Through a close partnership with Media Design School, DIGITAL NATIONZ will host leading industry speakers and entertaining panel discussions with international and local participants. The subjects will be topical and thought provoking, driven by the goal to encourage interaction with the audience and create further discussion, rather than being a regular tech lecture.
Dr Mark Sagar, a two time Academy Award Winner, who won academy awards for his technical work on Avatar and for his early and continuing development of influential facial motion retargeting solutions. For the last 15 years he has specialized in bringing computer generated faces to life in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters including “Avatar”, “King Kong”, “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” and "Spiderman-2". Dr Sagar is the director of The Laboratory for Animate Technologies based at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute.
Tara Brannigan, Customer Relationship Manager at PikPok. Tara's credits include Microsoft XBOX US, including a brief stint on the recently announced XBOX ONE title: Project Spark, and PopCap Games (responsible for the wildly popular casual titles Plants vs Zombies and Bejewelled).
Dr Melanie Swalwell, Associate Professor of Screen and Media at Flinders University in Australia. Melanie has published a suite of projects on New Zealand’s unique games history and was keynote speaker at the 1st International History of Games conference, held in June in Montreal.
Carl de Visser is a Producer and Game Designer at Grinding Gear Games, working on Path of Exile. Path of Exile is an online Action RPG set in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. It is designed around a strong barter-based online item economy, deep character customisation, competitive PvP and ladder races. The game is completely free and will never be "pay to win".
Carl's systems design and game balance work can be seen in several places in Path of Exile, including the skill tree and map system. Carl is also an award winning board game designer.
Greg Broadmore, Conceptual Designer & Artist for Weta Workshop. Greg was the lead concept designer on District 9 as well as being a designer on The Adventures of Tintin, Avatar, King Kong, and has through is own Dr. Grordbort series created a fantastical steampunk inspired world that has captured the creative communities imagination.
Benson Russell, Senior Designer at NAUGHTY DOG. Benson's most recent title is the critically acclaimed The Last Of Us (he also designed the well-known Uncharted series), and his original claim to fame was as the designer of the D-Day level in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for PC, a genre defining moment for game fans everywhere.
Kim Dotcom is a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur and businessman, residing in New Zealand. He is the founder of Megaupload and its associated websites, as well as Megaupload's successor site, Mega. Dotcom was previously the top ranked Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 player in the world, boasting over 180,000 kills, 9 million points, and a respectable kill-death ratio of 2.1.
Jay Hosfelt, Lead Animator at EPIC Games. Hosfelt is a lead animator at Epic Games, and has worked on the Gears of War trilogy, Gears of War: Judgment, Bulletstorm, Unreal Tournament III, and more. Earlier in his career, he worked on Counter-Strike, Star Trek: Elite Force II and the infamous John Romero's Daikatana, he and fellow animator Aaron Herzog won the AIAS award for Outstanding Achievement in Animation for their amazing work on Gears of War.
Mike Porter, Game Art Programme Leader at Media Design School.
Mike will be running his demo's, Traditional Art: A Game Developer's Perspective, throughout the weekend.
Traditional art informs all aspects of digital art production in game development. Media Design School's Mike Porter (ex Microsoft Studios, Sierra Entertainment) will demonstrate rapid 2D art production and how these illustrations are developed into more professional 3D game assets. Learn why light plays an important role in how we view the world and how an idea is transformed into a 3D sculpture.
Mike started his game career back in 1995 in Lewisville, Texas. Over the last 16 years, he has worked in several different companies, including Sierra and Microsoft Games Studios. He has created 3D artwork and level design on various games, for various platforms, including Dreamcast, PS2, PC and Xbox 360. His roles included Art Lead, Environmental Art Lead, Vehicle Art Lead and Level Design Lead. Mike was even lucky enough to work with the great people at Bungie for a short period to help ship Halo 3. He is currently studying towards his masters.