iz nullarbor 2007 report (By Adrian Boeing)
iz nullarbor 2007 was a great success, with iz nullarbor 2007 being arguably one of the biggest demoscene events ever. We received over 10,000 visitors, had double the number of entries from last year, double the number of competitions as well as a substantial improvement in the quality of the entries.
The key to the great success this year was of course to build on the success of last years event, but also to decide to join a major event in Perth: the GO3 electronic entertainment expo. GO3 featured a conference (including great international speakers such as Hideo Kojima - Metal Gear series), a LAN, an expo, and of course nullarbor itself.
The synergy of all these great activities into one big event enabled a much better exposure than would other wise have been possible. For nullarbor this meant we could expose local creations to the general public, as well as the computer games industry. It also meant that instead of being restricted to a small university campus the event would be hosted at the massive Perth international convention and exhibition center.
Another big change for nullarbor this year was securing support from a new games company starting in Perth: Interzone Games. Interzones support allowed for much larger prizes, as well as covering the costs that come along with a better location. In return for the sponsorship nullarbor officially changed its full name to "Interzone nullarbor 2007", or iz nullarbor in short.
Moving from an event of the scale of a few hundred people to a few thousand obviously provides a great opportunity, but obviously rapid growth on that scale can also cause a few problems we didn't need to deal with before. Since I was working in Europe for most of the time before nullarbor many things could not get organized until "the last minute".
iz nullarbor was a three day event. The day before the event we had the opportunity to do some set up: unfortunately both the organizers also had teaching commitments that day, so our work-time was cut in half. When I arrived on the scene and found the place where nullarbor was meant to be, I was surprised to find a few trucks parked in our location doing some last minute set up. This some what delayed the set up and also meant many of the things that were meant to be done for us had not been done.
As a result the Thursday was spent trying to organize power, tables and chairs, getting the PC's delivered, hanging signs, and all other miscellaneous tasks. On Thursday evening cTrix arrived from Melbourne (plug: who's organizing the Syntax Party) since he wanted to see how we ran the party over here. I quickly took up his earlier light hearted offer to help out and we set to work with the Pixel Juice people setting up the power, networking, and PC's, etc.
Friday was the first official day of iz nullarbor where GO3 was open for trades and industry people. It was a fairly quiet day, and it gave the competitors a chance to test out their entries, as well as giving the organizers a chance to fix some problems with ticketing and the network. Unlike other parties nullarbor provides all the competition machines for the public, so we also had to deal with the fact that a number of them were shipped to us with the incorrect hardware. Since final submissions were received on this day, and we only received our distribution server on Friday night we had a fairly hectic time testing all the entries. Just as we were about to have our final image ready to roll out to the PC's the power was shut down on us: panic! Luckily the security guard happened to live down the road from where I went to school and recognized me so was kind enough to have the power turned back on for us. A long night, but we managed to get everything up and running by the end of the evening.
Saturday was the first public day for GO3 and thousands of people came to have a look at all that was going on. iz nullarbor was a popular section of the event and the PC's were crowded with people playing the games, watching the demos and animations, and trying to listen to the music through all the background noise. There were plenty of parents with their children playing around on the PC's as well as gamers and sceners, and your average punter taking a look. We got a great reception.
Sunday was a somewhat quieter day with not quite as much activity as Saturday (read: still a heck of a lot!), and also had the voting and screening ceremonies. Due to the large number of entries and the limited stage time the screening time for a number of entries had to be cut short, but in the end every entry managed to get its chance for a couple of minutes of fame. After the screening we had a hectic vote counting session, (our vote counting laptop didn't turn up) and announced the winners who walked away with big piles of prizes.
The winners of the game competition were SandBox Software's "Dust", followed by OneTwenty's linux "Zyberflux" game. Other favorites were Adrenaline, Return to Zero, and Last Dawn. The wild/animation competitions run-away favourite was Cotton Tales, with a pure Power Point animation "PowerPointless" sneaking in to third. The demoscene competition was won by the Syntax Party invite. Chris McCormick took out the Music competition's first prize with his tune "A Simple Plan".
After the event the OneTwenty crew stuck around to help clean up and get everything out of the way. cTrix headed straight off to the airport with his prizes, and had to pay a fee because of all the goodies weighing him down: that's the hidden cost of flying to a great party and winning too many prizes!
Unfortunately there weren't too many entries in the demoscene section: in fact the demo competition was scrapped due to the lack of entries, but the game competition was a run-away success, and the other competitions had a fairly healthy showing too.
It seems everyone enjoyed nullarbor again this year, and we have managed to build nullarbor from Australia's only demo party to one of the world's biggest events: can't wait to see what happens next year!Adrian Boeing