Make Games SA – where to next?
Interview with SA developer Danny Day on the birth of new local development community website Make Games SA
Last week a long-standing South African game development community website was shut down rather abruptly – SA Game Dev is no more.
To fill the void, a new site was quickly created – Make Games SA. SA developer Danny Day, one third of the QCF team that is bringing us indie-darling Desktop Dungeons, was behind the creation of the new site.
We caught up with him to find out the plans for Make Games SA and how the community can take the reigns going forward.
MyGaming: How does the closure of SAGD affect the SA game dev scene?
Day: “Hopefully the closure of SAGD won’t be a big deal for the local game development scene. As a community it was always in a state of perpetual wane and didn’t have much impact, barring appearing on Google searches. There was a concerted effort to change that a month or so before it was closed, due to several local developers expressing concern with the image that SAGD provided of local game development.”
“People joined the SAGD forum, posted constructive criticism, started in depth discussions and ran art challenges. Things were picking up and the community was starting to govern itself. We plan to keep that momentum going on the new community site, although what you’re seeing right now is a stopgap solution – I’m sure that the community will change the site quite a bit over the next few months.”
MyGaming: There must have been a repository of information and discussions on SAGD. Is there any hope of being able to retrieve the info? Do you think there would be value in this?
Day: “Yes, there’s a collection of old posts in the SAGD forums and a Wiki on local game development that used to be on the SAGD site. Both of those are the property of the people who maintained them, not the community. They’d be welcome to give that information to the community and I’m sure we could find ways to display the valuable stuff, but truth be told, we have a similar problem with the old NAG Game.Dev forum; we can’t get at that database of posts (which is much, much larger than SAGD’s), because it’s private”
“Make Games represents an attempt to keep all the information driving the local community open and accessible – no one person should have control over it. Sure, we might lose some legacy data, but I feel that everyone working together will quickly make up for anything we’ve potentially lost.”
MyGaming: Is Make Games SA your initiative?
Day: No. I am a part of the Make Games community (seeing as that’s what I do) but I’m not running it. It’s a community-driven system, there will be an elected committee and hopefully some sort of legal structure to allow engagement with government and other initiatives. Of course I’ll make my experience gained from running Game.Dev available, but I won’t be in charge of anything by fiat and I’m glad that I won’t be a bottleneck.”
“Yes, I did register for hosting once SAGD shut down, but all of that is easily transferable to the Make Games governing body once that’s up and running – we needed a place to continue discussions to figure out what we’re going to do, after all.”
MyGaming: Will (and how) you be supporting the new site in its infancy? Will you be relying on the community to drive it forward?
Day: The local development community needs a place to interact, discuss their work, find new talent and create awareness. Make Games is what that community has made happen in order to achieve those goals, it’s pretty much that simple.”
“I’ll be supporting the site with donations and content because it’s something I believe is important and I’m glad to be involved with a group of driven game developers who want to keep making things happen in South Africa. The community has been and always will be the driving force behind this effort, I’m very excited to see what people do over the next few months.”
Things are very much in the birthing stage, so now is as good a time as any to get on over to Make Games SA and support SA’s aspiring game developers, whether you are one yourself, or merely have a passing interest in the hobbyist pursuit.