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2016 Board Election Candidates

Click here for the board member election results for 2016 >>>>http://nzgda.com/about-us/board/<<<<


The NZ Game Developers Association is a not-for-profit organisation run by a diverse group of game developers from around New Zealand. You can learn more about our role and activities (including the 2016 Activity Plan) here: http://nzgda.com/about-us/what-is-the-nzgda/

July 15th – online ballots will be emailed to all current NZGDA members and voting begins

August 3rd – voting closes. Annual General Meeting is held at 5pm at AUT University in Auckland and results of the election are announced and shared on NZGDA.com

More information about the elections here.

Here are the candidates’ statements and biographies for the next AGM:

Chairperson (1 position available)


 

JamesEverett-2016

James Everett
Running for NZGDA Chairperson

I am a lead game designer with Magic Leap in Wellington, coordinator of social meetup Wellingtaru, and a current NZGDA board member. I’ve been a game developer for nearly 15 years, working at studios across Canada and in New Zealand. During my first year on the NZGDA board I have coordinated the judging of the GDC Scholarship program, researched and recommended a new voting system for the upcoming elections, and I’ll be coordinating this year’s KiwiGameStarter.

I’m standing for Chairperson of the NZGDA in order to lead the following initiatives:

Update of the NZGDA Constitution

Facilitate an update of the NZGDA constitution to:

  • ● Move board elections from August to April, to ensure that the board is well established prior to NZGDC.
  • ● Require distribution of minutes from each board meeting, so that members have more visibility into the activities of the board.
  • ● Begin a discussion around 2 year terms for board members, with half of the board being up for election every 12 months.
  • ● And any other items the board and membership wish to bring forward for consideration.

 

Update the NZGDA Membership System: Update the NZGDA membership system to provide game developers with a page on NZGDA.com to manage their contact details and verify their membership status. This will allow the organisation to accurately track its membership count, and be sure that our communications are reaching all members.

Broader Community Engagement: New Zealand game developers have a lot to offer their local communities, and the NZGDA can be an excellent catalyst for those discussions. I foresee initiatives like GameDevs go to School, where developers can visit educational institutions to share what game development is all about. Programs like this can encourage young people to consider games as a career, and help the industry diversify our talent pipeline early, when it matters most.

Secretary (1 position available)


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Joe Chang
Running for NZGDA Secretary

I want to help grassroots indie developers and students become successful/self-sustaining in the New Zealand game development community.

Description: As a relatively new indie myself, I know just how hard it is to get somewhere in making games.  Having released games commercially, I’ve learned that there are many moving parts to having a sustainable studio.  I’d like to nurture a positive, supportive environment where we can share our collective knowledge and all be very successful!

Background: I started making games in 2012 and I’ve been playing games as early as I can remember. Games are my greatest passion! Previously, I worked in corporate IT as a software tester and then a team leader/test manager. After winning a few games competitions including the inaugural Kiwi Game Starter, I decided that I wanted to give back to the community by joining the NZGDA board last year.

Achievements

Started The Arcade Auckland (TAA): TAA is a very successful shared space for indie game devs to work together and collaborate as well as a means to interface with the public. We currently have 2 venues: a corporate space for day-to-day work and a public facing venue at MOTAT for public events and user testing.  I arranged the corporate space after the other indies stated they needed better facilities (e.g. flexible opening hours, parking, aircon, security, better location etc)

Since its inception TAA has grown to become very popular with indies and students alike.  I spearheaded the original setup and currently manage the community and venue. My personal dream is to turn TAA into a central hub for independent game development!

Refined many internal processes of the NZGDA. I’ve introduced many systems to the association including implementing Xero as our main accounting system, installing google apps, and setting up our interim forum.

Acted as a Representative at Casual Connect Asia. I went to Singapore earlier this year and spoke to many publishers and other partners to bring home funding options to other indies.  I established many valuable contacts that will be useful for our community in future.

 

Board Members (7 positions available)


 

Sam Batty
Running for NZGDA Board Member

I’m a student currently studying a Bachelor of Creative Technologies
at Media Design School. I am passionate about the game development
community here in New Zealand and am always looking for ways I can
help new developers and promote game development in the local
community.

I believe I am very proactive in the Auckland game development scene, particularly with the indie community and providing information to the public with how to get involved in game development. I attend a lot of events around Auckland and most recently I volunteered at the GlobalGame Jam hosted at Media Design School. I have also been an active member at the newly established Arcade Auckland as part of the Idea Collective at MOTAT, I frequented this space to show work as informal demonstrations and answer questions from the public about game development in Auckland. I would to do more work like this to promote game development in the local community, with the hope that I can help extend the reach of the NZGDA in future.

