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Speakers 2011


2011 Speakers


Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg
Director / Marketing / Events, ManaBar
Guy Blomberg, or perhaps more affectionately known as Yug, has been crisscrossing through the Australian gaming industry for the better part of a decade. Finding early notoriety as the founder of one of Australia’s most popular video game websites –, he has also worked at gaming studios (Auran, Sega Creative Assembly) as a user interface designer, community manager, marketing manager, and lead concept pitcher (probably not a real title, but you get the idea).
Passionate about the local Australian game development scene, Yug has worked with many smaller groups to help promote and market their independent games internationally, as well as consult for the Queensland and Victorian governments to promote local talent overseas.
He has spoken at GCAP, IGDA, eGames, SupaNova, and most of the tertiary education facilities around Australia about how to get into the industry and theoretically find success. After a (very) short lived career as a producer and host of a video game TV show, he finally created the worlds first video game cocktail bar – the Mana Bar, soon to open its second venue in Melbourne.


Edmund McMillen
Co-CEO, Team Meat
Edmund McMillen is an independent artist and game designer best known for the critically acclaimed ‘Super Meat Boy’ which won Most Challenging Game from IGN in 2010 along with Best Downloadable Game from GameSpot and GameTrailers. Edmunds previous work includes the award-winning games Gish, Aether and Coil.



Ryan Tait & Ryan Keable
Directors, Anomalous Interactive
The two Ryans founded and run Anomalous Interactive, an indie studio in Melbourne. Ryan Tait is a games programmer and has experience developing a variety of unreleased games. Since his studies at AIE he has spent his time educating himself in the business side of the video games industry as well as continuing to develop indie games. Ryan Keable is a game designer with 3 years industry experience on a variety of console development productions both locally and internationally. He has worked on the Pandemic studio’s game, The Saboteur, and now spends his time on indie development.


Paul Hampson
Senior Programmer, Micro Forté
Paul “TBBle” Hampson has been a professional games programmer for almost five years, the majority of that time spent working with BigWorld, and the balance with XNA, C++, Objective-C and Python. Before that, beyond working in pretty much any area of IT you can think of, he dabbled in Nintendo DS hacking (producing the first version of libnifi) and spent a lot of time contributing to whatever open source projects took his fancy. Paul is currently a moderator on the cocos2d-iphone forums.


Aaron Styles
Freelance Game Developer
Aaron has been creating games for over 5 years. After earning an advanced diploma in games development, he fell into a designer job at Infinite Interactive, working on four games during his time there.
Now Aaron is continuing his study at Monash University and is an independent game developer; a veritable one man army, working on small flash games during lectures and larger projects when he should be doing assignments.




Michael Woods
Principal, Media Saints
Michael Woods is the most underqualified person on this glorious list of Australian Video Game professionals. Not that your readying the bios anyway, lets be honest, who does. Though I’m honestly impressed you ready this far, as a test please come up to me and ask for a reverse high 5.
Anyway I run a small development studio in Prahran, Melbourne. One of the things we do is develop cool stuff like educational games, kids games and a few other cheeky projects here and there. I’m 23, university drop out and I’m going to talk about how to be a rockstar.




Morgan Jaffit – Director, Defiant Development
Morgan Jaffit is one of the founders of Defiant Development, an indy developer formed from the ashes of Pandemic Australia. Defiant create a variety of games, from mobile (Rocket Bunnies Android and soon iOS) to augmented reality (Inch High Stunt Guy and an AR project for the Dallas Mavericks) and console development (Warco, an Unreal engine driven game in partnership with film director Robert Connolly and journalist Tony Maniaty). If that wasn’t enough, Defiant is pioneering incubation for indy developers in order to grow the local development community.



Simon Joslin – Creative Director, The Voxel Agents
Simon Joslin is the Creative Director of The Voxel Agents, an independent studio in Melbourne who recently made tracks with their original Train Conductor series on iPhone. He has four years experience designing for handheld and mobile platforms, initially working on DS, PSP and GBA games with Halfbrick Studios in Brisbane.
Simon is on the committee of the GDAA and is often found lecturing game development and design around Melbourne. Previously in Brisbane he authored an award winning gameplay visualisation research project and began his professional career working on SCOOT, the location based game. Simon participates in the yearly 48 Hour Gaming Competition at the Queensland University of Technology.



