GovHack 2016

Over the last weekend I took place in GovHack 2016 at the Hobart site. This was the 4th time that I’ve participated in GovHack, and – as usual – it was an excellent event! I formed (what is now becoming the usual) team with Jon, Tim, Josh, Rex, Seb, Matthew, and Arabella, and we built a game out of the data-sets.

The game we built involves players taking control of news readers on flying news desks, grabbing images and matching them to headlines. It’s called Beat the Press and you can learn more about it on the project website, and through the video we made:

Thanks to my awesome team members for working so hard on art, music, data-wrangling, copy editing, video production, programming, design, and game design over the weekend! Thanks also to Craig Clark for hosting a fabulous event, as well as the other volunteers in Hobart, and everywhere else!

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TasJam Game Jam

Over the weekend we participated on the first TasJam Game Jam. TasJam is a statewide game jam event, held simultaneously in Hobart, Launceston, and Burnie, and was organised by the Tasmanian Game Development Society.

TasJam 2015

The weekend was absolutely fantastic, and the organisers did a brilliant job of running the jam, and the mentors/judges who came down from Melbourne –– Kamina (from Tin Man Games), Lauren, and Katie (both from Lumi Consulting) –– were all really insightful, and such a positive presence at the jam. It was a great environment to get things done in, and there was a lot of great feedback and ideas shared amongst participants.

Game from TasJam 2015 by Secret Lab

Jon and I spent our time repurposing assets from one of the games we’re building at Secret Lab –– Gnome’s Well –– and building a single-stick multiplayer shooter game. The game involves wizard hats waking up to prevent the the wizard’s treasure from being stolen by invading gnomes using drone-copters. We think it’s pretty fun, and it came out really well for such a short build.

It was a great opportunity for us to learn how to use game controllers, which are not something that we’ve ever used before! We were also super-impressed when we rebuilt the game (which we built using Unity) for iOS, and it ran flawlessly on an iPad Air 2 using MFi game controllers.

Game from TasJam 2015 by Secret Lab

You can find more pictures, as well as videos and photos on the Secret Lab Tumblr. I also took a lot of photos at the event, and you can find those on my Flickr. TasJam used itch.io for submissions, so don’t forget to check out all the awesome games there.

You can download our prototype if you have a Mac and some PS3/PS4 controllers to pair to it, as well! Thanks to Jason and Ducky for organising such an awesome event!

Qantas Hackathon

Over the weekend I competed in the inaugural Qantas “Codeshare” Hackathon in Sydney. It was hosted by Qantas, together with the Disruptors Handbook, and was held at the spectacular Qantas Centre of Service Excellence in Sydney.

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My team (“Team Tasmania“), which consisted of myself, Jon Manning, Jess Lethbridge, Tim Nugent, and Rex Smeal, built a suite of games for children that were designed around the Qantas brand. We built them with the objective of creating an engaging, educational, and playful experience for children on planes. We managed to come second, which – especially considering the competition – was awesome!

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I’ll post more about what we built in the coming weeks. But right now I just want to say that the hackathon was absolutely brilliant, and the judges, organisers, and the Qantas team members were incredibly friendly, switched on, and full of brilliant ideas and suggestions. CIO has a good article on the event (written by one of the judges!)

Button Squid

I’m super excited that Button Squid, Secret Lab’s on again, off-again puzzle game, is making substantial progress! We’ve started a Tumblr to show off concepts, screenshots, and eventually talk about sound and game design as well. Check it out at buttonsquid.tumblr.com

Button SquidWe’ve also set our teaser site live at buttonsquid.com