Data 101

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I’m starting this category “All things data” to write posts about data for the sake of data. Some of them are simple but play a big role, like this one. Others are complex. There will be a twist, though. The examples I’ll show will be in the context of games analytics. There will be no Iris dataset to fit a logistic regression. If you are smiling you know what I’m talking about. If you are not, don’t worry, we’ll get to that. Continue reading

Microsoft Game Dev Camp 2015

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Some years ago, I was one of the moderators of GameDevPT. A Portuguese gamedev forum where new blood, veterans, wannabes and professionals helped and networked in the ways that were only possible through the accessibility of the pre Facebook forums. We made a lunch reservation for 18 people the last time I helped to arrange a gamedev event in Portugal. One of them was brought by his mother who sat in separate table. This was many years ago… 9 maybe…

Since then I’m afraid I lost contact with the Portuguese gamedev community. The reasons for that are irrelevant but all of them are my own responsibility.

A couple of months ago during a rambling analytics phone call with the great guys from Bica Studios, the sentence “you should talk in the next Game Dev Camp” was heard. The point was that this Game Dev Camp was about taking the next step in Portugal and analytics is a big part of taking the next step in many industries, gaming included.

A couple of weeks went by and I was involved in a conversation at Miniclip about this particular event. Miniclipers that had something to give to the gamedev community stepped up to give talks.

Some years ago we were 18 people in a lunch. Here’s what I saw in 2015.

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This was the crowd for the keynote. I checked many photos and none really shows how packed that room was and many were left outside. There were more than 400 people attending, 35 speakers, multiple tracks with simultaneous talks. There was a showroom with a lot of fine games. All under the umbrella of Microsoft with the support of Microsoft and the event partners Miniclip, B5, Bica Studios, Nerd Monkeys, Raindance Studios, Lisboa Games Week and Emergency Agency.

But the guy in the middle of the tornado was Miguel Vicente to whom I have to personally thank for all the hard work in making this a reality. Here he is thanking the partners during the keynote!

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So… what happened there?

Quite a lot! Did I mentioned once we were 18? 400+ is what I call a pretty good forward step for a 10 million people country. To me the most relevant thing was that many of the people I met a decade ago, those that introduced me to gamedev, are still here and they were speaking with people from Unity, Gameloft, Miniclip and Microsoft but also that hundreds more joined and are building an industry.

What we had was a mix of gamedev veterans plus people from all walks of gamedev, plus the ones that joined larger companies in the industry, plus their networks sharing knowledge.

And free waffles… never forget the free waffles!

I’ll post links to the talks I found more relevant since everything was recorded… ain’t that neat, huh?!

My role

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I was a speaker in this event. A proud one I might add. I do apologise for the extremely ugly man in the photo but to this day no camera is so amazing that can make me look any better. My talk was about how Miniclip went from having no analytics to a company wide data science team. The good things and bad things, the challenges so that anyone interested is aware of it.

I believe that my role goes a bit further than this talk. This event was a bit emotional to me and I left it with a feeling of responsibility to the community. I work on a successful company doing something that is rare and valuable. I have a fantastic team and a great department with whom I learn something new almost every day. If we were in England or Germany we would still be great but I doubt we could make a big difference in the local gaming industry hubs. But we are in Portugal and I feel I personally owe it to the community.

See you all around and until next year!

A/B Testing and RCTs 101

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I have a love/hate relationship with A/B testing. On one hand, I love it because it is the tool that allows me to say that something we changed caused some behaviour. This is pure actionable power. The reason I hate it, on the other hand, it’s because the expression “A/B Test” is a symbol of how badly treated these tests are. I have nothing against A/B Testing and I believe there’s a lot of bad A/B Testing. Continue reading

Game Analytics & Business Intelligence Forum Day 1

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So… two posts in less than 24 hours, huh?… Must be something big.

Game Analytics & Business Intelligence Forum (or GABI15) started today in London. The first edition held last year marked a turning point in what we thought collectively of game analytics at Miniclip. We went from having an objective and some ideas to a validated model of what we wanted to achieve and what we would do to achieve it. Continue reading

Game Analytics: Build or Buy?

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Deciding to build or buy the components of our game analytics platform is one of the biggest decisions we have to make. I’ve seen many questions on Quora on this issue. Often people ask which is the best analytics platform. From my experience, the only person that can answer that is the person that asked it. Every other opinion is biased either by positive or negative experiences or commercial interest.

The problem is the question. Instead of asking which is the best solution, the question should be which solution best fits my needs. This post is about that. Defining needs that may exist and which should be addressed. Continue reading

Planning Game Analytics from 0 to data science

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Game analytics can be very simple or go wide, far and deep. The trick is to define what it is that you will want on a given timeframe. The length of the timeframe depends on how sophisticated and complex are your objectives.

This post will go through the role that sophistication and complexity take in defining both your objectives and the analytics stack to support them. Continue reading

So you want to have game analytics, huh?

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I’ve asked game development communities on Facebook and Reddit what was it that they were interested in the context of this blog. I expected a large number of interests, but the truth is that most requests were in the lines of “how do I start?” The Setting Up Game Analytics category of posts that I start today is about that. How to setup game analytics in your studio. From planning and choosing the technology to defining events and integration with external services. I expect many posts in this category. Continue reading