Monday 27 July 2015

Develop Conference 2015 - Being a Mother != the End of Making Games

What is Develop Conference? 

If you’ve not been before, Develop Conference in Brighton is probably the biggest UK developer event.  Amazing talks, free expo and of course fantastic networking opportunities (read parties).  This year marks my fourth conference, and this years felt very different as it is the first where I’ve taken on more of an active role.  Don’t get me wrong, attending the talks can be incredibly insightful and inspiring (check out Rami’s keynote for example).  Even if you just rock up to the bar and chat the day away with fellow developers you can absolutely get a lot out of the three days that is Develop Conference. It’s just this time I decided to sign up for the game jam and put myself forward as a speaker.  

Taking Part

Way back in the year the call for speakers happened and so I threw my name in the hat.  Alex and I put forward a talk on how not to indie, Des put me in for a panel on how being an indie is not easy and I nominated myself as a noob speaker.  Well after the first two talks got rejected, third time was indeed the charm (pro tip here, if you really want to take part put yourself forward as much as possible!).

Closer to the day the announcement for places in the game jam surfaced and as it’s been such a long time since I last jammed (and I already had a babysitter for the week - thanks again Aunty Vicky) I booked places (Alex needed more convincing, but I booked him in anyway).

The Game Jam

So 16 hours is a super short amount of time to make a game, but this is a jam and we’re all about the challenge!  Oli teamed up with us once more and we felt good about having a bit of fun with a silly little game.  So the theme was announced as ‘Pebbles’ and we were off.

Alex was all about using the pebbles as counters and to maybe revive ‘Trowerstone’* but this seemed really dull for me, and as the artist it wouldn’t leave me much to do apart from making the best goddamn pebbles 16 hours can buy… So I put forward the idea of using the pebbles to make tiny golems and BOOM!  Tiny Golem was born.  The POA we settled on was that we would have a box of procedurally generated pebbles with different statistics attached to them - big pebbles were slow with lots of health, small shiny pebbles were fast and flat pebbles were stable - the player would then pick 6 (head, body arms and legs) to create their golem who would then be unleashed on a sand castle.  The golem would attack the castle whilst the castle defended itself with cannons, the aim to destroy as much as possible before the tide came in.  The player would have indirect control over the golem, choosing to be defensive (and slower), normal or charging (fast but vulnerable).

We began.  Oli created the pebbles using shader magic and Alex wrote the animation (all in code, none of these fancy Unity animation tools) and I got onto some UI and sand castle production.  There was pizza and drinks provided (thanks Square Collective for sponsoring!) and by midnight on the first day we were quietly confident that we would get what we set out to do done.  If you’ve not game jammed before, this line of thinking is basically what gets you in trouble.

Next day and the final 8 hours and we had lots of lovely visitors and could see we were going to have to drop some stuff.  So Ken (Wong) was kinda right, he said we would get 45% done, I reckon we managed about 60%.  We also had a fab visit from Luca (Redwood) who gave us loads of coffee (if you want to make friends at a game jam - bring coffee).  So the tide was dropped (because don’t do water in a game jam) it became golem vs. castle and the indirect control was dropped so you really had to choose your pebbles wisely!  But we finished (right on the nose) and have a very playable game!

A very playable game that only went a won!  I knew there would be judging and a prize, but I didn’t realise the trophy would be so nice!  Now we can get the asymmetric multiplayer in where one player builds the castle and another the golem, and more defences, leaderboards and sharing to social media.  If anyone would like to fund the mobile release we also have plans for golem resurrection, gatcha special pebbles and for monetization ;)  

Micro Talk

The jam was a nice distraction from the bubbling fear that was starting to surface as the talk drew nearer.  I maybe didn’t really think this through. I’m not very good at public speaking, I absolutely want to be a positive influence in the games industry and particularly for women and parents, but that means I have to put myself out there, so here I am bidding for a full talk slot at next years conference.

The format for the talk was, a group of new budding speakers had 3 minutes each to talk on one of a collection of topics and then be rated by the audience.  I chose ‘What I Learned by Accident’, which basically gave me license to talk about anything in my indie career as it all began ‘by accident’.  I almost didn’t talk about being a parent and an indie developer, but after a confidence boosting chat with another female game lady dev and on reading an article about ‘mother shaming’ in the workplace (it’s not just games that struggle) I decided to run with it.  

