You’re hanging out with your mates (at a party, at a meetup, after work) and that guy starts up about how much better we’d have it if local developers got more support from government. Film and television get the tax breaks, tech startups get the grants, where’s the love for game development?
He’s damn persuasive: folks are nodding, jabbing fingers forward to make a point, slamming the table with their glasses and indulging in a spot of self-righteous indignation before heading home (work day tomorrow).
Scene happily repeats itself in pubs across the country and nothing changes.
Think about That Guy for a moment – when was the last time you heard someone say “Man, I can’t wait to hang out with That Guy, he’s such a cool dude”. Nothing, huh? How about “Oh! You know That Guy? Love his work”.
If he’s so persuasive over a few pints why are folks forgetting him so quickly?
Because the kind of person who can recognise what is wrong with a system and just talks about it in pubs is selfish at least, useless at worst. They have the ability to see what work needs to be done but instead of doing something about it they soapbox for their moment in the pub spotlight instead.
Don’t be that guy.
Government Support for Local Game Development
Last year Sue McCreadie of NSW Trade & Investment asked Sydney Indie Game Developers to apply for grant funding, asking for more applications so she could better understand the needs of the game development community.
Sue is an incredibly proactive and generous woman. Most people who work in these agencies are. And if you look at the average salary of a government staffer these days it’s obvious they’re in it for something more than the money.
Want government to see how damn awesome this industry is and provide more support for game development startups? Help them see what you see: Make an application for funding. Find out what studies are being done and get involved. Take these generous and wonderful folks out for coffee and share what you think is so incredible about this industry.
Help them see that in supporting local game developers they are creating jobs, encouraging economic growth and fueling technical innovation.
Oh, and it helps to speak the fucking language. Read through their websites and programs they have available for Television and Film. What comparisons can you make? Can you modify YOUR language, the way you talk about business and development, to make it easy for them to see how their current programs can help you and others like you?
If you want someone to do something for you then you have to make it easy for them to find value in doing it. Be wary of making suggestions that translate to more hours of underpaid work to an already overworked human.
More People Worth Talking About
Alan Kerlin is actively trying to make contact with game developers to improve the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme and meet the needs of the fastest growing industry in Australia. If you’ve been through the process get in touch (with him or with me) and share your story. A couple hours of your time will help influence the future of countless more startups. Follow them on Twitter, Like them on Facebook and get involved!
Tony Reed of the Game Developers Association of Australia is constantly working to build awareness and support for Australian Developers with local and international agencies – and for that to happen they need to understand the reality of our situation. To see the need for tax offsets and grant funding they must have a snapshot of the average Australian game development studio. Influence that snapshot by filling out this survey which will help the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education decide how to invest in the games industry.
Last year the Sydney indie community took a blow when we learned that the Digital Media Fund, which had previously helped many local developers get their start, was going to get axed under the new NSW administration. Dan Graf and Saul Alexander Whitton asked me if they could use Bits & Pieces as a sounding board to get the community involved in getting the program back online. They drummed up a few hundred signatures and spent days and hours helping the new administration see the economic value of investing in the games industry. Because of that work we now have the Interactive Media Fund helping teams like INKids and See Through Studios get their start.
Be Someone Worth Talking About
Don’t be that guy that whinges about no government support for local games industry – get involved, find out what’s available, find the obstacles and help remove them. Create the industry you want to be a part of.
Find local programs that exist to support similar fields (film, television, R&D, innovation and technology) that could be evolved to support game development as well. Get in touch with the people responsible for those programs, take them out for coffee, and make it easy for them to see the value in helping us.
Who are the people worth talking about in your local industry? What are they doing and how can we support them?