The thriving Indie Game Dev Scene in Australia: Mitch’s Reflections on UniteAUS and GCAP14

Last week I had the privilege of flying to Melbourne for Unite AUS and GCAP. It was wonderful to meet so many developers, and the smaller conferences gave us the opportunity to have insightful and thorough conversations that would have been nearly impossible at the bigger conferences, like GDC.

Intel was a Unite sponsor, which gave us the opportunity to host a couple of activities. Trapper, one of our graphics engineers gave a talk – “Big Android: Reaching the Masses! Adding X86 Support to your game” (I’ll update with a link to the slides once they’re available). We also ran an x86 Android Help Lab where we showed game developers how easy it is to add x86 support to their Android Unity projects. Game developers were able to get hands on help from Intel application engineers both with the activity of adding x86 support but also to generally interact with them and get any technical questions answered. Miao Wei, one of our AEs, talked about his experience here.

Unity was kind enough to set up a demo kiosk for us in the refreshments area. Mike and I showed Little Worlds Interactive’ sThe Counting Kingdom running on a 4th Gen Core Lenovo Yoga 2 and Square Enix’sHitman Go running on an Intel powered Fuhu Dreamtab.

The Counting Kingdom is a math game targeting lower elementary students, built in Unity. When I met Jenna Hoffstein at PAX Prime of this year, I immediately thought it would be a great game for use in 2 in 1 devices. The only challenge was that Jenna didn’t have access to a touch-enabled PC. I bought it and loaded it on my Yoga. With the magic of Unity, the game played perfectly using a touch interface without the game developer needing to do anything special.

Hitman Go came out on Google Play earlier this year. When Intel and Unity worked together to integrate native x86 support for Android games in their engine, we delivered an early preview of the game to Square. Within days they sent us a native x86 APK. Both small developers and large publishers are able to seamlessly add this support through Unity!

GCAP was two days after UniteAUS. Intel didn’t have a formal presence at the event, so it was nice to be able to just attend, go to talks, catch up with old friends and colleagues, and meet new people. I particularly enjoyed Ken Wong’s talk on Monument Valley, which I had been meaning to buy for some time now. It’s an artistic Escher-esque game that is accessible to all audiences. I think it shows that mobile games can be casual as well as thoughtful and beautiful.

Josh Boggs and Trent Kusters did a fireside chat (with no actual flames present) about going Indie, and discussed their thoughts about their all-in approach to their projects Framed and Armello. They radiated the passion they have for their projects, which is critical to being able to dive into it with everything you have.

On Wednesday evening, after the closing keynote delivered by Rami Ismail, was the Australian Game Developer Awards. I was very excited about this event. Past Intel® Level Up Game Dev Contest winners Loveshack Entertainment (Framed), Kumobius (Duet), and Witch Beam (Assault Android Cactus) were amongst the finalists in a variety of categories. In the end Duet took home a bunch of hardware!

Spending nearly 30 hours each way to get to and from Melbourne was terribly exhausting, but the time spent at Unite and GCAP really charged me up. Our Intel® Level Up Game Dev Contest regularly receives a solid set of entries from Australia based devs, so it was great to personally come down and see the vibrancy of the indie scene there. The experience renewed and deepened my perspective on how we at Intel can help game developers find success on Intel platforms.

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