Free Storytelling Workshop: The Hero’s Journey

The Heroes Journey Diagram

In stories told across the world (be they in games, books, on screen or otherwise) there are iconic elements that appear time and time again. The reluctant hero, the wise guide, the trials of an adventure and the triumphant return; these are all part of The Hero’s Journey, a common structure for tales of adventures, from Star Wars to Assassin’s Creed, Harry Potter to The Legend of Zelda.

FTI, together with the International Screen Academy, are offering a free 3-hour workshop on The Hero’s Journey for game designers, animators, film-makers and other creatives. Presented by screenwriter, director and producer Simon David Hunter, this accelerated intro course aims to provide insight on creating engaging plots and characters, while avoiding cliches.

What: The Hero’s Journey – Free Open Workshop
When: Thurs, 6 August. 6pm-9pm
Where: Theatre, State Library of WA, 25 Francis St Perth
Tickets: Free! RSVP required via Eventbrite

For more information on this workshop, head on over to the Eventbrite event page, or the FTI website (Please note: Event is now being held in the State Library Theatre, not the Training Lab).

Play Up Perth: After Dark #5

playupperth

It is time once again to go behind the scenes and check out some up-and-coming local games. Grab a drink, chat with developers, and play some new games and prototypes!

What: Playup Perth: After Dark #5
When: 
Friday 31st July, 2015
Time: 6pm till late
Where: SK Games, 167 Fitzgerald St, Northbridge
Tickets: $7 (FTI members)/ $10 (regular) via Eventbrite

Extra Info: This event is 18+, so look forward to some cheap drinks and fun times.

There’s a whole bunch of games on offer this time around, the largest number for a Playup event so far in fact! So get ready to get your hands on Star Hammer: The Vanguard Prophecy, Time Chasers,  Robots Game, Rogue Blitz, Dwarven Topaz, Farter Surfer, Scavenge The Wastes, Ancient Guided Exploration, and Mr Nibbles Forever~

For more information head on over to the official Playup Perth page, or to register simply sign up over at Eventbrite.

Reminder: Level One Co-working & Oompf! Games Funding Pitch Night

This post is just a quick reminder of the cool things on today thanks to the folks at FTI, namely the fortnightly free co-working games space, followed by a pitch night for keen funding applicants.

Level One Co-working Space Logo

First up, it is once again time for the co-working goodness of the Level One space. This is a great opportunity to catch up with your team, be inspired by other industrious devs, and work on your pitches/applications for the Oompf games fund (more on that in a moment)!

What: Level One Co-working Space
When:
 Today! 23 July, 2015
Time: 9.30am-5pm
Where: FTI Training Lab, Level 1, State Library of WA Building

Cost: Free, but an RSVP is required.
Tickets: via Eventbrite

Oompf! Games LogoThen following of from the creative co-working times, tonight is also Pitch Night for the Oompf! Games funding! While attendance is not a requirement of the funding application, this event does gives you the opportunity to practice your pitch in front of an expert panel. There even a prizes for the evening’s best pitch!

What: Oompf! Games Pitch Night
When:
Tonight! 23 July, 2015
Time: 6-8pm
Where: FTI Training Lab, Level 1, State Library of WA Building

Cost: Registration is free for pitchers, and $10 for spectators (ticket includes 1 free drink at the bar)
Tickets: via Eventbrite

The Perth Games Festival Returns in 2015

Perth Games Festival 2015 Logo

The Perth Games Festival is back, and it is bigger than ever! Set to be held at Perth Town Hall on November 28, this free event is about showing off locally made computer games, tabletop games, mobile games and virtual reality experiences.

Last year’s inaugural Festival saw over 1600 people pass through the grand hall to play your games, and this year it’s levelled up. We will be taking over two floors, so there will be more space for developers and their games, plus more time for folks to get through and play them all! We at Let’s Make Games could not have made the 2014 Festival without you, the game-makers and gaming aficionados of Perth. So, once again, we are asking you to join us in celebrating the greatness of our local creative community!

What: Perth Games Festival 2015
When: Saturday 28th November, 10am – 5pm
Where: Perth Town Hall
Tickets: Free to attend; cost to exhibit.

You can connect with the Perth Games Festival on Facebook and Twitter, and if you know any WA developers keen to share their games (or Perth people who would like to play games) then please spread the word!

For more information, simply head on over to the Perth Games Festival site or check out the official Media Release.

