First things first. Chris is out of the hospital, he is recovering at home. However given his current state of health he will not be coming to Estonia. Tyler will be taking his place instead. Chris will help Retora from the states, & hopefully he makes a full recovery soon!
Week two was a hectic start. Day one there was a top secret seminar with Scott Foe. We had actually gone out to watch football with Scott the night before, so we were in on the secret seminar.
And then they moved it up three hours…
So needless to say we were very surprised when we showed up 30 minutes into the talk, thinking we’d have plenty of time to hang out beforehand. It was a really great talk that I actually was sworn to secrecy about, and while I doubt Scott is reading my blog I don’t want to make enemies.
This event really sets the tone, there are so many things going on that you have to check the calendar constantly. Between secret talks, new mentors showing up, & last minute parties you never know what’s coming next. It’s both frustrating and exciting.
Tuesday & Wednesday were filled with mentor meetings and seminars. There were some really smart & helpful mentors this week. We got great feedback from user experience designers, talked monetization & user retention, and learned about publishing with Rovio (they make this thing called Angry Birds).
One of the biggest surprises about this program is what it really is about. We thought there was a little bit of training, some pitch practice, & most of our time would go towards making a game. Well, surprise! I haven’t written a single line of code for Kateas yet. We spend so many hours of the day networking & prepping for new mentors, it’s very unexpected.
On the topic of the game we have been doing a lot of planning. I have shifted from the idea of mobile games as a product towards mobile games as a service. It’s a subtle, but important distinction. You have to think about re-engaging players, providing value over the lifetime of the product, and constantly testing your changes.
Zak has been extremely busy with mentor management & pitch practice, so unfortunately there isn't an art update to show you. However if he can’t make the time this week, I’ll lock him in a box until art comes out. We've generally discussed the direction we want to go, so now it’s just about nailing it down visually. I think it’s going to be very cool and hopefully it surprises a few people.
So let's talk networking. It is done in bars & pubs. You talk to people. It’s all very strange to those introverted types. Thankfully I have Zak. Anyone who has met Zak knows he is, a friendly guy to say the least. Together we are… I think ridiculous is an appropriate term. If you don’t believe me, wait until you see pictures from the photo-shoot (yea, that happened). Using our ridiculous tag-team abilities, and some hilarious stories from our respective pasts (you know who you are) we have no problem making quick friends. This usually involves a fair bit of drinking, and the local favorite pub ‘Must Puudel’ (which means Black Poodle obviously) has been visited numerous times.
Now. The event of utmost importance. We found the best beer in Estonia. Valmiermuiža. It’s actually Latvian, but believe us, it’s the best thing in this country. We found this beer in some local pubs, and we also found it at a small festival we happened upon in Old Town today.
Old Town Tallinn is well, old. Very old. Probably older than my grand-parents even (seriously!). The whole thing is enclosed in the original city walls and it’s a fantastic place to get lost in. From group events to just hanging out with new contacts, we are probably in Old Town 4 nights a week, networking obviously. A quick bus ride & a short walk is all that separates us between 2013 and the 13th century.
The main square in Old Town
A strange seat
An awesome seat.
A rainy street in Tallinn
Walking in the streets!
A typical Sunday afternoon?
Looking forward this next week is a little lighter on mentors (only six as opposed to ten). Hopefully this means we get the new prototype up and running, there are play-testers coming at the end of the week. I might let Zak write next weeks blog, but he also might be locked in a box arting so we’ll see!
PS: Meet Sally. The Australian Cow living in Old Town.