The Develop in Liverpool conference opens its doors on 25 November, just three weeks away. Places are booking up quickly, so for those developers still umming and ahhing, here are five very good reasons why you should stop all that, and just come.

1. The Unique 3D Opening Keynote
One of Sony’s senior directors – Mick Hocking will demonstrate the impact and potential of HD 3D games on the big screen at the Odeon cinema. You get to wear silly glasses, experience 3D gaming on a big scale and discover the lessons Sony Computer Entertainment learned from the last two years’ work converting many of its leading titles to 3D.

2. Exclusives
Many sessions include content that is ‘hot off the press’ – brand new stuff that you won’t have had a chance to see anywhere before, and session content that just wouldn’t happen anywhere else:

Designing for Kinect – The Lessons from Fighters Uncaged
Pascal Luban, AMA Studios

Fighters Uncaged is the first true combat game released for Kinect. This presentation will cover both opportunities and challenges discovered by AMA during the development. 

Hohokum: The First 3 Years
Ricky Haggett, Honeyslug

Richard Hogg, Independent Artist and Illustrator
Ricky and Richard will describe the process of alternating short bursts of work with long periods of reflection, and demo the 2010 version of Hohokum alongside the many prototypes. 

Innovation in the Fast Lane: A Driving Game Designer Mash-up
Charnjit Bansi, Bizarre Creations
Nick Baynes, Disney Black Rock.

Two key UK racing game designers take to the stage to play each other’s games, discover each other’s secrets, and doubtless enjoy a little friendly competition on the race track. 

3. Real Developers Sharing Real Experiences
Learn from the successes (and mistakes) of our speakers – leading developers talk you through what they’ve learned on recent development projects. Some are designers, some producers, some programmers, some studio heads. So whatever your role there will be sessions relevant to you.

Highlights include:

Building the Magic: Fun with Licensors
Arthur Parsons, Lead Designer, Traveller’s Tales.
Through a case study of LEGO Harry Potter, Arthur will explain how being diligent and faithful to a brand can not only be great fun, but can also make a game truly magical.

Kinect: A Whole New Business
Philip Oliver, CEO, Blitz Games Studios.
Philip will give a frank evaluation of the difficulties of developing a launch title on pre-release hardware, looking at aspects such as team layouts, new confidentiality concerns and new business development challenges.

Putting Formula 1 Back into Pole Position
Paul Jeal, Senior Producer F1 2010
Stephen Hood, Chief Games Designer, F1 2010, Codemasters.
This session is a post-mortem recapping the F1 franchise from the past and how Codemasters intends to take it into the future. The designers will discuss the challenges of putting a new face on a classic franchise.

4. The Networking
Okay, so Develop in Liverpool doesn’t quite square up to its big brother Develop in Brighton. But it is only (nearly) two years old, and a one-day event. But don’t knock it; it’s still the biggest and best event for the development community in the north of England.

Here are just a few of the companies attending this year:

Pinewood Studios, Blitz Games Studios, Exient, Electronic Arts, Codemasters, Bournemouth University, Double 11, Catalysis Communications, Orange, University of Central Lancs, Disney Black Rock Studios, Hobbyist, Spiral House, Glass Egg Digital Media, Motion Imaging Limited, DARKWORKS, BBC Worldwide, Microsoft, Blue Beck Ltd, KJLearning, Bizarre Creations, Honeyslug, Alive Interactive Media, RealtimeUK, MPG Universal, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Travellers Tales, Intel.

5. The Socialising
All Develop conferences pride themselves on having a relaxed and sociable environment, which lends itself to mixing easily with other delegates and also with speakers. Liverpool is no exception – there are coffee breaks throughout the day, a networking lunch and an end of the day drinks party where you can meet up with old friends and contacts, or even better make some new ones!


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