There is a drop in the number of women in the industry in their mid 30s, and we think it is because they are having children and not coming back to the games industry.  The point of my 3 minute rant was we should hire more parents. Why?  Because if you want team members who are not just committed to making good games but also committed to your business succeeding then hire people who have responsibilities outside their work that mean they really, really need to hold down a job!  Obviously we’re not going to want to work overtime, or crunch (because no one does), but to make sure we can leave the office on time we will work harder and smarter in the time we have.  No one multitasks like a parent.  For example, whilst waiting to give the talk, I was texting my sister instructions on how to prepare dinner for Willow.      

Well the talk seemed to resonate with the audience, after all the talks were given and the cheer-ometer had whooped it’s last whoop, I was declared the winner!

So What Next?

Now I have 12 months to prepare to do it all again, but this time maybe stress less about my talk!  So back to work it is, and hopefully some more talk opportunities along the way!  

*A game for another post methinks.

Monday 20 April 2015

Tiny Red Riding Hood Dev Diary 02 : Best Laid Plans

O' mice an' men oft go astray.

Well, last time I had hoped to get a lot done before showing my progress off at the next Brighton Indies.  Suffice to say I didn't quite get there.

It's not all my fault or all doom and gloom for that matter.  Interrupting my progress was the very awesome Space Krieg Jam that we hosted, Alex has taken up gainful employment which has had a massive effect on the work/life balance and Willow has been a bit poorly and needed lots of cuddles and attention.

Also some things happened which have maybe slightly altered my perspective on the game.  Mostly the release of A Day In The Woods, which I think just looks a lot better than where I seem to be heading and has made me question everything (OK not really, just how it looks).

So time to turn it off and on again.

Not a false start.

That is to say everything up to this point hasn't been a complete waste of time.  As I said before this is a learning process and part of that means throwing stuff away and starting over with all the juicy new knowledge and skills you now have!

So what's happening?

It's OK just not right.
Red and Trees re-do.  There's more to this than me getting my knickers in a twist over a better looking game.  Red is kind of broken.  She hasn't skinned well and has lots of one sided polys which don't play well in Unity.  I want to retain her look, I just need to make her better, and probably man up and face UV unwrapping her (*shudder*).  The trees on the other hand are just not English forest enough for me and far too simple.  They did the job of introducing me to low poly modeling and will do fine as place holder trees, but they just don't look right.  I need to make low poly trees that resemble oak and fir trees.

NavMesh, State machine and Lists.  So here's a whole bunch of things that are new to me!  At the last Unity and Cake meet up I went to these things cropped up.  Using a NavMesh to help Red navigate the woods in a less linear manner, an introduction to state machines and how characters animations interact, and finally using lists, which I'm sure I do know but then I really don't!  Basically if I want the apples to appear in different locations on the tree, it has been advised that the best way to do this is to have a list of possible locations on the tree which do or do not get populated with an apple.


Tomorrow is the final Unity and Cake meet up.  After that Kerry will be busy nailing the public version and then the show hits the road as the newly branded Make, Play, Code.  And I really want to have a working prototype ready!  So, in the spirit of keeping it small and iterating on what I've done the aim for tomorrow evening is:

  • Have a basic UI in place
  • Have the apples appear on the tree
  • Have the player count (tap) the apples

I'll still be using the assets I have for now, once I get this much working we'll look at making it all look less generic and just nicer!

I wish I could Blender better...

Monday 23 March 2015

Tiny Red Riding Hood: Dev Diary 01.

So here we go, a dev diary!  I'm going to try and document my first bash at creating a game myself.  Obviously I will have help along the way, I've already had help up to this point, but for the most part I will be flying solo on this.  So episode one of the dev diary - what I intend to do.


The major force driving this project is that I make something Willow enjoys interacting with, and can learn from.  Also I want to try and make an interactive book app that improves on what's already available.  What this app won't do is replace parent and child time.  There will be no narration, mommy or daddy will still have to read along with Willow and give praise when she gets interactions correct.

Things that I will be keeping in mind throughout the project:

  • Short and simple
    • As my first run at this, it needs to be short enough and simple enough for me to finish it before getting distracted or disheartened! 
  • Fun for Willow!
    • This is important as what I think might be fun is probably not entirely in line with what is actually fun for a toddler!
  • That it's a learning project
    • As much as I would love for this to be my first solo released game, this is my first go!  This is for me to learn and to try and make something fun for Willow, if ultimately I need to throw this one in the trash and start over, that's what I'll do. 

