NZGDC 2013

The New Zealand Game Developers Conference is a an action-packed conference for professional and indie game developers.

Video games continue to be a fast-growing export sector for New Zealand, with several Kiwi developers gaining global recognition. Kiwi game devs are at the top of their game, so come along to hear leading developers share real experiences and knowledge that have made them global successes.

Conference Sessions

Conference sessions cover technology, art, business and marketing streams and include:

  • Keynote - Jason Harwood, Producer, Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride)
  • Keynote - Alex St. John, ex-Microsoft GM Entertainment, Founder of WildTangent, ex-President and CTO of
  • Best Practices in Mobile Customer Acquistion and Monetization - ChartBoost featuring PikPok, Majic Jungle and Runaway Play
  • Evolve or Die: free2play is free2innovate - Fawzi Mesmar, Principal Designer, Gameloft New Zealand
  • Bloons Monkey City - The Evolution of IP - Stephen Harris (Co-Founder and Chief Game Designer) and Lee Grey (Lead Engineer, Monkey City), NinjaKiwi
  • MacGuffins’ Curse Post-Mortem - Ben Kosmina, Brawsome from Melbourne
  • Jane Austen for Facebook Post-Mortem - Nadia Thorne, Cerebral Fix
  • Major Mayhem Post-Mortem - Anthony Blackett, Rocket Jump Games
  • Path of Exile Open Beta Post-Mortem - Chris Wilson, Managing Director, Grinding Gear Games
  • Puzzle Design Tools - Sam Wong, Team Lead, The Voxel Agents from Melbourne
  • It’s Alive! Creating a World Worth Caring About - Tim Nixon, Runaway Play
  • Making Film & TV Games Work - Jeremy Taylor, ex-THQ, Disney and Electronic Arts
  • Animate Technologies: Intelligent Agents and Neural Nets - Dr Mark Sagar, University of Auckland Bioengineering Institute, ex-Weta Digital
  • Becoming an Agile Producer - Gustave Seymore, Producer, Gameloft New Zealand
  • Gamified Beta Testing - Caswal Parker, Camshaft Software from Melbourne
  • Month of Hell: Launching Path of Exile - Jonathan Rogers, Technical Director, Grinding Gear Games
  • The Future of Flash - Panel featuring NinjaKiwi and Minimonos
  • Going Android - Ben Britten, Tin Man Games from Melbourne
  • Windows 8 and Windows Phone Game Development - Danu Abeysurika, Rush Digital

Click here for the full schedule for the conference

Keynote Speakers

The Next Big Thing

Alex St John, Co-creator Direct-X, Founder of Wild, Former GM Entertainment for Microsoft, Former President of

Alex St. John (AKA The Saint) was the Microsoft executive responsible for leading the effort to create the DirectX gaming APIs and Windows Media platforms which lead to the introduction of the 'DirectXBox'. St. John went on to found WildTangent which became the largest online game network in the US and the third largest in the world through 2011. He went on to become CTO of the world’s third largest social network and by cloning Facebooks API’s was able to publish hundreds of Facebook compatible social games before selling the company in late 2012. Alex has over 23 patents in online game publishing, DRM, streaming, compression and online business models.

No matter who the big players are in the market or how tightly they seem to have the platforms and gaming audiences sewn up, there is always an upstart out there that completely disintermediates them and succeeds wildly in spite of the barriers. RuneScape, Minecraft, Miniclip, Zynga, id Software, Valve, to name a few are all amazing examples of game studios that made it on their own without venture capital, publishers, consoles or mobile devices. These are the companies Alex loves to study, the stories he loves to tell and the new opportunities we are all searching for.

The Future of Gaming

Jason Harwood, Producer, Halfbrick

Jason Harwood is a Producer at Halfbrick Studios who produced the smash hit iOS titles Fruit Ninja & Jetpack Joyride. He has worked on numerous titles in his time at Halfbrick across a gamut of handheld platforms from the DS, PSP to virtually every smartphone and tablet available today. When not developing games Jason can be found tearing/hacking up the golf course or at home with the family (playing games).

Focusing on his expertise in mobile game development, Jason will deliver his keynote presentation that will reflect on changes that the industry has seen over the past five years and where he anticipates it will be heading in the future. This promises to be an exciting presentation that examines the shift from paid to freemium, game design that appeals to casual audiences, breaking down barriers of entry and keeping your studio stable in turbulent times.


NZGDC 2013 Sponsors

Serato After-Party: Friday Night

Conference attendees can pick up tickets to attend the Serato After-Party at Rakinos on High St.

Auckland software-company Serato are the makers of the world’s best and most popular DJ software, Scratch Live, so they know how to bring up the right tunes. Drinks on arrival.