Saturday, April 22, 2006

Supanova Day 1

Supanova day 1 has come to an end - and what a day!

For those of you who don’t know what Supanova is, it’s a pop culture expo featuring comics, sci-fi movies, fantasy, anime, collectable cards and for the first big time this year, video games.

Some of the guests included Summer Glau from Serenity, Richard Taylor from Weta, Tommy Tallarico from Video Games Live and John Schneider from Smallville and The Dukes of Hazzard.

This year was the first time that Queensland game developers joined forces to show off their stuff. Pandemic Studios, THQ, Creative Assembly, Auran, Halfbrick, Fuzzy Eyes, Krome, Griffith University and QANTM all had booths at the show. And there was also representation from Dimsdale & Kreozot, Gridwerx, KaWoW, Wildfire Studios and the IGDA.

I was on the Pandemic booth for the first three hours of the show and we had so many people drop by it was just insane trying to keep up.

One of the big things that we’re achieving from being at Supanova is educating people about how big and successful the Queensland games industry is. So many people were unaware that killer games like Destroy All Humans! and Total War were made here - but not anymore.

So, on to the highlights!

The “Passport” competition was extremely popular. The rules were simple - get a stamp from each of the 10 booths at the show to enter a draw to win a bundle of 21 games donated by local developers. The pack included Destroy All Humans!, Full Spectrum Warrior, Mercenaries, Total War, Spongebob, Trainz and more.

Shainiel Deo of Halfbrick spoke about making games for handheld platforms.

Leanne Taylor of Pandemic Studios gave a talk on writing for games. She’s been working on Destroy All Humans! 2 and gave some insight into why writing for games is different to writing novels.

Tommy Tallarico was showing off cool footage of Video Games Live, a great event that will be coming to Australia this year.

The concept art competition was a huge success with dozens of entries in all age categories. The winning entries were judged by artists from Pandemic Studios, THQ and Creative Assembly and each received a cool prize pack of games. The ultimate winner got an extra special prize - time with one of Destroy All Humans! 2 concept artists to learn the secrets of the trade.

The afternoon also saw the Developers vs. The Audience video game quiz in which members of Pandemic, Auran, Krome, Creative Assembly and Halfbrick battled it out with audience members in a game of Mario Kart and some video game trivia. It was a close call, but the developers won by a single point! We knew the color of all of Pacman’s ghosts. But we sucked at Mario Kart.

Well, tomorrow is another big day. We have a designer panel, a discussion on game audio, how to get into games talsk, as well as presentations from concept artists and animators. Plus we have day 2 of the Concept Art competition and the Games Trivia Quiz.

Should be awesome!

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