Mar 092009

It’s that time of year where things really start to kick-in. So on top of all my AFTRS lecturing, MA Supervision and LAMP R&D work plus commercial work via MUVEDesign and many consultancy sessions here are some nice breaks – seminars and conferences I am speaking at or running.

(BTW most of the LAMP ones can be booked at AFTRS short course pages in the MultiPlatform section – page being updated at the moment)

Tues/Weds 10-11 March – Ad:Tech. Virtual Worlds & Business: What’s The ROI?

adtech-brandsVirtual worlds are maturing at a rapid rate and brands are realising there are valuable business opportunities within them. Whether the objective is engagement, research or brand presence, virtual worlds are proving to be a legitimate marketing channel. In this session our panel will look to provide insights into the business benefits of working within a virtual world. Our panellists will provide:

  • – An overview of virtual worlds and why they’re suitable for business
  • – Insight for brand involvement including what’s in it for both the brand and the consumer
  • – Considerations before entering a virtual world and how to be successful
  • – Identifying the KPIs and how to measure the success of a campaign
  • – Engagement and brand presence
  • – With case study examples, this session will bring to life the importance of engagement and brand presence in a virtual world and how organisations are testing, developing, connecting, and marketing within these communities.


  • Gary Hayes, Director, Laboratory for Advanced Media Production, AFTRS & CEO MUVEDesign
  • Jeff Brookes, Regional Director – Asia Pacific, Sulake Corporation (
  • Mitch Olson, Co-Founder,

Wed 25 March 6-7pm – LAMP ‘State of Play’ Television 2.0: latest innovations in online video

Convergence and multi-platform production is front and centre at MIP TV this year. This seminar will provide background to the terminology, techniques and recent innovations in distributed online video, preparing you for all the key developments. Gary Introducing and speaking.

Fri 3 April – LAMP ‘Interactive Workshop’  Documentary 2.0: Serious Games

Seminar and Workshop Fri April 3. The intersection between documentary filmmaking and games will be explored in this seminar and workshop, providing deep insight into the potential of Serious Games. Both games and stories have long been recognised as powerful learning tools. Their combination in the 21st century has the potential to provide learning experiences that are collaborative and globally connected. What are the best examples of Serious Games and where are they heading? How can Serious Games best be employed by educators, corporations or non-profit organisations? Gary facilitating and speaking.

20-30 April – “Innovation & Form Workshop” for AFTRS Students featuring:

Wed 22 April 10am-12pm Open morning seminar “Innovations in Multi-Platform Content”

A selection of leading innovators in multi-platform content present recent projects in the areas of social media, cross platform storytelling, extended entertainment, games and online entertainment. Presenters will include social media strategist Laurel Papworth, 2008 BAFTA winners Hoodlum Entertainment and representatives from Google and other cutting edge innovators and thinkers in global screen media. Gary speaking.

Wed April 29 – LAMP  ‘State of Play’ Seminar “Free & Collaborative: Latest Open Source Creative Tools”

Want to run your own Facebook or YouTube? Want to set-up a cool online video festival or manage a complex project online? What are the best, free tools for collaboration, video distribution and marketing? An insightful survey of tools such as Drupal, Ning, Celtx, WordPress, Mogulus, Joomla and many more. Gary speaking.

Thurs/Fri 14-15 May – LAMP ‘Interactive Workshop’ Machinima Virtual Story: The Art & Craft of Machinima

Games and virtual worlds are now being used as creative tools to make a wide range of films from horror genre, comedy to corporate training and education. YouTube, and scores of other video portals are filled with examples of these new forms of virtual storytelling and some are now being commissioned by mainstream TV. NBC aired a CSI episode in 2008 featuring machinima made in Second Life and HBO recently acquired the machinima series ‘Molotov Alva’.  The seminar will explore the vast range of machinima made with console, PC and online games. It will also look at simple forms of film pre-visualisation now possible using games technologies. The intensive workshop will provide a hands-on introduction to the tools of machinima and the opportunity to work on a short project. Participants are encouraged to bring along a pre-recorded soundtrack (including voice and/or music) to use as the basis for their project. Gary facilitating and speaking.

