Galway Games Gathering 17 – a roundup

The inaugural Galway Games Gathering took place on the 15th and 16th September at the wonderfully designed Galway, Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) in Galway (see pic above), featuring a series of 20 presentations from speakers in the Irish and International games communities and an expo of Irish indie games.

The event opened early Saturday with John Romero of Romero Games, who spoke about his life in games, telling the story of the industry through his own story as a developer. His presentation covered his well-known accomplishments such as Commander Keen and Doom, as well as lesser known periods of his life, such as his exposure to games as a child visiting Sierra College near to where he grew up, or his co-founding Loot Drop. At each phase, John spoke about his work within the larger context of what was happening in the games industry as a whole at the time, and closed by drawing our attention to some patters he has seen in the industry, including a return to digital distribution originally seen in the era of early BBS, and a resurgence of e-sports, which have transitioned from arcade championships to large-scale stadium events.

Colm Larkin, creator of Guild of Dungeoneering, was up next. He spoke about the positive impact that sharing an “embarrassingly early” version of his game had on the development process. In particular, he advised developers to not let the fear of their ideas being stolen stop them from sharing, saying that the idea itself isn’t what’s special, it’s the iterations on it that make it so.

Colm Larkin in his speaking jacket!. Photo by Jacinta Moore

Anna Jenelius from Stockholm Sweden founded her own company, Talecore Studios, in 2015. She spoke about our responsibility to do something positive with our games, noting that while there is nothing wrong with mainstream games, we can do much more with the stories that we tell and the players that we reach. [See her Gamastura posts and her own website].

Paul Conway of Spooky Doorway gave a Post-Mortem of ‘The Darkside Detective‘, walking attendees through the 2.5 year process of creating and releasing a successful indie title with a team of five people and no budget.

Neil Homes spoke about self-publishing and presented ID@Xbox as an platform for indie publishers, specifically highlighting the importance of timing the release of an indie game to not be overshadowed by AAA titles. Om Tandon, UX director at Digit Games in Dublin, spoke about how applying the correct UX methodology to a F2P app increased participation in events by 300%.

John Romero introduces Om Tandon. Photo by Jacinta Moore

Elaine Reynolds started out as an intern at Starcave in Galway. Today she has her own company, Simteractive, based in Dublin, and she spoke about how she has used psychology in game development, while Dario D’Ambra presented the work he has been undertaking in working on the game “Don’t Make Love”, exploring romance through meaningful conversations in which the player is a participant. Afterward, Liz Mercuri explained the use of Unity to create procedural camera rigs and gameplay cutscenes.

Elaine Reynolds, GGG 2017. Photo by Aphra Kerr

Brett Douville, the lead programmer on Skyrim and Fallout 4, made his first trip to Ireland to give Saturday’s final presentation. Brett spoke about useful tensions in game development, outlining ways in which project managers can subtly shape productive tensions within or between teams, such as by occasionally pushing individuals slightly beyond the limits of what they think they can accomplish, by pitting teams against one another in friendly implied competition, or even by intentionally delaying a feature to force the team to develop creative solutions. Brett also warned against unhealthy tensions, such as long hours and work crunches, and highlighted the importance of a manager’s awareness of the physical, mental, and emotional health of members of a team. [See his games blog and see an interview here.]

DAY 2

Following a reception in the city on Sat. evening everyone was back out nice and early for a full day of talks on Sunday.

Sunday was kicked off by Stephen O’Callaghan, the head of Sound, Tools, and Technology at Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, who spoke about unlocking the creative potential of teams and individuals. He illuminated some of the ways in which Sony’s Creative Services Group emphasise and explore creativity, noting that an environment of creativity requires three things: building connections, facilitating discovery, and nurturing curiosity.

Stephen O’Callaghan (Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe) : Photo by Jacinta Moore

Elisabeth Sampat spoke about her ethical free-to-play philosophy, highlighting four emotions that monetise: Curiosity, Frustration, Amusement, and Desire. Most important of all, however, Elisabeth noted, is generosity: transactions should be designed for value, not addiction. [See her GDC 2017 talk here and her 2017 book Empathy Engines: Design Games that are Personal Political and Profound]

Gd.ie’s own Aphra Kerr spoke of how gamedevelopers.ie emerged at the same time as Nokia’s N-Gage mobile device and then looked at some early games developed in Ireland. Bringing things right up to date she introduced her new book, Global Games, and drew attention to some recurring patterns —such as the return to small development teams—and the emergence of new game making locations, including China, Finland, Sweden, and Poland. This point to lots of potential for indie game devs based in Ireland.