Sue McCreadie – Senior Manager, Film & Creative Industries at NSW Department of State and Regional Development
Sue McCreadie is Senior Manager, Film & Creative Industries in the NSW Department of Trade and Investment and manages the recently introduced Digital Media Initiative and the Film Fund which has helped to secure The Great Gatsby, Walking with Dinosaurs, and Fury Road. Sue previously worked in senior film policy roles for the NSW and federal governments and as Executive Director of the Australian Writers Guild.


Sash MacKinnon – Founder, Bit Battalion
Sash founded and runs his own small games company: Bit Battalion whilst completing his studies at UNSW. After winning the Sydney Global Game Jam 2010 he’s made and sold several browser based games that have been featured on Kotaku, Indie Games, Rock Paper Shot gun, IGN and others.


James Murchison – Freelance Game Developer
Raoul Duke from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” must have been talking about James when he said “There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
Since graduating in both Art and Programming, James has found himself in many different roles finding his way onto various indie projects working as a gameplay and tools programmer, technical artist and designer. Specializing in the Unity Game Engine, James works across multiple platforms, from Desktop and Web Player, to iOS and Android.


Michael Dobele – Executive Producer, Halfbrick
I’ve worked in the Australian games industry for around 6 year’s year now, with 5 of those being at Halfbrick studios as a producer. During this time I’ve shipped 8 titles across numerous platforms such as the GBA, PSP, Wii and Nintendo DS. Our most recent title was Age of Zombies for iOS, previously a highly successful and award winning PSP Mini title that we re-built it from the ground up for the touch screen controls of the iPhone and iPad. Currently we’re focused on continuing to create original IP for the expanding Smartphone and Tablet marketplaces.



Andrew JamesDirector, Uppercut Games
Andrew received a degree in Industrial Design from Newcastle University in 1996. He worked as an animator and later Art Lead for a number of years at Brilliant Digital Entertainment in Sydney. In 2000 he moved to Los Angeles to setup a new animation studio for BDE, focused on creating music videos. In 2002 Andrew moved to Canberra to work as Lead Artist at Irrational Games/2K Australia, after leading the team of artists on many award winning projects, in 2009 he became Art Director of the Studio. In Late 2010, Andrew left 2K to form Uppercut Games with Ed Orman.


Luke MuscatLead Designer, Halfbrick
Luke Muscat is a lead designer at Halfbrick, and the creator of two smash-hit iPhone games Fruit Ninja and Monster Dash. In earlier projects he has worked as lead designer on DS and PSP games, with popular licenses such as Marvel and Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the past 12 months, Halfbrick games under Luke’s direction have been downloaded over 20 million times.




Phil Larsen -Marketing Director, Halfbrick
Phil Larsen is the Marketing Director at Halfbrick in Brisbane. He has over five years experience in the world of gaming press and promotions, as well as a Bachelor of Business degree in marketing and advertising from the Queensland University of Technology.

Phil has worked in marketing, advertising and PR in both creative and managerial roles, and joined Halfbrick in early 2009 as Marketing Director. Bringing his lifetime passion as a gamer along for the ride, Phil has helped expand Halfbrick to become one of the most well-known independent developers in the world. With hugely successful 2010 releases Fruit Ninja, Monster Dash, Age of Zombies and Raskulls, Halfbrick is in a prime position for 2011 to continue working amongst the gaming industry’s most exciting platforms and markets.


Alistair PhillipsLead Programmer, Micro Forté Canberra
Alistair Phillips has worked in the games industry for 11 years. Before joining the industry he made several independant games his favourite being Asterods (Hot rods meets Asteroids). Since being in the industry he has worked at Micro Forté on titles included Fallout Tactics, Hot Wheels: Bash Arena, Super Spy Online(internal project), Kwari. He has been developing with Bigworld since 2002. In his spare time he enjoys developing for handheld devices from Gameboy Color through to the DS, dabbled in Augmented Reality on the PSP and lately developing iOS games.


