Game developers off to US event

Game on . . . Dunedin game developers set to attend the Game Developers Conference in the United States in March (from left) Seth Corbett-Davies, Georgia Blake and Aditia Hasib. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Three Dunedin game developers have been given grants to attend a conference in the United States.

The Dunedin-based New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence, in partnership with the New Zealand Game Developers Association, gave three $5000 travel grants to Dunedin-based game developers to attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California for five days from March 16.

The centre grants, included as part of the association’s annual scholarship programme, were awarded to Seth Corbett-Davies, Aditia Hasib and Georgia Blake.

Ms Hasib (20), a community manager at game development company Runaway, in Stafford St, said she was “really surprised” to be named as a grant recipient.

She got an association grant to attend the conference last year.

“It’s really cool of professional development.”

On returning, possible ways she could share the knowledge gained was by sharing at Dunedin Game Developers meet-ups, by writing a blog, or by social media.

As a community manager, her job was to moderate the community which plays a game and work on ways to keep players engaged.

Mr Corbett-Davies (25), a product lead at Runaway, said he product-managed two games – Flutter and Starlight – and enjoyed his work.

“It’s unique. You work with a programmer or two, an artist, community managers, narrative designers and game designers – all these sorts of people – it’s quite cool.”

To play another Runaway game Furistas: Cat Cafe, the player runs a cat cafe by adopting virtual cats to match with virtual cafe patrons of certain personality types.

Miss Blake (23), an Otago Polytechnic communication design graduate, said she was “shocked” when she read she was a grant recipient.

“I didn’t expect to get it.”

For a polytechnic honours project she co-designed a game prototype for Orokonui Ecosanctuary to educate people how to respect and interact with kaka.

Centre working group and association board member Tim Ponting said more than 25,000 people attend the conference including high-calibre creatives and investors such as programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, and business leaders.

“Seth, Aditia and Georgia will each gain substantial professional development in San Francisco which they can share with the Dunedin game development community on their return. This will not only benefit them directly as developers, it will also benefit the wider Dunedin game development industry and economy.”