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Next Wave Independent Game Developers' Conference

Posted by souri on Wed, 07/01/04 - 2:00 PM

[url="http://www.sumea.com.au/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=715"]Remember this thread from a while back[/url] on an Independant Game Developers Conference in Australia? The great news is that some hard working people are making it happen this year!!!

quote:Next Wave Independent Game Developers' Conference - Melbourne 2004

The conference will be held from the Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd of May this year at a venue in inner city Melbourne as part of the Next Wave Festival. The conference is designed to cater for indy and DIY game developers, game modders and mappers, creatively frustrated professionals, game development students, animators, and new media artists from every state in Australia. The aim of the conference is to bring together these communities in a forum that is financially reasonable (prices will be cheap and subsidies and support will be available to those who cannot afford to attend), with a programme that is developed by the communities themselves.

Programme Overview

The conference will be held over 3 days and will cover topics like:
home brew console game development; independent and online distribution methods; open source and distributed development models for games and mods; business development, publishing and licensing agreements, finance and government funding for indy development; practical skill sharing workshops - especially game art and design: mapping, level editing, character modeling; open source and low budget game engine round-up; publisher (mainstream to indy distributors) representatives will be invited to look at demos; roundtable discussions; debates on key issues facing local developers; social events; and our answer to E3: an indy game and mod expo that functions as a cross between a LAN party and trade show.

The organisers of the conference are looking for suggestions for what the programme should include and volunteers. Who and what do you want to see at this conference? If you have suggestions get involved in the forums at sumea.com.au or email:
gamers@nextwave.org.au

Until the conference website is up check the Next Wave website www.nextwave.org.au for updates.

I hope you ALL come along, because it's a conference for YOU! *YES YOU*!! And of course, if you have any suggestions, comments, ideas, be sure to post it here as well!! I know a fair few of you have voted that you'd be interested in volunteering or helping out, so be sure to let them know!!


Submitted by souri on Fri, 09/01/04 - 8:55 AM Permalink

So can I get a hands up on who's planning on going?

Submitted by Blitz on Fri, 09/01/04 - 10:36 AM Permalink

I'll be there if i can. Depends what happens in the meantime regarding time and money (travelling)!
It's a great idea anyway.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by souri on Sat, 10/01/04 - 11:52 AM Permalink

I've noticed we've been mentioned on www.planethalflife.com about the Independant Game Developers Conference in Australia - the organisers definately getting word around to the mod community. Like the blurb on there says, if anyone has any questions, I'm sure the organisers will be more than happy to pop in here to answer all your questions!

Submitted by Zoot on Mon, 12/01/04 - 1:58 AM Permalink

Yep, we've just got a new dedicated conference staffer and we'll get on to that conference mailbox tomorrow. Bear with us!

Here's a question for sumeans: what would we have at an indie E3 (ie an indie game/mod expo)? (ok don't say booth bunnies - they don't come cheap you know!)

Submitted by MoonUnit on Mon, 12/01/04 - 2:31 AM Permalink

booth bunni... oh erm damn :P

nah what i reckon would be good for a indie E3 is pros from companys thats started out as indies doing talks and stuff, something to sort of bridge the gap between a indie group and the "real deal"

btw, im gonna do my best to get there :)

Submitted by Red 5 on Mon, 12/01/04 - 3:25 AM Permalink

I think at the most basic you need to have discussions on how to survive as an indie developer, especially looking into finance during development, the pros and cons of going the indie route, maketing your game and some motivational talks from successful indie developers (if you can find any) *joke*

I also think the main emphisis should be to run an event that looks professional and well organised to help build the image of indie development, possibly to get the right people (with money and influence) interested and to squash some preconceived ideas that the indie scene is run by amatures.

As for booth bunnies, I know of a group who are real cheap, they may not look the best but I guarantee you won't argue about the price... they also double up as bouncers so they'll clear the place in no time once the show's over ;)

Submitted by souri on Mon, 12/01/04 - 4:24 AM Permalink

I will be willing to walk around with no pants if that helps.

What I would *really* love to see, which I'm sure is being organised, is showcasing some indie games. There's a fair few of them mentioned in the forum, so it would be a good idea to chase them up.

I also like the idea of getting mod people interested. And as I mentioned in the 1st thread about the indie conf, get Nocturnal, Hemiware etc to see if they want to show off their engines [:)]

Submitted by amckern on Wed, 14/01/04 - 1:10 AM Permalink

I am a mod developer, and have my eys set on it, just have to see if my team will come from overseas - most of them are from EU. Though i think SAT might be willing to come along - they are our lattest mods sound team, and are very pro, and good pices (Indys would love there work)

Becuase i have never been to a trade show, i am lost, all i have seen is the pics from the Half Life 2 booth at e3.