Ed OrmanDirector, Uppercut Games
Ed started in the video game industry in 1997 with Canberra-company Micro Forte, rapidly moving into a senior management role as Lead Designer and Associate Producer. In 2001 he joined Irrational Games/2K Australia, continuing his work as a designer on several award-winning games. In Late 2010, Ed left 2K to form Uppercut Games with Andrew James.


Justin Brow – Economic Development Consultant for Australia’s Digital Media Industries
An Industry Strategy / Economic Development Consultant for Australia’s Digital Media Industries, Justin Brow holds leading roles in a number of national programs assisting economic development, innovation creation, industry sustainability and international competiveness of local operators.
Consulting to stakeholders in all levels of government, education/training institutions, researchers and private enterprise across Australia, Justin leverages his extensive network of local and international experts to identify industry development opportunities, creates productive delivery strategies and cooperates with relevant partners to actualise them.
Living in the Mid-North Coast of NSW, he has 6 chickens (including Sparkles the Wonder Chicken), 2 dogs (one currently with a belly full of arms and legs), a cat, 3 children of his own and a further 4 that he borrows from time to time. Justin accumulates far too many frequent flyer points.


Tony Oakden – Game Programming Teacher, AIE Canberra
Tony Oakden has been making games for so long that his hair has gone from black to grey to blonde. He’s made small games, helped make big games, made small games again and is now teaching other people to make games at the AIE. He still likes making games and mostly enjoys experimenting with new ideas.


Monica Penders – Manager, ScreenACT
Monica Penders gained a wealth of experience in Corporate Communications, Media, PR, Independent Film Development and private enterprise before taking on her current role as Manager of ScreenACT. Monica graduated from Griffith University, with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in film and media studies and completed film studies at New York University and the New School. Her last CORPORATE role was as the Vice President of PR and Media Relations for Lend Lease (US). Staying close to the big screen, Monica worked in marketing roles within the Walt Disney Company, on small independent films in Australia and the US, assisted Columbia University with their film festival programme and currently runs her own independent film production and development company. Monica also produced the US$27million feature film “The Secret of Moonacre” which was shot in Budapest and post-produced in UK and received a global theatrical release.


Epona Schweer3D Animation & Game Development teacher, AIE Sydney
Cloned from a top secret military program splicing volatile genetic codes to create ultimate super secret secretest weapons, Epona escaped from the lab to pursue her dream of being a mild mannered professor with a Dark and Mysterious Past. By day she teaches students to make intriguing and appealing game art as an angry retort to all those silly people who insist that the only good artists are film artists. We say “Bollocks to that!”. When she isn’t running students through grueling speed modelling exercises she’s running players through 4th edition D&D adventures and reminiscing over the good ol’ days of THACO. After a successful launch of Game Day and an exhausting but exhilarating Game Jam she’s busily plotting more ways to fuel indie game development in Sydney through IGDA and iFest!


Ivan Beram – Owner / Designer / Coder,
Ivan Beram has two commercial titles to his credit in the capacity of design, Fallout Tactics and Far Cry. He has spoken at conferences and written published features on game design and development. Currently he is undertaking a Master of Arts by Research at the Sydney Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) into a concept-centric development methodology for creative interactive media projects.
He also established Sydney development studio and its sister blog-site in 2010.



John De MargheritiCEO, Micro Forté, BigWorld and AIE
John De Margheriti is the Executive Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Australia’s most awarded Games Educator. AIE is a not for profit training academy with campuses in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. In 2007 AIE won the Small Registered Training Organisation of the Year at the Australian Training Awards. John is also the CEO of game development company Micro Forté, located in Canberra, and middleware technology developer BigWorld, with representative offices in Australia, China, Japan, Russia and the USA. He is also the founder of Canberra Technology Park, the Australian Game Developers Conference, Game Developers’ Association of Australia and an Honorary Ambassador for Canberra.