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Games Week Roundup: PAX Aus, GCAP, Unite, and Game Developer Awards

This blog has been a little quiet since The Eyes of Ara launched back in July. You would think that after launching a game your workload would decrease… but alas such things are not to be! Since launching the game things have been non-stop, and I’m afraid keeping the blog up-to-date was one of the casualties. But today I find myself with a bit of free time, so let's have a look back at all the awesome stuff that’s been happening recently.

PAX Australia

Two weeks ago saw the annual migration of gamers from all over Australia down to the Melbourne Convention Centre for PAX Australia, and I was there with The Eyes of Ara. What’s more, I had an Australian Indie Showcase booth. These booths are special: you have submit your game and the entry form and a panel of judges select the six winners. I was thrilled to get the news that The Eyes of Ara had been selected as one of the winners this year, and exhibiting in the Showcase section was an incredible experience.

In many ways, PAX Aus was a kind of launch party for the game (albeit a few months late), since it was the first - and by far the biggest - convention I had shown the game at since launch. With a good deal of experience exhibiting at other conventions in the past and with the game now in full release, I went into PAX feeling way more prepared and relaxed than I had at previous conventions. I had the experience, I had all the supplies prepared, the game was out, the demo was extensively tried and tested, so what could there be to worry about?

And it was an amazing show! It was wonderful to see so many people coming up to the booth to try the game, and even more wonderful to listen to them speak excitedly about it afterwards. I even met a few people who already owned the game and just came by just to chat (as a developer, it’s great to meet players who enjoyed the game and go out of their way to come up and let you know it, so thanks to all of you!). I also brought along over 600 fliers to give out, and they were all gone by halfway through the third day!

On Saturday evening I was asked to take part in a panel with the other Indie Showcase winners, where we got to speak about our games and take questions from the audience. It was really cool to be up on stage with such amazing local talent and check out the other awesome games on offer. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend heading to the AIS page and checking out each of the winners. There are some really awesome games there and I am genuinely excited to play each of them (many of them are either out now or coming soon).

GCAP, Unite, and the Australian Game Developer Awards

While PAX may have been the main event of the past few weeks, it only marked the end of a huge week in Australian games, known as the Melbourne International Games Week. GCAP is the annual gathering of Australian game developers to network and talk about our craft, and I was there to give a talk on Art and Level Design in The Eyes of Ara. If you were at the talk, or if you’re interested, the slides can be found here.

Unite is a one-day conference dedicated to all things relating to the Unity 3D game engine. I’m proud to say that The Eyes of Ara was selected as part of this year’s Made With Unity Showcase, and I was given the opportunity to show the game in the Showcase hall along with a host of other amazing Australian games.

Finally, in what was perhaps one of the greatest highlights since I began The Eyes of Ara over three years ago, I was honored to be nominated for the Excellence in Art award at this year’s Australian Game Developer Awards. Unfortunately I didn’t walk away with the win, but to stand among my peers and see my game up on the big screen, nominated alongside other such amazing works was truly humbling. If nothing else, I left inspired to make something even better next time, and hopefully one day see one of my games in the Game of the Year category as well!

Onward to the Future

The Games Week and PAX marks a kind of milestone for The Eyes of Ara - the first big event deadline since launch and the last for a while. I’m now back in the office in Brisbane, and back to work on the game. There’s a lot more to come over the next few months, and I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated with the latest details. Some things to look out for include: A public demo for download, the remaining Kickstarter rewards, another patch with some feature requests, and several localization updates for multiple languages.

So work on The Eyes of Ara continues, I look forward to sharing all the future news and updates as it comes through!

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Ben

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