I would how ever like to see PC Format, or PC Game mag writers, and them telling us in person what they look for, how they get pitced at, what games are big in there eys, such as FPS, MMORPG, and what games would be upcoming, such as a FPS, RPG Cross bread

and becuse there are some big houses in melbone, maybe they can tell us abit about there start, such as atari house, etc

Also, whats the expeted price?

amckern

Submitted by Zoot on Wed, 14/01/04 - 1:40 AM Permalink

hey that's a good idea: local game journos

as for price, it hasn't been worked out yet but this thing's not meant to run at a profit by any means. we'll be talking double figures not triple figures, and there'll probably be a price structure based on what people can afford (eg students, jobless etc.)

as for the big companies: there will be professional developers at the conference, but mostly just as individuals, and some will be roped in to share their skills, give advice on art, coding, design etc. there'll definitely be a thread of the conference that will be aimed at (and designed by) people already working in the industry who want to talk about the kind of stuff that the commercial industry conference (AGDC) isn't designed for.

I asked the question about an Indy E3 because we're having an expo event as part of the conference (ie conference AND expo-style event) E3 is a big corporate marketing affair, where you have to buy floorspace and all the major publishers dominate the floor. Developers impressing publishers, publishers creating hype for journalists, a few circus/fair style competitions, publicity stunts and freebies (and yes, the ubiquitous booth bunnies). People say that it's great becase there's lots and lots of games on show to try and freebies, and that it's crap because it's a major publisher dominated over-hyped wank.

So what should our low-budget DIY-style E3 be like? (and keep making suggestions about the conference too - we're taking notes!!)

BTW: if you guys really want booth bunnies, it'll have to be on a volunteer basis only. souri's already volunteered, which is great to see [;)]

Submitted by MoonUnit on Wed, 14/01/04 - 2:10 AM Permalink

heh i dont think my support as a booth bunny would be of any good

all im requesting right now is make sure you tell us some more concrete details, like venue and time and cost when you know them!!!!

Submitted by Daemin on Wed, 14/01/04 - 4:26 PM Permalink

Well maybe if some of the indie developers have hot girlfriends that don't mind cosplay they might become booth bunnies? (It's 4am and I've had a few beers tonight)

And if you're talking double figures for the conference I should be able to come, although I'm not a professional (not until I finish uni at least) I might have a game demo or two to show off.

Submitted by Mick Solomons on Wed, 14/01/04 - 9:25 PM Permalink

I don't think you should be selling this as an "indy E3" because there are quite a few components to E3. There is the conference, which has many developers, publishers, agents and marketing types sharing knowledge. There is also the networking side (developers meeting publishers) and the marketing side (getting exposure for new games).

It sounds like the Melbourne conference is more of the first, a knowledge sharing conference. So I think the organisers should just focus the show on that, and not try to be "jack of all trades, master of none" like the AGDC.

Submitted by Zoot on Wed, 14/01/04 - 11:20 PM Permalink

Sorry Mick, it's been a bit unclear. The conference will be just that - a conference, but we're probably going to have an afternoon/evening as part of the conference where people get to bring along their stuff, dump it on a table in a large space and show it in a sort of 'expo'/'tradehow' setting - and I guess one thing to compare it to (albeit in a satirical way!) is to imagine it as an ultra-ultra-low budget version of E3. Or you could think of it as a zine fair, a swap meet etc.

If anything, the conference itself would be better compared to GDC or the IGDC in the US. As you say, a knowledge sharing conference for developers.

As for the "E3-like" event, we just thought that we should give people the chance to show off their demos to eachother, and have a time/place for the non-developer game-playing public (and perhaps people with cash too) to come and see the stuff we're producing, and turn it into a bit of a social event. But if people aren't keen on having this, everyone should speak up and let us know! Maybe we should do a sumea poll on it at some stage.

I think the problem with the AGDC expo thing is that it's really small and exclusive - probably because it costs money (lots!) to get a booth there. We're imagining tressle tables where people bung their PC on, have beer, a LAN, live music... whatever people think is appropriate.

So to summarise:
Conference: 3 days
As yet un-named event: afternoon/evening of the last day (maybe)

Submitted by Daemin on Wed, 14/01/04 - 11:56 PM Permalink

Sponsorship could help in the naming of that afternoon / evening event :-)

Submitted by MoonUnit on Thu, 15/01/04 - 2:16 AM Permalink

the discreet indy show day! free copies of max6 for everyone!! :D (i wish...)
i suppose ill just be there for fun as all my mod work is just texture work so its not really showcaseable.

i like the idea of it being more sociable then a sort of more badges and timetables setup, go in, play some LAN, kick someones ass at burnout 2 (ill take yaz all on!!! :P) and show off some of your indy work.

