Tag Archives: Meetings

Videos from June’s Post Mortem Session Now Available

We’re delighted to be able to announce that thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, the three talks presented at the June meeting in Dundee are now available. You can read an excellent recap of the whole event by Finlay Thewlis, or watch the sessions themselves below.

Thanks as always to everyone who made this an absolutely brilliant night, from the speakers, to the volunteers, the audience who packed out the venue – and of course not forgetting The University of Abertay, Dundee who provided the venue.

You can find the videos embedded below, or pay a visit to our Youtube page, where you can find recordings from this meeting as well as many of our others.

Bips! – David Thomson, Ludometrics

Bad Hotel – Yann Seznec, Lucky Frame

HTML 5 – Sandy Duncan, YoYo Games

Video of Richard Lemarchand’s “Life of Play, Life of the Mind” Released

At the start of July we were very fortunate to host an excellent Masterclass presented by USC’s Richard Lemarchand in association with Glasgow Caledonian University. Now, we are delighted to be able to bring you that session through the magic of Youtube.

Please enjoy “Life of Play, Life of the Mind – What Game Design Can Teach Us”


Richard Lemarchand’s “Life of Play, Life of the Mind” Recap

In this post, IGDA Scotland volunteer Jamey Stevenson summarises the special event held on 2nd July in association with Glasgow Caledonian University in which Richard Lemarchand, former Lead Designer at Naughty Dog presented a Masterclass titled “Life of Play, Life of the Mind: What Game Design Can Teach Us”.

lemarchand_richard_thumbEarlier this month, Glasgow Caledonian University played host to game industry veteran Richard Lemarchand, who delivered an articulate and enlightening masterclass, presented in partnership with IGDA Scotland. The event garnered a huge turnout; the GCU lecture hall in which it was held was packed to the rafters with enthusiastic attendees. Judging from the quick survey conducted by Richard at the start of his talk, it was also quite a diverse audience – one that included educators, students, professional developers, and hobbyists alike.

For those familiar with Richard’s background, it will perhaps come as no surprise that the crowd he draws is such a heterogeneous group. Professional game makers often talk about “bridging the divide” between industry and academia, and it seems that the perceived gulf between the two camps can often appear equally daunting from either side. But Richard’s own journey has now taken him across that gap and found him not only surviving the transition, but loving every minute it. Whether as Lead Designer of the acclaimed Uncharted series at Naughty Dog, or in his current position as a Professor of Game Design at the venerable USC interactive media program, Richard has managed to achieve success on both sides of the purported industry/academia boundary, seemingly with with minimal hand-wringing along the way.


One of the recurring themes of Richard’s talk was the benefit of being “interested in everything”, and how maintaining an abiding spirit of curiosity can serve to enrich one’s life.  He identified this same open-minded, exploratory approach to the world as an essential skill for game designers to cultivate. The overarching subject of the presentation was the many ways in which the skills that had proven most essential to Richard’s evolution as a game designer were also highly applicable to his current role as a teacher. This topic was illustrated via a personal tour of Richard’s career, from his enduring fascination with indie and art games, to his role in shaping AAA blockbusters, and an intriguing glimpse into the methods used to teach game design at USC.

Despite the fact that his message included many pearls of wisdom for both aspiring and experienced game developers, the underlying basis for the talk was much more humanistic. While the notion of a “Masterclass” might have easily been misconstrued to imply a sort of forbidding, “elites only” mentality, the atmosphere that Richard created could not have been more warm and inviting. Throughout the talk, he displayed a readily apparent knack for conveying information with a tone that was inclusive enough to accommodate those with little more than passing knowledge of digital games. It was enough to make me envious of his students!

