Bega Valley logs on to Gamer Dev Jam | Photos, Videos

Creative types of all ages logged on at the weekend’s Gamer Dev Jam, held in Merimbula’s Regional Learning Centre.

The Bega Valley’s first event of its type had software developers in the same room as musicians, writers and artists, all looking to create games from title screen to game over within two days.

It was put on by IntoIT Sapphire Coast with assistance from South East Arts.

Special guests included Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen, host of ABC’s Good Game,  who was given a celebrity welcome at Merimbula Airport by a legion of young fans.

Hex tests out a HTC Vive game being developed at Gamer Dev Jam

She was joined by Brendan Yell from IBM Softlayer, who has previously visited Bega to talk about online startups and entrepreneurs.

Other supporters and Dev Jam attendees include The Loaded Gamer team who run an online magazine focusing on the gaming industry; indie development houses Buzzy TV and Siege Sloth; and a number of talented game developers led by Brennan Hatton who spent several years developing for Meta in San Francisco.

Hex tests out a HTC Vive game being developed at Gamer Dev Jam

Panel discussion: Future of gaming

Brendan Yell led a panel discussion on Sunday discussing the gaming industry and where it’s headed.

He was joined by Hex, Craig Brown from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Jack Erskine from Siege Sloth and augmented reality project developer Brennan Hatton.

Gaming from the panel’s first experience with computers through to the potential of augmented reality (AR) – even beyond the gaming world – was discussed.

Engagement, education and interaction were buzzwords for where games are headed.

"The skills you are learning here [at Gamer Dev Jam] are applicable to so many different industries,” Mr Hatton said.

“’Gamification’ is a really powerful tool,” Mr Erskine added. 

“If you can engage someone in education, they will learn so much and rather than being a chore, it becomes something you want to do.”

Hex agreed, relating the application of game-like elements to her school years studying mathematics.

“Having an incentivised reward made me so much more committed to the learning process,” she said.

The ultimate reward for Hex?

“I want to be able to plug myself in physically. I want to fight a dragon and have it feel like it’s actually happening!”

Hayden tries the HTC Vive headset at Gamer Dev Jam