Submitted by illume on Thu, 15/01/04 - 9:19 AM Permalink

A speed game and or modelling contest would be good. Something along the lines of the ludumdare.com 48 hour comps, the indiegamejam.com thing, demo scene comps, blender speed modeling competitions etc.

Have a place for people to sit down for a couple of days and make a game. Group games could be a good way to get to know people. Pick names out of a hat to make the group, then try and work together ;) Maybe have seperate sub competitions. Best game made from scratch, best mod, over best game, best graphics/sound/music/gameplay/etc.

You can have pretty good modelling contests in under and hour. Same with music, and drawings. They can go for longer of course, allthough most people can come up with something quite good in that time. However making games from scratch takes a bit longer, the 24 hour comps didn't seem to work out so well. However in the 48 hour, and 72 hour ones lots of people seem to manage to get some good put together.

Meeting up with online distributers could be good. Allthough I know of none based in Australia.

Maybe look at the indiegamescon(IGC) for some ideas of things to do.

A show off area would be nice. Some place for people to show others their stuff; games/artwork/etc. Allthough just going there to show your stuff and look at others stuff would be bloody boring.

Have fun!

Submitted by quiklite on Thu, 15/01/04 - 3:53 PM Permalink

From what I've experienced, the indie games scene down here is fairly fragmented. I think the main problem is trying to find the right people and channels of communication.

I think the best thing we could have is some kind of social event where we get to know the other people who aspire to create or are creating their own video games. I think by creating some social links and generating discussion in an informal atmosphere, there could be some serious convergence that could spawn some projects.

I've just thought of another issue... funding. Of course, if you have multiple streams of revenue it's not so bad, but I'm pretty sure there are some government grants out there that can help you. I know of a person who applied for a grant to start a computer game with the SA Film Corporation, and was successful (until he got a job doing 3D with a small games company and left Adelaide). I'm sure there are other funding avenues that can be pursued other than vulture capitalists.

Submitted by Zoot on Thu, 15/01/04 - 10:58 PM Permalink

illume - we had been throwing around an idea like that (an indie games jam style thing) but we weren't sure if it was feasible, would draw people away from the main conference, whether we should do it before or afterwards etc...

if you or anyone else can get together a proposal for something that might work (and we can get an idea of what the interest in it would be), please let us know!

on sponsors, i can't really say anything on that apart from the fact that we've had some interest from some quarters, but i'm fairly sure any deals we do won't involved naming rights over events. Come on, I bet you guys can come up with some suggestions for a name that's better than a corporate brand!! But rest assured, we will not stand in the way of freebies.

quiklite: we're planning to ask some state arts/business funding reps along so people can quiz them on funding avenues etc (after all, that's their job!!). If there's any particular body you think it's worth having a rep from give us a yell and we'll see what we can do

Submitted by amckern on Thu, 15/01/04 - 11:25 PM Permalink

i am thinking mayb some one from "Australian Business Limited" in sydney. These guys are very (typo) Konolagble, in helping businesses start up, or if they need help with cash flow, or genral issues even legal issues if you dont have a law firm.

As for naming, is WAVE, the festiful name?

Maybe I-WAVE Indy-What ever WAVE means

amckern

Submitted by r23d on Sat, 17/01/04 - 3:39 AM Permalink

Is anyone out there messing about with new game interfaces? I'd love to bring my dodgey-homebuilt-DrWho-syle giant Atari game to nextwave (seen at Electrofringe and SOOB this year) and am wondering if there are any like-minded loonies doing similar work...

Also, I'd like to see some forums at the IGDC on the subject of what makes a good game, and how do you get a good team together to do it? Perhaps the aim of the forum could be to come away with a team and project to build a bame for next year's event???

Just some ideas...

Richie [:p]

Submitted by r23d on Sat, 17/01/04 - 3:44 AM Permalink

I think quiklite's idea of a social event is a good one. Perhaps have the venue open late with a bar every evening... ;)

Submitted by quiklite on Sat, 17/01/04 - 8:51 PM Permalink

Game interfaces? What kind of work have you been doing Richie?

I've got some wacky stuff planned that I hope to get done before this event comes around, but I don't know whether it will be done. I have four months to go at least. :)

Zoot: I'm not sure what organisations there are for funding... I would have to do some research. SA Film Corporation is one, but they aren't games specific. Apart from them, and say, the Nescafe Big Break, I've not really looked that far into it yet.

