GCAP Government Round Table

This is the presentation I gave to the government round table at GCAP. Present there were representatives from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, The Office for the Arts, State Government, and others. During the discussion, PricewaterhouseCooper presented details from their Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook, the IGEA talked about their recent Digital Australia report looking at changing audience information, and I was asked to talk about games and culture.

Unlike last year’s talk where I tried to give a reframing argument of how to think and talk about games and culture, I – quite last minute – decided to look at the part of creative industries that haven’t had as much exposure in recent discussions about games and government support or interest – that of the essential maker communities.
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IGDA Brisbane Game On

Recently, I was invited up to Brisbane by their IGDA chapter to speak at one of their Monthly Game On events. It was a pretty open invitation so what I decided to focus on was extending some of the thoughts that I’ve had here about industry, culture, and how the words we use restrict our ability to properly think about things.

Here’s the video. A full copy of the talk – which isn’t really a transcript, but it’s what I wrote to say amidst a flurry of other deadlines – is beneath the fold.

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IGDA Brisbane

Foreplay to Freeplay

Presentation – transcript, video

Freeplay 2010 was fabulous, not a soul walked out of that glorious 2 days of indie meets industry meets art meets dreaming without knowing we needed to go home and make games! Join us to hear Paul talk about some of the big ideas behind the Freeplay concept and the Aussie game industry, bringing a little bit of the 2011 Melbourne Freeplay Festival to Brisbane.

Upcoming events…

Flurry of activity before I disappear into a Freeplay wrangling flurry.

I’ll be running a session at the Emerging Writers’ Festival as part of their Business of Being a Writer Masterclass on Process and Organisation. This event has sold out (hurrah), but there are still tickets available for their myriad other events.

I’ll also be running on of their TwitterFEST sessions on play and the creative process, building on and discussing my piece in The Reader that you can read online here.

Through Freeplay, we’ve also organised a few playful storytelling things with them. Head over to the event on their website or Freeplay to learn more.

Early June, I’ll be up in Brisbane to talk at the IGDA / Creative Industry Precinct’s Game On program. There isn’t much detail on the site, but this is what I’ll be talking about:

The words we use to describe the space we work in – development, industry, culture, community – all describe structures built, either deliberately or as a byproduct of other processes, by people. In the face of a shifting industrial landscape, how can we build new structures that might better reflect how we’d like to live and work, what would the values of such a community look like, and what does it mean to connect with a wider creative, critical, and artistic culture? This year’s Freeplay will explore these ideas – along with many others – but before it does, co-director Paul Callaghan will talk about some of the history and philosophy behind Freeplay, what to expect from this year’s event, and what to think about into 2012 and beyond.

After that,  I’m going to be at the Continuum Speculative Fiction and Pop Culture Convention talking games and storytelling. Look out for the launch of their full program here.

And lastly, I’ll be running a workshop with ExpressMedia on Innovative Storytelling as part of their Big Splash series.

Collated data from my IGDA presentation

In the interests of transparency, I’ve made available the data from my IGDA talk as a published google spreadsheet.  You can find it here.

To gather the numbers, I used metacritic‘s advanced search restricted to developers (here‘s an example using Torus) and hand-copied the results straight into a spreadsheet.

In some cases, where data wasn’t available on metacritic and there was more than one sku for the game, I used gamerankings.com for a representative value.

To select by ‘unique’ title versus ‘port’ in cases where there was more than one version (both Heroes of the Pacific and Heroes over Europe are good examples) I treated the highest rated version as the ‘unique’ and the other versions as ‘ports’ of that. All versions of Heroes of the Pacific rated 76% so it’s just a function of a sorting algorithm that I took the Xbox version as the original. In the case of Heroes over Europe, the PC version rated 66% compared to 64% on PS3 and 62% on Xbox 360 so that’s treated as the lead platform and the others as ports.

Because of the way metacritic gathers reviews & collates data, there are omissions, so if anyone has additional data, feel free to email it to me or post it in the comments and I’ll update it.

The state of things

Last night at the reboot of the Melbourne IGDA chapter, I gave a short talk on the state of things locally and options for indie developers.  The full presentation is available below, but I thought I’d make the first half – the data on metacritic scores – a bit more accessible.

For more information on the second half – opportunities for independent developers – check out Simon Carless’ and David Edery’s presentations from Film Victoria‘s Digital Distribution Summit:

Simon Carless (from here)

Indie Game Metrics  – October 2009

Western Indie Game Trends

Digital Distribution Summit Video

David Edery

Digital Distribution Summit keynote

A more detailed breakdown of the numbers is below the fold…

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IGDA Melbourne

Trends for local indies 

An overview of local industry trends since 2000 and options for independent development.  More detail on the numbers can be found in the blog posts The State of Things and Collated data.