Fast Five – Chris Johnson

In the lead up to this year’s festival, we’ve asked some of our speakers a set of Fast Five questions about their work and their thoughts on games in Australia. Today we have independent game designer Chris Johnson. Chris is currently developing Expand, and he will be both playing and speaking about his games as part of the Online Festival. What are you working on right now? I’m currently working on Expand. Readers might have seen an earlier version of the game at the Freeplay Arcade back in 2012 or maybe at PAX Australia last year. Expand is a game where you move through this ever shifting circular labyrinth. The game feels like you’re doing a sudoku puzzle and meditating at the same time. We’re currently in the trenches creating more content for the game. For Expand, content creation is the most time consuming and draining part of the development process. It’s also very rewarding seeing the game get closer and closer to being finished. What do you wish you worked on? Why? I wish I made a solid PuzzleScript game when that was new. I’ve taught a few people how to make games with PuzzleScript but haven’t made anything myself. I think the process of making something would help develop my skills in level design. Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough about this but I feel as though a lot of the simpler variations of PuzzleScript games have been made. So it’s now a process of being more creative since I really wouldn’t want to make a riff on someone else’s idea. What’s an Australian game, old or...

Fast Five – Laura Crawford

In the lead up to this year’s festival, we’ve asked some of our speakers a set of Fast Five questions about their work and their thoughts on games in Australia. Today we have Laura Crawford, who is an academic in Games and Interactivity at Swinburne University. Laura will be be a panelist on the Self-Care for Game Developers panel as part of the Online Festival. What are you working on right now? I am finishing a PhD in attraction to screen violence, beginning a study with colleagues on independent game development and developing a Psychology of Game Design subject. What do you wish you worked on? Why? In addition to the things I’m working on currently, I’d also like more time for a different kind of creativity. There is at least one game I want to make, a documentary that has been sitting with me for far too long and I also miss sculpture. Research and writing are creative in their own way but there’s a purity in art. What’s an Australian game, old or new, digital or physical, that you find interesting? There are so many and for a myriad of reasons. Framed is fascinating for the fact that it has lovingly utilised so many different items from pop culture, and made them into something completely different yet coherent and fun. Flight Control has a special place in my heart too. It was one of the first games I bought for my shiny new iPad (I was a foolish early adopter); I fell deeply in love with the music and the way it sounded on my new device. Of...

Fast Five – Meghann O’Neill

In the lead up to this year’s festival, we’ve asked some of our speakers a set of Fast Five questions about their work and their thoughts on games in Australia. Today we have games reviewer, music teacher, and composer Meghann O’Neill, who will be running a music workshop at the Freeplay Fete. What are you working on right now? Right now, I’m working on filling out this form to the best of my ability. Something I try to convey to my music students is that you don’t need to focus on your creative goals all of the time. In fact, if you have a balanced life, the time you spend working towards performance, composition or whatever it is you do, can be more fruitful. (But, when I’m not focusing on this form, I’m iterating on a system of dynamic music, finding great indie games for PC Powerplay magazine and writing, mostly, short stories. And hopefully helping Primary students to develop a love of instrumental music.) What do you wish you worked on? Why? I carefully seek work that supports my wider creative goals, where possible. So, when I interview composers for PC Powerplay magazine, I often get great ideas for my own compositions. When I compose music based on some new idea, I can often then sell a lecture to a tertiary institution. For now, I’d like to continue being a diverse musician and games reviewer because of that mutually supportive process. What’s an Australian game, old or new, digital or physical, that you find interesting? At PAX Australia last year, I saw [Chris Johnson’s] Expand, briefly, and thought it looked like a...