Vertical Slice

Looking forest-y! 
Normally I don't like this approach but there's a couple of reasons why I'm going this route:
  • Show and tell.  Brighton Indies meet up is in a week and a bit, I want something to show off!  It's really important to get a broader opinion on what I'm making and I know there are a few parents who attend so hopefully they might have some insight, or if their wee ones are of the right age they might help with some user testing!
  • Proof of concept.  Mostly to myself over anyone else, show that I can do this.
  • Test the waters with Willow.  I don't think there's such a thing as too young to try and teach Willow, but there may well be too young to get any meaningful feedback!  Will she engage with it?  Will it seem like she likes it?
The section of the game I will be making is what I'm dubbing a 'forest section'.  Story wise Little Red is pretty simple.  Mom sends you off to Grans, you meet the woodcutter or wolf (depending on the version) along the way, you get to Grandma's and the wolf has taken her place, you stop the wolf.  That's it.  Just the 4 beats.  As with the other Little Red Story apps I've played the meat of the 'game play' is in the walk from Little Red's to Grandma's house, or the 'forest sections', and there can be as many of these as I like.

For this vertical slice I will be making a game where you need to collect apples.

Where I am so far  

So far I've started on making the art assets having decided to go for the low poly look.  This means getting back into 3D, and how I wish I was using Maya!  Now Blender is pretty good, and considering it's free, it's actually very comprehensive.  I just wish it was more intuitive!  It took me such a long time to make a simple tree, but once I got my head around Blenders many hotkeys the following tree took a mere hour and a rock no time at all!

Perhaps foolishly this has encouraged me to attempt a 3D character for the game.  Now I know it's going to take me some time to make, rig and animate, but I've gotten much faster with Blender after only a couple of days so I hope that in a weeks time I can have a rudimentary character up and skipping.  As I've said before, this is a learning curve, I'll probably re-do all of the art as I get better.

By this time next week

  • A skipping Tiny Red Character
  • Forest section, apple tree and apples modeled
  • Sample level of picking either red or green apples
  • Some basic UI in place    

Wish me luck!


Monday 16 March 2015

The Mother I Never Knew I'd Become

I've said before that one thing about becoming a mother that really excited me was the idea of making games for and with Willow.  I decided that the game I would start developing as part of the Unity and Cake meet ups would be my first attempt at an interactive book for Willow.  Obviously I'm really excited about this, it's something I've had in mind since before I was showing, but now that I'm doing it I'm finding it's not nearly as simple as I thought it would be.

Willow's already a gamer.

Little Red Riding Hood

When I was thinking about what games I would make for Willow, I had a grand idea of a woven fairy tale land where classic characters from different stories, fables and nursery rhymes would all live together in a big fantasy world.  But this would be a huge undertaking!  Firstly it needs a lot of writing, and not just taking the old stories and modernizing them or adapting them but also linking all the characters and weaving their stories together.  Secondly it would require a massive amount of art, far to much for just little old me at the moment.  And finally it would need skills to produce that I just don't have yet.  I still want to make this game, but not yet.  For my first solo project I need to start much smaller.

I don't know why but when I think of children's stories the first one that comes to mind is Little Red Riding Hood, so I'm going to start with this one and work up to the big world.  I thought I knew the story pretty well but wanted to do some research, so I brought Willow some fairy tale books (thanks again to everyone who gave us gift cards for her birthday) and downloaded a bunch of Little Red story apps.

Turns out Little Red Riding Hood isn't nearly as warm and fuzzy as I remembered...

Nerfing the Brothers Grimm

So I always thought I wouldn't be the type of mother who won't let their child fall over, eat dirt or grow up with the same stories that I did (yes Willow is going to know all about the Thundercats).  And whilst she will happily eat floor fluff (as hard as we try to stop her), and has had more than a few tumbles leaning to walk, we get to Little Red Riding Hood and suddenly I'm reaching for the bubble wrap and thinking about how I can make the ending less horrid.

For those of you who don't remember how it all ends (spoilers) the hunts man hears the wolf snoring (after a heavy meal of Grandma and Little Red he needs a power nap), so he cuts open his big belly to retrieve Nan and Red.  They then decide to stuff the wolf with rocks and sew him back up so in the future they'll hear him rattling before they see him.  Lovely.  

