Old Sumea poll thread from 2004 on the AGDC

Just reading the complaints in the comments about Game Connect's pricing from the GCAP interview has hit me with a strong sense of deja vu. We've gone through this all before.

It was a critical point with the local game developers conference back in 2004 when I was requested by a developer to put up a poll about the Australian Games Developer Conference (AGDC)'s pricing structure on Sumea, with some pretty overwhelming results on voter dissatisfaction on the AGDC entrance fees. The poll and the following discussion on Sumea played an influential role in the direction of future conferences, I'd say. The AGDC would go on for another year before the new GCAP conference took over promising some big changes resulting from the concerns of the AGDC.

Well, it seems like things have come full circle with the same arguments all over again. I've done some hunting and found the comments from that poll amidst some backups I have of Sumea. Somewhere down there is a comment on the inaugural meeting of the Melbourne Chapter of the IGDA from David Hewitt, which I thought was pretty interesting since we've had that again this year too.

Anyway, this isn't a complaint about the current pricing for the conference, it's just an observation on where we were 5 years ago about pricing.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 8:20:20 PM - Souri

Ok, this was suggested by someone in the industry, and I thought it would be interesting to see what you all think too.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 4:30:50 PM - anon

What is the use of paying big bucks to go to a conference that is mostly an advertisement and self congratulatory hype-fest?

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 12:31:57 PM - Grover

(begin usual rant)
Ditto with anon - for people who go to AGDC, there is very little to ge gained for the 800 + dollars spent. Save the money and put towards a trip to GDC or E3 is my recommendation. Or even Siggraph (for those who are more technically oriented). The AGDC never represents all the game companies in Aus, only the ones who control it and want to keep it that way. Whats more disappointing about AGDC is it is a perfect example of the state of game development in Aus - Closed, second rate game development. To be honest why would anyone pay $800 to hear people from Ratbag, Auran, Krome, Infogrammes (aka Melb house/Atari) , Tantalus, etc talk about how great their company is and how cool their games are, when it is so obvious the games being made here are so far off the radar its not funny. There are usually only one or two lectures worth attending (the international guests), and the rest is pure hype. Its alomost hilarious, the majority of people attending _arent_ outsiders from the industry but people from the AGDC membership list - You'll meet all the people from the prviously mentioned companies, and they will be the majority in the lecture halls, and wandering around the expo. The AGDC imho, is a perfect example of the sorts of things that the GDAA needs to make more accessible, and alot more relevant.. With the large amount of government funding going into propping up game co's.. it should really be spent here.. investing in the industry and promoting to people _in_ Australia. The general public has no idea about this indutrsy in Aus - and surely it would be benficial to involve more and more people and thus bring in more investment , or maybe its better that GDAA sits on its hands and keeps the now flagging game companies alive through intravienous funding.
(/end rant)

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 2:28:11 PM - CynicalFan

Man those are some really good points... and I thought I was the only one that felt this way about the Australian industry, glad to see others share similar points of view. Though I would differ on a few points: screw E3 and save your money for the GDC as it is really just a press promotional event, if you want to learn something and make contacts the GDC is much better for this... there are also other events, some better known than others, like the ones that take place in London (I've forgotten their names)... and there is also Free Play which was earlier this year in Melbourne, much more economical (less than 100) but still has some way to go in quality, but at least they don't seem to be full of their own shit like at the AGDC ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 2:29:13 PM - Peechy

I voted $200-300. As a professional contractor to the gaming industry that would be the max i'd be paying for the full pass. I just think the current prices dont really entice people to go. Below $100 for the AGDC I dont think it's worth them even putting the event on. But with the current prices I just dont see how it's worth the money. Free play is a great alternative, lets hope it grows bigger and better in the years to come.

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 2:45:45 PM - Agro

What a lot of rot. You guys are so way off. OK so the majority of Aus games dont make it on the radar, but not all - Krome's Ty did ok (even thought its not my type of game). This bashing is pretty useless. The game companies you mentioned are it! They are the main employers in Oz. without them most of us would not have got a REAL GAMES job. We be people like you looking in the fish bowl making all kindsof crappy comments withoutany idea of what goes on. Yeah, I agree thatthe Oz companies could make better games. But they get given B grade budgets and work in the main with some B grade publishers. Regarding the AGDC thing, hey, its what you make it. Its still be best gig in town and loads cheaper that GDC. What a lot of crap. GDC costs well above S4k to get to. The companies that go to AGDC dont pay top dollar for their developers becasue they send them in droves. Sure, if you are an independant, its a bit tough. But is you are a 1 man team, kiss your butt good-bye as you have NO relevance in the professional industry as anything you make is just training wheels and cannon fodder for a job interview only. Yes theimho is a good idea but it will never be mainstream. People who have no money, making games with no budgets, having no distribution have no impact. Their ideas are simply absorbed (when these same folks get a real games job) in games that have real budgets , real markets and real gamers. If you want to make crap all your life, then fine. If you have a burning apssion to make really shit-hot games, in australia, then the companies you have blown off are your best bet. BTW - how well is it going ? Saved your pennies for E3 yet ? Hahahaha. What a joke. If people actually listen to your advise they would continue looking in the bowl. Why dont you get a banking job and spare us of this crap.
Large amount of government fundind ? so how much ? Give it to shitty little games with no markets and a small minority who want to play them ? Sounds like the Australia ind. film industry to me. And that is also going nowhere. The oz games scene is going great guns. Look at Krome. They are hiring, and doing really well. In terms of second rate development, I dont disagree. It will only improve if Oz developers actually get the right budgets for games that they are passionate about and the company they work for gets to own the game instead on working on games that get cancelled half the time, have little budgets or the overseas publisher goes broke during developement. Man, you have no idea what goes on in the fish bowl and people that listen to your comments will joint your scap heap of no-where land.
Agro !

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 2:52:37 PM -

This survey is pretty stupid. Of course everyone wants to get in AGDC for free. Hey, anyone giving away a WRX ? I want one too !.
Mate, they way is see this is that its much cheaper to get in if you are a speaker. Its free. And if you are a student, (I'm not) , its pretty cheap too. The AGDC people have a business to run. The dont make any money running AGDC and its for the benefit of the industry. Sure, run your silly poll, but is it going to prove ? Everyone wants something for nothing !. How about some contructive stuff instead ?

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 10:37:48 PM - Peechy

Quote by Agro "Sure, if you are an independant, its a bit tough. But is you are a 1 man team, kiss your butt good-bye as you have NO relevance in the professional industry as anything you make is just training wheels and cannon fodder for a job interview only."

WTF? You have no idea! I know many independent contractors who ARE professionals and work on AAA titles. There are hundreds of contractors listed on gamasutra, many of which are successful. Are you telling me that all these contactors have no relevance in the professional industry? Even one man bands have professional careers. Agro your comments are unfounded! Your just taking shit.