BONUS ROUND:

Are you a game developer, studio, student or related organisation? We are currently taking expressions of interest for Exhibitors at the 2015 Festival! For all other inquiries, including volunteers and sponsorship questions, simply send us an email; we would love to hear from you!

Arbalest 3035 Out Now

Arbalest 3035 - Screenshot Header

We do our best to keep an eye out for new games made right here in WA, but alas, every now and again something cool slips under our radar. One such game is Arbalest 3035 by Bear-Tooth Studios, which combines beautiful abstract patterns and chaotic friend-destroying local multiplayer.

“Arbalest 3035 is a local multiplayer space shooter. With a fast paced movement and abstract art style, this game is a visually stimulating chaotic experience for you and your friends. Being built and developed in a party setting this game works best when played locally at parties with friends.”

Not only does the game have its own sense of style, it also has a unique power-up system that allows you to ‘build your own’ powers based on the different coloured orbs you collect. So if you’re interested in trying out a shiny space shooter, Arbalest 3035 is available now on PC, Mac and Linux for $2.50 over at their itch.io page. Or if Steam is more your gaming-space, head on over to Greenlight and give it a vote!

Greenlight Vote Banner

Tech Industry Taster Event for Women #WeSpeakCode<systers>

Banner Image - Computer Keyboard
Image via: FreeImages.com/pakizeöztürk

Ladies of Perth – are you interested in finding out more about technology and the tech industry? Whether you are completely new to the field, an experienced tech looking to branch out, or a digital native looking to network, the Australian Computer Society (ACS) has you covered. Coordinated by the ACS Women and Microsoft, the #WeSpeakCode<systers> event is a technology industry taster that is sure to have the information you need.

Sessions are expected to include Games Design 101, PowerShell Primer, C# for Dummies, Blogging for Beginners, Pitch Perfect, Start with .Net, Learn App Design, Entrepreneurship, Sketchnotes, Introduction to Cloud and more. Come along and try and few different things, network with other women and get a Free T-Shirt and Keyring to celebrate the day.

What: #WeSpeakCode<systers> Tech Taster Event
When: Saturday, 18th July, 8:30am – 5pm
Where: Microsoft Office Level 3, 100 St Georges Terrace Perth
Cost: Free (RSVP Required!)
Tickets: Available via the ACS Website

So if you are interested in expanding your tech horizons, simply head on over to the Australian Computer Society Women’s event page to sign up!

 

Winners Announced for 27th West Australian Screen Awards!

27th WASA Awards - DrumBeats on Stage

Last night saw the red carpet roll out at State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, for the 27th WA Screen Awards. Local creatives came out to celebrate and be celebrated, but in the end there can be only one winner (per category at least). So on that note *drum roll please* the winner of the Best Game award for 2015 is HolyOake with DrumBeat Quest! Building upon the Drumbeats community health program, Drumbeats Quest is a rhythm-based game designed to be played alongside mediated sessions and group exercises to help build social and emotional intelligence in young people.

27th WASA Awards - Dinosaur Discovery Augmented Reality Experience

In addition to the Best Game category, the evening also saw the Best Interactive Production go to the teams at Hungry Sky and the WA Museum for their Dinosaur Discovery Augmented Reality Experience. This experience allowed for people to see themselves interacting with dinosaurs in real time on the big screen at the Perth Cultural Centre – fun and terrifying for the whole family!

We at Let’s Make Games would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the winners and their fellow nominees, be they makers of games, interactive experiences or other screen endeavours.

Photo credit: Michelle Sandford

Senate Inquiry on the Future of the Australian Games Industry

Photograph of Senator Scott Ludlam

In 2007 our industry was one the Government saw as full of potential, but with the recent funding cuts and grant cancellations it’s not unreasonable to think the sector has since been overlooked. However it appears that we have not been forgotten; just last week WA’s very own Senator Scott Ludlam, co-deputy leader of the Australian Greens, successfully proposed a Senate Inquiry on what the government can do to better support the Australian games industry.

“Five years ago, Australia had a burgeoning video game development sector employing thousands of talented people in this rapidly growing industry.” Noted Senator Ludlam. “Internationally, companies have experienced strong growth thanks to smart government support and favourable regulatory settings.

“In Australia, no such luck: the sector has been treated like the poor cousin of the creative industries, culminating in the Abbott Government’s decision to close the $20 million Australian Interactive Games Fund, just 12 months after it was established.”