Not what we want...
 Now as a story at bed time I an see that this is totally fine.  We can make all the noises and rumble Willow's tummy, and when it comes to all the bits that are a bit nasty, well that's left to Willow's cute and adorable imagination.  My problem, and why I feel I need to nice it up a bit, is that when you're putting this into a game, and asking the player to interact with the story points, suddenly you've got a cross between Surgeon Simulator and Cooking Mama World: Hobbies and Fun.  Which isn't exactly what I want.

I'm not saying that it's all as bad as say the original story (before the Grimm's lightened it up a bit), or Todd McFarlane's vision of Little Red, but it still doesn't sit well with me.  I'd rather not have both Grandma and Little Red cut out of the wolf.  There must be a better way of telling the story.   

And A Better Way to Play

Whilst doing research into story apps I came across a lot of criticism for interactive story books.  One article in particular quotes author and critic Nicolette Jones as saying "I’ve never seen a picture book-app that does something that a book doesn’t do better" and having looked at 6 different Little Red Riding Hood story apps on iOS I would have to say she might have a point.

On the one hand I'm really disappointed with the apps available.  The interaction really doesn't add anything.  If all you're doing is moving the character across the screen or selecting a fork in the road you might as well be reading a 'chose your own adventure' version of the story.  But there is opportunity here.

Of the apps I played, the Nosy Crow version was by miles the best.
I always had it in mind that the interaction in the story would be more involved and teaching areas such as numbers, colours and letters.  Like when your little one is watching kids TV and the cartoon character on screen asks if they can see the white sock?  It doesn't matter if Willow interacts or not, the cartoon will continue by congratulating the audience on finding the sock.  This is where an app has the advantage, not only will the story wait until the child has located the sock but next time we read the story it could be a shoe or a flower that needs to be found, or this time a red sock not a white one.

Making the App

So here's the tricky bit.  Not only do I need to figure out a 'better' way of ending the story that doesn't involve cutting up the wolf, but I need to come up with interactive learning games within the story and decide how it all will look.  The games I think will be the easiest part, and the most fun to test with Willow.  How the game will look is proving to be the hardest part.

First Red doodle

A part of me knows that I'm doing this for Willow, well and for me, so how it looks needs to only appeal to us.  And she doesn't care.  She's fascinated by anything on our mini magical colour boxes, but I am my worst critic and I'm finding this part really challenging.  I can't make my mind up if it should be magical like the setting of a Ghibli film, or clean and contemporary like the Toca Boca games, or crafty and homemade like Lumino City.

At least I know Red is going to look like Willow.  

I have no idea what the forest should look like.
Right now I've a bunch of ideas for endings and lots of interactive games so I can start getting the mechanics and interface up and running (least I'll have something to show at the next Unity and Cake meet up!).  For now I'll keep hitting my head against my artistic block and hopefully something will fall out that I can use.

Next I suppose I should start worrying about Kings who murder princes and Children pushing witches into stoves...


Monday 23 February 2015

Women in Games

I've been taking part in a few Women in Games type things recently, and there's been one major theme throughout; if we're going to have a positive impact on diversity in the games industry we need to talk about it.  So here's me talking about it.

But before we get started on all the good and positive stuff, there's a not so quiet elephant in the room that I'm going to address now.  This post is not about GamerGate.  Maybe that will be a post for another time, but all you need to know from me right now is that I do not support GamerGate and if you have genuine concerns with ethics in journalism, I implore you to adopt a different hash tag.   


Recently Next Gen Skills Academy conducted a survey, of which 40% of the women employed in the UK games industry took part in.  The results from that survey show that 45% of women have experienced barriers to their career due to gender and 16% of the women who took part had experienced bullying from a superior.  

Personally my experience working in the games industry has been amazingly positive in terms of my co-workers and employers.  However, at both Game when I was a manager and at conferences such as Develop Brighton I have had to more than once defend my validity in that space.  At Game I can remember very vividly being asked on more than one occasion if there was a man around who knew about a certain game/console/accessory.  The absolute shock that caused one customer to not only double take but also completely spin on the spot when told I was the resident PS3 expert will stay with me for a long time.  And the number of people at Develop who would assume I worked in HR or PR and would be genuinely shocked that I am in fact a Designer.  One gentleman (who worked for Konami but i don't believe his actions represent his company) told me I was 'far too pretty to be in games development'.  I later found out he made one of the students there feel so uncomfortable that she had to leave.  So there are still dinosaurs in the industry and indeed in the consumer space who feel girls aren't welcome in the tree house, but thankfully this is happening less and less and soon I'm sure we'll only remember when it was an issue.

