#gig12 - playing a part ( in GIG2012)

play, ludology & games inform elements of my current research, I've written, designed, made, and managed all sorts of computer games over a twenty year period, from console to very small flash based art games to the largest commercial titles produced for PC by Microsoft. Back in 1995 when I first seriously began researching and promoting the idea of computer games and computer games technology in Ireland, there was less than a handful of people who understood any of what I was speaking about, yesterday I attended the GIG2012 event in the Gibson Hotel ( http://gamesireland.ie/wordpress/gig2012-games-ireland-gathering-2012/ ), equipped with name badge, attention and enthusiasm, I finally arrived looking forward to an afternoon of insight & interaction.

For some utterly inane reason I decided to take the luas from beside the Abbey Theatre which, when one going to the point eventually arrived, got me there for Dylan Collin's entertaining and informative talk on fight my monster, amongst other things. I met my very good Friend Claire Fitch, professional cellist and musician extraordinaire and indeed one of the most important games music /sound composers working in Ireland today. (http://www.ambiencellist.com/) Certainly in recent years and absolutely when it comes to her prodigious output for independent games, few could stand in her shadow and many could learn from the one time Louth County Enterprise young business women of the year. Claire is really that rarest of things, a kind, open and generous person possessed of strong business ethics and acuman, fully secure in her appreciable talent, infectious in her positive and optimistic outlook, it was an absolute joy to spend a couple of hours in her company.

GIG2012 was wall to wall companies, I had a very brief chinwag with the man Dylan, DC doesn't need an introduction ( so here's one of his blogs: http://founderware.co/ ) he was recently officially appointed as a special entrepreneurial ambassador for enterprise Ireland but to my mind he's also been unofficially the commercial spiritual shepherd of the Irish gaming flock for the last couple of years. His insights and more importantly actions marked Dylan out as an Entrepreneur whom early on really grasped and understood the business potential of games and gaming technology, indeed Dylan's first company were the first to start the whole 'games metrics' phenomena in the first instance. So despite his modesty when it comes to his marvelous singing voice 8D, He's a man at the height of his powers and I wish him continued success, I will as I assured him yesterday (Mayan Apocalypse permitting) meet him in our official capacities sometime around April 2013. (my currently scheduled end date for my PhD).

Claire & I also met with a couple of http:www.Gamedevelopers.ie 'veterans'. A site thats now unbelievably in its 8th or 9th year, the inimitable Aphra Kerr, who will be taking an academic sabbatical next year from Maynooth, I'm assuming solely for the purposes of some Kamino-like cloning such is the demand she has been in over the last couple of years. We also bumped into Dave Kearney erstwhile collaborator and co-founder with MR Ian Hannigan of FluidUI, (http://www.fluidui.com/) another Irish tech start-up to watch. Dave has had his head down like a crazed caffeine fulled coding guru, only taking an afternoon break to keep us up to speed... and of course grab some quick cups of coffee, I'm wishing both the guys and their latest recruit, (apologies his name escapes me) the very best with their official launch (I think in about six or eight weeks maybe).. keep an eye on their site for more news.

So wall to wall companies, Popcap and Oracle were there, as attested by the writing pads, jelly beans and chocolate money in attendee goody bags, BigFish Games were there on a recruiting drive, (nice pens) and Mason Hayes & Curran provided a sort of corporate newsletter style bin bumpf. There were a lot of suit jackets and open necked shirts among the students, gamers and coders and designers, it reminded me of some of the very early game development meetings in the USA, in that there was definitely a lot of coders, would be hackers, present... many years ago after some odd development cycles and the loss and stealing of each others' best codemonkeys, games companies stopped sending/bringing top techies to GIG2012 style events, but the Irish scene hasn't yet reached that point. Yesterday initially appeared to belong to established companies, then the emerging ones and several of those showcased there excellent w.i.p. - an open development itself that's a positive encouragement for all emerging, growing companies and the industry as a whole here. Most notably: Bitsmith (http://www.bitsmithgames.com/ ) Openemotion (http://www.openemotionstudios.com/) Tribal city ( http://www.tribalcity.com/ ) Ideal binary ( http://www.idealbinary.com/) and Redwind ( http://www.redwindsoftware.com/ )

I have to commend and tip my hat to Paul Hayes @gamesireland Barry O’Neill Chairman Games Ireland, Hugh Mac Atamney Dublin Institute of Technology and Paul Sweeney for a very successful event. These things can be measured in attendance rosters, feedback emails, twitter tags, FB posts, etc etc. but the real measure of such an event is how it invigorates and inspires at a ground level ( not at all ironic despite being on the 2nd floor) and the GIG2012 can be said to have successfully and effectively delivered in that and many other respects. There was palpable individual hunger at yesterday's event, a desire for knowledge, connections, success, an appetite for commercial engagement and it ran through the audience and attendees like an energizing force. I wore my badge yesterday but left my green beard at home, I had been looking forward to meeting even more old friends I'd worked with in the industry over the years, some were due to speak but became unavailable, when the networking time came around, it coincided with the opening of the Gibson's Main Restaurant, Claire & I succumbed to a much simpler hunger, safe in our collective knowledge that after such a successful inaugural gathering/event, We'll have plenty of time to network at the next one.