Perth game development scene

I spent a fair amount of the last week helping to organise an end-of-year party for local game developers. (It was all worth it as the event was great!)

When we start organising events, we never quite know how they will turn out. Our biggest concerns are always attendance and finances. Most local developers are hobbyists or working at smaller companies, so people tend to have other aspects of their lives (competing for attention) and there isn’t really the sort of industry clout that ensures support and sponsorship.

As a result, we’re entirely dependant on enthusiasm and commitment overcoming apathy and disinterest. Fortunately, the local scene is composed of a lot of people who (for one reason or another) really want to make it in the games industry. Moreover, many want to do whatever they can to support an industry presence here in Perth.

A few years ago there appeared to be sudden explosive growth in the local industry. The most visible icons were probably Interzone establishing a local studio and the first GO3 (a local expo) managing to bring a bunch of big-name international game developers to Perth.

The problem with explosive growth is that’s it’s often difficult to sustain. In following years, GO3 became more of a general entertainment expo (free and more accessible) and local game development focus shifted from AAA titles to more casual games.

I think that initially a lot of people perceived these changes as a sort of failure, but that was only really because they were comparing what we had to what we were meant to have according to explosive forecasts (rather than consistent growth). Objectively, we have around three times as many companies and community groups when compared to 2006 – this is quite an achievement!

Slow organic growth is less sexy, but usually more practical and reliable (hence, more desirable). We’re taking it pretty easy with Let’s Make Games events – getting a feel for what the local community wants and aiming for consistency.

The events have been working out well and are slowly getting bigger and better – we’ll keep organising them provided people keep coming. 😉

Busy last few weeks

It’s been a busy last few weeks. I went on a short trip to Thailand (during Loy Krathong festivities) with my sister and then moved out of the rental property that Heidi and I have been at for the last year. We’re living with Heidi’s parents for a while, then house-sitting, and then moving to Albany for six months.

I feel rather elated. I think it’s the togetherness of a full household (Heidi’s sister’s family is here as well, while their new house is being built) combined with the freedom of possibilities afforded by having no fixed address (and no home full of stuff… we got rid of a bunch of stuff).

Anyhow, here are some photos from the last few weeks:

Beckii Cruel Fit’s in Japan

There’s something intensely interesting (yet contradictorily ordinary) about the story of a Western fan of Japanese pop culture heading over to Japan to themselves become part of the culture (or subculture) they idolise.

Beckii Cruel seems to be the latest entrant into this group. She started by dancing to J-Pop and anime songs on YouTube and is now the new face of Lotti Fit’s Gum:


It’s heart-warming… although a little creepy at the same time. I’m sure that it’s a dream come true for her, but she’s likely a sexual fantasy for many adoring fans. I suppose it’s no different in the rest of the world though.

Her dancing videos for Fit’s gum are fun and cute… I’m probably just a sucker for accessible dancing and colourful costumes. 😉

Modern Warfare 2 “realism”

There’s be a furore of negative comments over a level in Modern Warfare 2 in which the player is working as an undercover CIA agent who must participate (or at least be complicit) in the slaughter of civilians as part of a terrorist attack.

Although I’ve disagreed with The Reverend’s earlier rants, I have to agree with him on this one. The argument that this grotesque level is there to add realism (rather than sensationalism and hollow controversy) is pretty flaky when you effectively remove choice and culpability from the player.

As is often the case, The Onion is right on the money with their preview for Modern Warfare 3 (video via Aeropause):

Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks

Now that’s realism taken to another level entirely. (I should probably note that I find “realistic” war games, that glorify violence, rather distasteful.)

Is the Catholic Church a force for good?

“Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world?” was the topic for an interesting debate recently aired on BBC World.

The outcome was entirely unsurprising – not due to the unbalanced quality of the speakers, but because of the clearly unassailable position of the church. I honestly feel that it would be easier to argue that a large multinational corporation is a force for good. What does that say about the world?

Here’s the video playlist (it’s long, but worthwhile):

Here’s a summary from the YouTube page:

Aired 11-7-09 on BBC World

Is the Catholic church a force for good in the world?

“It stands up for the oppressed and offers spiritual succour to billions say the Church’s supporters. But what about the Church’s teachings on condoms, gays and women priests, ask the detractors.”

Speaking for the motion, Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Anne Widdencombe MP. Speaking against the motion, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry.

via VideoSift.