Proud to be part of


26-27 April, 2019


Soundings Theatre, Te Papa


Register for Play by Play 2019

We can't wait to see you! Tickets on sale NOW.

What is Play by Play?

Play by Play is an open-to-the-public industry conference for game developers, hobbyists and those interested in the sector.

Featured Speakers

Nick Suttner


San Francisco

Pritika Sachdev

CheckPoint Community Manager


Humphrey Hanley

Motivational Streamer

New Zealand

Conference Schedule

Friday 26 April

09:00 am - 10:00 am
Soundings Theatre


by Play by Play, A Different Kind of Games Conference

Registration opens at 9 am! Come on down to Te Papa and get yourself sorted with your conference badge, ready for a 10 am start.

10:00 am - 10:15 am
Soundings Theatre

Welcome & Housekeeping

by Play by Play, A Different Kind of Games Conference

We'll run through some basic housekeeping, show you where the bathrooms are, all that useful stuff. 😉

10:15 am - 11:15 am
Soundings Theatre


by Nick Suttner, Independent Consultant


Morning Tea
11:45 am - 12:00 pm
Soundings Theatre

Esports? eSports? E-Sports? E-gaming?

by Amy Potter, Project Lead at LetsPlay.Live

Esports isn't new, but the growth of the industry over the past few years has been exponential. Globally esports have arrived in a huge way, but what is the current state of play in NZ? Amy Potter shares her perspective on the growth of this new-to-NZ industry as an employee of NZ's largest esports broadcaster.

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Soundings Theatre

Introducing Your Friends As Cuss Words: A Lesson In Unconventional Networking

by Noni Och, Producer at 3RD Sense

Network, network, network. It’s a buzzword thrown around constantly in discussions around working in game development. Make friends with the right people, get into the right circles and you’ll be grand. But what does networking even mean? How do you do it, especially if you get shy and anxious meeting new people? And doesn’t it feel a bit inauthentic to be trying to only make friends with people who you think are beneficial to your career? In this talk, Noni will discuss these questions by delving into her own experiences and learnings - including a few mistakes along the way, because we've all got them.

01:45 pm - 02:15 pm
Soundings Theatre

Delete: The Joy of Transience

by Louis Roots, Owner of Bar SK

In 2016, Louis created an event called Delete, where videogames are made during an eight-hour jam, immediately exhibited in a public space for five hours, then deleted permanently. These events create a new space in videogames, a transient platform where the games need to be aware and take advantage of their short lifespan. It's an important, unique, and easily created space. The games made at delete aren't just destroyed, they're made specifically to be destroyed, and they couldn't exist in any other context. The more contexts that exist, the more diverse and unique videogame experiences can be created, so go out there and make some yourself!

02:15 pm - 03:00 pm
Soundings Theatre

Growing Empathy in Players: A Framework

by Moana Minson and Calliope Ryder, Narrative Designer at Momomo Studio and XR Producer at Wrestler

Do games have the ability to make players more empathetic IRL? And are there simple design tools to achieve that? Games offer designers unique tools to engage players in empathetic experiences. In this talk, Moana Minson brings her experience as a Narrative Designer and Games Researcher to delve into creating scenarios which stimulate an empathetic experience of minority perspectives. Meanwhile, Calliope Ryder will focus on bringing scientifically tested strategies for affecting and uplifting players’ behaviour beyond the game world. Attendees will leave with a clear design framework on how to elevate their players to empathic behaviour - not only in the game world, but in their real lives as well.

03:00 pm - 03:15 pm
Soundings Theatre

A Loveletter to New Zealand

by Kelsey Gamble, Lead Community Manager at Bethesda

Three key lessons from NZ that everyone can take regarding building communities. Kelsey Gamble discusses what she's learned about New Zealand communities that everyone can benefit from.

Afternoon Tea
03:45 pm - 04:00 pm
Soundings Theatre

Should you do a demo? A study into playable video game demos

by Tana Tanoi, Programmer at Dinosaur Polo Club

Video game demos were a consumer positive cereal box highlight, but more recently, demos have fallen out of favour. Diverse monetisation plans, refund policies, and poor sales figures have all contributed to the demise of playable demos. However, some developers, indie and triple A, continue to release demos to varied success. In this talk, Tana will help us explore different types of playable demos and dissect the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to creating and releasing a demo for games.

04:00 pm - 04:30 pm
Soundings Theatre

No Hands No Excuses

by Humphrey Hanley, Motivational Streamer at No Hands No Excuses

In our closing day one note, Humphrey will share his perspective on what it means to be a gamer with a disability, and how important it is for games to be a safe and accessible escape - especially when the real world is as hazardous and painful as it is when your skin is as fragile as a butterfly's wing. Join Humphrey on a journey of games accessibility tips and tricks, and what it means to see a company like Xbox make disability accessibility the mainstream. He's guaranteed to give you a new perspective of how we can interact with our play.

End of Conference Day One
06:30 pm - 09:00 pm
Prefab Hall

Treat 'n' Greet

by Play by Play, A Different Kind of Games Conference

With the assistance of Bethesda, Play by Play is thrilled to be bringing back Treat ‘n’ Greet! A non-alcoholic networking event with a delicious twist, the goal of Treat ‘n’ Greet is to provide Play by Play attendees with a fun, safe, and delicious environment to make new friends and catch up with old ones. If you’ve ever been at a networking event and thought “this is great but there really aren't enough donuts here” then Treat ‘n’ Greet might just be your jam (see what we did there?)!