As a board member, I would like to be a part of organising events and demonstrations to see the public engage with this community and become excited about what we do. As part of a small team myself I have a strong focus toward helping indies, providing knowledge where I can and solutions I have found to development roadblocks. I also have
experience in social media activity and I am more than willing to help with the online presence of the NZGDA. Personally, I think it would be fantastic to grow the engagement of game development in the public
eye, providing a platform for the community to interact.

 

tara

Tara J Brannigan
Running for NZGDA Board Member

Tara isn’t overly fond of writing bios for herself in the third person. If you’re interested in learning more about her experience, your best bet is to check out her LinkedIn profile.

Bullet-Point Background Bio:

  • ● 10+ years in the gamedev industry (Xbox, PopCap, PikPok, Weta Workshop)
  • ● XP in a variety of roles (QA, PM, Producer, Community Marketing, Consultant, etc)
  • ● Former board member for Seattle Metals Guild, responsible for yearly symposium planning
  • ● Active advocate for diversity in the industry. Co-founder of Women in Games NZ
  • ● Writer of things, teacher of workshops, speaker at events
  • ● Creator & maintainer of the NZ Game Devs Twitter list

 

The NZ game development industry has exceptional potential. In order to succeed in the global market, NZ needs to not just make great games, but have an active, approachable presence within the larger industry. Should I be elected onto the board, my focus would be centered around improving two critical areas:

Communications: Kiwi dev teams punch above their weight and make some seriously amazing games. We all know that, but does the larger industry? Using my background in communications and social media strategy, I will work to increase the visibility of NZ game developers in the global market. Additionally, I will work to level up the NZGDA member communications strategy via basic process improvements.

Inclusivity in the Industry: Innovation and a diversity of ideas are critical to the long term success of the industry. NZ has the opportunity to stand out as a champion for a more welcoming, inclusive industry. Building a supportive community is the first step; Actively helping to create the opportunities and initiatives that will foster growth is crucial. With my background in building inclusive communities, I am confident I will have a positive impact in this area.

Any questions? Feel free to drop me a line @kindofstrange!

 

 

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Niamh Fitzgerald
Running for NZGDA Board Member

Niamh has been a gamer literally since before she could walk. She completed a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science at Otago University, and worked as a programmer briefly before a 4 year stint in a government IT sector in a variety role. Niamh has worked as contractor Project Manager for the last 3 years and is also currently studying game art and design at Media Design School in Auckland.

She specializes in filling gaps in projects, and being the organised glue that keeps things together and running smoothly. Niamh would bring a unique perspective to the board as a current student with existing industry experience. If you want to read more, check out her LinkedIn profile or hit her up on Twitter @niasphinx.

The highlights:

  • ● Unusual half programmer-half artist hybrid
  • ● Experienced project manager and general gap-filler in projects
  • ● Actively involved in Women in Games NZ, and Women studying games (Australasian)

 

Goals:

  • ● Promote inclusiveness and diversity in games industry across New Zealand
  • ● Facilitate more students to actively engage in the local industry during their studies
  • ● Assist with management of  NZGDA events, workshops and game jams

 

 

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Rox Flame
Running for NZGDA Board Member

Rox is an impassioned enthusiast in the arena of fun. Focused first and foremost on ensuring life is enjoyable for himself and those around him, everything else (the ambitious stack of projects and companies he’s involved in) is a result of, and guided by this principle.

A strong desire to do “all the fun things” and seek opportunity in the strangest of places, has seen Rox involved in many interesting scenarios, from teaching web media in the Kingdom of Bahrain during the Arab spring, doing risky live software development live streamed to a conference, public speaking at various events, handling logistics of 10 bands at once for crazy parties, co-creating a Kiwiburn theme camp on a whim, and creating various digital/physical crossover (augmented reality) art pieces for public enjoyment.

Rox has been a hobbyist game developer for 20 years, and recently won the 2015 KiwiGameStarter award for his game Dynacorp (@dynacorpgame).

On the more formal side of things, Rox has been a business owner, co founder of Xequals for the last 6 years as a Solutions Ninja / Art director, and co founder of Level up,  Wellington’s only game-dev specific co-working studio, situated right in the beating heart of the city.

In his proposed Role of “Ambassador of fun” Rox would bring a pair of cat ears, a silly demeanour, and a curly moustache to the board, all things that are very very serious, sort of, kind of, maybe…

Who knows what Rox would bring to the NZ game dev community? (Asides from some rad talks, weird art stuff and a game-dev shared space) He certainly isn’t sure, as uncertainty, and embracing the flow of life is a big part of the completely fictional invented role he has self assigned 😉

Vote fun, vote for the unexpected, vote for the random guy in the cat ears, vote Rox Flame.