Yes I'm a gamer, no not a fake one!

Based on the information collected by Next Gen Skills Academy a series of workshops were set up, the first of which was an Empowerment workshop with speakers covering 'Finding Your Voice & Understanding Your Personal Branding' and 'Cultivating your Capacity for Creative Leadership'.

My takeaway from the work shop is that I'm already a fairly empowered individual.  I've been fighting against the boys' tree house rules since SEGA vs NINTENDO was the playground banter, I spent most of my first pay as you go top ups helping male friends complete Soul Reaver and Metal Gear Solid and yes I am buying XCOM for myself not my boyfriend, and no I don't think it'll be harder than Dark Souls so are we done here?  It's not that I would say I'm a confrontational person but I won't let people think I'm less capable at (then) playing and (now) making games.  

The second talk was really useful to me in terms of learning skills for delivering talks to groups of people.  As I said, a theme running through these past few weeks has been we need to talk about this more, especially to encourage the next generation of game makers.  When I was at school I was told that making games wasn't a real job (!), if I can make a difference to any young girls playing games who want to make games in the future I will happily go to schools and show them that they can absolutely do that and it's not just for the boys.  I agree we need more female speakers to step up and get involved by being positive influences, it's why I was happy to talk at the Eurogamer careers surgery, why I wanted to talk at Animex and why I'm putting myself forward to speak at Develop.  So to pick up a few tips on how to do that was very useful indeed.  

Eurogamer, Konsoll and Animex

Unity and Cake

Kerry Turner is an experienced developer and coder who decided to start a meet up to teach a group of her female friends how to make games in Unity.  Kind of like a knitting circle but with laptops instead of knitting needles, retaining the tea and cakes of course. 
 This is a perfect example of how to influence and change the industry (for the better) from the inside by helping empower a group of women to be able to create their own games.  

Aside anything else it's an amazing evening spent with wonderful women, and on top of this we are learning invaluable skills and will (eventually) have a game at the end of it!  I can't thank Kerry enough for setting it up and inviting me to be one of the 'guinea pigs' for the courses content.  I do need to decide what my game will be, so far I'm making a Myst like but I'm not sure that's what I want at the end of this.  What's also very cool is that I get to come home and teach Alex some tricks he didn't know, he's already very upset that my code best practice is better than his.

MCV Top 100 Women in Games

Awesome networking.

So this is the big one.  Making the top 100 women in the UK games industry list!  I was very shocked!  Especially when you read some of the other women on this list.  Putting me up there with Dr. Jo Twist, Gabrielle Kent, Roberta Lucca, Siobhan Reddy and many more industry veterans, studio founders and women who have a profound influence on our industry.

Attending the awards was another really positive event with lots of talk about being strong role models for other women in and coming up in the industry.

So when I told my mom I made the list she asked 'what for, you haven't done anything?' (thanks mom), but it did get em thinking about why I should be on the list, or rather if I should be (impostor guilt).  And you know what, I should be.  I don't think anyone should underestimate just how hard it is to make video games, or rather make successful video games as it is, never mind the fact we completed and released two games within a year AND had a baby at the same time!

I hope my story is inspiring to women in and choosing to be in the games industry.  Yes you do belong here and no having a baby does not end your career if you don't want it to.  I worked on Glyph Quest full time until two weeks before the baby arrived, and even then I was still doing press and community management.  And we continued to work even with Willow crawling around, sitting on our laps and otherwise bothering us for attention.  Full time mum and full time game developer.  

It's not easy, but then anything worth doing never is.

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Animex 2015

Since the first Animex I attended back in 2009 I've had a real soft spot for the festival.  Amazing speakers, inspiring talks and workshops, and a fantastic networking opportunity for students/grads to get some advice, tips and feedback on portfolios.  Back in 2009 I attended as a graduate looking for help and a break into the industry, this year was my fourth Animex, and my first as a speaker.

Indie Game Day

This year's Animex saw the first Indie Game Day.  Speakers included Georg Baker, Michael and James Brown, Richard Franke, Barry Meade, Ian McClellen, Alex and myself.  There was a huge range of experiences and advice on offer.  

