Conference

Game Connect 2011: The Building of Bastion (and Game Connect closing thanks)

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Amir Rao -- Supergiant Games http://supergiantgames.com

Amir grew up in the very place in which Supergiant Games was headquartered for its first two years -- the same home in which he took up hosting pen-and-paper role-playing sessions at the age of 10. After majoring in English at Columbia University, he joined Electronic Arts to work on the Command & Conquer franchise, where he was responsible for design on Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. He left EA in 2009 to co-found Supergiant Games in his ongoing quest to give back to gaming what gaming's given him. At Supergiant, Amir designs content for the studio's games and manages day-to-day operations.

In this session Amir discusses how Supergiant Games created the award-winning, self-funded downloadable game Bastion.
After the studio cofounders quit their jobs at Electronic Arts, they set out to build a team, a technology base, and an original intellectual property from the living room of a house in suburban California. The session covers the company story, displays the early prototypes and outlines the strategies used to develop, market, and publish an original game from conception to certification.

http://supergiantgames.com

Game Connect 2011: Who Says the Australian Video Game Market is Dead?

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Who Says the Australian Video Game Market is Dead? It Doesn't Even Smell Funny

Tom Crago
CEO, Tantalus

Tom Crago is the CEO of internationally renowned video game developer Tantalus, a studio with more than thirty-five highly acclaimed titles to its credit. Tom is also the CEO and Founder of Straight Right, a sister company to Tantalus focusing primarily on digitally distributed content. Straight Right recently released Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed on iOS, in partnership with EA Mobile. Recent Tantalus titles include Cars: Race o Rama, Drift Street International and MX vs ATV. Tom has degrees in Arts, Law and International Business, is a past President of the Game Developers' Association of Australia, and is presently serving on the Federal Innovation Minister's IT Industry Innovation Council, as well as the Book Industry Strategy Group.

JAY WILBUR
Vice President of Business Development, Epic Games

Jay Wilbur is a 22-year veteran in the computer gaming industry. Currently, Wilbur holds the position of Vice President of Business Development to Epic Games where he works as part of the Epic management team. Jay's responsibilities include managing Epic's Business Development, Finance, Legal and Engine Licensing teams. Under Jay's management Epic's success in these key areas remains dramatic most recently expanding Epic's reach with engine license and/or support teams in Asia and Europe. Previously, Wilbur was the co-owner and business manager of id Software, a highly successful computer game development company. At id, Wilbur managed all of the company's business activities including developing, implementing and maintaining id's highly successful direct and retail distribution and marketing strategies for such blockbuster titles as Wolfenstein 3D, Spear of Destiny, DOOM, DOOM II, Final DOOM, QUAKE and all related ancillary software/non-software products. Wilbur's responsibilities at id also included managing publishing and third party developer relationships; public relations; overseeing legal affairs, including all contract negotiating/closing activities; and managing financial related activities. Prior to id Software, Wilbur managed Apple II and IBM-compatible software development at Softdisk Publishing in Shreveport, LA. Before that, Wilbur spent three years managing Apple II software development for UpTime, a software development company in Newport, RI.

ROD FUNG
Senior Developer Account Manager, Worldwide Games Publishing, Microsoft Corporation

For the past 21+ years, Rod Fung has led top-tier game development studios, created AAA award-winning games, and led major games publishing divisions. In addition Rod is a founding member of the the Xbox 360, Kinect, and Xbox LIVE launch teams. He is currently a senior manager within Microsoft's Worldwide Publishing team, Rod manages developer relations with top tier game studios throughout the world helping them to create 'best in class' titles for all Microsoft gaming platforms including Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, Games for Windows Live, and Windows Phone 7 gaming.

JIM WILLSON
Konami Digital Entertainment

As the Head of Sales and Marketing, Americas for Mobile at Konami Digital Entertainment, Jim Willson is responsible for defining the business and product strategy for mobile and driving revenue for the division. Prior to Konami, Jim held various roles in sales, operations and business development with JAMDAT Mobile, EA Mobile and Vivendi Games Mobile.

Game Connect 2011: Position With Power!

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Phil Larsen -- Chief Marketing Officer, Halfbrick Studios http://www.halfbrick.com

Phil Larsen is the Chief Marketing Officer at Halfbrick, the studio behind mega-hit games such as Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride and Age of Zombies. A lifelong gamer and marketing professional, over the past three years he has helped to build the games and bring the brands of Halfbrick to over 80 million players worldwide, firmly securing the Brisbane studio's spot as Australia's most prominent game developer.

