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PAX Australia 2014: Indie video games development in Australia

AS part of Meld’s PAX Australia 2014 coverage, we spoke to various indie game developers and schools to talk about their games, their journey to PAX and their thoughts on the state of Australian games development. Hieu Chau has more.

One of the panels I attended at PAX Australia 2014 was called “Exporting Aussie Indie Culture”. During the discussion, the panellists talked about how important it was for countries that didn’t have strong games development culture to grasp the creative ingenuity Australians had, in order to inspire themselves into telling their own stories.

By specifically referring to the time in Oman where they mentored a group of programmers and designers, the team of speakers felt responsible to help foster the country’s games development scene.

Arguably the best thing about PAX was its championing of both independent games and the developers. It was inspiring to see what kind of games can be produced and what indie developers are capable of with enough imagination and persistence.

We were shown some incredibly creative indie games over the three-day event and were equally excited to talk to some of the minds behind these innovative titles in our video showcase of games development in the country. Below is the list of creative studios we managed to speak to about their games:

  • 2 Hit Studio: Their game Starslinger Kings was a twitch-based action title developed by two brothers.
  • Wildgrass: This studio was born from AIE Incubator program and their exhibited game was Bearzerkers.
  • Dime Studios: Originally formed by four uni friends, this indie developer showed off their fun mobile game Breakout Blurg
  • StegabyteTwo-man crew who demonstrated their turn-based puzzle game Under the Sun.
  • Baby Steps Games: Their visually appealing game Sundae Drive was a silly but fun title.
  • The Voxel AgentsThey brought the third installment of their Train Conductor series, which was simple yet addictive.
  • eastasiasoftAn international indie exhibitor, whose title Lost Sea is described as’ B-movie’ strategy action game.
  • Loveshack Entertainment: Melbourne-based indie studio showed off their game, Framed – an award-winning title that focuses on narrative.
  • Samurai PunkTheir pleasant indie title, Screencheat, was highlighted in one of PAX’s Australian Indie Showcase games.
  • Wombat and FrogFeaturing a compelling noir-based universe, the studio’s game Witch House is an action horror RPG designed for cooperative play.

Through their unfettered eyes, it is hoped that the spirit of Australian indie games development would rub off on others and inspire budding game makers across all walks of life to make a game for themselves.

Finally, we also spoke to some of the schools attending PAX Australia 2014 to get their thoughts on Australia’s capacity for games development, as well as on what they offered to international students and if international students could use the skills they learned here to take back home. These schools included JMC Academy, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment and Swinburne University.

For more PAX Australia 2014 coverage, stay tuned for Darren’s post-PAX summary piece and be sure to give our PAX Australia 2014 cosplay photo album over at Facebook a view and a like

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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