Get Some Rest

Saturday 27 April

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Soundings Theatre

New Games+: What We've Learned and Where We're Going

by NZ and Australia Industry Leaders, Panel

The landscape of game development is an ever-changing setting that can be difficult to navigate at times. Our day 2 opener is bringing together key pillars and leaders of the New Zealand and Australian industry to discuss the outlook of this landscape. Join Kelsey Gamble, Mario Wynands, Lucy Morris, Joshua Boggs, Ally McLean, Tony Reed and Zoe Hobson on this journey as we examine what the future looks like for our games and our industry.

Morning Tea
11:30 am - 11:45 am
Soundings Theatre

Display by Play: Games in the Museum

by Jim Fishwick, Assistant Curator at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image)

Jim curates videogames for ACMI, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. He's here to share some of the theoretical and practical factors his team thinks about when putting a videogame-related exhibition together, and some design tips that make videogames (or any interactive art) more amenable for public display. This talk is aimed at people looking at making their own games exhibitions, and people looking to make games for an exhibition.

11:45 am - 12:15 pm
Soundings Theatre

Myths & Heptaverses: Building Worlds Worth Exploring

by Seth Groom and Marc Loths, Generalist at ENDESGA and Necromancer at Sand Gardeners

A short journey to faraway places, charting the ancient art of building worlds and the stuff they're made of. Let two worldbuilders with an unhealthy obsession of scoping in universal dimensions take you through the tools, concepts and dangers of chronicling things that don't exist. Hear their tales, and you may find new life growing in your worlds to bring glory to your projects and a powerful sense of cohesion to your branded social media.

12:15 pm - 12:30 pm
Soundings Theatre

Diaries, Style Guides and Design Theory OH MY! Lessons learnt from freelance that help me make game art

by Lucy Mutimer, Lead 2D Artist at Ultimerse

In this talk join former freelance creative and current Ultimerse 2D artist Lucy Mutimer as she gives a crash-course in what games artists can learn from other art industry practices. This talk has a handful of rapid-fire lessons, practices and tricks to improve your art practice and how they can be applied to games to make your art and its pipeline stronger.

01:45 pm - 02:00 pm
Soundings Theatre

Designing the Alien

by Kathy Smythe, Graphic Designer at Avenues

Aliens and fantasy races in games. Why do we fear some and want to propose to others? Why is Kirby cute instead of terrifying? Elves, cute or pointy eared monsters? This is all about using Molly Bang's theories, neoteny and other ideas to create compelling character designs.

02:00 pm - 02:30 pm
Soundings Theatre

We All Need Mentors

by Ally McLean, CEO at The Working Lunch Collective

Mentorship! It sounds good, but it raises a few questions for most of us. How do I find a mentor? What makes for a valuable mentorship? What qualifies a person to be a mentor? How does all this work?! We All Need Mentors will bring you a step by step guide to finding and being a mentor, featuring insights and big lessons learned from two years of building Australia and New Zealand's most exciting, award winning games mentorship program The Working Lunch.

02:30 pm - 03:15 pm
Soundings Theatre

“Hello Brother” - Acknowledgement of Christchurch and Healing as a Community

by Emre Deniz and Maru Nihoniho, Development Director at Studio Mayday and Managing Director at Metia Interactive

Trigger Warning: This session will discuss the tragic events that took place in Christchurch on March 15. “Hello Brother” by Haji-Daoud Nabi were the words that welcomed the terrorist responsible for the tragedy in Christchurch, and represent to us the greatest moment of compassion, empathy and selflessness in the face of hatred, division and violence. We come together for this session to focus on healing as a community and to explore what we can do as an industry, exploring topics of decolonisation, inclusion and deconstruction of power-fantasies. This session will have a Q&A element at the end.

Afternoon Tea
03:45 pm - 04:15 pm
Soundings Theatre

Games are Good, Actually — The Importance of Fostering a Positive Games Community

by Pritika Sachdev, Community Manager at CheckPoint

So you’ve got a group of people who are super hyped about your game, that’s awesome! But how do you take that energy and turn it into a thriving community? Drawing from her experience in setting up GamerMates, CheckPoint’s online safe-space, join Play by Play 2019's closing speaker, Pritika Sachdev as she takes you through the foundation steps of starting and building a community. We’ll talk about the importance of boundary setting, running events and leading product discussion, while making sure you look after yourselves.

Closing Notes
07:00 pm - 11:59 pm
Foxglove Ballroom

The Pavs Awards Night

by The Pavs, NZ Games Festival Awards

NZ Games Festival and Play by Play culminate in our much-anticipated awards night, The Pavs! Running through the final evening of the festival, the Pavs ceremony brings together accomplished game developers from Australia, New Zealand and beyond to celebrate our industry’s talent. Complimentary platters, a tipple or two and incredible networking opportunities are just the start of what the Pavs awards night has to offer. After two days of wisdom at Play by Play, let loose and enjoy a night of laughter, celebration and good spirits with like minds at this cocktail evening to be remembered.

Get Some Rest

Thanks so much to our sponsors!

We couldn't do it without you.

Thanks so much to our sponsors!

We couldn't do it without you.

Register for Play by Play 2019

We can't wait to see you! Early bird sale on NOW.