Many developers discussing the development of their next title agree that "Yeah! We have to do marketing!" without entirely understanding what that term as a whole actually means. This session will highlight one particular aspect of the marketing function -- positioning. It is how the image of your company, and your game, will be viewed by consumers in relation to other games, competitors, and as a product on the marketplace. What makes your three-star physics puzzler so unique? Why should you theme your XBLA game with radioactive ponies instead of Amish pirates? Is making a radioactive pony game a dumb idea given the available research? You'll find out about where you need to be making key decisions and gain some insight as to how to position your game, your company and your brands -- with sexy results!

http://www.halfbrick.com/

Game Connect 2011: PR For Australian Game Developers

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PR For Australian Game Developers -- Tools to Build Your Profile and Success with the Right Audiences

Corrie McLeod -- Espresso Communications http://www.espressocomms.com.au

With more than seven years at the helm of Espresso Communications, Corrie McLeod is great at working closely with clients to identify innovative PR campaigns and strategies. Corrie has an excellent grasp of the evolving communications landscape, particularly social media, and is skilled in creating PR activities that map specifically to communication and business objectives. Corrie has earned the respect of the media industry and has been nominated three years consecutively for 'Best Media Relations' by the Australian IT Journalism community. Espresso has also snagged a Highly Commended for its R18+ Classification for Video Games campaign at the 2010 PRIA NSW State Awards for Excellence and won the same award at the 2011 awards for the pro bono campaign for qldfloods.org. Espresso is a member of the Registered Consultancies Group of the PRIA and Corrie is a member of the Australian Businesswomen's Network.

PR can be an invaluable and cost effective tool for a company when done well or a waste of time and money when done poorly. This session has been designed to help attendees to ensure the former. It will provide attendees with the skills to implement PR activities that can help developers raise the profile of their company, bring new product releases to the attention of the right audiences and cut through traditional media and online noise. The session will include an overview of the media and influencer process and how to best work with it and how to develop a great media release that maps back to business messaging and strategy.

Attendees will take away practical materials that will help guide them through the process of announcing information to the media. This includes media release templates and tips, steps to develop a launch strategy and what to include in a media kit. They will also leave equipped with a framework for developing a set of key messages for their company that will help ensure clear and consistent messages throughout all communications.

Game Connect 2011: Creating a Brand From Scratch

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Neil Rennison and Ben Britten Smith -- Tin Man Games http://tinmangames.com.au

A detailed account of how Tin Man Games brought alive Gamebook Adventures and the reasons taken as to why we decided to look at a long-term approach (the long-tail) over one-off individual game developments. How important was creating a brand in this decision?

Details as to how GA was inspired by 80s gamebook series such as Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy, and how GA is now mentioned alongside those brands whenever digital versions of such series are mentioned in the press.

Why did we name the series Gamebook Adventures? Keeping the title simple and memorable, as well as describing exactly what the series was within the name was very important. Designing the logo. How was this important for merchandising?
Where do we see GA moving forward? What happens when we start working on licensed IPs and how we aim to continue using the GA brand. How valuable is GA?

A quick look at the perception of made-up characters. How we used the imagery of "The Tin Man" to help us reach over 2000 twitter followers in just over a year.

NEIL RENNISON - Tin Man Games
Neil comes from a background in product design. He first started out as a 3D modeler and got his first games industry break working with Razorworks in the UK on a series of racing games. Working as a freelancer for a number of years, Neil then started Fraction Studios, a game art contracting outsourcing company specialising in handheld and low-end console art asset modeling and texturing, with aimed at designing robust art pipelines for developers. Neil has worked on over 20 published games including high profile titles such as the Need For Speed series, Nascar series, Sims series and the Tiger Woods series for a variety of platforms including iPhone, DS, PSP, and Wii. In 2008, Neil moved to Melbourne and started Tin Man Games, an independent game developer and has released 10 titles on the App Store including the highly acclaimed Gamebook Adventures series. Neil has spoken many times on games industry related subjects, including 18 months part-time lecturing on an animation degree in the UK as well as partaking in numerous presentations and panels for IGDA (Midlands UK and Melbourne) and Freeplay.

