IGDA Scotland: Edinburgh Meeting Roundup

It’s difficult to describe the most recent IGDA Scotland meeting in Edinburgh without making it sound like some sort of Nordic  house party. There was booze (of course there was booze…)  There were Vikings searching for Peanut Butter (who would have thought) as well as some guy bawling “WHO THE F*** ARE YOU???!!” at everyone in the room…

Needless to say this was one of the best IGDA Scotland meetings so far.

It was also quite a momentous occasion, as this completes our first lap of Scotland’s key gaming cities, and we’re not showing any signs of stopping, responding to feedback and ideas from everyone as the chapter evolves and grows. The sheer amount of community spirit around the chapter is beautiful. At one point it occurred that the venues’ projector had broken down with only a few hours before the meeting, yet within a couple of Twitter and Facebook conversations, the problem had been remedied with people coming along with their own AV gear.

We kicked off the speakers with Phil Harris from SquareGo!, talking about the elements of a good story in games, and where things have gone a bit wrong in some of today’s big money franchises. To top off the talk was a round of creating 5 noun game games, that have spawned the next generation of Triple-A Viking and Pizza Ninja based genres with a little dash of good improv.

We also had a speaker who nearly didn’t make it, thanks to our reliable public rail network that we all treasure so dearly. Luke Dicken took to the floor after he bought a train ticket to get a replacement bus service to Edinburgh after a derailment. It was dubbed “The Talk That Not Even Scotrail Couldn’t Hold Off” and I think it’s another fine testament to the dedicated community we have developing around our meetings. Luke is an AI Researcher with the Strathclyde AI & Games Group at the University of Strathclyde, and like another person I know, went to E3 as an IGDA student scholar. I don’t know what your E3 activities were this year. Mine involved hooking the laptop up to the TV and watching the press conferences in full screen, if a little blurry at times, streaming video. Well, I was doing that, as well as drooling over a certain competitive word-based  puzzle game that’s been long overdue, and had questions as to whether getting to go to E3 in person was actually anything better than watching it online.

Queue jumping, schmoozing with some of the industry’s brightest, as well as front row seats to everywhere that’s worth going; when the IGDA give you a free ticket, it’s not just a free ticket: it’s a banner of awesome, with those flaming roman candle things that never go out no matter how hard you try.

Almost as awesome as watching an member of Rockstar North eat an entire double kangaroo burger from the Walkabout in the space of 3 minutes. It Happened!

Lastly to conclude the night of talks was the one and only Colin Riley from Codeplay. Now I’ll admit, when you think of the idea of having a technical talk about programming to top of a night heavily subdued in summer heat and alcohol, it doesn’t sound like the most interesting thing to be listening to. However, I think everyone was pleasantly surprised about the elegance and entertainment value found in learning about something better than Object Oriented Programming. Plus he did some awesome diagrams.

In between all of the talks there was time for much banter and conversation between everyone. The chapter is rapidly accomplishing one of it’s main goals to give Scotland’s Game’s sector a place mix with one another. In a time where there has been much doom and gloom surrounding the UK’s game sector, it’s great to see people in the industry themselves getting together and having a good time if anything else.

Before we close things off here we’ like to give a big shout out to a worthy cause. Sick Kids Save Point is a videogames marathon organised on behalf of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation in Edinburgh.Looking at their Twitter it seems they’re already making waves, raising money for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh with intake of over 100,000 injured and sick children each year. The funds raised by the charity help to pay for a variety items including high tech surgical equipment that saves lives. We here at the IGDA would love to see them raise as much cash as possible, so if you have some disposable income you’d like to put to work, or fancy holding your own 24 hour charity game marathon, make sure to check them out.

We’ll be back on the wire letting you know about future events soon. Didn’t make it to the event? Don’t worry! Our speakers have been kind enough to share their power-points with you, and we’re working on posting video recordings of the talks up very soon. Until next time, why not get in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook or our Google mailing list group and let us know what you think we should be doing.

Phil Harris

Luke Dicken
Colin Riley

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