Last week July 19th, saw annual professional event Dublin Games Summit land in the delightfully decorated Alex Hotel. The event is organised each year by Aeonspark, comprised of this small team of industry veterans:
The event was split across three rooms: Room 1 – Business and eSports, Room 2 – Future of Gaming, Diversity, and Health, Room 3 – Game Development and Engineering. Welcome speeches were given in each room at 0900 by the room host, with the first conferences of the day getting started at 0915. I was immediately impressed by two things on arriving at the event. First, the level of organisation and professionalism displayed by the organisers and volunteers running the day. Secondly, the level and depth of speaker they brought together, including, but not limited to, content creators, educators, developers – both indie and otherwise, producers, directors, and more CEOs than you could dare count. There were 27 separate conferences to attend over the day, more than any one person could view, so this was a pick and choose affair.
I first stuck my head into “State of the Indie-stry”, a talk on the games industry as it stands in Ireland, by Jen Carey. Jen is the founder of Fickle Games, and a board member of IMIRT. Why Indie-stry you ask? Well, as Jen herself explained, there are no AAA studios developing games in Ireland, only Indie devs. So this was the main focus of the speech. Jen covered how we can draw big studios to Ireland, how and why the government must get involved, and issues arising with games education in Ireland which may preclude us from being a draw to bigger studios. Articulate, concise, and well delivered, the standard of speaker began very high and was maintained throughout the day.
The point of gaming education was followed on again in “Gap between Game Development and education”. Taking form as a panel discussion, the talk was chaired by Professor Gary O’Reilly, Director of the Doctoral Training Programme in Clinical Psychology at UCD.
Joining him onstage were David William (Pulse College), John P Healy (Dublin IT), and Neil Gannon (IT Sligo). This was a well-informed talk, to say the least. Prof O’Reilly popped the questions, giving each man time to answer, and further discuss pints as they came. Subjects covered included current gaming educational standards, development of talent for the gaming industry, and continuing progress in career guidance for prospective game developers and/or students.
Cormac O Conaire of Design Partners spoke about the development of peripherals for gaming in “Designing Gear for Gamers”. The talk detailed the various phases in development, from initial concept to on-shelf product. Design Partners Client Engagement Director Ronan Fitzsimons was on hand to sit down with GamEir and speak about Dublin Games Summit, the Irish gaming community, and building those all-important peripherals:
“There’s a huge gaming community here, but not necessarily everybody coming together in one place, so we thought it (DGS) would be a great opportunity for us to represent hardware, and peripheral design… and of course, there’s a huge amount of talent, in design and development. (In Ireland) The community could do a lot better, if it had a lot more support, maybe from government. But also, helping each other, in a more cohesive and team based way.
Design Partners are an end to end design consultancy… A lot of agencies have gone the route of designing in digital, but for handheld devices, where comfort and ergonomics is of huge importance, we handcraft…”
Design Partners also had a stand set up on the day, with a full display of developed tech. There was a Logitech mouse shown from the initial mould phase to the finished article, several cameras, and headsets, as well as a wrist strap DP developed that can control a drone… Cool.
In between each conference, there was a 15-minute break, allowing the next speaker to set up, the professionals to network, and people like me to buzz around poking my nose into the various goings-on. Edgescan founder and CEO Eoin Keary took the time to talk with me about cyber security. Edgescan were there as sponsors of Dublin Games Summit, plus Eoin himself gave a speech “Hack and Slash”, about the unglamorous but highly important issue of data protection and hack defence.
“We’re all technologists, or all gamers. Edgescan have a lot of clients in the gaming industry… There’s a lot of technologies that converge in terms of gaming, everything from voice over IP to payment systems, micropayments, websites, web applications to games themselves, and all that data is converging. There’s been a lot of hacks in the last year even… from source code theft, to games hackers…If it’s a game, or a financial services application or a retail shop, it’s all software, it all runs on the internet, and it all has vulnerabilities…”
Thanks, Eoin, now I’m paranoid.
For anyone involved in the industry this was a rock-solid event. Dublin Games Summit provided any amount of networking opportunities, informative discussions, and industry expertise. I only wish I could have stayed longer, or split myself in three because there was so much more going on than I witnessed. Aeonspark has highlighted themselves with an excellent event, and we can only look forward to their next event, Dublin Games Festival. If Dublin Games Summit was for the professionals, then Dublin Games Festival will be for the gamers.
And you can bet GamEir will be there.