The Inquiry will focus on the future of the Australian (video) game development industry, with specific reference having been made to:

  • (i) how Australia can best set regulatory and taxation frameworks that will allow the local video game development industry to grow and fully meet its potential as a substantial employer,
  • (ii) how Australia can attract video game companies to set up development operations in Australia and employ local staff,
  • (iii) how export opportunities from Australia‘s local video game industry can be maximised, and
  • (iv) any other related matters.

Public hearings will be conducted as part of the Inquiry, and more information on dates for submissions will be released soon. The Inquiry itself will be conducted by the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications, and the report date is set for April 2016.

For more information on the Inquiry announcement, check out the Green’s official press release.

FTI Announces New Funding Opportunity for West Australian Game Projects

oompf_fti_banner

The games industry in Perth continues to strengthen and grow, and new opportunities for collaboration, investment, and development are rising up. The fine folk at FTI’s Game and Interactive Program, known for such contributions to the games community as Playup Perth and Level One, are keen to keep the ball rolling on this. Following on from last year’s Games Industry Scoping Survey, FTI identified the need for more funding opportunities for local games projects; with this in mind they have just announced Oompf! Games, a one-off members production fund to the value of $10,000!

OOMPF! Games is competitive grant scheme that provides financial assistance for FTI members in the games industry to help them take their game to market with funding of up to $10,000.

Eligible games can include video games, console games, mobile games, online games, augmented and virtual reality games and pervasive, mixed/cross platform or other forms experimental games, as long as the production contains a digital component.

Projects that receive funding from the Oomf! Games program will need to be completed within 6 – 10 months from the approval date. To be eligible for funding, studios or individual developers must be West Australian, and at least one person from the studio must be an FTI Member. Projects that focus on diverse and inclusive content are of particular interest to FTI; games that focus on WA content, are created (or co-created) by Indigenous people, women or other underrepresented group, and/or tell their stories, are especially encouraged.

The key dates outlined for the program are as follows:

  • Public Pitch Night – 23 July 2015
  • Applications Close – 7 August 2015
  • Panel Assessment – August
  • Contracting – September 2015
  • Project Delivery – February 2016 (unless otherwise agreed upon)

For more information, check out the FTI Announcement Page and Funding Guidelines. For all queries, please contact the Games and Interactive Program Director, Kate Raynes-Goldie via or (08) 9431-6709.

‘Best Game’ Nominees Announced for the 27th West Australian Screen Awards

The fine folk at FTI have announced the successful nominees for the 27th West Australian Screen Awards (WASA), and 2015 is the third year that a games category has been included. Three local games have made their way onto the list, all quite varied in style and purpose.

As a bit of interesting background information, two of the nominations this year are for games that use novel control schemes, one of the titles has been developed as part of a therapeutic support program, and two of the studios featured have been nominated for the award on previous titles. But enough talk, on to the games!

And the nominees for Best Game are…

 

Drumbeats Quest - Screenshot

Drumbeats Quest, by HolyOake
(Drug & Alcohol Counselling and Support Service)

The Drumbeat Quest therapeutic program is a new health education resource for counsellors and educators based on the award winning Drumbeat program. Designed as an expansion to the original Drumbeat program, Drumbeat Quest innovates by using a video game as a tool for building social and emotional intelligence.

 

Catnips - Sk Games

Catnips, by SK Games

Catnips is a 2-team cat milking simulator. Described as “nifty” and “horrifying”, deep down catnips is just about love, nipples, survival and catmilk. Not the easiest to describe in one paragraph, keep an eye out and experience it yourself next time the cats are in town.

 

Square Heroes - Screenshot

Square Heroes, by Gnomic Studios

Square Heroes is a comical arena shooter featuring Online, LAN, Co-op and local multi-player and an arsenal of weapons to blast your friends out of the sky! Hone your skills and level-up your character in the single-player Tournament, or skip straight to the main event and challenge your friends in one of the hilarious and frantic online skirmish modes.

 

Congratulations and best of luck to this year’s nominees! The winners will be announced at the 27th WASA Gala Awards Ceremony on 29 June, 2015. This red carpet celebration is set to include special VIP guests, fancy food and drink, and will be attended by film industry leaders, WA screen practitioners, media, sponsors and industry partners. If you’re interested in attending, tickets are available via Ticketek.