Wed May 27 – LAMP ‘State of Play’ Seminar “Massively Multi-Storyteller Online Worlds”

Virtual worlds and online games are primarily used for role-playing but they can become host to your own narrative worlds. This session looks at how to locate, take-part in or build rich story environments inside shared online spaces. Gary facilitating and speaking.

8-10 June Banff TV Fest Canada – Still discussing speaking and mentor role!

17-23 June  Games and Entertainment Technologies Conference in Algarve Portugal

Keynoting at the  Game, WAC and Informatics conferences (, and The Keynote will look at major trends and futures of  eLearning, Intelligent Systems, Wireless Applications, Games, Creative Industries, ICT and Society, Computer Graphics and IHCI.

24 June – LAMP ‘State of Play’ Cinema 2.0

Stereoscopic 3D, interactive cinema, games in cinema. Where does the future lie for cinemas and other public screen spaces? Gary facilitating and speaking.

Thurs/Fri July 2/3 – LAMP ‘Interactive Workshop & Seminar’ “The Social Media Campaign: Connecting with your audience”

Aimed at anyone who wants to promote themselves, their product or creation into communities. A workshop looking at how to understand the new audiences, build traffic and loyalty that goes way beyond uploading a 9 minute short onto YouTube but looks at techniques of engaging with online events, social networks and DIY social media. The workshop will examine case studies of successful campaigns from producers and creators doing it for themselves.

Led by Laurel Papworth who is a Power150 media blogger (global – AdNews) and in the top 5 media bloggers for Australia (B&T). She has been teaching for 20 years, mostly in the area of online communities and virtual communications. Laurel is the senior social media strategist in Australia, consulting to companies, not for profits and government departments in Australia, Asia and Middle East including: Middle East Broadcasting (Dubai/Saudi Arabia) – Channel MBC4, Telecom New Zealand, , Fairfax: RSVP Dating Community, Sony Corporation, Universal McCann Erickson WorldWide, CHANNEL TEN: including Australian Idol community, Sulake: Makers of Habbo, Macquarie Leisure, Macquarie Media, New Holland Publishing, Australasian, Performing Right Association (APRA), Peoplebrowsr, unsigned bands community, Australian Businesswomens’ Network, Pink Sofa online community, ABC Australia, National Archives of Australia (gov), Department of State and Regional Development (gov), Department of Primary Industry (gov), Australian Film Television and Radio School (edu), University of Sydney (edu, public), University of Western Sydney (edu, Masters program).

Gary speaking.

Mid Sept – SPAA Fringe, MultiPlatform Content sessions. Planning

Mid Nov – SPAA, MultiPlatform Content Strand. Planning

Mar 202008

I don’t often do the press release thing but given this is a great metaverse platform company from my neck of the woods (Melbourne and Brisbane – Australia) and this is beyond the vapourware we have seen from other players hoping to topple Linden and Second Life off their perch, I will make an exception. The key thing here is the marrying of a distributed Virtual World network (NICTA) with a very accessible, promising client I have been trying out (Vastpark). Things do look on track for end of 2008 which is not as bullish as predecessors, but still it will be 2009/10 before there is a significant community to rival Second Life who of course have their own distributed server plans. Anyway over to the PR release.


VastPark licences NICTA’s Distributed Network Engine technology

(20 March 2008) NICTA, Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, has signed a commercial license agreement with VastPark, a leading virtual worlds platform provider.

Researchers at NICTA have developed a decentralised network engine for virtual worlds that can scale to millions of users, thereby enabling creators to develop and deploy online games and virtual worlds more efficiently and cost effectively.

Massively multiplayer online (MMO) applications, such as large multiplayer games and on-line virtual worlds, have attracted an enormous user population on the Internet. In fact, thousands of users can be on-line simultaneously in the same virtual world. This creates a significant challenge for the creators of virtual worlds.