Keith O’Connor, the CTO at Romero games, presented a Junior Coder Survival Guide, emphasising that good code is simple, maintainable, debuggable, and stable, after which Pete McNally, the Technical Art Lead at Havok, showed how to perform 3D Scanning for Games on a Budget.

Keith O’Connor (Romero Games) – Photo by Jacinta Moore.

Craig Stuart Garfinkle spoke about writing memorable game music, stating that the secret is a balance between novelty and familiarity. He demonstrated some using his current composing setup: an octave-and-a-half keyboard, his laptop, and a 13TB HDD of samples.

Kevin Murphy presented some bold ideas for alternate payment models of the future, ranging from paid virtual experience to selling virtual real estate in games and monetising FPS games the way others monetise paintball: by selling the ammunition.

Mike Bithell, creator of ‘Thomas Was Alone’, gave an honest (and at times side-splittingly funny) list of 20 tricks that developers can do to improve their games, 10 for games that are already in development and 10 for projects that have not been started yet. Mike was followed by Denman Rooke, who hosted a live digital painting session while sharing some industry tips and techniques.

The final speaker of the event was composer and conductor Eimear Noone, who showcased some of her recent undertakings, and who highlighted the things that are possible when the community is engaged, such as the fan-created orchestra performance of “Malach: Angel Messenger” at iDiG 2017 and the recently released “The Celtic Link”, which is a collection of music from The Legend of Zelda series performed by the DIT Irish Traditional Music Ensemble. [Listen back to her talk from Inspirefest 2017 in Dublin earlier in the year.]

Along with the excellent set of speakers, the indie games expo showcased some of the exciting game development that is happening across Ireland.

Galway Games Gathering 17 Foyer of Games

 

Foyer in GMIT, GGG 2017. Photo by Aphra Kerr

Exhibitors were also judged by a panel selected from among the organisers and guests, and a number of awards were given:

Best Game: Final Horizon

Excellence in Design: Sub-Species

Excellence in Art: Jennifer Wilde

Excellence in Audio: Dark Side Detective

Excellence in Narrative: Dark Side Detective

Best Multiplayer Game: Trash Team Racing

Best Student Game: I Dare You

People’s Choice: Licky The Lucky Lizard

Overall, the first Galway Games Gathering was a rousing success. With so many events centred on Dublin, it is exciting to know that a new annual event on Ireland’s western coast has garnered so much attention and support. Here’s to next year’s Gathering!

Galway Games Gathering 17 organisers – glad it is all done!

L-r: John Romeo- Romero Games, Manus Burke – Howling Hamster Games, Geraldine McLoughlin – Western Development Commission, Patrick Tobin – GMIT.

 

Speaker Badge. Pic by Aphra Kerr

 

Write up: Joshua D Savage, PhD student, Maynooth University and Aphra Kerr, gd.ie & Maynooth University.

Photos: Mostly by Jacinta Moore unless noted as Aphra.

Thanks to Manus Burke, of Howling Hamster Games, for forwarding on the pics and all his work on the event.

See https://www.galwaygamesgathering.com/ 

Cinematic Artist: Black Shamrock (Dub)


Black Shamrock is looking for a cinematic artist to work on a new ambitious project.

Position Duties
– Based on design documents and scripts, you will create compelling dialogue cut scenes with excellent pacing, camera and character acting inside the game engine

– Communicate and work closely with scriptwriters and Level Designers to translate scripted scenes into cinematics and to balance story with gameplay

– Follow and maintain pipelines and technical requirements

– Balance quality with efficiency when working under tight deadlines

– Validate the cinematics to ensure that the integrations did not cause any conflicts with the rest of the game

– Anticipate production needs

Candidate Profile
– Minimum of 2 years’ experience in the games or films industry as a Previz Artist, Animator, Camera Artist, Video Editor or any similar job

– Experience with character and camera animation in 3D software

– Experience with Unreal Engine is a plus

– Experience in video editing

– College Diploma/Degree in cinema, animation, video game development or equivalent

– Good knowledge of cinematography and acting.

