After a fairly intense year at work and study, it was great to have a chance to wind down a little in sunny Brisbane for the Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment.
I’m not altogether sure what I was expecting – the program covered a broad spread of content from A.I, the use of space, mobile games, online media performance, robotics, storytelling and games-based education.
Keynote speakers included Caryl Shaw, who manages the Spore online community; Jeff Brand, a researcher at Bond University who recently published an extensive statistical overview of gaming in Australia (Interactive Australia 2009) and John Passfield from Krome Studios in Brisbane, a long time game designer.
While the majority of presentations were a little too academic for my taste (heavily technical and narrowly focussed), there was more than enough interesting and useful content to make the trip worthwhile.
At this juncture I have to issue an impassioned plea to academics making presentations about funky projects – show us the project/demo/game first and then bang on and on about the rationale, existing literature, underpinning conceptual frameworks and what not. This is most important when the project is something that is hard to understand without experiencing it. I promise I won’t leave once I’ve seen the goodies.
The attendees were a great bunch of people – a mixture of academics (primarily people undertaking doctorates in some gaming related field of I.T or another), game-design lecturers and QUT game-design students. After the initial “forming” period, it was surprisingly easy to have a chat to pretty well anyone. After the tenth time of being asked whether/what I was presenting, I realised that the point of these things really is to share information (not that I have a lot of first hand knowledge to share just yet) and I was taking on something of a passenger role. Maybe next time around.
There were a few things that I will follow up on – I’ll go into more detail about them in upcoming posts but I will mention one right now.
Auditorium – beautiful flash game about pushing beams of light around the screen to create music
Thanks to the conference organisers (Ruth Christie in particular) for putting on a great event and also to the presenters and fellow attendees. With luck, I’ll be back.