 

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Edwin Lim
Running for NZGDA Board Member

I am a partner at Hudson Gavin Martin, a leading boutique technology, media and intellectual property law firm, and have been an NZGDA committee member since 2013. I have specialised in technology, media and IP law for over 17 years. My main areas of practice are technology and IP development, licensing, commercialisation and protection. I work with clients in various industry sectors including the software, gaming, media and entertainment sectors.

I enjoy helping New Zealand software businesses succeed and would like to see the New Zealand gaming industry grow and be included as part of this success. With this goal in mind, I would like to continue to contribute to the NZGDA and the committee by providing another perspective on issues that affect the New Zealand gaming industry, providing governance and legal advice to the committee, lobbying our members’ interests, helping with the organisation of NZGDC (e.g. stream curation in 2015 and 2016), presenting to members on legal issues, sponsoring the KiwiGameStarter, and connecting the NZGDA with other industry associations that I am involved in, such as the New Zealand Software Association and GridAKL.

I have a passion for technology and games. At a professional level, in addition to my law degree, I have a BCom(Hons) degree majoring in Information Systems, so understand the technical, commercial and legal issues involved in technology projects. At a personal level, I have always had an interest in games and have gone through generations of consoles and gaming devices – from my Commodore 64, Amiga 500 and Atari Lynx right through to today’s generation of sophisticated gaming technology. My only challenge is finding the time to play them!

I am also an executive committee member of the New Zealand Software Association and the Secretary of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council.

 

 

ben

Ben Kenobi
Running for NZGDA Board Member

Ben Kenobi has a background in architecture and game design, and is employed at Colab and teaches in the Bachelor and Masters of Creative Technologies and Art & Design programmes at AUT. After completing a Masters in Art and Design in the area of game environment design and story implementation he worked for 2 years as a game designer at Gameloft Auckland and is currently working on a PhD project on game-play aesthetics.

Personal Strategies

1. Nurture a supportive and inclusive local game dev community through events, meetups and online dialogue to:

  • ● Provide networks to industry partners, academic institutions, funding partners and the NZGDAboard members.
  • ● Develop a unique NZ voice by promoting inter-disciplinary approaches to game development.
  • ● Facilitate industry partnerships with game research projects.
  • ● Represent the creative and humanitarian gaming community.

 

2. Create new entrepreneurial pathways for new and independent game makers through govt and private funding policy changes, grass-roots funding and incubation through the Arcade and industry exposure at events and online.

3. Promote a unique NZ game dev industry through events and online representation on a global scale to:

  • ● Increase the world-wide cultural credibility of all NZ game related projects.
  • ● Promote a unique NZ game industry.

 

Current Projects

  • ● #AKLgamedev Meetup Organizer and member of the NZ Game Developers Meetup Organizers group
  • ● NZGDC Lead Organizer 2014 – 2016
  • ● KiwiJam Lead Organizer 2013 – present
  • ● WOPAW Co-Organizer
  • ● NZ Festival of Games Initiative – Coordinator
  • ● Road to GDC Initiative – Coordinator
  • ● Support of the development of The Arcade Auckland
  • ● Restructure of NZGDA operational model

 

Other Past Outcomes

  • ● Digital NatioNZ 2014 – ‘Homegrown’ Booths Coordinator and MC
  • ● Armageddon 2014 – ‘Kiwi Made Games’ Booths Coordinator
  • ● Govt relations: Visit with Hon Amy Adams, and various interviews and statements throughout the year.
  • ● Studio managers meeting – co-chair

 

