Dunedin to take part in global games event

A melting pot of creativity and video game expertise is expected when Dunedin joins almost 100 other cities around the world for a global game creation event.

The Global Game Jam will run for 48 hours from 5pm, January 29, at Otago University.

Dunedin organiser Tim Ponting said it was hoped more than 20 people would attend the local event. Capacity for more was being investigated.

People would probably work in groups of three or four during the two days to create games based on a single theme. That theme would not be announced until the event started.

Those wanting to work as ‘‘lone wolves'' were also welcome, while people attending the event alone would have the chance to meet a few days beforehand and be placed into a group if they wanted, he said.

While attendees ‘‘definitely needed to have a strong gaming background'' that didn't necessarily mean coding, Mr Ponting said.

Artists, programmers, designers and even musicians were integral in the creation of a video game.

People were also welcome to spend the jam creating games that were not computer-based. Board games had been developed at previous events and gone on to commercial success.

‘‘It's very much open to all. We don't want people to think it's a closed shop. We're really keen to collaborate to ... grow the games and tech industry here in Dunedin.''

Mr Ponting, who owns a video game-focused public relations company, said the city's fledging video game industry was going from strength to strength and its potential was significant.

Successful Dunedin gaming companies included Runaway Play and Rocketwerks, while Otago University offered a summer school computer game design course.

New Zealand's gaming industry was growing rapidly and could ‘‘be very successful for Dunedin'' as it played to the city's strengths of great lifestyle and education options, with high connectivity, thanks to the gigabit internet infrastructure, he said.

‘‘There's a very encouraging environment here for people who want to develop games. It's the kind of city where, if you're going to start a small business, all you really need is here.''


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