We just really had linux.conf.au at Adelaide Uni, and they had a State Minister talking there about open source and its benefits... apparently Mr Torvalds was there as well. Someone like that would be of an obvious benefit to rope in, I just have to find out his name again.

A social event would be great; I think that's where the big stuff will happen. I'll obviously see you at bar Richie. :)

Submitted by r23d on Mon, 19/01/04 - 4:39 AM Permalink

quiklite : I use simple physical hacks (no programming) to old game hardware to try to bring about fundamentally different ways of playing electronic games - In the work I made with Kris Jasper enetitled 'one versus many' I replaced direction switches and fire buttons with big buttons made of chrome recycled hubcaps, flashing LED's and other scifi-style junk. You had to run around the room to play, and some functions were not accessible unless you had more than one person per side to hit buttons simultaneously. My aim behind this is to encourage more team play and a greater range of emotional interaction between players by moving games outside of the 'guy-staring-rigidly-in-front-of-the-telly/computer' physical dynamic and more into a playground-style world. FYI, the game I used as the basis was 'tank pong' on the 'combat' atari 2600 cart. Website with more documentation on the way...

Richie[:0]

Submitted by r23d on Mon, 19/01/04 - 4:41 AM Permalink

quiklite again :
U in Melb? Want some help with your project? Rich [;)]

Submitted by Blitz on Mon, 19/01/04 - 10:50 AM Permalink

Reminds me a bit of back when i got my first PC (486) and doom 2. Me and my mate would play with one of us doing movement, and the other handling shooting. Very fun times playing like that and required a lot of communication and co-ordination between us.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by quiklite on Mon, 19/01/04 - 11:03 AM Permalink

r23d:

That sounds pretty awesome and very original. In fact, that could be the gamers' ultimate way to combine exercise and gaming :). I think you could be on the verge of tapping an untapped market. :)

I'm actually in Adelaide, hence my conundrum, because everything happens in Melbourne. Arrgh! But hell, if you want to help I won't say no... I'm doing some preproduction before I start on programming for the next few weeks. You can e-mail me at quiklite@borg-cube.com if you want and we can chat and stuff.

Meanwhile, I think I might do some research in the funding, since it seems to be a good topic to focus on for the IGC.

Submitted by souri on Mon, 19/01/04 - 2:27 PM Permalink

Should there be other activities at the conference? If people were to stay a good 5-7 hours each day there, what would keep your interest up? If the schedule was like speaker - break - speaker - break for the 3 days of the conference, would it be a bit monotomous?

How about some small activity competitions like someone mentioned before? Small lan competitions? Other fun activities? I am kinda wary about competitions because their success depends on decent participation, so if no one is interested, it falls flat on it's face. And of course competitions require prizes, so that'll be something else the organisers will have to look into.

What about a screen projector showing some CGI movie, effects, or something.. a few lounges or seats around, so people can sit around and view it and chat, rather than idling around after they've seen all the displays and whatnot.

Will there be a lan? Bring your own computer? I guess if you don't, you won't be able to play.. It would be great if there were 10-15 computers that were available for anyone to play, but I'm not sure how realistic that idea is.

Should the conference try to get some support from Sony or Xbox to provide some machines for free play?

It would depend on the location, but I'm curious if speakers will be talking in a closed off room, or in the open at the conference?

I know it may be sounding a bit like the AGDC, but I think some more options and activities for people to do inbetween talks would be great. But do you want this? Think about what you want to do if you were to spend a day there.

Submitted by Red 5 on Mon, 19/01/04 - 10:35 PM Permalink

I think a lot can be gained from AGDC... especially regarding what not to do.
The amount of people I've spoken to at many of the AGDC seminars who've said "I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know"... this (to me) is simply a waste of everybody's time.

Seminar topics have to be chosen carefully with a lot of thought into 'why' people would want to attend and 'what' they can gain from attending. To my way of thinking, people involved in indie development have two primary issues that need to be covered more than anything else 'funding' and 'marketing'... most already know the tools of the trade and how to use them.

A seminar that really stood out to me (at AGDC 2000) was the guy from Relic who went into great detail about all the mistakes he'd made since he formed the company... how he approached publishers, the bullshit he had to go through, and the bullshit he had to spin in order to be taken seriously, the often hidden rip-offs within the industry, horror stories of developers being screwed by publishers etc etc... this was the nuts and bolts stuff that we don't often hear about, therefore a lot could be learnt.