Sunday, October 17, 2004 - 2:57:27 PM - Grover

Agro - You seem a little miffed. There are _many_ more people involved in games than the GDAA buddies, in Aus. And some of them have done amazingly well - I know quite a few of them personally. Also, I have friends who work for EA in Adelaide remotely as beta testers (have been doing so for 10 years!!), and also people who are busy contracting with big US companies developing software for top of the line franchises. These people _are_ producing some fantastic efforts. To say Im looking in a fish bowl is interesting, since I was one of the sucker fishes in that bowl for a while :-) BTW if you have read elsewhere this is not bashing, since I want to see the Aus industry grow and become a powerhouse like it has in other IT sectors - Aus has some of the best products in the world in other areas - like mil, sim, db, accounting (eg myob) and so on. In games we are off the radar, whether you like it or not. We arent even in the mid scale of game production. The high majority of titles are budget or less - yes there are a few ok games, but this is EXACTLY what I have been saying all along. If Ty is our _best_ example of the _best_ title Australia can make, surely you cant say we have reached some pinnacle? BTW, you mention the cost of GDC and E3 - you tell me what my 800 dollars is gnna buy more of - part of a plane ticket to the US for a nice holidyay and actually get involved with the people _in_ the game industry. Or watch people like your self at AGDC, tell us how well we are doing? Wonder where the joke is? And you mention looking into the bowl, I find that comment ironic - since thats what you get at AGDC - you get to look at a few self interested development companies, and never get a real idea of the game development system whatsoever? I mean what are you going to learn at AGDC, that is going to be able to ready you for dealing with the big US publishers?? I think you are a little twisted in thought there.
As for gov grants - well, I guess I'll tell you how it all works - you all might be quite surprised how nice and handy our tax payer monies are being spent.
The GDAA is responsible for administering gov grants in every state in Aus. Basically if you go to the gov reps for multimedia and digital film they will pass you onto the GDAA, whereby you have to somehow convince them to forward you grants/assistance. On their recommendations they might help pay for a trip to the AGDC :-) For anything else, forget it. Whats more interesting is that GDAA is run by people from the Aus game dev industry (have a look at whos on the board www.gdaa.com.au) - now if you cant see a conflict of interest here, you must be pretty blind. A new game development company that needs assistance, is unlikely to get it, thanks to their competitors hannding out the cash. Oh and for some examples of how much money has changed hands - Auran ~ 5 million, Ratbag ~ 2/3 million, Atari(Melb House) > 2 million. and there are various others that have recieved all sorts of gov assistance. While I think its great for the industry, it seems counter productive to have them self administer their own grant system!
About budgets - game developers _always_ use the excuse of budgets not being able to make great titles, and yet some brilliant games of exceedingly high quality were made with small teams. Look around there are many example where a small budget can produce quailty - quality is all about the capabilities of your employees not how many you have. Look at the lads at Creative Assembly: they have done the majority of work on TotalWar:Rome (waves to Artem and Dan) and yet is only a team of 8 (including their manager!) and they have produced imho, the best game in the world at the moment. But, you see this is where your whinging has shown you to be close minded about the people in Australia and their capabilities - We _can_ produce the best in the world, and yet the companies that so-called represent Australia in terms of game development, are _waaaaaaaaaaay_ off the radar. Maybe you should hire well, a produce high quality games and stop just hiring as many grads as possible to meet the gov payroll tax free threshhold > 50 people in Qld isnt it?
What I want people to do is to judge for themselves and make a decision based on facts, and not smoke and mirrors. Aus development _is_ too closed, and _is_ run by a few companies that _are_ producing less than high quality titles. Why shouldnt we get together to improve that situation? Like I said previously, take the AGDC to the public, and to people that may want invest - exposure, marketing and relevance can only help this industry not hinder it. Doing what is being done now, will only make our dev industry flush itself down the toilet. Also, this is where AGDC I think really needs aserious readjustment - where is the AGDC target audience? If its developers then its GDAA running AGDC to give info to GDAA members?? what is the point in that?? Or is it to gain more exposure ? At 800.. forget it.. maybe 100-200.. but no way 800 is worth it at all! Is it marketing? Well, this is the least likely, since the people who come, are mostly GDAA members.. marketing to yourself is.. funny... So whats the reason for the AGDC? I agree with other posters here FreePlay is the go.. and I think has _alot_ more relevance in this industry.

Sunday, October 17, 2004 - 8:22:18 PM - Peechy

Grover, I couldn't agree more with you!!! You have hit the nail on the head! Great Post!!!

Monday, October 18, 2004 - 2:00:05 PM -

It's quite typical of Microforte to organise a setup like this. And a few little facts:

*The GDAA was created by MF- see http://microforte.com.au/comp/about.htm , though there is some confusion about this because in the case of the GDAA disbanding any remaining properties become the property of the AIE, see point 40 at http://www.gdaa.asn.au/rules/5.html

*Evelyn Richardson (the chief executive) boasts about having been involved with spam and "viral" marketing in her own bio, see http://www.gdaa.asn.au/about/director_bios.html and see http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt5/viral-principles.htm for a definition of viral marketing.

*Apparently GDAA members have a greater chance of giving a presentation at the AGDC, see http://www.gdaa.asn.au/members/benefits.html , in particular where it says "Opportunity to input ideas and CONTENT to the annual conference".

*The GDAA calls the AIE "Australia's premier industry training and development institute", one of their mission statements is "Represent the interests of GDAA members". Guess who has the largest presence on the board/committee.

Conflict of interest doesn't cover the half of it.

Monday, October 18, 2004 - 4:09:08 PM - CynicalFan

Nice to see some healthy discussion. Nice post again Grover ;)... and Agro, I personally have and do work in the industry here, and I have also worked overseas as well - in fact some may think that I have had a pretty successful career, I beg to differ though. Don't dismiss me or others so readily, and don't assume anything.

Monday, October 18, 2004 - 4:32:55 PM - Blitz

If Australian companies are off the radar at the moment, they seem to be closing in fairly fast, with some pretty big titles coming out this year or next...
Rome: Total War
Ty 2 (and tv series)
Transformers
King Arthur (movie tie in)
Tribes: Vengeance
Unreal 2 (xbox port with XMP)
Things are moving up, even if it may be a case of watching your step on the ladder...
As for the poll, i think it's valuable. If you do the usual thing of removing the top and bottom extremes, you are left with a majority of people suggesting prices between $100 and $400, and i will agree that there is very little of real value to "industry professionals" at the AGDC at this stage. I would say it's certainly beneficial to students, and maybe independents who want to network, other than that, it is pretty much just a social event. My main interest in going this year is to see a couple of the talks (only a few have caught my eye at this stage), and to hopefully catch up with some of my friends from interstate who may be coming into town for the conference...not really $800 worth there exactly. With a little bit of luck our company may be able to get us in for around $400 each, but otherwise i'm doubtful i'll go this year.
As for the GDC, it is an order of magnitude (at least) more useful and interesting to game dev professionals and/or students. I was lucky enough to go this year, and the AGDC really just doesn't compare at all (although i also think the GDC is too expensive!). However, when it comes down to it, the GDC is much better value for money. For a rough cost breakdown, when i went this year i had a budget of AU$4000. this was approx:
$1200 - Conference ticket
$500 - accomodation
$1800 - airfare
$500 - spending money (food, transport etc.)
(I didn't actually pay for it myself, so i don't know the exact costing).
Anyway, my point is that as long as you don't want to live and dine too extravagantly while you're over there, it is within a cost of S4k, wether next years conference will be also might be another question...but going on that S4k figure...
you can get a S2k grant
skip the AGDC and put your money toward GDC $800
if you're from interstate, also subtract any cost for travel/accom to AGDC,
and you're left with a cost of less than $1200 to go to GDC. Theres probably a reasonable chance if you work for a company that they may also feel the GDC is worthwhile and sponsor you some amount as well...
I don't think the GDAA is neccessarily bad at all, but perhaps i have been warped by my AIE upbringing and GDC trip :P But the people on top of that ladder that i have met all seem to be reasonable and good people, and it isn't in their plans to see companies, other than the ones they are a part of, screwed over. If you really have some complaint with the way GDAA manages grant money (if they do...i'm trusting you on this one :) ), then i'm sure there is some sort of commission/board/something you can make a formal complaint to.
CYer, Blitz

Monday, October 18, 2004 - 5:17:30 PM - CynicalFan

Perhaps I am starting to show my ignorance - or have I done this already ;) - but I doubt that TY and Transformers have made much of a presence in international development opinion, and as far as I know have not made much of a dent in unit sales either. But to Krome's credit, it is an original IP license of theirs, and they have come far as a company.

