Every year, developers, critics and fans alike diverge upon Melbourne in droves to celebrate the wonderful things that are video games. It’s a chance for the Australian community to network, see old friends, and just find out what’s going on in both the local and international gaming scenes. The week is filled with many exciting and diverse events that allow it to be enjoyed by all gamers (all of which can be found here) and in reality lasts a little over a week, but even that is not nearly long enough. For us, the week began on Monday with the unity-focused Unite Melbourne conference, and it’s clear to see that the week is already going to be a lot of fun.

Right from the get-go, it was clear that Unite was made for the developers. Those who were already using Unity, those who wanted to start, or even those that just wanted to see what the engine could produce were excitedly shuffling between panels given by experts in the industry. From the technical to the purely creative, attendees left the conference with skills in production, marketing, art, design, and even how to respectfully represent characters with mental illness, with the emphasis placed on giving characters more depth. No matter what your skill level in any particular area, there was a panel that would help you improve it, and the discussions didn’t end once the theatre doors closed. Over the provided lunch, everyone was sharing their games and skills with other attendees, and it was easy to see how an event like this could foster the formation of a great, well-balanced development team.

When you wanted to take a break from panels, several games from the ‘made with Unity’ selection were on display for interested parties to try out, and in this area more than any other, there was a real sense of community. Exhibitors were walking around, asking others about the games on display, talking technically about the games’ capabilities and how those that made them overcame some of the very real problems faced by developers taking on this sort of task. It was so refreshing to be in an environment where everyone there was there to grow and learn from each other.

For some, the day ended with the last presentation, but for those already proficient in Unity’s mechanics who wanted to take the next step towards qualification, the opportunity to sit an official Unity certification exam was provided. Of course, no matter where the business part of the conference experience ended, the day was truly topped off with an afterparty that allowed further mingling and discussion of the day’s events – or just a chance to kick back with friends and talk about games.

Because really, that’s what games week is about – showcasing games, and fostering the wonderful community that has formed around them, both from Australia and overseas. It’s a time for us all to come together and celebrate what we love – and the best part of it all might just be the friends we make along the way.

About The Author

Jess is a psychology researcher by day and is determined to find a way to merge her gaming and professional lives. She loves point-and-click adventures, games with strong narratives, and her love of puzzles in all forms has actually caused her to use the phrase “that reminds me of a puzzle” whilst in a furniture store. She can generally be found on Twitter @zammitjess talking about games, feelings, and her life as an anxious mess.