Imirt Inspire Interview 18: Jonathan Blow

Jonathan Blow is a game designer and programmer who lives in San Francisco, USA. His most recent games are critically acclaimed The Witness and Braid. Both of those titles are well known for their unique game design and mechanics approach. Jonathan continues to run the studio Thekla, Inc., which creates mind-expanding games. Blow, along with several other independent game developers became a founding member of the Indie Fund, an angel investor fund for independent game projects.

Imirt Board Election 2017 Results

Here are the results of the recent Imirt board election. Olivier Masclef and
Elaine Reynolds will be joining the board, while Colm Larkin and Brenda Romero
will be re-joining the board.

The 7 members of the new Imirt board will be: Jen Carey, Alan Duggan, Stephen Kelly, Colm Larkin, Olivier Masclef, Elaine Reynolds, & Brenda Romero.

Many thanks to everyone who voted in the election and a very special thank you
to all the nominees. We hope those that didn't make it will try again in
future, we really appreciate such strong support.

Imirt Game Developer Survey 2017 results

We recently carried out the yearly Imirt Survey. Below the graphs summarise what people felt worked well and what areas they’d like us to focus on for the next year.

Initiatives

For the initiatives the Inspire series is well regarded, including the live talks and evening talks. A big thanks to Colm Larkin for running those podcasts and thanks to everyone involved in setting up the live events. We gratefully received help from Screen Training, DIT, Enterprise Ireland, as well as the board members who put those events together. Thanks to those who attended and members who have suggested speakers in the past.

The next highest rated initiative is the newsletter. The newsletter provides a way to inform members about the latest activities of Imirt or Irish games development in a succinct way. Thanks to the community for providing news items. Also thanks to Brenda Romero, and more recently Kevin Murphy for gathering and putting together the newsletter regularly.

Another well rated initiative was the Imirt Irish Games Awards. This provides an opportunity to promote and showcase games made in Ireland. It also aids developers and studios in their own self promotional work. Thanks to Corona Labs for providing the awards, the Trinity Long Room Hub for hosting them, and Animation Skillnet for sponsorship on the night. Also thanks to our speakers and members of the community who attended.

Mentoring & Lobbying Government support

Mentoring developers or startup studios, and lobbying the government for support were two areas that rated averagely and could do with improvement. These were also the top two topics in terms of comments.

One suggestion for mentoring was to ask Irish developers who’ve been through the game development hurdles to give talks on their experiences. Another theme was involving more people in Imirt and the games industry here. That included students, new and diverse creators, and expanding to involve all parts of games creation and development including (e.g. middleware, qa, & localisation). Another suggestion was to mentor on what funding opportunities already exist and help startups through their first years.

In terms of government support comments suggested the need for help in terms of tax breaks and grants. Possibly in related way, some comments suggested that Imirt should position itself to represent larger studios with more of a focus on the commercial side of things.

Future focus

The most popular activity members want to see Imirt do is getting more government support for developers here. Comments see this as challenging task of course, but as a worthy thing to do.

From the survey votes, the top three areas for Imirt to focus on in future are:

  1. Lobbying the government and other bodies for support

  2. Organising networking events

  3. Mentoring Irish game developers.

Thank you to all the members who participated in the survey, especially to those who provided suggestions, feedback and comments. Everyone on the board of directors read the comments and your thoughts are very helpful in directing how Imirt proceeds in future.

Results

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Performance to date:

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Focus for the next 12 months

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Participant information

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Tribal City and Pewter Games win Creative Europe Media Funding

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Tribal City Interactive received €115,000 to help develop their project, Tir Anann. Pewter Games Studios were awarded €150,000 for their game, Athanasia.  In total 32 European Video Games were selected for a total amount of €3,729,550.

The next call for the Video Games Development scheme will be announced in the Autumn with a deadline expected in February or March 2018.

If you are thinking of applying for the next round be sure to watch our Creative Europe Media Seminar videos for lots of useful advice.

Imirt Inspire Interview 17: Greg Rice

Greg Rice is the VP of Business Development of Double Fine Productions. He previously served as the Producer of Broken Age, the result of the studios record breaking Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter campaign. In addition to heading up publishing duties on all Double Fine releases, Greg also handles the Double Fine Presents external publishing label which has helped support a wide range of unique independently developed titles like Gang Beasts, Gnog, and David OReilly's Everything. Prior to Double Fine, he worked as an assistant to Seamus Blackley at Creative Artists Agency.

