You may have already seen the article in the Victoria Time Colonist or read their press release, but in a follow-up to the story I posted earlier in the month, it appears that GameHouse Canada is looking to hire even more people than originally mentioned. Now they’re talking about doubling their workforce by adding at least 20-25 employees. Along with Microsoft Studio Victoria’s goal of bringing on 50-60 people, we’re now looking at potentially over 80 new jobs for game creators in Victoria. Wow. Things are definitely looking up for the local game development community. At this rate, we may have to start holding IGDA Victoria meetings at the Memorial Arena.
As an early Christmas gift for local indie developer Gaslamp Games, Gamasutra ranked their funny and entertaining dungeon crawler Dungeons of Dredmor #6 in Gamasutra’s Best Of 2011: Top 10 Indie Games. They’re in good company. The list includes many excellent indie games such as Atom Zombie Smasher and Frozen Synapse as well as fellow Canadian developers Capybara Games with their stylish release Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. Congratulations Gaslamp!
If you haven’t already, give Dungeons of Dredmor a try – it’s a blast. And don’t forget their just released expansion: Realm of the Diggle Gods.
As you may have already heard from various news sources, Microsoft is planning on opening a new game studio here in Victoria. Microsoft Studios Victoria will be opening in the new year and will be located in offices in the Dogwood building on the downtown waterfront. While some local game companies are wary of the new competition for local talent (Microsoft’s looking to hire 50-60 people), industry observers and post-secondary institutions are cheering the move, saying that it will mark Victoria as a viable location for other game companies to set up shop and lure new employees to the area from around the world. Regardless of which camp you belong, everyone has to agree that the Victoria game development industry is about to get a lot more interesting in the next year.
There’s an event coming up in Vancouver soon and, if you’re like me and love storytelling and narrative design in video games, you won’t want to miss it. It’s the fourth annual International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling and it’s being held for the first time in North America this year running from November 28th until December 1st.
I’ll be attending this year and, if you’ll excuse the plug, I’ll be running a workshop on the 28th entitled “Rummaging in the Geek Culture Toolbox”. You can imagine that I’m pretty excited about it and I wanted to share my excitement by inviting all of you to attend. Invited speakers this year include Chris Crawford of Storytron, Mary DeMarle of Eidos Montreal, and Keith Oatley of University of Toronto. Further details on the conference can be found here: http://icids2011.wp.rpi.edu/ and details about my workshop are here: http://icids2011.wp.rpi.edu/ws-the-geek-culture-toolbox/. Note that there is a discount for IGDA Members.
I hope to see you there!
It’s all a bit last minute, but Sheri Rubin, as part of her cross continent road trip, is coming to speak at this month’s IGDA Victoria meeting on Monday, October the 3rd! Sheri has been involved in the game industry for over 15 years and helped to create more than 30 games including the Golden Tee series and Sam and Max Season One. This will be Sheri’s first visit to our chapter, and she’ll be giving the talk outlined below, so spread the word and let’s get a good crowd out to give Sheri a warm welcome!
Monday, October 3rd
The Collard Room – Swans Hotel and Brewpub
506 Pandora Avenue, Victoria, BC
Doors open at 4:30pm
Your Developers Are Your Customers
Too often we focus on the end user, the player, as the basis of our focus on customer needs and wants. What we end up doing is creating an environment that doesn’t promote an experience that is good for all our customers, including the ones that matter most: the developers. This talk will explain the basics of a good customer experience, help managers identify who their “customers” are, and then give them the tools they need to improve their customer experience and bring consistency to their brands. Whether you are a developer, publisher, or service vendor you can quickly and easily take small steps that can impact your bottom line. Even team leads, seniors, and individual developers can implement changes that will over time increase their relationships with others and their ability to succeed.
Areas that this talk will cover include:
- Post-mortems: Why you’re probably doing them wrong (and you SHOULD be doing them!)
- Third-party relationships: The two things you MUST do to constantly improve your customer experience
- Your Staff: Learn why they are the key to making this all happen and what you can do to influence their happiness
- Branding: Why it’s important for even small developers and vendors (and individuals) to develop a brand and what it can do for you and your customer experience
Your customers are THE most important part of your business – this talk aims to show you how making them a priority can help multiple aspects of your business.
In a recent post on the Canadian digital media news site Village Gamer, blogger Tami Quiring responds to an incendiary article published by Macleans on tax breaks for game developers in Canada. The original article, written by Jesse Brown, was harsh and flippant in tone and seemly unconcerned with accuracy. The response was, to my mind, an excellent defense of the game industry and an appropriate dressing down to lazy journalism. So I share it with you and am happy not to be in the shoes of Mr. Brown.
Update: Link fixed. Apologies.
Update #2: Another response from Jaime Woo at the Torontoist.
OrcaJam is fast approaching and excitement is growing in the game development community of sleepy Victoria, BC. It’s a popular game jam in the vein of the Global Game Jam and is quickly becoming an annual tradition. Created last year by local independent game creators Andy Moore and Fieran Mason-Blakley, OrcaJam 2010 was a great success – bringing together a diverse group of game developers for a 48 hour period of fun, comradery, and creativity. This year should be no different.
As of this writing there’s still room, so if you’re interested in signing up go to the official meetup page, register, and mark your calendar: OrcaJam is being held from Friday, September 16th (6pm) until Sunday September 18th (6pm). It’s only 50 bucks and includes some food and other treats. More details can be found at the official website: www.orcajam.com. Space is limited so sign up soon. See you there!
According to this article on GamePolitics.com, researchers have found that video games reduce crime by, if I understand it correctly, keeping potential criminals occupied with an acceptable substitute for the criminal acts that they might otherwise commit. It goes a bit deeper than that in the article, but the study also implies that if violent video games were banned by the government, the crime rates would actually go up as these potential criminals wouldn’t be getting their “violence fix” and would go looking for it elsewhere. Another feather in the cap of video games?
Welcome to the new official home page for the Victoria Chapter of the IGDA. That’s Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for those who may be wondering. All news and updates will be posted here and also to our new Twitter account (@IGDAVictoria) and existing Facebook page. Feel free to subscribe to our email list via the right menu to get updates too. There are so many ways to stay informed, it’s downright silly.