BEN BRITTEN SMITH - Tin Man Games
Ben has been developing software for over 20 years, and developing apps using Cocoa on the Mac platform for over 15 years. He was the senior programmer and architect for Spydercam Aerial Camera Rigging for 8 years and won an Academy Award for technical achievement in 1995 for his work on 3d volumetric motion control. His software was used in over 40 feature films including films such as Spiderman and IronMan. He has been developing applications on the iPhone since the SDK became available. Due to the similarities between Cocoa and CocoaTouch, Ben was able to bring his 15 years of application experience in Cocoa to bear in his iPhone projects. Ben has been the senior or sole developer for over ten applications for the iPhone. In late 2009, Ben joined Tin Man Games and has since become the Technical Director, developing the Gamebook Adventures series. Ben has given many industry based presentations over the last few years to Australian education institutions as well as Freeplay in Melbourne. He is well known for his technical talks on the subject of developing using Unity.

Game Connect 2011: Stop Building Games, Start Building Brands

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JESSE DIVNICH - EEDAR, http://www.eedar.com
As the Vice President of EEDAR's Financial Services Division, Mr. Jesse Divnich is responsible for the business development and execution of EEDAR products for the private investment and equity sector. Prior to joining EEDAR in 2007, Jesse operated as an independent industry consultant and analyst for numerous private firms and institutions with strong financial interests in the interactive entertainment sector, in addition to his over 7 year's experience within multi-media retail.

In addition to contributing to the development of new product lines for EEDAR in the areas of due diligence, risk management and analysis of industry trends, Mr. Divnich also represents EEDAR for the majority of media and press relations activities. Mr. Divnich is most known for his appearances on CNN Money, G4TV, The Street, Reuters, Market Watch, GameSpot, and IndustryGamers. Additionally, Mr. Divnich is a regular on the speaking circuit and has presented at GDC, MIGS, DigiLond, EMA Conferences, Interactive Ontario, and many more.

"With the revolution of tablet, social and mobile games, new business models are beginning to emerge that focus on smaller teams and lower development costs. This shift, however, is temporary and as these new markets mature established games brands will increasingly receive a bigger slice of the growing pie. Divnich's presentation will provide an in-depth look at the power of brands, the role the brand equity plays in the purchasing decision process, and how independent developers can capitalize on these emerging technologies to create the powerhouse brands of tomorrow."

Game Connect 2011: The Evolution of Audience Engagement

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Richard Iwanuik -- Bioware

Richard Iwaniuk is the Senior Director of Business Planning and Development for BioWare. Currently, Richard and his team support multiple aspects of BioWare's business operations, including the development and execution of key business, strategic, financial and legal initiatives. A Chartered Accountant since 1993, Richard joined BioWare in 2000 where during his tenure as BioWare's Director of Finance, BioWare grew from a studio of 80 developers to a multi-studio operation with over 600 employees.

Richard is a recipient of the Early Achievement Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta, which recognizes Chartered Accountants who demonstrate excellence and accomplishment in their career and commitment and excellence in community and volunteer services.

BRichard discusses Bioware's history, lessons learned, and future plans in building and maintaining audience engagement at a time where customers and technology are evolving at an accelerating pace.

Game Connect 2011: Creating EPOCH for iOS with UDK

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Andrew James, Ed Orman and Ryan Lancaster -- Uppercut Games http://www.uppercut-games.com

The pros and cons of working with a tool like UDK for iOS development. Using UDK to it's strengths, not trying to make game it's not suited for. Our development methodologies, prototyping and fate iteration of core game play ideas, using Engine artist tools like Matinee and Kismet (Scripting).

ANDREW JAMES - Uppercut Games
Andrew received a degree in Industrial Design from Newcastle University in 1996. He worked as an animator and later Art Lead for a number of years at Brilliant Digital Entertainment in Sydney. In 2000 he moved to Los Angeles to setup a new animation studio for BDE, focused on creating music videos. In 2002 Andrew moved to Canberra to work as Lead Artist at Irrational Games/2K Australia, after leading the team of artists on many award winning projects, in 2009 he became Art Director of the Studio. In early 2011, Andrew left 2K Marin to co-found Uppercut Games.
Games of note:
• XCOM (2011), 2K Games
• BioShock 2 (2010), 2K Games
• BioShock (2007), 2K Games
• Freedom Force vs The 3rd Reich (2005), Irrational Games LLC
• Tribes: Vengeance (2004), Vivendi Universal Games, Inc.