2017 Board elections - call for nominees

The 2017 Board elections for Imirt will happen in September. There will be four seats available for nominees to fill (it was three last year). Being on the board of Imirt means you steer the agenda and implement the goals of the organisation.

To become a nominee you simply need to be a member of Imirt and e-mail contact@imirt.ie expressing an interest (i.e. you self nominate). We will then ask for your bio, goals, and optional photo to put on the Imirt website in the run up to the elections. Also if you have any other questions or suggestions please get in touch!

Imirt Inspire - an evening of talks on June 28th

Wed June 28th 5pm - 7:30pm
Neill Theatre, Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin

Imirt, the Irish Game Makers Association is proud to present an evening of talks about game design and culture on June 28th from 5pm to 7:30pm. The event is in collaboration with the MSc in Interactive Digital Media in Trinity College Dublin and the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute. We have been able to bring two excellent international speakers to Dublin thanks to support from Enterprise Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen and Animation Skillnet. We would also like to thank Corona Labs for sponsoring the Imirt Awards.

The event is free but space is limited so please reserve a ticket here:
https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/imirt-inspire-tickets-35342979804


Elizabeth LaPensée

‘Game Mechanics as Cultural Expression’

Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. is an award-winning writer, designer, and artist of games, comics, transmedia, and animation. She is Anishinaabe, Métis, and Irish, living near the Great Lakes as an Assistant Professor of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures at Michigan State University. Most recently, she designed and created art for Manoominike (2016), a motion game about practices of wild ricing, as well as Honour Water (2016), an Anishinaabe singing game for healing the waters.

 


Christopher Floyd

‘Interview: Building Games Communities’ 

Christopher has worked all over the video game industry and its various sectors, including production and press, including several years at Indie MEGABOOTH, growing the company from just two domestic events per year, to over six international showcases in USA, Europe, and Asia. In his spare time, Christopher has organized Dota 2 eSports tournament 'The Rektreational', and is an active member of Seattle Indies. He currently runs a co-working office for game developers in Seattle, Indies Workshop.


SARAH MARIA GRIFFIN

‘Games as a Literary Influence’ 

Sarah Maria Griffin is a writer from Dublin Ireland. Her first novel, Spare & Found Parts, was published by Greenwillow Books in October 2016 and will be released in Ireland & the UK in early 2018 by Titan. Her nonfiction has appeared on The Irish Times, Buzzfeed, The Rumpus, Midnight Breakfast, Guts and Winter Pages. Her collection of essays about emigration, Not Lost, was published by New Island Press in 2013. She was the recipient of the European Science Fiction Awards Chrysalis Award in 2017. She tweets @griffski.


Imirt 2016 Irish Game Awards presentation

Awards for the inaugural Imirt Irish Game Awards will be handed out in a short presentation.

Brenda Romero, chairperson of IMIRT, was excited to see the results of this year’s competition. “We had a wide variety of entrants from across the sector, including solo independent developers, students and professional development teams,” said Romero. “ It was genuinely a pleasure to see the variety and quality of games being created in Ireland.”


Afters

Join us for a chat and some networking after the event. We have booked space at P. Mac's pub on the corner of Stephen Street Lower & Drury Street starting at 7:30pm. Hope to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/pmacspub


With thanks to:

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Imirt Inspire Interview 15: Anya Combs

Anya Combs is the Games Outreach Lead at Kickstarter, where she focuses on working with game creators. She has been active in the digital games space for nearly a decade, overseeing multiple mobile and online titles launched for Nickelodeon & AddictingGames. She is excited to continue supporting developers through the most widespread crowdfunding platform out there, as they bring their creative projects to life.

Brenda Romero To Receive BAFTA Special Award

BAFTA has announced that it will honour Brenda Romero with its Special Award during next week's ceremony. The accolade recognises not only her work in video games, but also her advocacy of the creative process and the work she has done in encouraging a new generation of game makers.

Congratulations to Brenda on an incredible achievement and a heartfelt thank you for the huge support you’ve given to Imirt and the Irish games creative community. Very well deserved!

IMIRT 2016 Game Awards Results

IMIRT: The Irish Game Makers Association is pleased to announce the award winners for its inaugural game awards for games released in 2016. Game of the Year went to Guild of Dungeoneering: Ice Cream Headache Expansion by Dublin-based Gambrinous. Awards were also given for board games, game design, game narrative, game art, game audio and technical achievement.