Georg (A Brave Plan Ltd) gave 110 (!) slides of invaluable advice to budding independent developers with so much gusto it was a hard opening talk to beat!  The Gang Beast's (Boneloaf) were next up showing an insight into the process that has lead up to one of the most exciting indie games coming. Basically; prototype, play, iterate and once you have something to show, show it and use that feedback.  We followed after a short break giving advice on what we did, and why you should do what we say and not what we did (another blog post methinks).  After lunch we were treated to the musings of Barry (Fireproof) giving an inspiring talk on why you should make the games you want to play.  Up next was the fabulous Richard Franke (Magic Notion) talking about Kitty Powers' Matchmaker, a perfect example of a personal project driven by passion.  Then we had a very quick talk from Ian (Plug and Play) about marketing your games core message (your 'X') before the almighty panel session come game show for all the speakers and hosted by Alex.

If you thought a panel couldn't be gamified you clearly don't know Alex... (Also my team won thanks to my brilliant team mates Georg and Rich!).

Wow, what a day. Every Animex gives you a surge of inspiration, and Indie Day was no exception, we went to the bar that night buzzing with ideas and creativity, and this was just my first day of talks (we missed the start of the week and the VFX/Animation talks) there was so much more to come.

The Game Bridge in the student bar was the evenings entertainment.  Loads of local (and not so local) developers showing of their games and the incredible Ms Powers came along to spice up the evening.

Animex Game

The later half of the week was all things game industry and again, amazing speakers giving inspiring talks.  I wish I had made it to all of the talks as the ones I did catch had me enthralled.

Ken Wong (Ustwo) was the first talk I caught, encouraging this new age of developers to shake the shackles of what we've let ourselves believe makes a game, a 'game'.  Instead make experiences, channel emotions, produce works of art, think outside the (x)box.  Following the pink haired hipster force was Nicole Stark (Disparity Games) who gave one of the best openings to a talk I've ever seen.  Stating that she is a self confessed 'fake' mountain biker.  Nicole has the gear, knows the lingo but cycles faster uphill than down.  And despite getting horribly in the way of  'genuine' mountain bikers she has never been made to feel that she does not belong on that trail and as a part of that community.  Something that our gaming community could really learn from.  Nicole's talk was another personal journey in game development and the battle of balancing work and life.

I then skipped tracks to catch Jenifer Clixby (Lionhead) talking about her role as a cat herder (producer).  Some really useful advice in this talk especially her personal tip to always leave the 'TO' field empty when writing an email.  That way you can't accidentally send it unfinished, without attachments and/or full of errors, also you have to really think if you want to send that message.  Useful if you're in a bad/angry mood.  Following up this super useful talk was another amazingly helpful session from Wyeth Johnson (Epic) on how to give and ask for usable feedback.  Ask for specific feedback, and don't rush your reply, give yourself time.  It's a skill and it takes work to get good at so don't shy from it.  Closing the day was Nathan Stapley (Double Fine) showing us some of the beautiful art behind Broken Age.  I loved this talk and had to start making notes on things I want to try for our next Glyph Quest game (more on that another time).

Nathan gearing up for awesomeness and the doodle I stole after his talk. Haha!

Players' Lounge

Another of the networking events this week (and another evening with the irrepressible Ms. Powers!) held at the student bar is the Players' Lounge, the evening where you get to meet the speakers.  This evening also held a charity auction for Special Effect, speakers bring along game merchandise, usually unique, limited and/or signed, and this year auctioned by special guest Kitty Powers.  My contribution to the action was an original Cthuttlefish drawing (Sharpie and water colour on canvas, signed), we were also giving away the opportunity to be a character/enemy/monster in our next Glyph Quest title.  This was auctioned for a whopping £260 making it the joint highest win of the evening (matching the signed Monumnet Valey print).  

Wrap Party

The advantage of being a speaker at Animex is attending the wrap party.  Every year there's an evening of saying thanks to all those behind the festival and the speakers for making it what it is.  What was really special about this years party was Alex taking home the Animex Honorary Award!  Now of course I have to work on getting one for myself so we can have matching bookends! 


And this is really whats so special about Animex, the networking.  This year I was blessed to also meet Phil Co (Valve), Gary Napper (Creative Assembly), Andrew Walsh, Allesandro Taini (Ninja Theoy), Zach Parish (Disney) and Michael Molcher (2000AD) and catch up with some old friends and Animex regulars.  Played some excellent Mafia games and was introduced to the fantastic Escape and Super Fight games (thanks Jim!).

Seriously epic Mafia game.

There's always so many excellent speakers at Animex, hand picked by the wonderful Gabrielle Kent.  Getting to meet people in the industry that I have nothing but respect for is a treat year on year. 

Thanks Animex!  Please have me back next time!