King Arthur I doubt will make much of a dent in global opinion either, nor unit sales. The Unreal 2 port I also believe sold poorly, and was merely a port of an existing title - fee-for-service work.

Tribes: Vengeance and Rome Total War two examples of whether they are really Australian titles or International (US / UK) titles. Sure, they are developed locally, but to what extent? As far as I know, Tribes is pretty much done down under with help from the Boston studio in perhaps story design and QA. As for Rome, I have no idea, but I am assuming (which I shouldn't) that the UK (it is UK right?) parent studio has a fair input into its core design and its QA. And even if these titles have been largely developed in Australia, they are still part of an international company, and it is this international face and credibility, that allows for these titles to be developed here, no matter what we in Australia wish to believe. I believe that the global industry will view these titles as "internationally made" and not solely as Australian made - so they may only have a minor impact on the industry here, and its betterment, and impact on the impressions of the global community, and their views of game development here in Australia - specifically with 100% Australian studios.

No matter what we like to think, Australia is still mostly a fee-for-service industry, just like the film industry here, we provide production services for a set fee so that international companies can create their titles for less cost. We do not create our own titles so as to enjoy fully their profits, and to own the titles IP. And sooner or later, international companies in their selfish greed, will merely take their fee-for-service business elsewhere, to a new emerging development hotspot, so as to get their titles developed for even cheaper than they do in Australia. So it is in our best interests that we really take a careful look at our industry, and see past the hype, and make positive moves forward to having more independence as developers. And that means that we in some way, must start developing original, innovative titles of our own for a global market. Titles like TY are a positive move for Krome, but still a small step for the industry as a whole.

Monday, October 18, 2004 - 6:58:31 PM - Grover

Totally true Cynical. Watch how soon fee for service moves to India and China - the move is already well on the way in the US, only a matter of time before our companies here end up with the same sort of problems. The only way to combat this is to really elevate our own industry and _prove_ to everyone that the Aus game industry is much more capable than is currently percieved. My comments also come from talking to alot of international people - they all have problems seeing any serious benefits using Aus developers for more than what Cynical described - fee for service work.

AGDC - needs attention. Most OS people consider it a bit of a joke as a conference.. We need a conference that reflects the dedication, innovation, talent in Aus and provide wide ranging information to help build the industry as a whole. There are sooooo many things the AGDC could provide - cost of entry shouldnt be questioned, unless there is obviously something wrong with the content and what you get for your money. FreePlay is a brilliant example of what can be achieved and how it can provide access to the wide audience in Aus - this is critical. I talked about relevance before, and this involves acessibility. The more people that are involved and experience the industry, the greater the likelihood of local investment and capital assistance. Also on a similar note, its more than worrying, that alot of people need to go overseas to gain decent game development experience - again a very marked indicator to our lccal industry flagging well behind.

And this is my last comment for the topic - I am very passionate about seeing Aus become a leader in game development (hence my comments), and most of all I do applaud the great steps people like Krome have made. It is no meagre feat to reach the results they have achieved - but I hope people also well realise this is no pinnacle in terms of the world wide industry and as a industry reaching this level is barely on the radar - geez I shouldnt really have used that term :-) But in my opinion this describes what sort of impact a game has had on the industry and consumer. Being on that radar means you are showing the way, and people want to copy _you_, and consumers look to your product for your innovation, quality and 'style'. Ty does this in some ways.. but barely. Dont you all think we can break the barriers? Lead the pack? Show the world what we can do? I think so... but surely that means opening the industry here? Having better access to gov assistance for new developers? Providing all the necessary help to exceed the industry expectations? Work together (this is the saddest thing about Aus development) - People - Have a good look at Insomniacs and Naughty Dogs relationship, and what it has brought. This is a sign of things to come. If we dont grow and help each other and aim high.. how else will this industry be able to cope/compete.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 12:21:15 PM - Lorien

Grover, it may seem funny to be marketing to other GDAA members, but what if the thing actually being marketed is graduates?

Note the comment above, which has all the signs of coming from someone *very* close to the AGDC, which assures us that students get cheap tickets.

Who is it that runs the AGDC?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 3:09:50 PM - anon

I feel the conference price is too steep relative to the budgets that local developers can afford. For a 50 person company to send all their staff, even with a group discount you're looking at $50k (add many more S if you are sending a team from interstate) and a slice of lost production time. Some game companies in Australia might have that resource or cash flow, but I can assure you some of them are doing it very tough. A lot of projects are being taken on that are basically profit neutral from a business sense and serve simply to keep companies in business and their staff employed,

A sister conference to the AGDC is the AEAF. It had the exactly the same venue; it also featured international speakers from Weta, ILM, Tippett Studios and a reasonable price of S350 for three days. So one has to ask where the money goes and it calls for more disclosure from the organisers of the AGDC for transparency and accountability.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 5:29:03 PM -

I don't understand the point of having people bound by NDAs speaking at a conference. Surely the point of an NDA is that you aren't allowed to say anything interesting or useful about what you are working on.

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 2:53:19 PM - Forkie

quoting grover ->Whats more interesting is that GDAA is run by people from the Aus game dev industry

what a revelation! But you probably should have worked it out from the letters GDAA = Game Developer's Association Australia. An industry group that lobbies government on behalf of the games industry. Who did you think would be on it? Farmers? It's just like any other lobby group- HIA (housing), AIIA (IT), etc. Of course the government asks them where the money should go- they ask all associations who are lobbying for money for their member companies.

quoting grover ->Also, this is where AGDC I think really needs aserious readjustment - where is the AGDC target audience? If its developers then its GDAA running AGDC to give info to GDAA members??

Ummmm...yeah - again AGDC = Australian Game Developers Conference. It's for game developer's and most of the game developer's in OZ are in the GDAA. It's about sharing knowledge (information?) like most conferences. Freeplay is for indies and AEAF is more film and multimedia oriented. The AGDC can't be everything - let's face it, it's mainly for the big ones with the big bucks. Sure, I'd love it to be cheaper but I you generally get for what you pay for. Freeplay was good but the workshops were way too small and signed up for on the first day. If you want a conference for students/contractors and others negelected by AGDC then maybe you should do something about organising one instead of whining.

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 4:44:44 PM - CynicalFan

I think the point that Grover was trying to make is that the local game development industry is insular, and running a risk of blinding itself to an impending implosion.

It's an industry that is full of its own hype in regards to the quality that it generates and how it is perceived by the rest of the world, instead of an industry that is really looking at the key issues and promoting positive discussions of how they can be overcome - it is short-term selfishly focused instead of long-term growth focused.

And that the AGDC and GDAA are doing nothing but promoting false perceptions and attitudes, stemming from the local GDAA member developers, which will result in its own demise. Basically (eventually) driving away investment, as they have made themselves the "authority" on game development here in Australia - affecting perceptions of government and local investors.

But the upside is, that even though I think the industry is in for rough times ahead, I do think it will clear out a lot of the old, to make way for the new, and does not spell the demise (death) of the industry here, but more of a: forcing-the-issue.

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 5:33:23 PM - Common Sense

No one seems to have pointed out that the AGDC is run by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment Limited (AIE Ltd), not the GDAA. It is organised by their event management division Interactive Entertainment Events (IE Events) (see http://www.agdc.com.au/about/about_aie_ltd.php) for details on this. It would perhaps be more productive to contact the organisers directly with any complaints or suggestions rather than posting inaccurate information on this forum (see http://www.agdc.com.au/about/contact.php).

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 5:42:37 PM - CynicalFan

Who runs the AIE? Who established the AIE?

These organisations are all interlinked at some level.

