GDC 2016 recap

If I say ‘it was exactly like I expected it to be’, that sounds underwhelming – but I’d spoken to enough people about GDC beforhand that I knew what to expect from my first time attending, and it was really good. It was nice not being one of the people reading about it all happen on Twitter for a change.

I tried to go to a variety of talks, ones that would be better seeing in person than watching on the vault, though I didn’t spend too much time in these since I can watch them later and wanted to do a variety of things with my time. There were several good ones on math for games programming, although calculus at 10am on a Monday is pushing my concentration limits! Liam‘s panel on networking was really good, as were some of the talks on diversity, such as Rami and Farah‘s panel on Muslim representation in games. I loved Nina Freeman’s talk on her game Cibele, which I’ll have to try properly sometime soon.

The timetabling was a bit confusing – the way the sessions were organised seemed to be different each day with stuff happening all over the place, and it was a bit tricky to work out my schedule sometimes. There were just so many talks happening at once all the time that it was almost overwhelming, and it seems like it might be tough to decide and schedule if one were attending without vault access!

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San Francisco trip recap (the non-GDC parts!)

Earlier this month I travelled to San Francisco with Aspen for GDC. We allowed five days before the conference and three days afterward for sightseeing (and getting over jetlag). The flight over was pretty empty, so we had entire rows to ourselves to sleep on.

We had initially booked a hotel quite a ways away from the conference centre, and somehow didn’t notice until two days before leaving that it’s an unsafe place in an unsafe neighbourhood. Thankfully we were able to get a refund on that, but the only decent places available on such short notice were really expensive. So we just had to suck it up, and ended up in a four-star hotel half a block from the conference… our bank balances are not happy about it but at least it was a nice stay in a convenient spot.

I’m not sure exactly what I expected from SF, but it’s a nice place. It feels quite similar to Melbourne (much moreso than London, which is the only other overseas city I’ve spent significant time in), except the buildings are bigger and everything’s a bit more epic. The streetcars, variety of food, shopping, even the way people dress, were a lot like home. It was pouring with rain on the day we arrived, which continued right up until the start of GDC and resumed a day after it finished. So almost all of our sightseeing was done under umbrellas, but we planned out our days and made the most of it.

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GDC

A lot’s happened over the last year – I’ve been working at Tin Man Games since April 2015, coding their biggest project yet. Tin Man is located in a Melbourne co-working space called The Arcade, and it’s been absolutely amazing to be there, getting to know the best local people in game dev.

Courtesy of the GDAA, I’m heading over to San Francisco in a couple of days to attend GDC and meet many more excellent people. Really looking forward to this.

I also started going by a different name a few months ago, and the people in the industry here have been so incredibly good and welcoming about it. After having worked at a cinema for a long time, it’s been great working in a place where I can completely be myself.

Hair’s currently blue and pink, so look for that if you wanna catch up at GDC :)

Games are up

So I’m about to complete my games programming degree. Three exams to go and it’s over. It’s been fun. This year I took artificial intelligence and Java/Android development as electives, which proved to be pretty time-consuming but well worthwhile.

I’ve put up a page for some of the game projects I’ve worked on at uni this year. Three are playable now; the newest (Ithir) is still a work in progress, but that will be playable at this year’s RMIT grad show on November 25. There will be a ton of great games from this year’s graduates on show, so check it out if you can!

I plan to spend the next few months working on some personal projects that I just haven’t had time for during full-time uni (plus working two jobs). Other than that, time to relax.

DERAILED is out! For free!

The latest build of my game Derailed is online, finally. This is the one we demoed at AVCon in Adelaide (in the Indie Games Room) over the weekend. It’s also available at Aspen’s site. Needs two or more players, with Xbox/Xinput gamepads. It’s a fairly simple multiplayer party game (think Super Smash Bros or Towerfall) and quite rough around the edges still, but we are pretty happy with it for a single-semester student project.

AVCon was a blast, and it was nice to finally see Adelaide and meet some of the organisers and local game developers there. Aspen and I learnt a lot about our own game from watching people play (as well as discovering a bunch of heretofore unknown bugs, many of which we fixed for the second day of the show). It was most popular among kids around 12 years of age or so. Wishing the rest of our team (Reuben, Mandy, Sara) could have been there to see so many people give it a go and have fun.

Our next game is going to be something completely different…

Long-overdue update

So I’m in Adelaide, about to exhibit a game in the Indie Games Room at AVCon – Derailed. This was a third-year, single-semester game project for uni that I made with four teammates. Aspen’s here with me for the convention and will be up on stage tomorrow showing off the game. It’s our first time exhibiting anything anywhere other than in class presentations. Should be fun.

Over the last few months Aspen and I have made three or four other games together for uni, which you can find here or at her site. I also worked on a small action/RPG-style game with another team, where I focused on procedural content generation (meshes, textures and level layout).

Next semester’s major project is shaping up to be a unique kind of procedural roguelike, which I’m looking forward to a lot.

Third year

Recently started my final year in games programming at RMIT, and currently working on three team game projects there: a local multiplayer battle on rails, a top-down hex-grid procedural spellcasting thing, and a board game with a metro train map theme. All going well so far, though I wish I were at GDC with all the cool kids. I will update this site soon with much more content.

Freeplay 2013

Had a wonderful time at this year’s Freeplay festival/conference. I ended up being a hastily-organised volunteer, covering the Saturday panels, arcade space and party as a photographer, which resulted in taking more photos in a single day than I ever had before (700+). There were several interesting, funny and thought-provoking talks, some from good friends, and I met a bunch of cool people from all over the place. Looking forward to GCAP later this month.

Point distance visualiser (Python)

A tool/toy that generates a random set of points in 3D space and draws links between them, with colour depending on direction and brightness depending on proximity. Can be rotated in 3D. Wrote this for kicks in an Algorithms & Analysis class after the lecturer started talking about graph link weights. Requires PyGame. Runs in Python 2.7 or 3.
Source: closestpoints.py
(Requires vec2.py)
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