akl monthly game dev meetups

CONTRIBUTORS’ GUIDE

This document is for those showing their work, recruiting, looking for work or giving a presentation at the meetups.


The Auckland Game Development Meetup (meetup.com/aklgamedev) is a group of game developers, programmers, artists, musicians, animators and game enthusiasts that meet to discuss game design and collaborate on computer game projects.  Members include students, hobbyists and professional game developers.

We talk about any type of game for any platform digital or physical.

Come along and share your own ideas and projects for games, or recruit people to work on one with you.

The meetup is an independent event supported by the NZ Game Developers Association and AUT Pigsty.


               

CONTENTS

CONTENTS

PHILOSOPHY

FORMAT

CONTACTING THE ORGANIZERS

PRESENTATION

OPEN MIC ANNOUNCEMENT

PROGRESS BAR

PLAYABLE GAME

LOCAL TALENT SHOWCASE

LOCAL MUSIC PLAYLIST

FOOD

EXAMPLE PRESENTATIONS

NZGDA ON SOCIAL MEDIA

THE MEGA MEETUP STRATEGY

BRANDING

PHILOSOPHY

The meetups create an environment that is:

  1. Inclusive
  1. Open to everyone. Anyone can join and attend. No fees. No secret societies.
  2. Positive and supportive. We encourage you to bring work of any level and show it to others during the ‘Progress Bar’ to help your skills, practice and products improve.
  3. Catered to all members of the game dev community regardless of the size of the studio or your role.
  1. Productive
  1. Focused on making, producing and improving the quality of work.
  2. Attended by high profile local developers.
  3. An opportunity to network with: recruits, employers, collaborators, press, publishers, crowd-sources and player communities.
  4. A place to discuss playing with ideas and even show “dead ends”. Every dead end is a lesson.
  5. Regular events. Roughly one a month.
  1. Critical
  1. Innovative. “Ahead of the curve” not “following the crowd”.
  2. Constantly re-assessing and questioning the art and business of games.
  3. Attempts to define the “NZ Game Dev Voice”.
  1. Game focused
  1. About games. Play then discuss. Avoids just talking. Pictures and videos are nice - interactive demonstrations are better.
  2. Open to fringe projects that help produce innovation and new emergent practices.  Interactive installations, transmedia, film, music, entrepreneurship and not-game projects etc will be shown from time to time to see what new ideas we can find in looking at games from a different perspective.

FORMAT

There is no set format and we are constantly rethinking the best approach but the basic format is:

CONTACTING THE ORGANIZERS

This section is a guide to talking and presenting at the meetups. Read the section(s) relating to what you want to do (Presentation, Open Mic Announcement, Playable Game, Local Talent Showreel, Local Music Playlist) and contact the organizers through the meetup page.


PRESENTATION

We have a lot of content so presentations are short - usually 6 minutes per project. But there is no set format, sometimes we have many short presentations, sometimes one 18 minute one, sometimes a panel. The Meetup crew will usually approach you to give a talk. If you want to request to do a presentation you can contact the organizers. Either way, the length will usually be decided by the organizers on a per presenter basis.

Remember that the focus is on playing and discussing games. For that reason we try to keep the talks very short AND we expect presenters to, if possible, set up a presentation of your work in the foyer along with the other Playable Games. Not everyone wants to discuss every project, so we provide the audience the opportunity to discuss the projects covered in the Presentation during the Progress Bar by choice.   Questions, therefore, will usually not be asked in the lecture theatre but rather when you are standing by your work.

As there is little to no time for questions during the Presentation itself, this is a chance to get a public discussion going. If you don’t have a game to stand by - for example if you are discussing something general, such as IP law or research - we will ask you to stand somewhere specific so it’s easy for people to find you for discussion.

If you simply want to show off your game or showreel, just do an Open Mic Announcement that directs people to the Local Talent Showreel or Playable Game. Full Presentations are usually reserved for talks with a lot of valuable information or a good story.

Because we don’t want the Presentation to ‘drag on’, it’s also a good idea to have supporting information like a podcast available so that people can find out more about your project after the meetup. For example: this podcast was released just before this meetup so people, if interested, could find out more about the Presentation immediately.



OPEN MIC ANNOUNCEMENT

Format permitting, there is usually a short open-mic session at the end of the Presentation.

If you want to do an announcement for recruiting, crowdfunding, events or other information you think the community will be interested in, you just have to come up at the end of the presentations. HOWEVER, it is a very good idea to, if possible, come along to a meetup at least a month before you make an announcement to see the culture. This gives you a chance to pick up the language, talk to people, understand the general format and get an idea of “who you’re up against”.

This is especially true if you are looking for recruits or money. Everyone is looking for someone who can do x, or money to do y. Avoid being just another voice in the crowd. You are not the only one who thinks “you have the game idea that is gonna blow the world away… you just need a team to make it for you.” Even if that’s true, you need to convince others to risk investing time, effort, money or reputation on you. The more you bring to show (prototypes, style guides, videos, etc) the easier it will be for others to commit. Again - come along to a meetup first before you announce anything and you’ll get the idea.

Fill out this form before you come or just before or after making an anouncement to have it featured in the Meetup Digest mialed out to the 2,000+ members on the Meetup group mailing list.