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 7:14:51 PM - Blitz

"Sure, I'd love it to be cheaper but I you generally get for what you pay for. "
Theres a problem right there, i don't think, with what is on offer this year, and what was on offer last year, that you actually do currently get what you pay for. The current AGDC is not worth $800.
To compare quality and price, the GDC in the US costs about AU$1200 entry. There is no way that the AGDC comes close to being about 66% the quality of GDC.

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 12:03:24 PM -

Here is the whois database entry for the GDAA:

Domain Name: gdaa.asn.au
Last Modified: Never Updated
Registrar ID: R00016-AR
Registrar Name: Connect West
Status: OK

Registrant: Game Developers Association Australia
Registrant ID: Association Number: A03367

Registrant ROID: C0799147-AR
Registrant Contact Name: THE MANAGER
Registrant Email: jake@aie.act.edu.au

Tech ID: C0799149-AR
Tech Name: unknown
Tech Email: unknown_contact@ausregistry.net.au

Name Server: microforte1.apex.net.au
Name Server IP: 203.221.191.9
Name Server: microforte2.apex.net.au
Name Server IP: 210.0.82.253

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 12:08:16 PM -

Note that whois database entries are all freely available public information. All you need to get it is a unix machine with the whois program installed. The command used to obtain the above info was "whois gdaa.asn.au"

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 12:16:50 PM -

And here is the AIE's database entry

Domain Name: aie.act.edu.au
Last Modified: 10-Jun-2004 05:05:42 UTC
Registrar ID: R00085-AR
Registrar Name: EducationAU
Status: OK

Registrant: Matthew Kendrick
Registrant ID:

Registrant ROID: C1729295-AR
Registrant Contact Name: Ronnie Chow
Registrant Email: ronniec@aie.net.au

Tech ID: C1705396-AR
Tech Name: Matthew Kendrick
Tech Email: mjk@actgn.com

Name Server: microforte1.apex.net.au
Name Server IP: 203.221.191.9
Name Server: microforte2.apex.net.au
Name Server IP: 210.0.82.253

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 12:19:35 PM -

And Microforte's

Domain Name: microforte.com.au
Last Modified: 16-Nov-2002 01:45:41 UTC
Registrar ID: R00010-AR
Registrar Name: Melbourne IT
Status: OK

Registrant: Miro Forte Pty. Ltd.
Registrant ID: OTHER N/A

Registrant ROID: C0463510-AR
Registrant Contact Name: THE MANAGER
Registrant Email: stephenh@microforte.com.au

Tech ID: C0463512-AR
Tech Name: Aaron Henderson
Tech Email: chamaelion@netspeed.com.au

Name Server: ns1.microforte.com.au
Name Server IP: 203.221.191.9
Name Server: ns2.microforte.com.au
Name Server IP: 202.44.187.29

Note the same nameserver IP address for the GDAA, MF, and the AIE

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 12:23:30 PM -

Oddly enough the AGDC looks a little different

Domain Name: agdc.com.au
Last Modified: 18-Sep-2002 06:35:38 UTC
Registrar ID: R00010-AR
Registrar Name: Melbourne IT
Status: OK

Registrant: The Academy Of Interactive Entertainment Limited
Registrant ID: OTHER 084159437

Registrant ROID: C0023626-AR
Registrant Contact Name: THE MANAGER
Registrant Email: postmaster@agdc.com.au

Tech ID: C0964642-AR
Tech Name: Host Master
Tech Email: hostmaster@apex.net.au

Name Server: ns1.apex.net.au
Name Server IP: 203.20.62.12
Name Server: ns2.apex.net.au
Name Server IP: 203.20.62.13

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 12:31:15 PM -

BTW How is that for "accurate information" :)

Perhaps Common Sense is actually Completely Blind...

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 1:35:36 PM -

one more coincidence, the domains

agdc.com.au
gdaa.asn.au
microforte.com.au and
aie.act.edu.au

all resolve to the same IP address 203.221.191.9 which also happens to be microforte's primary name server

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 6:09:57 PM - Blitz

Umm, is this supposed to be surprising?
Way to fill this message forum with a pile of useless information :)

Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 1:25:51 AM -

The Australian games industry is so insular it is difficult to work out whether the crazy stuff that gets spouted is deliberately misleading or whether after so much back slapping and positive press they actually BELIEVE the crap they say..

Lets take Ratbag for an example.

Reality: Ratbag recently released Dukes of Hazzard, a game which has recieved very poor reviews and has been criticised for poor physics, boring gameplay and average graphics. Ratbag employs 25 people. They have recieved government money to help get them out of trouble after failing to deliver the necessary milestones to a publisher.

What the press releases and games media says:
-Ratbag employs 75 people
http://www.apcmag.com/apc/v3.nsf/0/65EF5D168E1F50CDCA256D44001A682A
From Sumea:
-Rat Bag are hiring - Tuesday, October 15, 2002
-Growing Ratbags - Saturday, August 23, 2003
-RatBag Hiring - Tuesday, March 16, 2004
-Rat Bag: Where Are The Programmers?! - Wednesday, April 28, 2004
-More On Ratbags Woes - Wednesday, May 05, 2004 (woe = they need to hire but can't find anyone!)

In the latest Advertiser news article there is a very short comment at the end saying "Ratbag currently employs 25 people...." In other words they have shed 2/3 of their workforce in 6 months! This is hardly "growing"

"Ratbag are regarded in the US as having the best technology" - Advertiser Interview.
-Recently games reviewers in the US gave their title under 50% and criticised the technology. They cannot find a US (or ANY) publisher for Powerslide 2.

"They kicked off the 3d boom, not just in Australia, but internationally" - Advertiser Interview. I don't really want to dignify this with a response other than to say their first published game came out in 1998, years after GLQuake and 3d accelarators appeared.

"For Greg, success is just a game" - billboards erected around the state with government cash boasting of Ratbags success. No mention is given to failed projects, massive staff cuts and hundreds of thousands of dollars of government cash.

"We have developed a reputation to deliver" - Advertiser interview. They have many failed or unpublished products. They have lost publishers for not delivering.

So the question is, do they actually BELIEVE that they are successful? Because I don't think you can lie like this unless yuo somewhat believe it. They probably sit drinking government bought beer with their GDAA buddies convincing themselves they are really misunderstood artistic geniuses and Dukes of Hazzard was a masterpiece.

Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 1:52:02 PM - Target

As a uni student studying in this field I realy hope the event becomes a industry/educational event and tickets are made availible accordingly. Say sub 100 for students and whatever price for industry. I dont think this would detract from the event as you would be targeting a different group of people.

Monday, October 25, 2004 - 11:12:08 AM -

"Way to fill this message forum with a pile of useless information" isn't information indicating that someone might have been blowing their own horn just a little to loudly, relevant?
Perhaps try asking a network admin what information like this is likely to mean.

Monday, October 25, 2004 - 11:49:16 AM -

And the records suggest you should contact THE MANAGER in capitals so kindly provided by the staff themselves.

Monday, October 25, 2004 - 3:56:15 PM - Blitz

Sorry, did you not already know that the AIE, GDAA, AGDC and Microforte were all very closely related? I was under the impression that this was common knowledge, in which case filling that many lines on this board with server information that doesn't really do more than reinforce known facts could be considered a waste of space and irrelevant. I am sorry for assuming that everyone had this knowledge, and I am somewhat surprised how little attention some people pay to who is running organisations/events that they might be involved in...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 5:16:47 PM -

Actually most people don't know how tightly they all intertwine. These domain registrations show that they could be fronts for a single company using viral marketing techniques to promote itself.
From the definition above:
Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence.

I wonder what the GDAA is doing for the AIE?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 5:23:29 PM -

Some people may not pay enough attention to particular details that indicate "there is something funny going on".

Some people respond with So What?