In keeping with his holistic approach to games and learning, the mix of concepts Richard covered was incredibly expansive: everything from homebrew and zine culture, Fluxus, flow, playtesting and prototoyping was included in the discussion. There were far too many compelling ideas whirling around to be listed here, but a few other personal highlights included:

  • Finding out what books constitute the “core texts” of the USC program: Game Design Workshop and Rules of Play, certainly a solid foundation for teaching design fundamentals
  • Hearing Richard’s take on the most useful subjects for game designers to study (systems design and human psychology got shout outs)
  • Richard’s pragmatic, thoughtful stances on recurring debates like whether games are art and whether it’s truly possible to teach creative skills like game design (short answer: yes to both, but with a lot of nuance)
  • The similarities between being a teacher and a Dungeon Master
  • The concept of “vulnerability” in Uncharted, and how it informed Richard’s teaching style

3d36a3c1-8d4f-49c9-80bd-3a8f9db11a54Overall, it was a highly informative and engaging lecture from the newly graduated Doctor Lemarchand. Please join us in congratulating Richard on receipt of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology from Glasgow Caledonian University. We’d also like express our thanks to GCU for their assistance arranging this special appearance from such a talented speaker. Those who didn’t attend definitely missed out on something special. But don’t fret! Video of the session is expected to be available shortly, and there are plenty more great events coming your way in the near future courtesy of IGDA Scotland, so keep watching this space.

Scottish Post Mortems – June Meeting Recap

In this post, IGDA Scotland volunteer Finlay Thewlis recaps the chapter meeting held June 12th in the Hannah Maclure Centre, Dundee. Thanks as always to our excellent sponsors in Dundee – The University of Abertay Dundee, and of course to our excellent speakers without whom this event would not have been such a great success!

Opening the IGDA Dundee meeting was Luke Dicken who told us that we had SOLD OUT of spaces at the meeting! That certainly shows an appetite for all things IGDA. Various other aspects showed how the ball is really rolling with IGDA Scotland now, such as the Chapter’s progression and a number of special events which are coming up. We then moved onto the regular Open Mic part of the evening which contained a myriad of awesome job vacancies, networking opportunities and attendees with games they wanted to share with everyone. It was great example of the openness within Scotland’s developer community and appetite to contribute and share.

David Thomson of Ludometrics then gave the first talk in the ‘Post Mortem’ style which always gives fellow developers and games types the frank and honest assessment of what went well and where mistakes were made. Bips was what David coined as a ‘Dave-Wave’, although in this case he wasn’t referring to spark of a concept from himself but in fact one of the Godfathers of the Scottish Games Industry, Dave Jones. The project came with an additional aim where the ever-unique Denki wanted to try out some new production/design processes and this was an ideal opportunity to do it.


The main aspect of the insightful post-mortem was that you need to tailor your development processes to your team and your project, square shapes won’t fit into a circular gap so don’t feel forced into having to accept a process or development method that you aren’t convinced is right for your respective project/team.

Yann Seznec from Lucky Frame was next up and he gave a session mainly deconstructing their iOS game Bad Hotel. There was a distinction right from the off from Yann that “we’re a ‘Creative Studio’ not just a games studio”, I think underlining the idea of ‘what makes a game a game?’ and that developers shouldn’t rule themselves out of doing certain work if they don’t feel it qualifies in their pre-conceptions of what they understand a game to be.


Overall Yann delivered a really bright and confident talk on the issues encountered in the development of Bad Hotel even going as far as to show us the game’s sales, revenues and background to the company’s operation. All these aspects constituted a talk that sheda lot of light on subjects many developers are instinctively quiet about and that was a major victory for the evening. It begs the question will there be a trend of developers becoming more increasingly open with aspects such as sales and their shortcomings?

Finally we had Sandy Duncan from YoYo Games who gave a decidedly more informal talk than the first two, refusing to give in to the oppression of PowerPoint having a worked at Microsoft in his past! Sandy took us through the background of YoYo and the origins of their GameMaker engine. Overall Sandy communicated how important he considers HTML5 as a platform and showed the strength of how timing of when a developer come into a market can be almost direction-changing when a platform or market opportunity is met with a prepared and able team there to take an idea forward. This can secure funding for projects that might not be considered by the masses of the games industry as not having any viability, at least yet.


The IGDA Scotland meeting in Dundee was a window into what makes the games industry in Scotland such a special place, the inclusiveness, warm, relaxed nature of the night and anyone hesitating to attend any IGDA meetings in any of the three locations we visit (Dundee, Glasgow & Edinburgh) should really get involved, it’s never too late to learn something helpful, meet someone new or find someone for that job vacancy you’ve been wanting to fill.

Don’t just watch this space, fill it!