Posts in Events (23)

Not Your Usual Angel Investor: Supporting Prostate Cancer Research for Movember

The gents at ReignDesign have been doing their bit during the month formerly known as November, by growing moustaches and raising money for men's health charity as part of Movember!

Our chosen charity is Prostate Cancer UK, who support world-class research into prostate cancer, and also spread awareness of the disease and provide support for sufferers.

Here we are at the start of the month, clean-shaved in our group photo!


The other team members pledged money if Matt would come to work in an angel costume. So he did!

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We also teamed up with our friends at Kakadu Shanghai! We organised two barbecues and a scavenger hunt around Shanghai, with the proceeds going to charity.


And here are the guys at the end of the month, sporting a dashing variety of moustaches.


While we had a lot of fun over the month, there's a serious message here. Men can often be too embarrassed to talk about their health problems or ignore symptoms. So it's important we get the message out that it's OK to discuss things like prostate cancer, and to see your doctor if you're worried about anything!

By the 30th Movember, we raised an amazing 1,267 USD for Prostate Cancer! If you'd like to donate, you can still donate via Matt's JustGiving page.

Haikus from WWDC session transcripts

So, a lot of you

I'm sure are familiar with

Grand Central Dispatch

- Hidden Gems in Cocoa and Cocoa Touch, WWDC Session 228

At ReignDesign we're a big fan of AsciiWWDC, a great resource for reading and searching the full-text transcripts of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference session videos.

And there's something a little poetic about the way the transcripts are listed. This inspired some late-night hacking creating wwdc-haiku, a simple Python script which, given a session number, attempts to scan the transcript of a single session for possible haikus (that is, sentences with a 5-7-5 syllable pattern).

$ ./wwdc-haiku 228

And what happens is 
you choose that and you see a 
window like this pop 

So, it's going to 
look very similar to 
the last example 

And actually 
I'm backing it this time by 
a dictionary 

So, a lot of you 
I'm sure are familiar with 
Grand Central Dispatch 

It's just one of those 
things that it takes a while to 
get into your head 

I think the two most 
useful and interesting 
ones are max and min 

It's returning a 
Boolean whether or not 
it was successful 

So, was that that was 
pretty fast, but I think we 
hit everybody 

Yes, we know our haikus won't pass muster with any Japanese poetry scholars... but do clone the code from Github and have fun!

What can you do with

these? Well, in Jay's Donut Shop

I had this problem

- What’s New in Core Location, WWDC Session 307

Doing It With Twins: the Twin Prime Conjecture

The Grub & Groove pub in Shanghai hosts a series of talks on Tuesday evenings called The Thinkery. Under the slogan of ‘everything is interesting’, they invite people to give a talk on the topic of their choice. Recently I gave a talk entitled “Doing It With Twins: The Twin Primes Conjecture”

Doing It With Twins: The Twin Primes Conjecture

Continue reading...

Trends in casual gaming: my takeaways from Casual Connect Kyiv 2012

I've spent the last three days in Kyiv, Ukraine attending Casual Connect Kyiv 2012. Besides presenting on controls in touchscreen games, I met a lot of great people from the Ukrainian and Russian game development communities, as well as thought leaders in the industry. Here are a few interesting points, quotes and trends from the conference:

The big trend:

  • • You cannot fight the trend towards free-to-play games, it's taking over the market, segment by segment.

On Marketing:

  • • Most big companies are spending their money on paid user acquisition/CPI, this leaves a gap for marketing stunts to acquire users at low or no-cost, look for strategic marketing partnerships
  • • Answer tweets/facebook messages in the persona of your game characters (e.g. the Bad Piggies reply to people on Rovio's social media accounts)
  • • It's way easier to get to top 25 in smaller territories first, then target the US later.

On technology:

  • • Have your programmers create tools that enable game designers to modify the game without programmer intervention - e.g. let the game designer modify parameters in an excel file which is read by the game.
  • • Programmers naturally write defensive code while game designers want to stretch the boundaries. This conflict is a good thing.
  • • Try to build a game engine that you can reuse in multiple games, which will get better and better over time.
  • • Never rewrite a game from scratch, your "crappy old code" actually contains a lot of institutional memory and smart bug fixes.
  • • The development of a modern mobile game is never finished.
  • • Unity 4 supports export to Flash Player, using Stage3D; so you don't need the Unity Web Player. Also has dynamic fonts on mobile, a new animation system, and lots of other cool stuff!

On game reviews:

  • • Try to find out what kind of games specific game reviewers like before sending review requests to then
  • • In iOS6, search ranking is affected by third-party reviews
  • • A short video showing the gameplay/functionality of your app is essential

On Cross promotion:

  • • Cross promotion is the cheapest way to market your apps & CTRs are very high: use all your advertising space: like splash screens, loading screens, notifications.
  • • Having tons of connected games makes a big and powerful business; the closer the match the better cross promo works

On Monetization:

  • • Consider providing incentives for people to watch ads (eg provide virtual currency for watching a video ad unit)
  • • Price segmentation: always offer low and high priced versions of items to maximize revenue
  • • Provide new items or levels on a daily schedule (for example, unlock one new level a day for a whole month)... keeps people coming back
  • • You must segment your users, treat paying and non paying users differently. Paying users should get free bonuses to encourage more purchases. Non-paying users should get more ads.
  • • After 30 days, if someone didn't spend money in your game, 95% chance they will never buy anything in lifetime of game
  • Retail marketing budgets are much larger than e-commerce budgets, and can be accessed with the right partnerships

On Engagement:

  • • Levels are a retention strategy. Don't sell them, give them away and sell ancillary items (hints, upgrades)
  • • Create "moments of absolute joy" which can be shared
  • • Look for points in the game where engagement drops off and offer bonuses at those points
  • • Work on the "core compulsion loops" of your games, it's what keeps players coming back