How many times does this have to be asked before someone says Please Explain Why.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 5:39:43 PM -

I wonder who the GDAA actually is? If it is an industry association it seems to be coming from a particularly insular source with the potential for many conflicts of interest.

Are you SURE there aren't any?

Are you happy with the GDAA, AIE, MF, and the AGDC presenting themselves to the world with One Voice, when it really is One Voice, and not only that, but it is coming from One Location?

Might all the marketing and hype coming from entirely one place give the entire world the impression that it's all a load of BS?

Should a diverse and healthy industry association show a diverse network to the world? Or should the entire network presence be hosted on one machine, which also happens to be the machine that says "you need to go here", when you ask it for any name on the domain microforte.com.au.

This machine IS microforte, as far as the entire structure of the internet is concerned. It doesn't just run the web sites.

Is this conference just a way for GDAA members to save a bit on sending us to the GDC?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 6:43:31 PM - Blitz

Maybe if you want to operate under the consipracy theory that most of the owners/studio heads of the major studios in australia are all just lackeys of microforte.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 11:55:11 PM - CynicalFan

I don't think that Micro Forte is exactly running the show here, at least not anymore, as their position has become considerably weakened in many ways. But all these organisations are part of a boys-club, and Micro Forte and their practices are a clear example of why I personally have such distaste for them. I mean, it was interesting to read up on Rat Bag, but that doesn't compare to Micro Forte and their current position and what they have conjured up over the past year or so.

In defence of the AGDC, on an inspection of their steering-committee, it seems that this year's is far more "liberal" than last years, which had far more "major" *cough* studios present. So they have clearly made some steps in being far more open in what they have to offer the industry here, but they still have a far way to go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 12:16:17 AM - CynicalFan

I can't remember who mentioned it, and I am far too tired to bother rereading through the posts to find out, but someone mentioned starting your own independent association if you were so sick of the GDAA.

As a solution to this, there are two options that come quickly to mind, one is that the GDAA is not the only Australian association for our industry, there is also the: Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) -- http://www.ieaa.com.au/ I am uncertain as to how vocal an association they are, and what they have achieved. I think that most of their members are the publisher variety, not really developers. But, if anyone would have sway locally, it would be an association comprising of major publishers to an association comprising of developers who think they are major players. Though, I am uncertain that I would join such an association myself due to it being perhaps a publisher big-boy's club.

Personally, I am leaning towards joining the International Game Developer's Association http://www.igda.org/ as I feel that they achieve far more on an international scale, but unfortunately I do not see how they achieve much on a local scale. Perhaps a local chapter should be established - if it hasn't already - to address local developer's needs. This chapter would then be part of a major and influential association that could actually then achieve something.

And if there is such discontentment with the AGDC, then this chapter could support and work with the Free Play conference, in making it into what we want the AGDC to be: a forum for industry change, for the better.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 12:20:33 AM - CynicalFan

Actually in hindsight, I might just join both ;)... anyway, the GDAA is not the only option folks.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 12:57:44 AM - CynicalFan

What do you know, there is a local chapter already, now that I think about it, I do seem to remember hearing about it several times.

Its URL is: http://www.igda.org/melbourne/

Its forums are: http://www.igda.org/Forums/forumdisplay.php?forumid=195

Looks like there is a meet on Wednesday, November 17th, at 7pm at the Canada Hotel, 596 Swanston St, Carlton - further details can be found following above URL. So if you are in Melbourne - which I ain't, but boy do I wish I were ;) - you can pop in and have a chat to like minded people perhaps, after all, it's for free!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 3:25:05 PM - David Hewitt

G'day all - I just popped by Sumea to let you all know about the inaugural meeting of the Melbourne Chapter of the IGDA, and what do you know? It's already on the front page! :)

Thanks for the mention!

Just to clarify one thing, though - the IGDA doesn't replace or invalidate either the GDAA or the AGDC. In fact, although I'm coordinating the local IGDA chapter, I'm also speaking at this year's AGDC (again), and I've attended every year except the first. The IGDA and its meetings are something a bit different. The meetings will be free, casual, and open to all. The organisation is run by developers and is primarily for the benefit of developers, whereas the GDAA operates mostly on the company level. That's not to say that they don't do important lobbying work that benefits those of us who are in the trenches - they just have a different emphasis as an organisation.

I'm pleased that people who can't afford to attend events like the AGDC (or don't see the value in them - for whatever reason), and who don't feel represented by the GDAA, are interested in something like the IGDA. You ought to be. It's a great organisation that really works for the benefit of every developer, at a grass-roots level. Don't think, though, that the establishment of an IGDA chapter is in any way a threat or a challenge to any other established organisations. It's 'as well as', rather than 'instead of'. And hopefully its something that'll cast its net wide enough to interest those of you who aren't interested in the GDAA or the AGDC, as well as those who are.

Personally, I'll still go to AGDC, as I've always found it useful and enjoyable. But I'm pleased we've also found an excuse to have a beer and a chat with other developers on a more regular (and less costly) basis as well. While we'll also be involved in the odd cause here and there, that's really the essence of this chapter, and the reason for its existence. I hope some of you can benefit from it.

Oh, and if you're a developer who's not from Melbourne - pay us a visit! If the timing's right, we'll have a bit of a meet-up, and introduce you around. The local IGDA chapter should be a good point of contact for you interstate types, as well. It's something that would have been useful to me when I first moved here, I know.

Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 5:20:47 PM -

$250 student price is worth it i think. only a delegate pass but the extras that come with the full pass arn't worth the extra cash imo.

Monday, November 01, 2004 - 11:17:15 AM - Blitz

The student price is about what the normal price should be :) AFAIK the only extra you get with the super pass is the "gala dinner" and lunch 2 or 3 days at the conference...hardly worth $180.
I wonder if they moved the awards presentation to the dinner to try and get more people to come to the big dinner. It's somewhat annoying that now the awards presentation isn't really open to the general public anymore.
And what about people who win awards but can't afford to get into the dinner, i'm mostly looking at the indy awards here, will the winners/runners up be given free entry to the dinner, or will they just not be able to accept their award? Kinda sucks if thats the case.

Monday, November 01, 2004 - 2:34:49 PM - Common Sense

The Rules & Regulations state:
The top two (2) finalists from each category will be notified via e-mail on Monday, 22 November 2004 . Each finalist (individual or company) will receive a limit of one (1) complimentary Gala Awards Dinner ticket. see http://www.agdc.com.au/awards/awards_rules.php

Monday, November 01, 2004 - 9:17:22 PM - What The?

I've been to AGDC two years running now. As someone outside the industry, entirely for my own interest in video games.... yes I may be crazy.... and I'm surprized by the complete absense of "community" the event has. It's like a bunch of factions, AIE students, main 4 studios employees, and some a group of loners (like myself) who seem totally lost. With this in mind conference really seems to fail to meet the needs of any of these groups.

Further to the point, I emailed and asked if a DVD series could be made for the various electives because sometimes there are more than one worth going to in the same time slot. Their response.......... CLASSIC......... WE CANT AFFORD TO DO THAT!!! ......$800 per person, and what? $250 for students, and they cant afforf to record a few lousy electives..... please. If they still short after all the fees, why not charge for the DVD's. I know others outside the industry that would like to see what goes on there, but there's no way they'll spend $800.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - 7:50:15 AM - Common Sense

The Rules & Regulations state:
The top two (2) finalists from each category will be notified via e-mail on Monday, 22 November 2004 . Each finalist (individual or company) will receive a limit of one (1) complimentary Gala Awards Dinner ticket. see http://www.agdc.com.au/awards/awards_rules.php

Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - 11:17:25 AM - Blitz

It's good that they will give at least 1 ticket to the finalists. Hopefully they will remember that they have to keep a few tickets spare for the indy awards which aren't decided until the conference (assuming it's the same as last year).

Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - 11:19:56 AM -

"and I'm surprized by the complete absense of "community" the event has."

That's one of the reasons why freeplay was much better for many people.

Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 9:03:04 PM -

Some interesting posts. Did some research on the conspiracy theory. Umm. I don't think it works for me but it sounds very good indeed so I sort of hate to give you the truth.

The AIE is a major sponsor of the GDAA. I believe it gives the GDAA several hundred of thousands of dollars or something like that. After all they founded it so it makes sense. The GDAA is not exactly cash rich as it gets money from its developer members and they are definitely not rich ! The AIE apparently helps the GDAA and creates the GDAA web site, hosts it etc. The GDAA gives the AIE stuff they want to put up on its site. Nothing sinister here since the AIE does not write any of the material - its written by members of the GDAA. The GDAA actually does not get the huge amounts of government funding some poster talked about. I checked . They get some money to help subsidies GDAA members attend the E3 trade show in LA but that's about it. They don't get millions nor does any developer actually have to get the GDAA to give it permission to get any government funding. If you want Federal funding for some game , the GDAA brings no value to you so just simply apply for it. On a State Government level the GDAA again has no money to give as I have asked a member. They mainly provide events and opportunities for developers such as their PS2 and Xbox development kits programs. However if you want one of those babies, you do need the GDAA to hand them over since they have the agreement with Sony and Microsoft. Fair enough since I believe they paid for those luscious development units.

Look, the AGDC is for professionals. If you are an indie it really does not make sense. Expect if you are an indie who wants to go pro, then it's a great place to meet folks and learn how the industry works. the talks are better as they don't have that boring CEO stuff pushing how great his games company is going etc etc. I like the technical talks.

On the AIE side of things, I rang and did some more research. its a private non profit educational provider. Apparently if it goes under its assets go to charity ! Interesting...Also I found out that Microforte owns no shares in the AIE. How about that ! Microforte also does not own any shares in the GDAA (as its an association). However, John De Margheriti is all over this. He seems to be the owner of the AIE and a major shareholder of Micro Forte. He seems to have founded them and provide the cash so that makes sense. He actually owns quite a few other businesses I'm told so he seems quite a wealthy person. Maybe he is good for a loan (haha) ?

About community at the AGDC, its pretty good if you are a professional developer as I get to meet some folks I used to work with who now work at another developer. I agree that if you are an indie it must be hard to get to know anyone. The AGDA is really aimed for the professional developers and if you are not in the 'in crowd' (I'm in he in-crowd :) it must be a puzzling experience. My suggestion is to introduce yourself and try to mix in a bit. I know a friend who got a job by simply approaching the Lead Programmer/Producer guy at a studio while at AGDC and showed him some demo game he had worked on. He is still employed in the industry so he is pretty happy. I don't mind AGDC as it's pretty relevant to my work and I get to meet other folks so if things go bad with my current employer I have a better than even change to get a game job fairly quickly. I don't know how good it is if you are a student trying to get your first job. One thing I would like to know is if its any easier if you say you went to the AIE ? I guess it must be but I wonder if it is ? any comments on this ? . I have a friend who is thinking of doing a course there in Melb.
Anyway I think the AGDC is still the best gig in Australia and I'm going as usual. Its pretty pricy but my company pays for me to go so its *great* otherwise I could not afford to go.

Friday, November 05, 2004 - 1:14:11 PM - Steve

I liked the dark conspiracy theory. Microforte behind everything. John demargueriti behind everything sinister that goes on. I like the reference to him and Microforte as the One Voice. Good research on disproving this. If its correct then, I'm glad that it there is some sort of seperation of powers between Microforte and the GDAA and the AIE and AGDC. I had trouble reconciling all the great things John has done for our industry with this twisted revision of history. I think Microforte is very much in control of events and I dont think they are doing that bad financially because they are still in business . Are they not hiring ? Are they not working on publishing their own game Citizen Zero ? I think thats a great place to be . I think that they are still one of the best developers in Australia, as they did Fallout Tactics. They are true survivors.

Friday, November 05, 2004 - 3:42:36 PM - CynicalFan

True survivors... more like true fuckups!

Friday, November 05, 2004 - 4:06:34 PM - CynicalFan

I don't believe in a "conspiracy" involving the Australian game development industry, I might believe in a conspiracy involving America and the way the have embraced a moron as their president, that I might just believe. Does anyone else have the feeling that Bush will be remembered by history as a monster along the lines of Hitler?

What I believe is that there is a bit of a boys-club (of sorts), what I believe is that there is a strong ignorant and egotistical element to the Australian industry that unless addressed, will severely hinder the Australian industries development.

And I don't think Micro Forte is behind it all, but I do think that these organisations are linked together more than you think. And yes, Micro Forte and John have done some great things for our industry, but it is time for fresh blood, for developers that are more in touch with the industry today, to do their part. It's time for those that paved the way, to move on over as their time has come and gone.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 10:55:37 AM - Developer

CynicalFan your commentss are really not in touch with reality. I'm a professional game developer and I know how hard it is to finish a game. What are you proposing ? That we should all pack our bags and go home ? We work really hard to bring our creation to life and to have someone like you take a crappy shot like this is so moronic . Its people like you that harm our industry. Man, you really piss me off with your crap. I dont give a damn about your bioys club thing. Sounds like it really pisses you off becuase you are not part of it. Good. I hope you are never part of it because no developer would want to work with someone as cynical and as depressing as you.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 2:53:35 PM - Blitz

"but it is time for fresh blood, for developers that are more in touch with the industry today, to do their part. It's time for those that paved the way, to move on over as their time has come and gone"

WTF? You idiot.
I won't deny that game development has changed a LOT in the last 20 years, and i won't deny that perhaps some of the older established companies in australia might be finding it difficult to adapt to the changes in recent years, but to think that these old-timers that have been living and breathing game development for almost as long, or longer, as i've been alive, should just be sent to the old folks home because they are no longer useful is plain stupid.
Bleh.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 4:27:40 PM - CynicalFan

Well I am sick and tired of the bullshit in this fucking industry here. I am sick and tired of developers that lie about themselves to the industry in order to create some kind of false image to bolster their egos. I am sick and tired of the way they lie to their employees and how they treat them - like laying of most of a team that is responsible for their "hot" up and coming title. Most of you guys are just full of your own shit!

And you are right (developer) many "developers" don't like working with me, because I am usually the only one brave enough to face reality and tell it how it is, usually the only one who see the fucking disaster approaching and wants to fucking avoid it. You see, I prefer doing what needs to be done instead of what everyone wants to be done hoping that that will be enough in the end.

And that's ok Developer, I wouldn't want to work with a moron like you either, I've worked with plenty like you already - I wouldn't want to work with you either Blitz ;)

And what, no comments to my query on Bush junior?

Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 9:52:21 PM - Blitz

I'm glad you feel that way, because i doubt you'd be hired by any company that i would be happy to work for (such as my current employer). Looks like we're mutually exclusive i think :)
Not to sound too harsh, but it IS people like you who can break a company.

And just for you, heres a comment related to Bush junior. If you want to discuss american politics, this is not the correct forum.

61. Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 6:22:45 PM - CynicalFan

I'm glad we agree, but not totally. You see, people like me make companies excel, people like you are the ones that make them die. I know from experience.

And one more thing to ease your mind, I will not be going to the AGDC this year.

Hope that makes you feel better :) I know it does for me.