Also if you have an image or video (keep it below 30 seconds - if you have something longer you can add it to the Local Talent Showreel) you should load it on to the presentation machine before 18:00.

If you are recruiting, make that clear when you make your announcement or show your image so people can seek you out during the Progress Bar.

It’s also advised to wear something unique (like a silly hat) so it is easier for people to remember who you are especially if what you are wearing is in theme with your announcement/project.

Event and grant announcements can usually be announced on your first visit and if you can’t attend yourself you can send an image (1920*1080 jpeg) to the organizers.



PROGRESS BAR

The ‘Progress Bar’ is the longest and ‘meatiest’ part of the night. It is your chance to network, catch up show your current projects and give feedback to others.


PLAYABLE GAME

If you are interested in presenting your work or requesting equipment (like screens) please fill out this form.

Some people set up their work in progress games so they can get feedback and recruit.  If you have a laptop, mobile game or physical game you don’t need to ask or tell anyone, just bring it along and show it. If you have a desktop or other hardware that plugs in to the wall your project will need to be approved by the organizers. Regardless please fill out this form 48 hours before the event. We advise setting up before the Presentation as some people don’t go in to them as they prefer to play and discuss games with the developers. Some people set up at the start of the Progress Bar. Sometimes set up starts as early as 4PM (2 hours before the main talk) depending on the complexity.

Some simply use their laptop, phone or tablet to show their work and some don’t show their game to everyone. However if you want to show many people at once, there are screens on site. If there is a spare unclaimed screen (claimed screens will be labelled) feel free to plug directly in to it. We recommend you invest in some standard AV cables. We have a limited supply and you will find them useful when showcasing your work in public.

If you are certain you want to show your game you can contact the organizers by filling out this form and request a screen. This way we can, hopefully, make sure there are always more than we have booked for anyone to plug in to without having to book them but they are on a first come first served system. This is part of the inclusive - “walk in” - culture of the meetup. It’s NOT about who you know, it’s about turning up and participating.

We advise that you bring everything you need including power extension cables and display adaptors. Although there are some cables we cannot gaurantee there’ll be enough. You should not rely on the Wifi to show your work. Tables can be organized if you contact the event organizers in a timely fashion.

Some people also show their complete games simply to get coverage (advertise) not for feedback. The normal rules apply. Just bring it along and show it.



LOCAL TALENT SHOWCASE

There is a local talent showreel that plays on a screen during NZGDA events such as the meetups, NZGDC, Armageddon and Digital NatioNZ.  If you want to show your video:

You can submit them here.

LOCAL MUSIC PLAYLIST

There is a NZGDA Local Talent playlist on Soundcloud.  It is played while everyone is being seated and during the Progress Bar. If you want you work added to the playlist, create a playlist on your account titled “Akl Game Dev Meetup” and email the link for this playlist to the event organizers. Soundcloud only at this point.

The “general rule” is that if you want to your music added to the playlist, you have to turn up to the meetup and be prepared to network. But this isn’t always prudent. Artists that attend often create opportunities for themselves and others, not attending for an extended period without valid cause may result in your work being removed from the playlist.

Note to musicians and sound producers:

Apart from art and commercial projects, the game dev community also seeks music, and musicians, to contribute to the pool of assets that can be used for KiwiJam (mid-winter 48 hour game maker event or “game-jam” - in NZ) and also other events such as Ludum Dare (a quarterly, world-wide, mostly-off-site game-jam) and Global Game Jam (a global game jam that has sites all over the world including Auckland - usually Media Design School). Being on this playlist does not give anyone the right to use your work, however it is likely that, if you are on this playlist, you may be approached to ask for permission for your work to be used during one of these hacker-events. In these cases it is common practice for your work to be credited.

FOOD

There is no entry fee to the meetups, and we try to always have a sponsor to pay for the food but money is tight so it’s possible that we may not always have free food. This is unlikely to happen but if it does we’ll let everyone know as soon as we can.

EXAMPLE PRESENTATIONS

NZGDA ON SOCIAL MEDIA

You are welcome to join the IGDANZ + NZGDA Facebook group and start talking there. It’s a good way to keep up to date with announcements, events and networking.

You can follow #AKLgamedev hashtag for the Auckland meetups and other local events.


THE MEGA MEETUP STRATEGY

Since 2016, I - Ben Kenobi - and a few others have been developing a strategy to run a "Monthly Mega Meetup" event. Essentially a single night each month where multiple meetup groups come together to:

I have run the AKLgamedev Meetups for 5 years (and have been involved for almost a decade) and has a lot of the logistics covered. We have quite a few meetup groups in Auckland interested in joining for one or more meetups a year.

The AKLgamedev Meetup has been immensely valuable for the strength of the local gamedev community as a platform for knowledge share and recruitment and has been useful to many individual's projects - mainly for user testing, trialing showroom techniques and building a community around a product or service.

I'm open to suggestions but, for example, sometimes all the meetups could have separate presentations and sometimes, when the presentation content overlaps with one or more meetup groups' interests, we can combine two or more of the presentations.

So let's start testing this out!

I'm open to all ideas and want to use my experience to help other meetups grow and ultimately lower my own workload by reducing the amount of content I need to curate. I also hope to expand our community by cross pollinating with other communities and bring new energy to our networking session.

BRANDING

Some working titles for the event