With August 14 & 15 fast approaching, we’re happy to announce some of the sessions taking place at Freeplay. With a new venue for the event this year, it’s given us the chance to open up the program a little bit, with longer panels & workshops to fully explore the topics with the audience, and give those attending workshops more time to get their hands dirty. It’s also given us the chance to offer demo space in experimedia and have panels aimed at the less development-centric part of games culture.
Panels & Lectures
The Village Roadshow Theatrette is where we’ll be hosting our lecture / panel sessions. We want to make these a little bit longer than in previous years to give the speakers more time and also to give the audience more time to ask questions.
Sessions (with more to come) include:
Games and Screen Culture
This session takes a look at the place of games in the wider screen culture, and also showcases projects using games and games technology in unique and innovative ways.
Weapons of Mass Construction.
The talk will look at the massive amount of content which modern games require and at procedural software solutions which allow even the small developer to produce games on a grand scale.
There is an increasing trend in the industry to utilise procedural content generation for everything from textures, animation, vegetation, landscapes, and even entire cities.
Rather than threaten the artists role in producing content, we should embrace these techniques as they allow us to produce more and better work. Proceduralism is not all about pushing a button to make art, it is fact about allowing an artist, through a sequence of decisions, to produce work of greater scope and detail in a shorter time frame.
Making the leap
How do you become an indie? What are the challenges involved? What are the benefits? And can you actually make a living out of it? This panel looks at people who’ve made the leap.
Education & Development
The past few years have seen games courses crop up all over the place – from vocational training colleges to university degrees. This panel explores the relationship between education and development, and what they can learn from each other.
Diversity in the games industry
Those outside the games industry see it as a homogenous blob, chasing the 18-35 male demographic, and producing nothing but space marines trudging through brown corridors killing aliens, or stories of hitmen violently pursuing consequence free sex with prostitutes.
What is the reality? Is development becoming more diverse? And does that increase in diversity result in a shift in the types of games we make, and the audiences we can attract?
Where to from here?
At the first Freeplay in 2004, there was no steam, no App store, no XNA, no Xbox Live Arcade, no PSN, and no WiiWare.
This panel looks at where we might be in another 5 years.
The Seminar rooms at the State Library will be where we hold our smaller, more focused workshops:
The visual style of a project can have a huge impact on the player’s experience. This session looks at the challenges & approaches in maintaining a meaningful, consistent style that works in concert with gameplay.
How to make your own games for free
A seminar for anyone who is interested in being an independent game developer but has a restricted budget. Topics covered include an overview of the development process, engines and tools suitable for small teams, the benefits of prototyping and advice on how to commercialize your games.
Making a lot of noise out of nothing
How to get quality audio into a project for little or no budget
Audio has long been seen as an expensive component of film, TV and video games; with studios charging exorbitant fees and audio equipment being some of the most costly tech gear you can buy, many independent developers resign themselves to having little or no audio to support their projects. Creating good audio however is as much about attitude and approach as it is costly tools.
A designer with a good understanding of audio manipulation and how to listen to the world around them can produce excellent work without the need of expensive equipment. This workshop will demonstrate some freely available tools and resources, but more importantly it will demonstrate some simple techniques and ideas that will allow anyone with a desire to create interesting audio to take mundane sounds and manipulate them into new and useful audio assets.
This is a practical demonstration workshop so come armed with questions, be prepared to watch and listen to the creative process and think about what sounds you have always wanted to see created. The audience will be asked to participate by suggesting what sounds should be created and providing challenges to the designer. The more you get involved the more you’ll get out of the session.
Expo & public sessions
Lastly, the Experimedia space will house our public program, incuding demos of games from indie developers and a series of panels devoted to exposing a broader audience to what we do as developers.
Sessions (with more to be announced) include:
Playing in someone else’s sandpit
Australia has a reputation for delivering licensed titles – including Spongebob Squarepants, Transformers, The Fast and the Furious, and others. This panel looks at the challenges involved in working within the constraints of somebody else’s idea – and how you maintain your own creative voice while doing so.
Games criticism and the danger of the fanboy (or girl)
The games industry has developed alongside the internet, giving everyone with a modicum of technical savvy the ability to have their voice heard – for better or worse.
This panel looks at the issues around games criticism and journalism, and how interaction between creator, critic, and audience impacts everyone.
Ask a Game Developer
Have a burning question about how games get made? This is your chance to have it answered by our experienced panel with experience across all disciplines.
Game Design Challenge
A chance to show off your game design and pitch skills.
Teams will be given the chance to workshop and then pitch a small-scale game based on surprise themes and objects to a team of experienced developers, with a prize donated by Infinite Interactive.