GDNL’s 2019 Reflection

GDNL had an exciting 2019 with a lot of new ventures and cool interactions with the development community and industry. We’d like to share our accomplishments over the past year and thank you for your participation and involvement in GDNL. We also offer a special thanks to our GDNL executive who have worked hard to help unite and grow the industry here in NL. We want to remind folks that these are volunteer positions and our executive have been dedicating their own time and money to this initiative for the greater good of our GDNL community. Thank you.

The year began with GameDev NL’s part in the 2019 Global Game Jam, organized by Mike Burton, where several teams got together to create games under the theme of “What Home Means to You”. It was a weekend where folks from our local industry and community, and students from MUN and CNA created 8 cool projects to represent game dev in NL.

In early Spring, after a lot of great volunteer commitment to GameDev NL, Mike passed the organizer role over to Greg Wells. We began with a Game Dev NL Social Gathering at the Duke of Duckworth, celebrating Other Ocean’s release of Project Winter. Over 50 people turned out on that cold night, including many new members of our community group.

Then, our cool Executive Team was formed to best engage the numerous disciplines in our field and, together, we began rebranding our community group, rebuilding the website, and eventually becoming known as GDNL. We increased our social media presence, gaining more followers and growing our online community, including a huge increase of users in our Discord Server.

From there, we saw some new initiatives unfold as we began reaching out to folks he felt are connected to the interactive digital media industry, meeting with organizations, companies, government folks, post-secondary institutions, to discuss the potential of our NL dev industry.

In late March, we launched our official Membership Signup on the website and it eventually led to our searchable Member Directory to help showcase our members and create a place where our community and industry can find GDNL members for project, social, or employment opportunities.

In early April, all the individual meetings in our related disciplines, industries, and businesses united and GDNL brought them all to the table for a healthy discussion about the IDM industry and our future going forward, including potential events and partnerships. It was a true Coming Together.

When May arrived, the Devs on the ROCK show was unveiled with Episode #1 Featuring Clockwork Fox and Angie Sutherland. The show featured great interviews and a new way to begin showing our dev community who is part of our great community and what is going on. The show’s debut followed with another GDNL Social at Geeks Public House which, again, had a turnout of around 50 people!

When June hit, many weeks of hard work and dedication from our GDNL team came together to present our big GDNL event, Devs on the ROCK presents An Evening of Interactive Arts and Technology Talks. It was a very Successful Night and our main speakers ( James Cann of Initius Interactive, Randy Billard of Virtual Marine, Curtis Rioux of Stellar Boar, and David Churchill of MUN CompSci), delivered excellent talks to inspire and inform our community. We were able to capture several of these great talks on film! We had excellent partners to help make the event happen including College of the North Atlantic, Genesis, NATI, and Business & Arts NL.

Summer brought a nice break after such a big event, but wheels were still turning and conversations unfolding. When September arrived GDNL participated in Digital NL presented by Gros Morne Summer Music. GDNL was fortunate to have Julie Lewis of SassyTuna, Jon Lambe of Other Ocean, Curtis Hunt of Avalon Holographic, and Mitchell Winter of CNA present and host a panel, representing our industries. GMSM tweeted GDNL’s involvement HERE and HERE.

Then we brought you Devs on the ROCK Episode #2 Featuring Julie Lewis and Jon Lambe where we were introduced to these cool artists and learned more about SassyTuna, Other Ocean, and Jon Lambe Illustration. We followed up the episode with another GDNL Social at Geeks Public House and had another good turnout of folks from the community.

We closed the year with Janice Hertel organizing and registering GDNL as a 2020 Global Game Jam site, securing a location for the event at CNA, as well as some funding for food etc. Be sure to sign up as a jammer! We have many other things on the table, ready to go, but just haven’t quite released yet, including our GDNL Newsletter and our Member Blogs. Look for them real soon!

Thanks to our fantastic team, our partners and sponsors, and our wonderful members for such an engaging and memorable 2019. We look forward to another great year in 2020! Happy New Year!

Videos – June 12 EVENT

We had a fantastic evening on June 12 with some amazing speakers and talks from the Interactive Digital Media Industry. The showcase floor was active with original game products, live art demos, a marine simulator, and lots of industry information. We captured much of our speakers’ talks on film and would like to share them. Unfortunately, due to some early technical difficulties, we don’t have video of James Cann’s talk about Initus Interactive and the Independent Game Development of Xengris, but we will see James and Xengris in an episode of Devs on the ROCK later this Fall. https://xengris.manakeep.com/

Curtis Rioux of Stellar Boar – Art and Animation for Games and Mediahttps://stellarboar.com/

Dave Churchill of MUN Computer Science – Artificial Intelligence for Gameshttps://www.cs.mun.ca/~dchurchill/

Randy Billard of Virtual Marine – Using Serious Game Design to Build Marine Simulatorshttps://www.virtualmarine.ca/

Thanks to the GDNL Team for helping pull off the event, along with our sponsors and partners: College of the North Atlantic, NATI, Genesis, and Business & Arts NL, and thanks to Tyler Dunne of CNA Journalism for assisting with filming.

A Successful Night!

On the evening of June 12, our GDNL community, as well as other interested visionaries, braved a torrential downpour to fill the Emera Innovation Exchange Conference Centre with inspiration, imagination, and possibility.

We had a fantastic turnout, and at one point had a physical head count of 134 attendees from all different areas of our cool interactive digital media sector. Our speakers were phenomenal, our partners exceptional, the venue and catering exquisite, and the GDNL team and volunteers helped make the evening a night to remember. Thank you to all, but most importantly, thank you to our attendees. This community starts with you!

While GDNL has been around for about a decade (perhaps under different names), this caliber of an event was a first for us. As you all know, we are a volunteer organization with a free membership and, as such, we don’t have a budget to spend and time is hard to come by to dedicate to such an evening. However, CNA’s sponsorship and partnership significantly reduced the financial concern, as well as the support from TCII and their Community Capacity Building initiatives. The team from both institutions were not just supportive, they were actively excited and interested in our event and the journey that can begin from its success.

NATI, Genesis, and Business and Arts NL helped to get out the word, provide their advice and expertise, and work out the details of how an event like this works. Without their support, it would have been difficult for GDNL to connect all the important dots, manage the funding, and deliver the type of event that unfolded that amazing night.

Special thanks to Curtis Rioux of Stellar Boar Productions, James Cann of Initus Interactive, Randy Billard of Virtual Marine, and David Churchill of Memorial University’s Computer Science for their captivating talks that spanned the gamut of serious games, to art pipelines, to artificial intelligence, and independent game development. There was certainly something for everyone with entertaining and inspirational talks.

We also had a great showcase floor with playable demos of Initus Interactive’s game, Xengris; a VR boat safety simulator presented by Virtual Marine; Live art creation demonstrations by Curtis Rioux; and original student games presented by CNA’s Video Game Art & Design program including 2D and 3D games, and a VR experience, adding to a cool evening with interactive enjoyment. The social element saw a lot of folks mingling and realizing the depth of our community and industry here in NL.

What is the most important takeaway from this event?

This is just the beginning!