Last night in the palatial luxury of the Velvet Lounge in Perth, the most recent Australian chapter of the International Game Developers Association had its first public outing.  Arriving at the door to be greeted by hostesses in hot pants were about 50 of the expected demographic – youngish males with a certain air of “geekness”. David Kazim of GO3 sponsored the event last night providing a range of door prizes, finger food and of course the attractive young women in shorts.  Only a few women appeared to be part of the proceedings – with one group of 4 women abandoned by the front entrance while their beaux engaged in proceedings.

I recognised a few faces but was surpeised that there are a handful of active games developers in Perth.  One of the “must meets” of the evening was David Parkinson from the WA government Department of Industry and Resources – like everyone Games Developers chase funding as well.

Paul Turbett from Benevolent Interactive presented a short slide show of his trip to the E3 conference in Los Angeles earlier this year.  After a few comments about the ubiquity of crime and disfunction in LA, we saw a few glimpses of what’s to come in the next 12 months in the gaming world.  Very few movie crossovers, very few mobile phone games (explicitly commented as “not a priority”), but a lot more original IP emerging from major publishers.

The evening was moving a bit slowly and I left about 8.30.  I will attend a few more but hope that there is less of a free-for-all feel to the events.  Starting a group like this requires some motivational activity on the part of the organisers and networking doesn’t “just happen” by throwing 50 people together in room.

Martin Masek from ECU and Andrew Hutchison from Curtin (and a chair at the upcoming CGIE2006*) and a couple of other educational institutions were present.

Many of the others attending seemed to be 2nd and 3rd year students from the various games and computer courses in WA.

*CyberGames 2006: International Conference and Exhibition on Games Research and Development, and IE 2006: The Third Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment.

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