steph

Stephen Knightly
Running for NZGDA Board Member
I am the previous Chairperson of the NZGDA and would like to serve on the Board this year to ensure a smooth handover and continuity.
In my day job I’m Managing Director of serious games and gamification studio InGame in Auckland and have consulted to or helped out several other New Zealand game studios and projects. We’ve made serious games for ACC, NZ Fire Service, Diary NZ and more. I’ve previously worked in the tech industry for  the likes of Xbox, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Fonterra and several universities.
I have been Chairperson of the Association from 2011-2013 then again for 2015/2016. My involvement in the industry includes founding the Auckland Game Developers Meetups in 2008, organising the first Global Game Jams in Auckland in 2010 and 2011, running the first NZGDC in 2012, coordinating our annual industry survey, and launching the KiwiGameStarter in 2014. All of these activities have since been picked up by other people and I’m confident the Association is well prepared for the future.
As a NZGDA Board member for the next year I’m particularly interested in continuing to develop programmes that support games entrepreneurs, support serious games and educational games, and to advocate for our sector with government agencies, the wider creative sector and sponsors.
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kier
Keir Rice
Running for NZGDA Board Member
I would like to give my time to help the NZGDA with its mission to grow the NZ game industry.
I have worked in the NZ games industry for the last 8 years and have contributed to 50+ games during that time.
I started out as a Technical Artist at Sidhe in 2008 I went on shortly after to be the Lead Technical artist for Sidhe/Pikpok. I then spent 2 years as the Analytics Manager for Pikpok. Most recently I have joined the team at Magic Leap once again as a technical artist.
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andrew
Andrew Lamb
Running for NZGDA Board Member
Andrew is the co­founder and lead artist of PC games developer Camshaft Software. Previously a part of the booming Melbourne games scene, Camshaft moved to Wellington in 2014 and has since grown to a 6 person studio in Petone, working on Early Access title “Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game”. Andrew also co­founded the Game Developers of Wellington meetup group in 2014, and for the past 2 years has been collaborating with Blair Willems to run monthly meetups with presentations from local and international games industry speakers. He is also one of the organizers of Global Game Jam Wellington.
Background
  • ●Founder of successful small PC games developer Camshaft Software
  • ●Co­Founder/Organizer of Game Developers of Wellington
  • ●Co­Organizer of Global Game Jam Wellington

 

Things he wants to want to do with the NZGDA

  • ● Apply lessons from the success of the Melbourne industry to help build a thriving industry in NZ
  • ● Continue growing a friendly, supportive and useful game developer community in Wellington, and collaborate with community meetups in other cities.
  • ● Create more communication and collaboration between NZ and Australian organizations such as the GDAA and IGDA chapters.
  • ● Build more initiatives to help graduates create successful small studios (incubators etc.)
  • ● Encourage communication between industry and education providers around what a good games industry education should be and how to provide good employees.
  • ● Campaign for more government support for the games industry, particularly around opening up film style grants to games.

 

 

 

Britta Pollmuller
Running for NZGDA Board Member

Britta Pollmuller is Senior Lecturer, Digital Design at Auckland University (School of Art and Design). She specialises in animation, machinima and film studies, interaction and computational design, immersive and virtual reality and games art and design. She questions creativity and how creativity is defined and identified with and around new media technologies.

Her work and research as a ‘machinimator’ (a machinima artist who makes movies in virtual realities) demonstrates the creative and innovative use of virtual spaces as an efficient and effective teaching and learning platform. Since 15 years Britta is company director of Media Projects East, now MediaProjects: www.mediaprojects.co.nz

Machinima – Making Movies in Virtual Realities

Machinima, covers the making of movies in a ‘virtual’ classroom, and shows that although virtual classroom practice is different to traditional animation classroom practice, it does present the same questions and arguments regarding the impact that culture and literacy have in creating animated films. Here, I describe the respective roles of the students and myself, as teacher, during the making of machinima films in the secure 3D world of Schome Park. I also explore the way new technology influences are being absorbed into the language and culture of young people.

I also consider how issues of creativity differ between classroom activities and virtual activities. This study considers if, by using a game platform and by producing machinima, virtual learning offers meaningful and creative learning experiences that are similar to classroom animation production. I also consider as the teacher, the sense I make of a complex, shifting world of media literacies in the ‘virtual’ classroom. Therefore, I present how new literacies relate to creativity and how it explores the relationship between pedagogy and social practice by looking at how students and teachers work together in virtual realities.

 

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Andrew Stairs
Running for NZGDA Board Member

After visiting Melbourne for the international games week in 2015, I came back to New Zealand with a renewed sense of purpose and a vision on how I could best help the New Zealand game dev community grow. A few weeks later (with the help of Rox Flame) we had turned a dusty old furniture graveyard into what is now Wellington’s only game-dev specific co-working studio. Let’s do more of this, yeah?

Background

  •  ● 10+ years in the games industry (Sidhe/PikPok/indie)
  • ● BAFTA Nominated Lead Artist for Super Monsters ate my condo (PikPok)
  • ● 10+ commercially released games (PS2/Wii/PSP/PS3/XBOX360/iOS/Android)
  • ● 20+ commercially released assets packs (Unity Asset store/Unreal marketplace)
  • ● Founder/Director of indie game developer escpodgamesCo-Founder/Director of Synty Studios a successful 3D game asset publisher
  • ● Co-Founder/Director of LevelUp Wellington a shared game dev working space in Wellington (email me for more information)
  • ● Graduate of Massey University with a degree in Visual Communication design (first class hons)
  • ● Creator/Administrator of the NZ game dev Slack chat (email me if you would like to join)
  • ● NZGDA GDC 2016 Scholarship recipient

 

As a NZGDA board member I would aim to:

  • Build a stronger community – Continue to grow LevelUp Wellington with a focus on creating a community to share knowledge and help game developers become successful.