RYAN LANCASTER - Uppercut Games
Ryan started in the video game industry in 2002 with Canberra company Irrational Games, working his way up from junior programmer, through mid and into a senior programming role. In early 2011, Ryan left 2K to pursue his own game-making desires, and then joined Uppercut Games with Ed Orman and Andrew James.
Games of note:
• XCOM (2011), 2K Games
• BioShock 2 (2010), 2K Games
• BioShock (2007), 2K Games
• Swat 4: Stechkov Syndicate (2006), Vivendi Universal Games, Inc.
• Tribes: Vengeance (2004), Vivendi Universal Games, Inc.

ED ORMAN - Uppercut Games
Ed started in the video game industry in 1997 with Canberra company Micro Forte, rapidly moving into a senior management role as Lead Designer and Associate Producer. In 2001 he joined Irrational Games/2K Australia, continuing his work as a designer on several award-winning games. In early 2011, Ed left 2K Marin to co-found Uppercut Games.
Games of note:
• XCOM (2011), 2K Games
• BioShock (2007), 2K Games
• Tribes: Vengeance (2004), Vivendi Universal Games, Inc.
• Freedom Force (2002), Crave Entertainment, Inc., Electronic Arts, Inc.
• Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel (2001), Interplay Entertainment Corp.

http://www.uppercut-games.com/epoch

Game Connect 2011: The Assessment Panel

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Morgan Jaffit - Defiant Development, Paul Callaghan, Chris Wright - Surprise Attack

Submissions to any funding agency go through a process of assessment and evaluation that involves those administering the funds and outside experts who bring a range of experiences and lenses through which to view the applications.

This panel brings together assessors who have worked for state and federal agencies, including Film Victoria, Screen Australia, and Industry and Investment NSW to share what they look for in an application, what works and doesn't work, and how to make your submission stand out.

MORGAN JAFFIT

Morgan is a game developer with over a decades experience in Australia and North America. He's worked for Irrational Games, Relic Entertainment and Pandemic Studios before co-founding Defiant Development in 2010. Defiant are current hard at work on Warco (a game about journalism in warzones) and Quick Quest (an action RPG for mobiles and tablets).

PAUL CALLAGHAN

Paul is a freelance writer and independent game developer who has worked in the games industry since 1998 as a programmer, designer, writer, and teacher for companies as diverse as Atari, Infinite Interactive, AIE, 2K Marin, Chocolate Liberation front, the ABC, and The Project Factory. An active member of the development and education community, Paul has presented on topics including writing for games, play, what education can learn from game development, and the fundamentals of game design at the National Screenwriters' Conference, GCAP, VITTA, TEDxMelbourne, the Emerging Writers' Festival, the State Library of Victoria, Screen Australia, ACMI, CAE, and RMIT. Paul is the director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival and currently sits on the board of the Game Developers Association of Australia and the advisory panel for if:Book Australia. His writing on games, play, and storytelling has appeared online at if:Book Australia, Kill Your Darlings, ibrary, The Edge, and The Australia Council for the Arts, and in print in the Emerging Writers' Festival Reader, Newswrite, Storyline, and Meanjin.

CHRIS WRIGHT
Chief Surprise Architect at Surprise Attack - www.surpriseattack.com.au

Chris Wright is a veteran of video games marketing with more than 100 campaigns executed under his care for publishers including THQ, Microsoft, Sega, Capcom, Disney Interactive Studios and many more. He was the Marketing Director for THQ's Australian studios (Blue Tongue Entertainment and THQ Studio Australia) when they were closed in August 2011 and recently launched Surprise Attack, a marketing agency focused on helping independent developers promote their games. Chris has been a member of Film Victoria's Digital Media Assessment Panel since 2009. The panel assesses applications in respect of Film Victoria's Digital Media funding programs, providing recommendations to the Board for final approval.

http://surpriseattack.com.au/2011/11/23/top-tips-when-applying-for-grant...

Game Connect 2011: Streamlining Your Games Development Pipeline

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Ben Kilsby -- Holopoint; Kevin Schooler -- Autodesk; Carl Callewaert -- Unity and Simon Joslin -- The Voxel Agents

An informative 1 hour panel discussion that gives you the chance to learn about pipeline modeling and the most efficient way to manage your workflow. Hear from leading technology vendors as well as your peers who have made pipeline optimisation into a fine art. Topics to be covered include:

- Overcoming workflow issues
- The ability to link between your game development tools
- What works the best (and what doesn't)
- Build your own vs. off the shelf
- Ease of integration between the tools
- Q & A