Francesco Cavallari

Francesco Cavallari photo
Company:
Video Games Without Borders
Position:
Founder & President
Talk title:

From Ubisoft blockbusters to the Best Serious Game of 2017

Country:

Spain

Bio:

Francesco has 20 years of experience in the games industry having held both technical and leadership positions at Ubisoft, one the world’s largest video games producing companies. At Ubisoft, he took part to the development of all sort of games, including critically acclaimed titles (like Beyond Good and Evil and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory) and casual blockbusters (like My Secret World by Imagine and Motion Sports), until 2014 when he decided to quit when he was Production Director of Ubisoft Barcelona. In 2015 he founded Video Games Without Borders, a nonprofit organization and a global community of people that believe in digital games to change the world for better, and he is now full-time dedicated to oversee its operations. As part of the first VGWB project he spent 6 months in Africa (Burkina Faso) to teach and develop a video game with local talents. More recently, Francesco supervised the development of "Antura and the Letters", a smartphone game to improve literacy among Syrian children that are out-of-school because of the conflict, winner of EduApp4Syria international competition and awarded as Best Serious Game of the Year at the Fun&Serious Games Festival 2017 (Bilbao, Spain). Francesco strongly believes video games can help achieving every single one of United Nations’ 17 SDGs and he works closely with institutions, private companies and NGOs to make it happen. NOTE: Francesco has a long track record as speaker at international events including GamesForChange Festival 2016 (New York, USA), UNESCO IPDC Talk 2016 (Paris, France), FMX 2017 (Stuttgart, Germany), UNESCO ICT Forum on Education 2017 (Quigdao, China) and Fun&Serious Games Festival 2017 (Bilbao, Spain)

Talk abstract:

In 15 years at Ubisoft I had the opportunity to work on many different projects and learn from some of the best professionals in the industry. I now apply all this experience to Video Games Without Borders or VGWB (http://vgwb.org) and the development of our games for social impact… with the same expectations in terms of quality and fun! In the lecture I’ll share with the audience the experience of developing “Antura and the Letters” (http://www.antura.org), but instead of framing it in a standard postmortem format I’d like to create a parallelism with my years at Ubisoft. For each of the challenges we had to face during the development of Antura I’ll present an Ubisoft project and a key learning I gained from it . This way, the postmortem of Antura becomes an excuse to share most of the take best practices I learned through my career… and best practices can be applied to any project! I consider Antura game very relevant to TGC audience because it’s a mobile game (both Android & iOS) with very strict technical requirements (less than 100MB in size and compatible with “old” phones), developed in Unity and fully open source (https://github.com/vgwb/Antura_arabic). The production involved about 60 people from a dozen different countries (~30 people at peak time) and lasted less than 2 years, including the improvements based on the feedback collected during the field testing in Azraq refugee camps (Jordan). Finally the lecture will prove that it’s possible to produce quality games in a collaborative/distributed way thanks to VGWB Community in which 200 people from 26 different countries learn, share and develop with a common goal: making the world a better place!

Audience:

The Lecture will be interesting for all type of audiences: beginners, intermediate and experts. Each of them will find inspiring examples and valuable best practices! Moreover they will be offered the opportunity to join VGWB Community and either learn or