  • Strengthen communication – Continue to build a line of communication between the games industry and education providers and create more initiatives to help graduates become successful. Promote visibility of what the NZGDA is doing for game developers.

  • Find more support – Champion more government support opportunities for the game developers

Contact [email protected]  with any questions.

 

mike

Michael Vermeulen
Running for NZGDA Board Member
Michael is an indie game developer and co-founder of Group pug as well as a lecturer at Media Design School. He teaches game design, game ethics and guides students through their final year game production.
He has previously worked at Ubisoft in Germany as a game designer. In Germany he was also involved with the Nordrhein Westfalen Game Developers community, where the focus was on bringing game developers together to share knowledge and inspire each other. He is also a founding member of IGDA New Zealand and still acts as the facilitator for the organisation. Finally, he also grows an epic beard.
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Background
  • ● Making games since he was a wee little boy
  • ● Studied programming and traditional art
  • ● Game Designer at Ubisoft Blue Byte (Anno Online, Champions of Anteria)
  • ● Lecturer at Media Design School
  • ● Founding member of IGDA New Zealand
  • ● Co-founder of indie game studio Group Pug

 

His goals

  • ● Promote diversity and equal representation in the New Zealand games industry.
  • ● Facilitate epic cooperation between NZGDA and IGDA NZ to further put the New Zealand’s games industry on the map.
  • ● Encourage sharing knowledge between developers even more.
  • ● Provide guidance and encouragement to newcomers in the industry, especially in terms of entrepreneurship.
  • ● Bring together talented people from different industries to work together on games.

 

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Blair Willems
Running for NZGDA Board Member
I love spending time with the community, and am extremely committed to its development and success.
My name is Blair and I have loved game development since I worked out how to make levels for Worms in Deluxe Paint III on the Amiga 500. I currently work in the management team at ACG Yoobee School of Design and spend a lot of time working with remote teams promoting the creative sector. I also organize the Wellington Unity User Group and co­organise both Game Developers of Wellington (with Andrew Lamb) and Global Game Jam Wellington.
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Seeking appointment as board member, here’s some things I’d like to make happen:
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Collaboration & Delegation
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There are many brilliant people in our industry putting time and passion into projects they care about. Let’s make sure they are provided leadership opportunities ­ We want our external stakeholders to realise we are a cooperative, inclusive, and communicative industry.

Let’s collaborate more with the IGDA and GDAA ­ We have plenty to gain from each other, and costs we can share and/or mitigate.

 Investment
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Let’s continue to pursue investment from Government and investors and foster more entrepreneurialism in the industry. We should make sure NZ owned studios are priority for investment. I have some great contacts in Wellington who want to be more involved in our industry.
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Let’s support projects which make the industry more understandable, measurable, and predictable for investment. We want everyone to appreciate the scope for games for business, education, and fun, as this helps it grow.
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Let’s better communicate the composition of our industry. People should see New Zealand as an ideal location for development, study, and investment.
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 Education
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New Zealand’s studios should be able to hire from our local graduate pool with confidence. Let’s work with industry to play a proactive role in moderating education, and get involved with incubating new studios. I am leading a similar project in its early stages at the moment.
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Let’s appoint student liaisons who can relate back their experiences in education, and help promote initiatives for startups and students.
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Drop me a line at [email protected]
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 mario
Mario Wynands
Running for NZGDA Board Member
 As long time participant in local industry, and as a founding and ongoing board member of the NZGDA, I’m committed to helping build a commercially sustainable ecosystem here, focusing on the challenges that  NZ developers regularly face in finding success including talent development and recruitment, access to capital, establishing international relationships, and depth of business and marketing experience.
I’m a co-founder and the Managing Director of PikPok (www.pikpok.com), a Wellington based game developer and publisher. In business for over 19 years, we’ve found critical and commercial success in the creation and digital publishing of games such as Shatter, Flick Kick Football, Into the Dead, Rival Stars Basketball, and the BAFTA nominated Monsters Ate My Condo.  I am also a graduate of Victoria University in Wellington with degrees in business management and computer science, and have studied at MIT Sloan in Boston.