It really feels like all things gaming are starting to take off in Perth. The second IGDA Perth Chapter social night was last night and the turnout was great! David Kazim (the organiser of the upcoming GO3 Electronic Entertainment Expo) has done a great job organising and sponsoring these events.
The event was again held at the Velvet Lounge, and I was again greated by booth babes at the entrance. I’ve said before that having booth babes at these IGDA events seems fairly incongruous to me, but also that I wasn’t personally offended. I think at the first event I was expecting a “meeting” (which is fairly formal), but this event was labelled as a “social night” (which is fairly informal). I guess I feel that if someone steps up to do something, they can pretty much do it their way.
Form the time I arrived, I seemed to keep bumping into people I know or people who know me. It’s a little odd when people mention they read your blog. Not in a “man that’s creepy” sort of way, more in a “um… what do I talk about now… what don’t you know already!” manner. After allowing generous time for general mingling, Paul Turbett gave a brief welcome speech thanking the event sponsors and introducing the speakers and guests for the evening.
The first speaker was Martin Masek. He talked about next year’s Nullarbor Demo Competition. Important details are that it will be part of next year’s GO3 Expo and there will be a new category for 3D artwork (Yay for local content creators!). Shortly after Martin’s talk, Interzone Games announced that they would be sponsoring next year’s Nullarbor Demo Competition to the tune of $5000! If that translates into prize money, it should provide some extra incentive for programmers and artists out there.
GO3 Electronic Entertainment Expo 2007
David Kazim gave a presentation on his experiences at the recent Tokyo Game Show. The overall impression I got from his slideshow and videos is that TGS is huge. The pavillion that they hold the event in is around six times the size of the Perth Convention Centre, but it’s not just the physical size of the event that makes it huge. It’s the magnitude of presentation and presence that takes it to that next level.
Another point that David made was that, unlike E3 which is a trade expo, TGS is for consumers and GO3 will be following the same model. In fact, GO3 and TGS will be partnered events! There are a lot of large fringe events such as cosplay competitions that he would also like to try to reproduce here. I’ll have to talk to my old housemate Phil, now President of Japanese Anime Fans Western Australia (JAFWA), about this.
I talked to David after his presentation to tell him how happy I was that he had managed to get two of my suggested speakers (and favourite game developers) to come to Perth: Goichi Suda (Killer 7, Heroes) from Grasshopper and Matsaya Matsuura (Parappa the Rapper, Vib-ribbon) from NanoOn-sha. I was the guy at the front yelling out “yeah!” and “whoooooo!” when he showed a picture of Goichi Suda and asked “does anyone know who this guy is?” (Read more about my warm fuzzies regarding the speaker lineup in this article I wrote for Aeropause).
He mentioned that they are just the tip of the iceberg and that he’s heading back to Japan to finalise talks for a number of other speakers. I won’t name anyone until he chooses to make an official announcement, but the names he mentioned were very high-profile indeed.
Robert Spencer and Mike Turner from Interzone Games spoke briefly about their desire to setup a studio in Australia to develop a AAA Massively Multiplayer (MMP) game that they have secured funding for. I mentioned Interzone Games in my previous post. They didn’t really reveal much more information when speaking to the crowd, but seemed to be working the room and getting a good feel for what talent is available in Perth.
An obvious concern with Perth is the lack of seasoned developers with a number of shipped titles under their belts. I think we have a lot of smart people, but they would really need to find the right mix of old and new blood. Here’s hoping they do find that in Perth, because it would be great for the local industry.
Prizes and Swag!
There were a lot more sponsors and a lot more swag this time. Game Traders brought along a couple of Xbox 360 consoles and large LCD screens. They seemed to see pretty good use throughout the evening. Door prizes were provided by Anyware and consisted of USB massagers and Snoopy (soft-toy) webcams. Raffle prizes were provided by Dark Zone and Game Traders. (Please let me know of any sponsors I forgot to mention, I think they deserve recognition).
I’m not sure why, but it always seems that people generally win either no prizes or a multiplicity of prizes. One of the students from the ECU game development course won $225 worth of gift coupons (a $75 coupon and a $150 coupon)! Anyhow, my mate Tone won a $150 coupon (for a Wii pre-order deposit no doubt) and I actually won something too! I’m now proud owner of a USB massager and a Welland 3.5″ MediaBank HDD Media Player USB2.0 Interface (that’s exactly what it says on the box). I’ll post more about it after I get a chance to try it out.
Note: There seemed to be a number of “official photographers”, so I didn’t take out my camera. I’ll post links to the photos when they appear on the IGDA Perth Chapter website.
Update: The official summary (with photos) is now online.