Friedrich Kischner lead a fantastic workshop on videogames as theatre, ending with a vicious mentos and cola battle to help illustrate that games come in all shape and sizes, and have even been known to be played outside, even if we sometimes forget. It was a fun and exciting way to cap off 2014’s Game On Symposium – and a battle that will undoubtedly call for a rematch next year.
A group of lucky children at the Game On Symposium got to design and build their own game controller using the Makey Makey, and their very own games using the educational coding program Scratch.
Kids got a chance to learn some practical skills and tools for electronic game making in a creative and collaborative way. Products like Scratch and the Makey Makey make it possible for children to create and build interesting and experimental games themselves straight away, and everyone had something fantastic to show off at the end of the workshops!
After a series of Game Jams held at the Cube this year, the veterans of CubeJam: Discovery had a reflective moment on what they had gained from the experience, and what it was like trying to create a pitch for The Cube. We also announced our CubeJam: Show/Share/Challenge winners!
The CubeJam program was all about generating fresh and exciting ideas for The Cube, a completely unique space and interaction environment. This process of problem solving and ideation not only produced a plethora of outstanding pitches for The Cube, but also according to the panelists, was a great excercise that fed into how they approach their own projects.
The favorite pitch of the second Jam was announced straight after the panel, which was open to emerging and student game designers and creatives. Team Keyboard Whisperers took the priceless prize of novelty Cube mugs and legendary status with their pitch that turned the entire Cube into a user generated universe.
Veterans from our first workshop this year, CubeJam: Discovery reflected together on their experience of designing for the unique space of The Cube, and different skills and ideas that have emerged from the program to feed into their own practice.
Afterwards, the first day of the GO423 wrapped up with drinks and merriment.
Day one of GO423 is off to a fantastic start as our first panel of industry professionals reflect on their experiences in the games industry, from the bottom to the top (and sometimes back again), sharing some hard earned advice to the masses.
Hosted by Tony Reed (CEO of The GDAA), the panel comprised John Passfield (founder of RedSprite Studios and co-founder of Krome), George Fidler (read his interesting origin story here) and Morgan Jaffit (founder of Defiant Development). They talked about dealing with disappointment and frustration, compromise, the difference between large and small industry processes, and passed along some hard learned lessons and advice on how to keep focused and inspired (and not having to fall back on hospitality or unskilled labour during the process).
A fantastic “Must Read” list was also provided, so if you missed the talk here is the chance to still gain some great information and entertainment:
The Lean Startup essential reading for all aspiring game developers starting from the bottom
The Demolished Man Sci-Fi thriller (not about games, just a fine piece of fiction)
Masters of Doom the journey of the creator of seminal games Quake and Doom
Rules of Play a fundamental text about the culture of games, definition of play, and aesthetics of interaction
Understanding Comics a comic book about comics – why we read them, how they function, and their history
What is the future of game technology? Is it possibly the Power Glove? The Hoverboard? Maybe.
Beyond being extremely impressed at the realistic renderings of chickens that is improving every year, the panel discussed the technology developing behind Virtual Reality, wearable computing, user generated content, augmented reality, and the death of the term gamification (but the potential of it nonetheless). Kieran Lord (CrateSmith), Alex Norton (Creative Director of Malevolence) and Matt Ditton (founder of Manymonkeys Development) who stepped in for a missing Sean Edwards (shout out to him anyway), hosted by Ramine Darabiha (Chief Invention Officer at Halfbrick Studios) have a lot of ideas about the changing of conventional platforms that we have become familiar with as more games begin to shift their position in the physical world.
Speaking of hoverboards, check out the Hoverboard simulator prototype Kieran Lord has created with the Occulus Rift:
This panel talked about games in stories, narrative devices and strategies, and how these extrodinary story makers create effective tales in the gaming platform.
Forced to create stories on the spot by cruel host Alex Butterfield, Christy Dena (2013 Cube Digital Writer in Residence) described to us the first ever robot made game, which will be very politically eclipsing. Joshua Boggs (creator of Framed) told us the twist ending of a time travel game made thousands of years from now, and Dan Graf (Games Designer at Halfbrick and founder of IGDA Sydney) gave us a spiel about how millions of years from now the Eiffel Tower will be thought of as a preserved skeleton of a giant land squid from millenia past. Good storytelling! These guys are the real deal!
On top of that the panel discussed the importance of matching gameplay with narrative themes and structure in order to avoid ludonarrative dissonance (a term so modern it’s definition can only be found on urban dictionary), the moral accountability of authors as games become more immersive and personally impacting with VR, and their own experiences of creating stories in games using experimental narrative structures, transmedia and personal gamer agency and choice.
Make sure to add to your “To Play” list the games mentioned during this panel for their advanced narrative success, one of which you may not have heard of:
Opera Omnia (too obscure to even have a logo?)
The Game On Symposium kicked off with a panel discussion on the history and evolution of the games industry, including a few well placed anecdotes and political struggles.
Jeff Brand (Bond University Faculty of Society and Design, Author of iGEA Digital Australia 2012), Tony Reed (CEO of Game Developers’ Association of Australia) and Gordon Moyes (Curious Bear Productions) have been in the gaming industry for a very long time, and with the guidance of Christy Dena told us the story of the past 20 years of game development. Covering both personal anecdotes and nationally seminal events, Roots: The Evolutions of A Games Industry told the story of Australia’s classification battles, shifting public opinion, Gordon Moyes’ Destroy All Humans! series, Tony Reed’s experiences working on the first Command and Conquer in 1995, the birth of E3, and all from the camaraderie of a small startup game studio to the shennanigans companies with money to spare can get up to.
And we can’t forget the gem of a broadcast showing the younger and vivacious Brisbane game devs of the early 2000s, including a barefoot and fresh faced Matt Ditton:
A huge thank you to all of our Idea Jammers who came to the CubeJam sessions in 2014! Next up is the Game On Symposium on August 9 – 10, where we will be awarding the best pitches from CubeJam 2: Show/Share/Challenge and showcasing the full length documentation of all three workshops.
> see you at GO423
Our amazing mentor Matt Ditton from Many Monkeys Game Dev has given today’s Jammers the best prices for coming up with a great pitch for the Cube.
1. IDEAS, a lot of ideas
2. Performative development: take it into the actual space and walk it through
3. Storyboard: visual ideas are best communicated through visual language