62. Monday, November 08, 2004 - 9:52:59 AM - Developer

CynicalFan. You are a sad case. I've fired a few developers in my days. They usually fall into two camps. People like you who probably have talent but are outspoken and derail teams, and other great developers who simply did their job but their project was cancelled by our publisher and we ran out of cash to keep them employed. For the latter, its truly devestating to everyone. Most good developers quicky scramble and find another job, possibly in a different city. That is sad but a reality of our industry. Look at the UK - the large majority of developers there have folded. Now you cant say that the UK developers were not putting out great games. Its just a sign of the times. Our industry is ever consolidating, ultimately to the point that few monolithic entities will exist. But you on the other hand ,will eventually exit this industry. Period. Not going to AGDC is a good case in point. You are starting to show.

This is a prediction that will haunt you for life.

You are extinct and dont even know it (yet). You see, the comments you have made tell all. You dont really get along with your fellow team members. You are outspoken and full of intellectual pride. You use forums like this to propergate your bullshit because it is here that you actually have a voice. You team members have learned to keep away from you , politely listen but simply avoid getting into a tangle with your toungue. Truth hurts does it :)

Eventually you will loose your job, not becuase a project gets canned, but becuase management will use that excuse to get rid of you (the old and proven method to let go of problem children :). Eventually the word will get around about you. In the end, we will even find out who CynicalFan was. It wont matter becasue no one will care.

Monday, November 08, 2004 - 9:58:48 AM - Developer

And yes. Bush baby. This is is not the forum for this, and whatever opinion, the bloke now is the pres of the US. We dont even get to vote on this score so my opinions matter ever less. The original quesion was about AGDC. I'm going.

Monday, November 08, 2004 - 3:12:37 PM -

The AIE being a non-profit organisation I wonder how much the director's fees are... John DeMargheriti was the CEO of the AIE for quite a while, now it is Vicki (his sister), who is also on the board of MF.

Then of course there is the confidentiality agreement for students which is rumored to have some rather interesting benefits for MF.

Are there other hidden benefits? Houses rented to students perhaps?

Developer: you are saying that you want employees who just keep quiet and put up with whatever you dish out, and if they don't they get branded "troublemaker" and fired. That's a nice, healthy attitude for management. Looks like you should read the Quality of Life Whitepaper http://www.igda.org/qol/whitepaper.php , and maybe, just maybe, even DO SOMETHING about it...

Remember you are supposed to "Retain and attract talent in our local industry".

65. Monday, November 08, 2004 - 3:35:52 PM -

Doing something about it does not include boasting about getting students used to that "24/7, sleep under-the-desk stage" in glossy brochures incidently.

66. Monday, November 08, 2004 - 11:27:22 PM - CynicalFan

I'm a little busy at the moment and really should focus on other things but "Developer," after reading your post I just can't help myself ;)

Nice psychological profile, you should have been a psychologist, no wait a psychiatrist, that way you can dope up your unhappy slave team members and in that way make them conform to your ignorant beliefs - as you said, you fired the "outspoken" and only let go of the "developers who simply did their job" and didn't cause "trouble," which tells me you prefer automatons to thinking human beings. Unfortunately your profile is not exactly right in my case, I'd actually say that this represents Blitz more than me :D

Let me make some things clear:

1) No project I have ever worked on got canned you incompetent loser.
2) I do get along with my team members, I even have their respect, as though they did not agree with me in the beginning (and from time still do not) they have come to see that I am "outspoken" in that I really want the best for the team and project, and I don't immediately call them an idiot for saying different, unlike some :) - there is nothing wrong with healthy discussion.
3) Until recently I didn't even bother to post on forums, except those relating to my work - as in a project - I prefer interacting in the real world, and have many interests other than game development. I have only started posting because I am sick and tired of the BS I read, specifically from our industry here, like yours.
4) You know I haven't exactly fired anyone, just made recommendations to do just that, and it really did work out for the best, as I don't make such recommendations if someone is "difficult" because they want to make things better or say something completely different to what I have said. I make them because that individual has shown themselves to be an ignorant moron that has consistently failed at the task they were given, and tried to pass the blame onto others
5) If I do leave this industry, it is to escape mismanagement and incompetence like your own companies that resulted in your project being canned by the publisher - perhaps you shouldn't have fired those "troublemakers" that tried to warn you of this and steer the team and project in the right direction. I doubt I will as I only appear to get stronger with time, but like you I will begin to lose touch with this industry
6) I am not extinct, as I am still young and in my prime working in an industry that I truly get and excel within, with a track record of success - you can only hope for that. It is far more probable that your company and yourself become extinct, old timer.
7) I'm not going to the AGDC because I am going to the GDC instead :)

8) And finally my last point relating to the original comment I made. You have jumped to conclusions, and assumed that I believe that there is no place for older developers, you are wrong. My point is that they are strangling their companies by not letting go of the rains, letting a young maverick with talent and experience take over, and then acting as an advisor for the company / team, and letting the smaller details get done by the younger generation, whilst involving them in more of the larger details. Let us face it, if you have worked in this industry to a point that you are an old timer, and have only scraped by doing fee-for-service titles, then you really need to let go, as you will never achieve anything more than this, and you are holding your company back - and I am sick and tired of hearing about developers being layed off to a mismanaged project. It was also a statement to the younger companies to start taking more responsibility for their industry, to be more proactive in steering its direction, and to advocate for change for the better, like with developer quality-of-life issues, as well as others like game-censorship and the issue of games and "youth violence."

You will find out who I am all in good time, and then you can all take aim with your crosshairs for your character assassination attempts, I'll be glad to stand up in clear view, to step into your sights.

67. Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 9:12:03 AM - Farbs

CynicalFan,

Perhaps you should consider teaming up with this guy:
http://www.intrigue-entertainment.com/

68. Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 12:50:18 PM -

OK, so the GDAA writes the stuff on the website and hands it to the AIE. Who is it in the GDAA that writes it? Everything is very interconnected after all.

69. Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 12:52:22 PM - Anon

Cynical. I agree with Farbs. You and Ivan should work together, as you could really help out. An ideal career move for you to try out your theories of mavericks taking over game development in Australia from people like Developer, Farbs Blitz. After all you have never had a game cancelled. Man , that is impressive.

70. Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 2:12:39 PM - Agro

Man you guys are still at it !. There is more bullshit on this topic that I've ever seen on other fan sites. And this is no fan site.

You've crapped onto the AIE, GDAA, the AGDC, a bunch of developers and slammed the price of entry to AGDC. While at it you had a go at some individuals too, not to mention the president of the United States. Whoa.

Why ?

Don't you have any work to do ?

Ah yes, its constructive talk. Free Speech and all that. Tis true, but this ?

I came after lunch hoping to find some more debate on how the organisers could get the AGDC price lower, some ideas, suggested direction changes. See what you dudes had achieved since my last explosive post heheh. Except that I find it's still just a few of you going at it on the same tired subject.

Can you call it a truce, kiss and make up and get into the main argument, which is why you think AGDC pricing is too high ? Interesting enough, given that there debate on this point, I guess the AGDC is relevant to us all eh ?

Ozzie developers need to crap on about themselves and how great their games are becuase its called P.R. If they dont do this they wont get more work. The comments on Ratbag are stupid. All the other developers around the world do this - hype their company - its called marketing. Staff count ? When has that stopped a good marketing campaign heheheh. Why dont we lay off bashing developers who could be our next employer ?.

I've checked the GDAA site and its really ancient stuff. My guess is that they don't have anyone who writes for it. They really need to hire someone to keep it updated with something worthwhile. There is more info on Sumea that the GDAA site.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 2:21:05 PM -

You seem a little miffed again agro :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 9:55:39 PM - CynicalFan

I enquired a while back with Intrigue, and the dude said that things are progressing slowly and he is sticking to it. But there are no paid roles at the moment, and he doesn't like the idea of promising people too much to a point it becomes exploitative - and they waste their time.

He also mentioned something about a grant he is working towards to getting things moving along more quickly, and being able to pay people for work.