– Basic understanding of narrative causality and logic

– Ability to understand and solve problems

– Ability to work with people from other fields of expertise

– You are autonomous, have a team spirit and a good relationship toward other team members

– Ability and desire to work in creative and collaborative teams

– Originality and proactivity when setting out solutions

– Well Organized

Additional Information
– Full-time in-house position

– Central Dublin location

– Available as soon as possible

– Salary to be defined depending on your profile

Provide
Resume – motivation letter – website – references… (if relevant)

Email address: job [at] black-shamrock [dot] com

Please, when answering this announcement add the Reference #ID01​ in your email.
To: Recruitment manager

Internship: QA Tester – Black Shamrock (Dub)

Black Shamrock is looking for a QA tester (internship) to work on various RPG projects.

Position Duties
– Check the functionality of our game features

– Seek and analyze bugs systematically and record them in our database

– Test the gameplay and review the balancing

– Recommend design improvements or corrections to the development team throughout the development process

– Create test scenarios and test cases based on game design documents and gameplay.

– Maintain the test management tool

Candidate Profile
– Coming from a game design, level design or programming education background

– Experience and personal interest in quality assurance

– Experience with bug tracking and test management tools

– Ability to describe complex interrelations in writing

– Analytical and critical approach

– Ability to understand and solve problems

– Ability to work with people from other fields of expertise

– You are autonomous, have a team spirit and a good relationship toward other team members

– Ability and desire to work in creative and collaborative teams

– Originality and proactivity when setting out solutions

– Well Organized

Additional Information
– Full-time in-house internship

– Central Dublin location

– Available as soon as possible

Provide
Resume – motivation letter – website – references… (if relevant)

Email address: job@black-shamrock.com

Please, when answering this announcement add the Reference #ID01​ in your email.

To: Recruitment manager

Senior Level Designer – Black Shamrock (Dub)

Black Shamrock is looking for a senior level designer to work on a new ambitious project.

Position Duties

– Create and improve game levels and worlds to ensure optimum playability

– Participate in the creation, documentation and tuning of the level to design gameplay elements according to the design and creative vision of the project

– Share knowledge within the team and mentor more junior level designers

– Set and share best practices, production pipelines and workflows

– Understand and apply guidelines for creating engaging level layouts within the game to support specific gameplay rules or play styles

– Produce planning schedules that prioritise responsibilities with accurate time estimations

– Create improved document frameworks or templates for the level design team and update any relevant documentation as part of the design process

– Collaborate with quality control teams as part of the debugging process by sharing relevant information, coordinating issue responsibility and resolving any reported issues

– Anticipate production needs

Candidate Profile
– Minimum of 5 years’ experience in the games industry

– Experience working with a game engine (Unreal, Unity, etc), using scripting tools to orchestrate events, and implementing 3D work into the pipeline

– Strong experience with scripting (python, LUA, etc.)

– Experience in team management, in either a team lead roll or mentoring junior designers

– Proven ability to work at many levels, from high level concepts to detailed design implementation and balancing

– You are able to receive, give, and apply feedback effectively.

– Create and maintain documentation of design solutions

– Ability to understand and solve problems

– Ability to work with people from other fields of expertise

– Originality and proactivity when setting out solutions

– Attention to detail

– Well Organized

Additional Information
– Full-time in-house position

– Central Dublin location

– Available as soon as possible

– Salary to be defined depending on your profile

Provide
Resume – motivation letter – website – references… (if relevant)
Email address: job@black-shamrock.com

Please, when answering this announcement add the Reference #ID01​ in your email.
To: Recruitment manager

Lead Environment 3D Artist – Black Shamrock (Dub)

Black Shamrock is looking for a lead environment artist to work on a new ambitious project.

Position Duties
– Work in tandem with our Art Director to establish an iconic look for our world within the challenging parameters set forth by our game designers.

