We’re planning to make the festival’s Covid-comeback bigger and better than ever – so we’ve brought on a few extra helping hands for 2021! Meet the team working so hard to make NZGF everything it can be.

tom butler

conference coordinator

Tom is one of the co-founders of Rainbite. He started the indie studio at the end of 2016, along with two of his peers, and has been game designing and community managing ever since. Rainbite has released two games in the time they’ve been around and are currently working on their new IP, Trigger Witch.

zala habib

she / her

events manager

Zala is a Game Designer at the Wellington-based Studio Mayday. She has a love for games that break the boundaries of conventional design, and loves coming up with strange and interesting ways to tell stories. Zala also runs Accessibility Unlocked with three others – an initiative to make the games industry more accessible to disabled devs and players alike. She is a strong advocate for diversity of all kinds, and believes both the industry and community is a place for all. Outside of games she enjoys dancing, hiking, cooking, and more! She’s always happy to chat so feel free to introduce yourself and strike up a convo.

sami habib

events manager

Sami is a game developer from Wellington, and an avid game jammer. Currently a programmer at PikPok, he has worked on games such as Into the Dead 2 and Rival Stars Horse Racing. He spends his free time playing The Binding of Isaac and Mario Maker 2 while avoiding his 15 half-finished personal projects.

Ever since being introduced to the Wellington gamedev scene, Sami’s been an enthusiastic member of the community, trying to help out whenever he can. After being a volunteer at NZGF 2019, he’s continuing helping out to make 2020’s festival the best one yet!

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jacob connelly

events manager

Jacob is a programmer and sometimes a scrum master at PikPok in Wellington, working on a range of mobile games over the last 5 years. He is excited to help organise NZGF events for the first time.

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patty shannon

events manager

This is Patty, a very tall girl, with good shoes. But she has also been involved with the festival in some way since it started way back in 2016. From speaking in the first Play by Play to volunteering in 2017 and 2018, stepping up to the role of Event Manager in 2019 then quiz master for Super Quiz Bros 2020 (RIP). She’s now back to manage events for the 2021 festival!

When they’re not panicking about venues, ticket sales and technical issues during a quiz she is an accomplished Game Designer. Having worked on two well received Action RPGs, A44’s Ashen and most recently Cold Symmetry’s Mortal Shell. She’s now a Combat Designer for the new Toronto based studio BEANS, and is excitedly working on their first game alongside Devolver Digital. If you see a tall girl with curly hair, feel free to strike up a convo. They are usually more than happy to chat about anything, but mostly food or why Jak and Daxter is the best 3D platformer ever made.

florence hillyer-brandt

exhibition manager

Florence is a past Play by Play volunteer and 2D artist at Gamefroot. She likes making pretty colours work together, and has a passion for pixel art. At the moment, she’s playing the 20-odd games she started years ago and never found the time to finish.

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jared trail

workshop manager

Jared is a co-founder and lead programmer at Rainbite. They have released 2 games so far and are working on their latest game Trigger Witch. He has a passion for creating games and focusing on the smaller details and subtle effects that add polish to games. He is also one of the few people that enjoys Unity’s Canvas. Outside of game development, he spends most of his time trophy hunting on Playstation (he has 150+ platinums).

cindy miller

judging manager

Cindy is the Design Lead at Studio Mayday, working on an upcoming RPG adventure game. She has been a game designer for 10 years working on a wide range of games from We Are Chicago to Disney Infinity. She has been an Indiecade judge for the last 4 years, an IGF judge for the last 2 years, and she is excited to be a part of this year’s NZGF committee!

liam dick

volunteer manager

Liam is coming back for his second year as Volunteer Manager for the New Zealand Games Festival. He is currently a student (studying computer science and media design) looking to eventually get involved in the games industry in a producer role. In the meantime, he is currently contracted as a project manager for SCOUTS New Zealand.

Liam loves the outdoors, volunteering, leadership development, and wholesome human interactions. He loves seeing the impact that small teams can have on their communities and building positive cultures within these teams.

Liam is excited to be rejoining us to help bring together a team of remarkable individuals to bring our festival to life.

joseph hendren

social media manager

Joseph is a content creator, writer, and self-proclaimed “loose cannon of the Wellington content space” joining the NZGF team for the first time this year. Whether he’s writing, filming, editing, podcasting, or building a campaign setting across near-infinite loose scraps of paper, he always makes sure his projects embrace and uplift the weirdness of the people he’s creating for. He’s also great at executing very dumb ideas incredibly well.

Joseph graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with an Honors in Media Studies focused on social media and television narrative, so he loves any media that tells a story in a unique way. His favourite games all feature seemingly emotionless, non-human protagonists who develop complex feelings and ultimately make him cry – including Thomas Was Alone, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, and L.A. Noire.

daniel edwards

website manager

Daniel is joining the NZGF committee for the first time this year. He moved from Canberra, Australia to Wellington around 2 years ago and has been a regular face at the local game development meetups and game jams since then. In the past he’s worked in various roles as a 3D artist, a tech artist, a programmer, and now specializes in networking, security, infrastructure and Amazon Web Services. In his spare time while he’s not working on the NZGF website, he also tinkers with homebrew applications on the Nintendo Switch.

stef peacock

he / him

media designer

Stef(an) is a designer with a love for telling stories, adding sparkles to everything, and patterned shirts. Seriously; he only owns one plain shirt and that’s so he can wear his floral blazer. 

Stef is currently at the Gibson Group, designing a wide range of visitor experiences, both physical and digital. He loves seeing people enjoy themselves and NZGF is always the perfect place for that. He’s been working with the festival since the 2019 iteration and has really settled into his role battling the twitter cropping algorithm as the festival’s media designer.

michelle kan

video editor

Michelle is an independent filmmaker/videographer, writer and Chinese brush artist based in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara. A longtime contributor of video content to NZ Games Festival since its inaugural event, they’re back once again to provide NZGF 2020 with the good video content, direct the Diverse Game Artists Showcase, and generally soak in the good vibes.

They wish they could say they didn’t often schedule their week around a certain D&D livestream and its related paraphernalia, but that would be patently untrue.