Personally, I think he is playing it too safe and should take more risks. I think that others should take more risks as well and offer more support and a helping hand.

Anyway, this is one example of a young studio, which with any luck, might be an example of what a fresh developer perspective can achieve for our industry.

Best of luck to the man! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 11:38:15 AM - Tazer

I think this huge shitfight shows that people would like the AGDC to be relevant and worth the entry price (whatever it is), but that it currently isn't, and that that the organisations involved could have trolleys to push other than making a really great conference.

Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 8:14:28 PM - by hook or crook

I agree with Tazer,
While this thread has wandered a bit, and has hit some lows, it does show an interest in a relevant, affordable (hmm $300) local conference,
and maybe its a challenge the ADGC can rise too (They are probably aware of this thread).
If not maybe freeplay or the idga can go some way to satisfy this need. (I spoke at freeplay and have helped (a little) to set up the Melbourne IDGA, and hence know a lot of good people are working torwards this).

Saturday, November 13, 2004 - 10:57:53 PM -

There is a huge chasm between the press that Ratbag recieves and reality. The fact that marketing and PR often do exagerate claims does not excuse their misleading statements. They are not regarded as having world leading technology, and the claim that they inspired the 3d boom is akin to a local fish and chip shop claiming it is the world leader in fast food retailing. The paper would't publish that, why should they publish similarly outlandish claims just because it is a "cool new technology"?

As for them potentially being our next employers, there are dozens of people (some with families to support) who used to be Ratbag employees six months ago and now are not. Whether they left by their own choice due to disgust or left because of cutbacks is irrelevant. Misleading press releases that give the impression of a vibrant, strong, respected and technologically innovative company that are not based on reality could have hopeful applicants spending time and money to attempt to secure a job there, and possibly moving house to Adelaide to a company that could for all we know not ever get another publishing contract. It is not just PR here, it is people's lives.

People's tax dollars are also misspent due to these fragrant abuses of reality (aka press releases). It is not right to lie, your mum was right, don't listen to those guys in marketing ;)

Sunday, November 14, 2004 - 1:53:21 PM - Another Developer

Developer, my, you ARE touchy about Cynical Fan. Did he get too close to home? Are you connected with Microforte, perhaps, Developer?

Listen up Developer. It's clowns like you who are on the way to becoming extinct. Real developers - that is, the people whose work delivers the profits you take home - are standing up for themselves more. They won't work for jerks much more. As can be seen above, they are starting to ask questions about corrupt practices and back scratching in the industry.

If you don't have answers, Developer, it's time for you to try for that grant from the Film Commission. Because Cynical Fan will be eating your lunch before the end of the decade.

Sunday, November 14, 2004 - 6:36:17 PM - Grover

Wow - I just had to write back again.

Personally no matter how this thread looks - it is _all_ good. It shows that there are serious people concerned about Aus game development that are taking about things that _need_ to be discussed.

I would also agree with another Developer - 'Developer' actually reminds me of an owner that once said to me as a Lead Programmer after I asked why all the programmers were leaving - "Dont worry programmers are a dime a dozen.". And all the reports and discussions I had to try and let him and others understand that losing your entire tech team _impacts_ your development cycle were for nought. Imho listening to people and their opinions is the most important thing you can do. Communication in some companies in this industry can be one of the biggest problems (imho) ,.

The industry needs conferences like AGDC - but (imho again) this needs to be more open and the Aus dev industry as a whole, more open. Simple things can be done, if Free Play can put on such a great conference for such little money, why is there such an issue with AGDC doing it? Im not sure who said that AGDC is more professional, but this is a plain joke - please tell me what is so much more professional at AGDC than FreePlay? However, having a closed group of Aus developer friends meeting for a weekend sounds just like what AGDC is (Im not guessing I have attended) - limited, closed, "we are better" type attitude, when this sort of carry on is not constructive for a growing industry, and especially with such a small resource pool in Aus. But this in fact is interesting - just looking at the attendance alone at Free Play would indicate that there is a huge talented resource pool for game dev in Aus? Which then is more representative and useful?

Developer mentioned about the UK dev studios shutting down, and this is the case in most westernised countries, not because of what Developer implies, but mainly due to offshore service contracts (much like Cynical described earlier.). Also if you have a look at Europe - there has been a large shift in audience, and now there are _alot_ more language/country specific developers popping up all over Europe - they have a growing niche audience that can provide them a valid market opportunity.

Australia doesnt have that luxury - our market is extremely small, and pretty much all work done here in the game industry is service styled contracts. We have few original titles here - Ty and a couple of others being very small portion. The shift to cheaper game development in India and China is happening, and theres little that can be done, apart from moving out of the service styled setup. That means, an industry that needs to open up and try to involve as much new ideas (indies ?), and new companies as possible. At the moment the AGDC is less representative of this industry than Free Play for example. And if the AGDC think $800 per person for a fledgling company is fair, then I would point to this forum as an example of how many percieve the costs to be out of their budget for their worth.

Also there was a post previously (anonymous - 53) whom says GDAA doesnt get money from gov - from my expericnce and people I have talked with this is plainly not the case. I have been involved in applying for funding and such and I have experienced something quite different. State funding can come from various sources - in Vic, Qld, NSW and SA they have digital media funding that is attached to the film and art bodies (corps) in each state. Also there are grants for government based digital media funds - these funds use the GDAA as consultants to assess the application for the grant. The GDAA is obviously paid for this consultancy work, but what concerns myself is the duplicity of the people involved in ticking off the applications, and saying whether you can get a sponsored devkit? Remembering this is applications for _indie_ and _new_ developers. All the major members on the board of the GDAA run the large companies in Australia - Auran, Microforte, Ratbag, and so on - just go to their webby - they have the board members list there. I still fail to see how this is beneficial - You wouldnt have Holdens, Mitsubishi, Ford and Toyota on a board governing where company X could get a grant to assit starting a new car company in Aus?? So why in the games industry? I certainly think new _and_ established companies should have rights to government funding (it is all our tax dollars remember), I would expect however to have these funding groups to have impartial consultantss?

Another issue is people have been saying indie is seperate to professional game devs in Aus - why? This makes for little sense? Indies that are attempting to become professional are hampered by obstacles - because they have no/limited funding makes them less of a developer? But its not just the funding, in fact that is a small part of the problem - its more about perception (no not the company) of how certain companies are supposedly dominatiing/leading the games industry. If 'indies' are taken to be second rate developers by their bigger Aussie brothers, then this enforces what I have been saying. I know _alot_ of indie and new companies starting up that are actually manned by people from the Aus game dev industry, so how does that make them any less than what they were?

The GDAA is "The Game Developers Association of Australia" right? Then, why are indie's and new companies excluded? In fact, its even more odd that alot of established australian companies arent even members? Or is this body a paid 'boys club' as mentioned previously - because that is really the case. You cant just be a member, and so the title is either misleading or, there needs to be a true representative impartial body to help this industry, especially for gov assistance?

I think its time (imho!!) that the Aus gaming industry really started treating all developers with a more even and open attitude - working together to improve the industry would only benefiit everyone? I cant see why this isnt being done? The AGDC is a great spot to start these sorts of initiaitives, isnt it? This is one of the reasons I think Free Play, will become the defacto standard for game development in Aus, and also hopefully open the industry here to all the talent we have - Id certainly prefer to keep our talent here than see them head overseas, like a high majority currently do.

Monday, November 15, 2004 - 1:22:08 PM -

Silence can be the biggest lie of all. We have a responsibility to speak up; and whenever the occasion calls for it, we have a responsibility to raise bloody hell.
-- Herbert Block

Monday, November 15, 2004 - 1:24:41 PM -

Here is a bio of HB http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ARTblock.htm