Key notes, Talks and Panels

Discourse, Knowledge Exchange and Visions.

Focusing on the convergence of digital art and games, the talks provides the artists and developers the opportunity to present projects as well as discuss and reflect upon them with audience members.

The Panel Discussions propose important subjects for discussion, these are being dealt with in some detail by developers and artist in Africa. Talks on the implications of games in Africa and Europe strengthen ties not only to academic discourse, but to discourses around creative practices world-wide. Interdisciplinary participants bring together their respective fields and provide a valuable insight in African and European mind-sets.

Key note 1: A New form of Revolution: African creativity in the digital space. - Fri September 6

by Jepchumba - Africa Digital Art (SA/ KE)

We have seen governments overturned in North Africa with the power of social media. Increasingly, Africa is becoming a hotbed for innovation, creativity and play as people across Africa are becoming fully immersed in digital culture. As we gain access to the internet Africa is becoming increasingly connected and artists, students and professionals now have more access to technology than ever before. Social media platforms amplify and help spread this "new take" on the continent, both enabling Africans to tell their own stories and offering an alternative to mainstream media's converge of Africa. Ultimately, using new media Africans can and are becoming the architects of what very well may be a new "African Renaissance". What do these new developments mean for Africa? How is this changing the creative landscape across Africa? Are we on the brink of a cultural revolution?

Date:
Fri September 6
Time:
19:30 - 20:00
Venue
Stage, Alexander Theatre

Key note 2: Sat September 7

by Rami Ismail - Vlambeer (NL)

The description of the lecture will be published a day before the key note.

Date:
Sat September 7
Time:
18:00 - 18:30
Venue:
Stage, Alexander Theatre

Panel 1: African Public Transport + its challenges in Games and Apps from Africa - Fri September 6

Panel chair: Tegan Bristow - Wits Digital Arts (SA)

Across Africa public transport is dominated by informal organisation that has taken the gap where governments have failed to proved suitable infrastructure for public transit. The cultures of our African urban environments are immersed with the knowledge and experiences - usually ‘exhilarating’, sometimes plain frustrating - of informal and yet organised transport from Mini Bus and Matatu to the motorcycle Boda Boda and Okada. This panel will not only highlight how African game developers are having fun creating games around the ‘exhilaration’ of navigating the dangers and ‘challenges’ of public transport; but also will involve mobile App developers who are enhancing a user experience for the daily users of these informal systems through data augmentation and mapping. The role of technology engagements with the cultures of public transport in Africa will be discussed in detail.

Date:
Fri September 6
Time:
20:15 - 21:15
Venue:
Stage, Alexander Theatre

Panellists:
Jon Kevin Biretwa - Mobile App Dev, Boda Pay (Kampala, Uganda)
Duncan Onyango - Planet Rakus Games, Matatu Mania (Nairobi, Kenya)
Nathi Tshabalala – Sowertech Mobile Dev, Afta-Robot Mobile App (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Oluseye Soyode-Johnson - Maylio Games, Okada Ride (Lagos, Nigeria & London, UK)
Abiola Adeagbo – Games Dev. (Ibadan, Nigeria)

Panel 2: Social-Political Criticism + Activism in Digital Art + Games in Africa - Sat September 7

Panel chair: Christo Doherty - Wits Digital Arts (SA)

This panel will interrogate the role of the digital and interactive technologies as vehicles for raising and extending political awareness. These platforms will be addressed not only as spaces for new forms of design and narration, but also as opportunities for challenging the global protocols that are inherently present in the digital. From Cairo to Cape Town the political will of an informed public is starting to make itself heard through new forms of social and communication technologies, but how can digital artists and game designers contribute to this wave? This panel consists of artists and developers whose work not only presents a new face for Africa but begins to question the history and challenge the future, using the digital, interactive and networked media as their creative realm.

Date:
Fri September 7
Time:
18:45 - 20:00
Venue:
Stage, Alexander Theatre

Panellists:
Jepchumba – African Digital Art (Nairobi, Kenya & Cape Town, South Africa)
Chief Nyemweya – Kenya Noir, Animation & Comics (Nairobi, Kenya)
Sameh Al Tawil – Interactive Digital Art (Cairo, Egypt)
Ahmed Abdelsamea – Game Developer (Cairo, Egypt)
Ayra Lalloo - Filmmaker (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Simon Bachelier – Games Curator (Paris, France)

Talk 01: The pyschology of why to fail to fail. - Fri September 6

by Peter Cardwell-Gardner (SA)

This talk investigates the premise that failure is an essential ingredient in the journey to becoming successful - and yet our brains are loaded with a treacherous arsenal designed to sabotage this process in it's desperate attempt to avoid failure at all costs. The talk tries to arrive at an understanding of why traits like perfectionism and procrastination spiral out of control, especially when the stakes are highest and we are aspiring to our greatest dreams and ambitions. The focus is naturally on creating games, but will be relevant to anyone who struggles with creative endeavours.

Dates:
Fri September 6
Time:
13:30 - 14:00
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 02: Let's Play - a game developer's perspective - Fri September 6

by Evan Greenwood - Freelives (SA)

Let's Plays have been growing increasingly popular for the last few years, and are having influence over the success of many independent games. I've seen the impact of this in our own game and I'd like to share some of my data and incites. I will be arguing that the goal of producing an enjoyable game that empowers Youtubers to produce entertaining original content is a useful goal. It encourages crafting a game where the experience is shaped by the player's actions and where the game’s goals are player defined. Also, adding "Simulator" into your game's title doesn't hurt. Mostly this will be a talk about emergence and agency in player experience framed by the incentive of harnessing Let's Play videos to do your marketing for you.