– Work with our technical artist to establish an efficient environment content pipeline, and identify possible needs and tools necessary to keep environment asset creation as streamlined as possible

– Estimate workload, suggest planning and set priorities for the art team

– Assist in the production of graphic assets & level art according to the project’s needs

– Produce high-quality lighting and shadowing effects through any stage of the production process in respect of the project’s technical and artistic constraints

– Know the game’s storyline and gameplay (game design documents) and adjust the work to reflect these elements

– Guarantee the quality of the models and ensure that they are produced on time

– Troubleshoot technical and artistic issues

– Anticipate production needs

Candidate Profile
– Minimum of 2 years’ experience in the games industry

– Previous experience as a Level Artist in the video game production (modeling / texture, level art / characters)

– Good understanding of lighting, atmospheric effects and subsequent systems

– Experience in team management

– Highly proficient in Maya or 3ds Max, Photoshop and Zbrush

– Knowledge of the technical constraints relating to 3D engines and level editors

– You are able to receive, give, and apply feedback effectively.

– Experience with Unreal Engine is a plus

– Ability to understand and solve problems

– Ability to work with people from other fields of expertise

– Ability to work in a team, with good leadership skills

– Originality and proactivity when setting out solutions

– Well Organized

Additional Information
– Full-time in-house position

– Central Dublin location

– Available as soon as possible

– Salary to be defined depending on your profile

Provide
Resume – motivation letter – website – references… (if relevant)
Email address: job@black-shamrock.com

Please, when answering this announcement add the Reference #ID01​ in your email.
To: Recruitment manager

Senior Programmer – Black Shamrock (Dub)

Black Shamrock is looking for an experienced Programmer to work on a new ambitious project.

Position Duties
– As a Senior Programmer, you will be responsible for handling and managing critical aspects of development

– Develop and implement features and systems related to video game development like gameplay, AI, Audio, Networking, Physics/Motion etc

– Work independently on one or several modules of the game

– Identify missing details in feature requests and can break down the tasks into parts that can be implemented and tested

– Helps to enforce best coding practices in the team

– Take critical technical decisions during the development process

– Work closely with Game Designers, Artists and Project Manager

– Deliver high performance, high-quality code

– Prioritize and execute tasks

– Anticipate production technical needs

Candidate Profile
– Strong C, C++, and object-oriented programming skills (Mandatory)

– At least 3 years experience in the games industry as a Game Programmer

– Must have shipped at least one game on console

– High aptitude and strong analytical skills

– Strong optimization skills on both memory and performance fronts

– Strong debugging skills

– Has knowledge of 3d mathematics

– Great knowledge of the technological and organizational aspects involved in developing successful state of the art AAA games.

– Ability to work both within a team and independently as per requirements from time to time

– Knowledge of low-level system architecture

– Console development background is a plus

– Agile development experience is a plus

– Good organizational and communication skills (English)

– Passionate about Gaming

Additional Information
– Full-time in-house position

– Central Dublin location

– Available as soon as possible

– Salary to be defined depending on your profile

Provide
Resume – motivation letter – website – references… (if relevant)
Email address: job@black-shamrock.com

Please, when answering this announcement add the Reference #ID01​ in your email.
To: Recruitment manager

UI/UX Artist – Black Shamrock (Dub)

Black Shamrock is looking for a UI/UX Designer to work on a new ambitious project.

Position Duties
– As a UI/UX artist, you will develop concepts and the design of the game menus and user interfaces

– Work with the design team to determine the functionality and features of a User Interface

– Work closely with the programming team in order to implement assets into the game and verify the quality of said graphics once implemented;

– Translate high-level gameplay ideas into visual functional UI designs

– Establish logical, readable UI solutions and usability strategies

– Layout and implement front-end flow designs

– Communicate ideas & concepts with international teams and stakeholders

– Design and implement interface systems specific to each platform while maintaining uniformity of visual and logical aspects

– Collaborate and participate with artists locally to create high-fidelity mockups to solidify design direction

– Anticipate production needs

– Analyse game design documents and game flow to provide adapted UX and UI elements.

Candidate Profile
– Minimum of 1 year experience in the video game industry at a similar position is mandatory.

