This year’s NZ Game Developers Conference ran 18 – 19 September at AUT in Auckland, with some 320 attendees. Much of the real story, of course, got underway long before those couple of days.
As usual, the NZGDA made a call for suggestions for the NZGDC14 programme, to do what it could to deliver some dessert along with the veggies. Dave Brevik, formerly of Blizzard was soon among the early drawcards announced.
Among the exciting news in the lead-up to the event was the announcement of Kiwi Game Starter, a pitch competition offering a prize in cash and services of $25,000. In the wrap up at the end of the NZGDC14 conference day, the winner was announced: Phantasmal from Joe Chang’s EyeMobi, which had a couple of days earlier got itself some additional profile on Gameplanet.
Also ahead of time, the NZGDA put out the results of its annual state of the digital nation survey. As usual, those results delivered plenty of good news along with a few notes of caution. Earlier in the year, Gamasutra presented its more global overview of the game development industry.
On the eve of the conference day, US lawyer David Rosenbaum and keynote speaker Dave Brevik presented a session for content creators in many forms, Hollywood & Interactive IP.
On the conference day, Dave Brevik’s keynote kicked off proceedings by ticking all the boxes – an entertaining speaker delivering good information succinctly.
Everyone else followed the lead.
The Fiction Engine’s Edwin McRae talked jigsaw storytelling and Path of Exile in a snapshot version of the workshop he’d presented the previous. Gameloft’s Fawzi Mesmar was his customary entertaining, opinionated and very informative usual self on the subject of screwing up monetisation in f2p games. Runaway’s Tim Nixon also addressed monetisation in f2p pames, specifically what Runaway had got right and wrong on Flutter.
Taking a broader perspective, lawyer and NZGDA board member Edwin Lim gave a 101 class on getting the legal ducks in a row when starting out.
Outsmart Games’ Shaveer Mirpuri gave an enthusiastic and entertaining presentation on the pros and cons of working with publishers.
Heading rapidly towards the end of the day Mirpuri teamed with Runaway’s Nixon and PikPok’s Mario Wynands for a panel discussion on Visibility and Marketing.
In the aftermath of the event, the NZGDA confirmed a return for NZGDC in 2015 with a second round of the Kiwi Game Starter pitch competition. Dates were not announced. NZGDC14 ran a little later in the year than usual, in part to offer greater separation between itself and AnimfxNZ which this year ran moved from its customary November slot to February.