Date:
Fri September 6
Time:
14:15 - 14:45
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 03: Greenlight is a Path, not an Obstacle. - Fri September 6

by Ruan Rothmann (SA)

Free Lives's Broforce was entered onto Greenlight in October 2012 and after a slow and steady climb, was met with viral success and a Greenlight approval in late July. This talk will be a post-mortem of our campaign on Greenlight, detailing the strategies we employed with their effect on the campaign. I will also detail some positive effects the Greenlight campaign has had on the development of our game to hopefully inspire other developers to embrace the Greenlight system rather than fear it.

Dates:
Fri September 6
Times:
15:00 - 15:30
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 04: Be Different: creating meaning through indie games. - Fri September 6

by Ahmed Abdel Samea (EG)

Games are not waste of time as lots of people think, they are like books, music, movies they are medium to transfer experience to player through system interaction. Lately AAA games just focus on improving graphics and realistic feeling in game rather than improving the experience of the game itself or trying to experiment new stuff which gave wrong impression about games. Here comes the role of indiegames to experiment new stuff, retake an old genre again, deliver a thought, talk about problem, express a feeling or human experience.

Date:
Fri September 6
Time:
16:00 - 16:30
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 05: Experimental Games - Fri September 6

by Simon Bachelier - One Life Remains (FR)

Doing experimental games is like doing research: you go there by intuition but you never really know where it will lead you eventually. One Life Remains is an eclectic French experimental collective gathering a game theorist, a prototype developer specialist, a pro gamer, a sound chef and even an illusionist. They live and work in Paris, sharing a common flat which is used as a headquarters where they work, meet, sleep, play, cook, create experimental games, give live performances. They also organise events such as exhibitions, game jams, workshops, game evenings and conferences. Their work attempts to reach beyond the gaming community, engaging a broad range of people in the cultural and digital art scenes through video game events. The following talk is about their unique activities and what does it means to design experimental games in the indie scene.

Date:
Fri September 6
Time:
16:45 - 17:15
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 06: Why so Serious? - Fri September 6

by Sos Sosowski (PL)

Are games really about realism and simulations? Do we really need physics there? Do they have to touch serious topics? Do they need to take themselves so seriously? Let me tell you why not.

Date:
Fri September 6
Time:
18:00 - 18:30
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 07: Africa's Rise Through Comics - Sat September 7

by Chief Nyameya (KE)

Description: soon

Date:
Sat September 7
Time:
13:30 - 14:00
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 08: South African Comics - Sat September 7

by Ray Whitcher (SA)

The South African comic industry has seen a major upsurge in the past 7 years, producing both high quality books as well as artists that have transcended the borders of the country and work for the goliath comic publishers DC, Marvel and Image. Our nation has a rich and deep history of storytelling. From tokoloshe to homeless Aliens, we are steeped in a literary goldfield that tells stories as diverse and interesting as the people and creatures that star in them. Hence it only makes sense that we are more than capable of competing with an international market, and as Ray's experience at SDCC revealed, it is a market with a very passionate eye on our stories.

Date:
Sat September 7
Time:
14:15 - 14:45
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 09: Power of Niche in African Game Marketing. - Sat September 7

by Abiola Adeagbo (NG)

Define the Africa and African in diaspora gaming market. Cultural oriented games along the four blocks of Africa namely North Africa, Eastern Africa,Western Africa and Southern Africa. Define the learning games landscape for primary and secondary schools in Africa. Selling learning games to schools. Schools providing significant opportunity for investors, publishers and learning game developers.

Date:
Sat September 7
Time:
15:15 - 15:45
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 10: The Quest for Africa's Unique Gameing Exprience. - Sat September 7

Oluseye Soyode-Johnson (NG)

The talk will focus on how Maliyo believes new innovations, including promixity or location APIs, virtual currency and Mcommerce, can transform Africa’s Social and casual gaming landscape. Casual gaming has already transformed the gaming industry, eating massively into traditional Console-based gaming sector. This massive adoption will translate to African consumers - which never really had a massive console gaming culture, and is because Africa is already a mobile-first environment. But Maliyo Games are looking to the uniquely African ideas and innovations - powered by cutting edge technologies - that will allow Africans truly experience gaming in new ways they haven‘t before. Some new types of gaming we believe fit the African need include edugaming, mobile social gaming and proximity gaming. We’d like to explore these.

Date:
Sat September 7
Time:
16:00 - 16:30
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre

Talk 11: Breaking Out to Break In - Sat September 7

by Danny Day (SA)

As difficult as it is, building a game is just the first step towards being an indie developer in South Africa. Focusing exclusively on local media, local gamers and local sales is a huge mistake that many hopeful game developers make when they're first starting out. In this talk I explain why local isolation is a bad idea and how to overcome it, presenting examples of South African developed games that have garnered international attention and thus, ironically, local regard.

Date:
Sat September 7
Time:
16:45 - 17:15
Venue:
Room 1, Alexander Theatre