Right after the IGDA Leadership Forum, I flew down to Australia. The original motivation was to speak at the Game Connect: Asia Pacific event in Melbourne, but I made a side trip to Perth as well. This made for a pretty grueling travel schedule (eg, ~14hr flight from SF to Sydney, wait ~4hrs to get onto a ~5hr flight to Perth :(

The side trip to Perth was mainly motivated by the IGDA’s local chapter and their efforts to catalyze the game industry in Western Australia. I met with government support agencies, educators, VC types, press, students, and of course developers. IGDA-Perth has a nice summary of some of the action.

By mid-week, I headed over to Melbourne for the main conference. GCAP is a smaller scale and intimate event. Overall well organized and useful, but could use a bit more focus in terms of their content and who exactly is meant to benefit from the program… Anyway, I very much enjoyed my participation and the GDAA served as gracious hosts.

Running alongside the industry focused GCAP, was the consumer facing eGames expo. All the major publishers had a presence and the expo welcomed upwards of 20k visitors - not bad given the relative small local games market in Australia.

The ~30hr Melbourne > Sydney > Los Angeles > Chicago > Montreal transit home was much less enjoyable!

Here are some photos from the trip:

Perth skyline.

War memorial in Perth with stunning view of the river.

New IGDA-Perth chairman, Robert Spencer (Interzone Games) introduces the new chapter leadership: Andrew Hutchinson (Curtin University), Martin Masek (Edith Cowan University), Geoff Collins (WA Government Department of Industry and Resources ), Jon Hayward.

About 80 developers and students showed up for the Perth chapter meeting.

Chapter vice-chair, David Kazim (GO3 Electronic and Entertainment Expo) presides over the raffle prize giving.

Kathy Blashki (Deakin University) discusses educational/talent challenges during the Skills Forum at GCAP.

GDAA executive director Greg Bondar and president Tom Crago run the org’s annual general meeting.

Indie game dev action at GCAP.

At the women’s breakfast gathering/discussion.

Dave Glenn (Flagship Studios) gives detailed talk on random level generation techniques in Hellgate London.

Guitar Hero action during “free beer Fridays” at Tantalus.

Lovely zen-like garden in the middle of Tom Crago’s house. (Admittedly, the best VIP cocktails setting I’ve yet had.)

I slid away to catch an exclusive screening of the “final cut” of Blade Runner on a 4k digital projector. Stunning!

Known for strong government support programs, three reps came to discuss opportunities: Andrew Ferrington (Multimedia Victoria), Mark Fludder (Queensland Government), Amelia King (Film Victoria).

Matt Costello leads an entertaining/interactive session on story and gameplay.

David Hewitt’s (Tantalus) sharp wit and fun slides salvaged a relatively pointless “big debate” closing session arguing which console between PS3/Wii/X360 would deliver the great games of the future.

Random family milling about the entrance to the eGames expo.

Xbox/Halo was present in full force.

As were more local offerings: Auran’s Graham Edelstein shows off Fury.

Puzzle Quest sweeps the GDAA Awards. Well deserved!