Brenda Romero, chairperson of IMIRT, was excited to see the results of this year’s competition. “We had a wide variety of entrants from across the sector, including solo independent developers, students and professional development teams,” said Romero. “ It was genuinely a pleasure to see the variety and quality of games being created in Ireland.”

Judges were composed of a national and international team. Scores were submitted blind and tabulated by Imirt’s chairperson and board member Jen Carey.

Being notified of the awards, game developer Robin David said, "Thank you, Imirt, for showcasing how exciting Irish digital and analogue game design is at the moment! I feel honoured that my games are being played and enjoyed by so many people. I'm delighted to be in such sterling company, among several other excellent Imirt 2016 Game Award winners.”  Robin David won the Analog category and their game was second runner-up in the Game of the Year Category.

Imirt board member Jen Carey was similarly enthused. "It's great to see all the amazing games submitted for the awards, and to have the chance to recognize the work being done in Ireland by so many talented creators. The standard of submissions was extremely high and reflects the work put in by the Irish community to make the best games possible.”

Analog

Winner: Movable Type: The Card Game by Robin David
Runner up: Multiuniversum by Manuel Correia

Game Design

Winner: Guild of Dungeoneering: Ice Cream Headaches Expansion by Gambrinous
Runner Up: The Little Acre by Pewter Games Studios

Game Narrative

Winner: The Little Acre by Pewter Game Studios
Runner Up: The Martian Investigations: Deep Fears by Robin David

Game Art

Winner: Guild of Dungeoneering: Ice Cream Headaches Expansion by Gambrinous
Runner Up: The Little Acre by Pewter Games Studios

Game Audio

Winner: Guild of Dungeoneering: Ice Cream Headaches Expansion by Gambrinous
Runner Up: Cellular by Tribal City Interactive

Technical Achievement

Winner: Fungus 3.0 by Snozbot
Runner Up: Action Bowling VR

Game of the Year

Winner: Guild of Dungeoneering: Ice Cream Headaches Expansion by Gambrinous
Runner Up: The Little Acre by Pewter Games Studios

Second Runner Up (Tie): Movable Type: The Card Game by Robin David and The Martian Investigations: Deep Fears by Robin David

Seminar on European Funding for Video Games

The MEDIA Office of Creative Europe Desk Ireland and IMIRT (Irish Game Makers Association) will hold a seminar on European Funding for Video Games with speaker, Jari-Pekka Kaleva, COO of European Games Developer Federation and Senior Policy Analyst at Neogames, Finland.

There will also be a presentation on the Creative Europe Video Game Development Funding Scheme. The seminar will take place in Drury Buildings, Drury Street, Dublin 2 on Wednesday 18 January from 10am – 1pm.

Imirt Inspire Interview 14: Sushama Chakraverty

Sushama has been with Ubisoft since late 2008 in Montreal and then in Toronto since 2010. While with Ubisoft, she has worked on games in the Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series. She is currently Team Lead Programmer working in stealth mode on an unannounced project. She started her career in game development in 2002, as an intern at Infogrames (formerly Microprose). Prior to Ubisoft, she has worked on titles such as Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes and Playboy: The Mansion, which she still counts as one of the most fun and rewarding (yes, really!) projects of her career.

Imirt Inspire Interview 13: Tanya X. Short

Tanya X. Short is the Director and designer of Kitfox Games, a 7-person studio in Montreal, Canada, responsible for Moon Hunters (2016) and Shattered Planet (2014). Previously she served as an AI Designer and Dynamic System Designer at Funcom on Age of Conan and The Secret World. In her spare time, she co-directs Pixelles, a women-in-games non-profit, and writes short fiction.

Imirt Inspire Interview 12: Chris Avellone

Chris started his escape from reality by freelancing for a number of pen and paper role-playing game companies in high school before Interplay foolishly hired him as a game designer in 1996. He worked on most if not all of Black Isle’s internally developed projects, including Planescape: Torment (Lead Designer), Fallout 2, the whole Icewind Dale series, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, and a number of canceled titles that still make him weep, including Baldur’s Gate 3 and Fallout 3. 

Imirt Inspire Interview 11: Jesse Schell

Jesse Schell is the CEO of Schell Games, a team of one hundred people who strive to make the world’s greatest educational and transformational games, including Yale Medical's PlayForward: Elm City StoriesWater Bears VRSuperchem VR, the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood games, and Happy Atoms. Schell Games also creates pure entertainment content, such as the award-winning VR game, I Expect You To Die, and the comedy space game Orion Trail. Jesse also serves as Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University.