The traditional client-server approach does not scale affordably as server capacity needs to be upgraded to meet the anticipated demand for a service; rich media content requires the underlying network to be upgraded to handle the expected network traffic; and central servers are a single point of failure and require constant maintenance.

“This is great for VastPark as we want to make it easier for anyone to create and deploy their own virtual worlds and games without the headache of centralised server infrastructure. We also want to provide a unique user experience on our platform: we want users to know they can turn up at a location and no matter how many people are there, they should be able to see their friends rather than find out they’ve been stuck on separate servers as often happens in games today,” said Bruce Joy, CEO of VastPark.

Craig Presti, Lead Developer of VastPark said: “If we want virtual worlds to become a standard way of interacting online then we want to enable a better user experience. What’s great about NICTA’s Distributed Network Engine is how well it integrates with the VastPark platform and that it allows VastPark be the first to solve some of the elusive problems for virtual worlds platforms such as how to make them extremely economic to run and how to handle the “flash mob” problem (where suddenly a massive crowd appears on one world). This really makes the VastPark solution a complete and elegant system.”

NICTA’s agreement with VastPark will provide VastPark with access to the Distributed Network Engine and the team behind it. The agreement also provides the NICTA team with a commercial platform to conduct a large-scale trial, and a commercialisation path with VastPark as an industry collaborator.

“NICTA’s technology will reduce the cost of maintaining expensive game servers by delegating data processing to individual participants,” NICTA P2P project leader Dr Santosh Kulkarni said. “This will also improve resilience to failures by removing the single point of failure and reduce game traffic in the core network, improving system performance.”

“VastPark has a mature platform that has received excellent reviews from the industry pundits,” he added. “When you combine such a platform with cutting edge technology from NICTA, it has the potential to shake the virtual world space.”

“This is the beginning of what we expect to be a long-term relationship with VastPark as a partner in the development and commercialisation of the virtual world technology coming out of NICTA,” Dr Kulkarni said.

VastPark’s CEO, Bruce Joy said: “VastPark is about making virtual worlds useful and convenient to create and deliver and NICTA’s technology helps extend VastPark by allowing thousands of simultaneous users to meet each other without creators needing to pre-invest in expensive infrastructure. This is potentially revolutionary stuff.”

“This engine will complement our existing VastServer network engine that is designed using a traditional client server architecture. NICTA’s engine will mean that we can offer our world creators a level of low-cost scalability that is just not achievable otherwise. I can’t wait to see the impact this has on the market when it is released,” adds Joy.

“I am delighted that NICTA is entering into this agreement with VastPark,” NICTA Victoria Research Laboratory Director Professor Rob Evans said.

The new networking technology is now being integrated into VastPark and there will be an announcement later this year about when the beta testing will commence. Testing is expected to begin towards the end of 2008.

About VastPark
VastPark is a virtual worlds platform supporting an ecosystem of creators, consumers and user generated worlds. Built on five years of research and development and focussed on effective open standards, VastPark features free tools that enable users to create and publish 3D virtual worlds quickly and easily. Communities can create and monetize their own highly interactive worlds and empower their users creativity.

National ICT Australia Limited (NICTA) is a national research institute with a charter to build Australia’s pre-eminent Centre of Excellence for information and communications technology (ICT). NICTA is building capabilities in ICT research, research training and commercialization in the ICT sector for the generation of national benefit.

National ICT Australia is funded by the Australian Government as represented by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Australian Research Council through the ICT Centre of Excellence program.

NICTA was established and is supported by its members: The Australian Capital Territory Government; The Australian National University; NSW Department of State and Regional Development; and The University of New South Wales. NICTA is also supported by its partners: the University of Sydney; University of Melbourne; the Victorian Government; the Queensland Government; Griffith University; Queensland University of Technology; and The University of Queensland.

For further information:
Liz Chung
Marketing manager,