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2018 Archive :: Montreal, Canada :: Gameplay Space
Disco 2018 Speakers and Sessions
Picture of Carl and Tanya
In Conversation with Yacht Club: Digging into Shovel Knight’s Success
Carl-Henrik Skårstedt, Senior Programmer, Yacht Club Games, with Tanya X. Short, Captain & Lead Designer, Kitfox Games

The Shovel Knight series has been a phenomenal success with millions of units sold. More importantly, with millions more fans engaged. Delighting fans and building strong customer relations is at the core of Yacht Club’s long term strategy for success. This conversation will dig into some of the specific tools and tactics used to grow and engage a fan base, as well as how to foster a community development ethos in the DNA of the studio.

Carl-Henrik has created games at companies including Looking Glass Studios, Namco, Luxoflux, Superbot and Big Red Button before landing at Yacht Club Games where he is currently working on the next Shovel Knight expansion and more.

Tanya X. Short is the Captain and Lead Designer at Kitfox Games. With over 10 years of experience as a game designer, Tanya is a believer in community-friendly development processes, and has built a name for Kitfox internationally through her knowledge-sharing and transparent process.
Portrait of Philomena
How a Free Demo Funded Our Game
Philomena Schwab - Co-Founder, Stray Fawn Studio

In November 2017 Stray Fawn Studios launched a Kickstarter campaign for Nimbatus – The Space Drone Constructor. The campaign was successful and raised $75,000. However, their game didn’t have a community before the Kickstarter. It all came down to finding an audience and building up a fan base on the fly. But how? In this talk, Philomena will share insights on how Stray Fawn got the word out via social media and news sites, what role influencers can play in campaigns, and how a free demo helped them succeed. Plus, she’ll share how her studio built up 50,000 newsletter subscriptions in the process.

Philomena Schwab is a game developer from Zurich, Switzerland. Recently she co-founded the indie game studio Stray Fawn Studio. Philomena wrote her master thesis about “ Community Building For Indie Game Developers”. As a board member the of Swiss Game Developers Association and the gameZfestival team, she is very active in organising events to help the local game scene grow. In 2017 Philomena was listed as one of Europe’s “30 under 30 in Technology” by Forbes.
Portrait of Erin and Zohaib
How to Make a Stream-Friendly Game Influencers Will Love
Erin Wayne, Director of Community Marketing with Zohaib Ali, Head of Product – Commerce, Twitch

You have probably heard various tips on how to get streamers to discover your game and enjoy it, as well as how to use Twitch to build interest. But how do you cut through the noise in the age of Fortnite? What are creators looking for from indie developers? And what has Twitch created to ensure game developers have the tools to not only reach creators and their viewers, but also make revenue themselves? Join Erin and Zohaib as they walk through how to build relationships with influencers as well as various features Twitch offers to help developers connect with creators and make games more stream-friendly.

Erin “Aureylian” Wayne is the Director of Community Marketing at Twitch. Erin got her start in the business as a Minecraft Let’s Play video creator and now leverages her expertise and experiences as a content creator to foster an environment where all Twitch creators have the tools to build a career on the service.

Zohaib Ali is the Head of Product on the Twitch Commerce team, who leads a team focused on building the next generation of commerce products and streamer tools on Twitch. Prior to Twitch, Ali was the Lead Senior Product Manager for Xbox at Microsoft, where he was working on the Core Experiences R&D Team for Xbox X and Live Services.
Portrait of Chri
The Joy of Email Marketing
Christopher Zukowski, Founder, Return to Adventure Mountain

Have a mailing list with only a handful of subscribers? Do you only begrudgingly use it when your game launches? Do you consider email an obsolete form of communication? In this talk, Chris will inspire you to rethink how you connect with your fans through the most powerful yet misunderstood form of marketing. Learn how you can use a mailing list to be independent of volatile social media companies, build a following of true fans, and sell more copies of your games.

Chris Zukowski is a UX and game designer. He has released 5 games under his own label: Return To Adventure Mountain. Chris also writes extensively about Direct to Fan marketing so that indies can build a sustainable career making games.
Portrait of Elyot
Advanced Reddit Tactics
Elyot Grant, Founder and CEO, Lunarch Studios

Reddit is now the 4th most visited website in the US. However, leveraging Reddit for marketing purposes can be tricky due to the site’s quirky culture and intolerance of spam. In this talk, Elyot will outline a playbook of advanced tactics for success on Reddit. He’ll explain how Lunarch Studios used these tactics to hit the Reddit frontpage 5 times, collected 40,000 email beta signups in a single day, ran a Reddit-powered Kickstarter campaign, and become the #1 top all-time post on /r/bestof (until Barack Obama knocked them down). Additionally, several subversive tactics will be discussed, alongside pitfalls to avoid.

Elyot is the founder and CEO of Lunarch Studios and creator of the competitive strategy game Prismata. He has 3 degrees in mathematics, including one from MIT. Elyot’s a huge nerd who’s earned a gold medal at the Canadian Computing Competition and has competed on the Canadian national team at the International Math Olympiad and the World Puzzle Championship. He’s also a former Reddit StarCraft Tournament champion and holder of multiple speedrun world records.
Portrait of Patryk
Frostpunk’s Marketing Strategy: How to Survive Launching Survival Games
Patryk Grzeszczuk, Marketing Director, 11 bit studios

The gaming market has got very competitive in recent years, so even with the best game at hand, to succeed is not an easy task. In this talk, Patryk will discuss strategy and tactics for raising the awareness of your games and how to build the right kind of following. Plus, he’ll share how to convert overall interest into sales, as making games is great but staying afloat is a must.

Patryk is a marketing director at 11 bit studios, focusing on game marketing and digital communication. A devoted gamer for the last twenty five years and a brand/marketing specialist for the last twelve years. He believes that games are a new language and as such should be used to tell stories that matter. As a part of the 11 bit studios team, he has been responsible for strategy/creative for campaigns for This War of Mine, Beat Cop, and Frostpunk among other titles. Doodling and longboarding enthusiast after hours.
This event could not have taken place without the generous support from the following partners.