August Meetup! Featuring: The Tale of the Unlikely Production of Secret Ponchos

Our August meetup will take place at 7:30PM on August 15th at Common Ground, 30 Harvey Road. We’re delighted to welcome Darren Esau as our feature speaker.

Our Main Feature

This talk is a description of how a group of friends created a game called Secret Ponchos from their basements, despite not really having started in the way that studios are typically founded (e.g. with at least one programmer and a plan to create an actual game).

Our Speaker

Darren Esau is a programmer and co-founder of Switchblade Monkeys, which created Secret Ponchos for PC and PS4. He previously worked at Radical Entertainment, Hothead Games, and Virtual Marine Technology. He’s originally from Vancouver, and moved to St. John’s in 2009. He has two young daughters and looks forward to the day when they’re old enough that he can tell his wife that he’s buying the latest game release “for the kids.”


If you’d like to book a 2-minute Appetizer slot to talk about a topic of interest before the main meetup, please fill out the form below:


July Meetup: A little rough, but a lot of good stuff!

Our July meetup went off (with only a couple of glitches) last night. We were happy to welcome Andrew Menchions as well as Laura Churchill and Dorian Rowe from NLFDC, who gave us a high-level introduction to tax credits game developers can avail of. Jordan Galbraith of Orange Slip Studios shared some of his experiences trying to raise money for a new company. Jeff Mercer from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation helped fill in some of the blanks, and indicated that our members are always welcome to come talk about their work to see if there are programs that might help them get a leg up.

The live stream cut off in the middle of the discussion, unfortunately, but we were able to recover at least a couple of remote attendees using our room. The volume there was apparently not ideal, so we’ll continue to work on that setup for future events. At the very least we’ll add a spare laptop charger to the GDNL equipment box!

Thanks to all our invited guests as well as our attendees, both in-person and remote. Hope to see you all again in August!

Story of a meetup in tweet form

Janice Hertel was good enough to snap a few pics at the meetup on Tuesday, so we collected her picture tweets and Greg’s preview tweets and make a Moment out of it. This is a nice window into what our meetups are all about.

Last night was AWESOME YOU GUYS!

Last night we had another great crowd at Common Ground. Greg Wells held us in the palm of his hand while he took us through the fundaments of telling a story with sound, art, and gameplay.

We made a couple of improvements to our setup last night. We (somewhat) successfully streamed the talk portion of the meetup, including the excellent question-and-answer section at the end. Greg was kind enough to bring his projector, and we now have our own that is slightly less fancy but will still handle the job nicely.

Thanks everyone for coming out, thanks to our sponsor, Orange Slip Studios, and thanks to our speaker Greg Wells. We’ll be looking forward to the next meetup.

If you’d be interested in offering a talk for June (or any time at all), please let us know. And remember we offer 2 minute Appetizer slots if you just want to tell people about something cool that you’re working on!

Reminder – May 16th Meetup: Game Storytelling

Just a reminder, as we head into the weekend, that our May meetup is less than two weeks away, and it promises to be a good time. We’ll be down at Common Ground, 30 Harvey Road on Tuesday May 16th from 7:30PM onwards. Come join us!

May Meetup: Game Storytelling

UPDATE: We have changed the date of this meetup to May 16th, 2017

I received a lovely surprise on Wednesday in the form of a talk proposal from Gregory Wells from CNA. I’ll let Greg explain who he is and what he’s going to talk about.

Our Speaker: Gregory Wells

Gregory Wells is an innovative creative designer with a primary focus on game design, sound design, and storytelling. An independent game developer and instructor of Video Game Art & Design at the College of the North Atlantic, Greg’s involvement in games led him to pursue his Bachelors of Creative Writing and English for deeper understanding.

The Talk: Game Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool, and one that has accompanied our existence from the early years of humankind. Like movies and books, games support much of the common literary and cinematic forms of narrative. However, games provide the opportunity to take these storytelling tools deeper through interactivity and involving the player as an active member of the storytelling experience.

This talk will deal with storytelling in games. Storytelling doesn’t just exist within a game’s dialogue or text; it is embedded into gameplay experiences, the art, the sound, and the atmosphere of the games we play. All of these elements create the themes in which games are conveyed to us, invoking our ability to visualize, imagine, and interact with the story. Storytelling reveals itself as the goals of the game, the journey, characters, challenges, rewards, and the consequences of the experience. Even a game without a formal story can cause us to create our own stories. This talk will look at the theory of interactive storytelling from its foundations in English literature to the immersive and engaging narrative of modern gaming experiences.

Location and Time

The meetup will take place at 7:30PM on May  16th at Common Ground, 30 Harvey Road.

First Meetup!

I’m pleased to announce our first meetup will take place at 7:30PM on Tuesday, April 18th at Common Ground on Harvey Road.

We’ll kick things off with a panel discussion, which I (Mike) will be moderating. We’ll be joined by some special guests from the local community to discuss the State of the Game Development Industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

We’d love to see you all, so come down, meet some people, and listen in on the panel!

Let us know you're coming!