– Be proficient with Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Flash

– Able to communicate UI/UX principles clearly with other teams

– Able to work with different art styles to reach desired aesthetic

– Ability and desire to work in creative and collaborative teams

– Originality and proactivity when setting out solutions

– Be forward thinking and anticipate the needs of your project

– You are autonomous, have a team spirit and a good relationship toward other team members

– Experience with game engines (e.g. Unreal, Unity etc.) is a plus

– Experience with 3D tools (e.g. Maya, 3DS Max) is a plus

Additional Information
– Full-time in-house position

– Central Dublin location

– Available as soon as possible

– Salary to be defined depending on your profile

Provide
Resume – motivation letter – website – references… (if relevant)
Email address: job@black-shamrock.com

Please, when answering this announcement add the Reference #ID01​ in your email.
To: Recruitment manager

Games to Inspire event (Cahir Castle, 23 & 24th Nov.)

“Games to Inspire in Youth Work and Development Education”
in
Cahir Castle  on  the 23rd and 24th of November
 

The conference is part of our exciting 2 year international project funded by ERASMUS on gaming and youth work, and, together with partners from UK and Greece we are hugely excited to host a range of international and Irish speakers to explore the potential of games to inspire, to motivate and to positively impact on the lives of young people.

To showcase and nurture the potential of games to inspire, to motivate and to positively impact on the lives of young people.

The conference will actively engage participants in creative collaboration and discussion on local and global development informed by youth work principles of equality, justice and social inclusion. The content and format of the conference will be particularly aimed at inspiring young people and at those working with young people aged between 12 and 25. The conference will have a strong emphasis on encouraging action on the issues highlighted as well as encouraging follow on and collaboration between participants.

To encourage and equip Youth Workers in the creative use of games in their youth work practice through presentations, demonstrations and workshops.

To give young people, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds, an opportunity to experience the transformative potential of games by playing with and speaking with games developers.

To inspire participants through experiencing games designed specifically to present, explore, and respond to contemporary issues facing young people.

To develop a community of practice in the use of games in Global youth work

DAY 1: Focusing on Youth Workers, Development Educators, Games Designers Academics and Educators

DAY 2: Focusing on Young people having the opportunity to meet games designers and explore and design games.

You can be an expert or you can be a beginner but you will be prepared to explore the potential of games!

Lecturer and Assistant Lecturer in Game Art & Animation (Limerick)

Limerick Institute of Technology is seeking to recruit a person(s) who will contribute to the teaching responsibility in the area of Game Art and Animation and will contribute to the continued development of the courses.

The person(s) appointed would be expected to teach across a range of years on the programmes as well as taking shared responsibility under the direction of the Head of Department for development and administration of the subjects generally.

To this end the successful applicant should have proven professional practice and have experience in the area of Game Art & Animation.

Further details at http://www.lit.ie/Vacancies/Documents/Post%2016%20Job%20Spec.pdf

[Edit: 15th Nov. 2017 – the deadline has now passed and the link above no longer operates.]

VR storytelling event (06/11- Dublin)

An event of interest from Animation Skillnet – Talk on VR Storytelling with Colum Slevin (Head of Experiences at Oculus VR)

Animation Skillnet with support from Animation Ireland, Screen Training Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland are delighted to host a talk by Colum Slevin (Head of Experiences at Oculus VR) on VR Storytelling.

The talk will take place on Monday 6th November from 6.30pm-8pm in The Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin.

Colum Slevin oversees the experiences group for the Oculus VR content team, helping a portfolio of third party developers making 360 video, narrative, and real-time experiences for Mobile VR and Rift. His early background in production for animated TV and features led him to Industrial Light + Magic, where he was Director of Computer Graphics, and later Vice President/Head of Studio Operations at Lucasfilm, where he was responsible for the animation division in California and Singapore. Colum joined Oculus in 2015 from Telltale Games, where he was Studio General Manager. He is obsessed with movies and, while he can never choose his favorite film, his current favorite quote is from Pulp Fiction: Mia asks “When in conversation, do you listen, or do you just wait to talk?” Vincent thinks about it and then responds, “I wait to talk, but I’m trying to listen.”

Please note that this talk is free but that places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.

Registration here: http://animationskillnet.ie/event-registration/?ee=176