October 26th to November 1st was the Melbourne International Games Week, a big week of games and game development comprising of the Unite and GCAP game dev conferences, The Arcade open day showcasing the local Melbourne Indie Dev Scene, and culminating in the always spectacular PAX Australia. If updates surrounding The Eyes of Ara have been quiet of late, this is the reason. I attended the full week, saw a lot of great games, met a lot of wonderful people, and most of all learned a great deal.
Unite & GCAP
These two conferences were the primary reason for my visit. Both had a lot of great talks by some very talented developers, but GCAP was a standout experience. A number of local devs gave some very informative talks, in particular Katie Gall, Lauren Clinnick and Tara Brannigan who ran a packed-out session on games and Social Media, Steve Halliwell and Tony Parmenter on Core Mechanics, and the always entertaining Nicole and Jason Stark who ran a Narrative Vs. Game Design session that encouraged audience participation and on-stage rivalry.
International guests included Keynotes by Brie Code (Child of Light, Assassin's Creed series) and Martin Sahlin (Unravel), both of whom told powerful, personal stories about their life and career in the games industry.
There were many more great sessions than I can possibly list here, and I left with a notebook full of hastily scrawled notes, a pocket full of business cards, and a head full of inspiration.
PAX and the Indie Dev Scene
Thursday was The Arcade open day. The Arcade is a collaborative workspace housing a number of indie dev teams, including Tin Man Games (Gamebook Adventures), Three Phase Interactive (Defect), and Hipster Whale (Crossy Road) as well as a host of others. The sheer number and variety of games on display was inspiring, it was wonderful to see the aussie indie dev scene kicking along so strong.
Unfortunately I was only able to attend a few short hours of PAX on the Friday, but it was enough for a quick loop of the expo floor and an extended stay in the indie games section. There I was able to play games by many of the devs I had met, spoke too, or listen to speak during the conferences. Many of the teams from The Arcade were there too, busily trying to keep up with the thousands of expo attendees vying for a look at their games.
Back in Brisbane
With the week concluded, weary devs from around the country headed home. I’m back in Brisbane now and back to work on The Eyes of Ara. I can confidently say that the game will be a better experience as a direct result of the MIGW (in fact I have already implemented some of the advice I received while there), and I look forward to next year’s Games Week. Who knows, perhaps next year I’ll be the one on stage talking about my experience developing The Eyes of Ara.
But first I have to finish it. So until next time, it’s back to work for me!