he told me about. They introduced us to people from the Big Fish Games and we spent quite a lot of time talking. Here's where Mokona got even happier - she's a fan of their games and has played almost all of them. As you'll read later, now she has some special bond with them, and I don't mean any official papers. ^___~

More and more people were joining that conversation, and I couldn't help recognizing another hero of Vlad's stories and an article. Alex Ptitsa, one of the most experienced IT journalists of the country!!!! He noticed me too and since then we're in touch.
  Pic by Anton Karpenko and Sasha Paleeva.  
We left a little bit earlier to start fulflling Mokona's evil plan of catching another dream's tail. ;) Walked to her friend's workplace to do makeup for the Hallowscream party. Yes, the 1st two days of Casual Connect had parties in evenings. This one was thrown by the Big Fish Games company.

Thanks to all who haven't fallen asleep while reading this. The next post's going to be brighter and bloodier. Coming soon...

Thanks to Anton and Sasha for making and posting the pics. :)


  1. There are more pics, but Sasha is a little busy :)

    We will publish rest of photos soon.

  2. Thank you!!!! I'll have the video soon :))
    May I link to some of your pages in further posts? ^__^

  3. Hey,

    I just want to inform you that my god daughter Charmaine has said goodbye to us. I thought it would be polite to inform you since you did leave a msg on her blog before.

    Anyway, you don't have to worry about me coz though upset that she's gone, I also feel a sense of peace knowing that she would no longer suffer from all the intense pain and that she would be able to move freely again up in heaven.

  4. Jo, I'm sorry... I read about it when got to your blog and her mum's one, but I was using my cell-phone then and couldn't comment.

    I hoped she'll survive anyway, but having read Cyntia's messages about Char's last days... I have to agree it's good that God took her to a suffering-free place. How are his mum and brother doing now?

  5. They're both doing ok for now. I haven't seen them since Sunday but we've been communicating tru sms and FB.

  6. Jo, I saw Char in a dream this morning. She looked slightly older then in the pics I've seen, about 1 year older.

    She was wearing white trousers and a white t-shirt with some pastel pink print, butterflies or something like that. She looked up at me and smiled happily.

    My 1st thought was to tell you as soon as I woke up.