to Download the Heartbeat 2018 Digital Program


Friday 19th


9:00:00 AM Registration Opens

9:45:00 AM Welcome by Blushbox Collective


10:00 - 10:40 AM The Horror of Porn: Lessons from Making "You Must be 18 or Older to Enter"


Games can be about anything really. So why not a horror game about porn? Here, James Earl Cox III discusses the reasons for creating You Must be 18 or Older to Enter (a horror game about being a kid in the 1990s and looking at porn for the first time) and offers methods and thoughts for developing thought-provoking alternative games.

10:40 - 11:20AM Over-encumbered: Removing Armour for Love


We dress ourselves in armour to defend ourselves, but it's tough to make love in full plate. What if, by un-equipping our cuirass and showing others our vulnerability, we could better love our friends, ourselves, and our society? Prepare to bare your weaknesses, and radically bond to others in the greatest game humans can play. Connection.

11:20 - 11:40AM Break - Morning Tea

11:40 - 12:20PM Drop the Mic and Shout


If we are careful, humour can be an effective vehicle for discussing otherwise uncomfortable topics. I use comedy as a a platform to voice thoughts on intimacy, sexuality and relationships. The twist with Drop the Mic and Shout is that YOU are going to do it with me. Join me for this interactive comedy set, share some laughs, and dare to make yourself vulnerable. *all participation is completely optional and respectful

12:20 - 1:00PM An (Autobiographical) History of Intimacy and it’s Relationship to Creative Practice


In this session, through personal examples, we will look at how the seemingly unconventional aspects of our personal lives affects our creative practice. How our insights regarding intimacy change over time, how our understanding of intimacy in our private lives and public lives intersect, and how creative practice in interactive and non-interactive forms are changing the way we conceive ourselves and each other.

1:00PM- 2:00PM Lunch

2:00-2:40PM Intimate Performances – Approaching the Sound Design of Sex & Romance


Sound design can make the difference between sexy or scary, erotic or awkward, poignant or perfunctory. Here we will take a look at different approaches to creating sound for erotic and romantic video games – to achieve the result you desire!

2:40-3:20PM So You Think Video Games are Reductive? Sex and Relationships on the Tabletop


‎How do we handle complicated topics like sex and relationships without ongoing narrative, characters you control, or more art than a few static pictures? ‎Is it possible to explore sex and relationships in such a limited way? Well yes! Obviously! Learn what tools we have to work with, and what we can do to encourage players to use them.

3:20-4:00PM Love as the Opposite of Abuse


The Black feminist theorist bell hooks argued that "love is incompatible with abuse". The standard way to depict progress in an in-game relationship is a scale of how much the other person likes you, but is that kind of system at all incompatible with abuse? Are there better markers we could be using? In this talk, philosopher Andy Connor will discuss the conceptual contours of abuse and love, and offer a radical suggestion about the gamifying of intimacy. 


4:00-4:20PM Break - Afternoon Tea

4:20-5:00PM Press A to Consent: A Conversation about Consent and Gaming


Consent is an ongoing conversation, as is the decision making process involved in a lot of games. Consent goes further than 'Yes means Yes & No means No' and gaming can be instrumental in normalising conversations surrounding consent.

5:00-5:30PM Sensual Sights: The Art of Sexy


How we depict characters in our stories is subject to our understanding of their personalities, sexualities and intentions. If you're white and cis, how do you successfully represent sexualities you might not be personally familiar with? This talk will teach you how to create believable characters that go beyond your personal experiences and turn them into art.

5:30:00-6:00 PM Interview with Brenda Romero (pre-recorded)


Blushbox interviewed Brenda Romero with community questions about sex and romance in game design. Hosted by Blushy, Jennifer Sheurle, this is the first time anyone will see our interview with the legendary designer herself.

6:00 PM Team Allocation and Game Jam Begins

We will be allocating you all into teams based on the skills you submitted in your application form. 


Saturday 20th

All Day Game Jam and Optional Workshops

9:00 AM  Doing it Together: Coding for non-coders

This lovely coding workshop will teach you principals of logic and animation! Badass and educator, Shell Osbourne will bring her formidable knowledge to the keyboard to help you create and make a 3d object and use code to create a basic game for it.'


11:00 AM Let's Get Physical

Louis Roots of Bar SK teaches us how to make the sexiest of Alt Controllers in a one and a half hour workshop. We've got a range of hardware to experiment with including a range of ex showfloor toys you might want to try reprogramming. Thanks to Geeky Sex Toys we'll have a variety of dildos and vibrators to use to turn into controllers.


1:00PM Lunch

2:00 PM Loving-Kindness: Connection training

A relaxing guided meditation session with Psychologist Josh Muller, a way to look after your well being and embrace vulnerability, connection, boundaries and defences. How to play with opening up and connecting to others. This guided workshop will help you open your hearts and minds to others. Plus it's on the beach :)

4:00PM Tying Knots: The Art of Shibari JENNIFER SCHEURLE

Jennifer Scheurle, game designer and former Shibari rope model teaches us basic techniques of Japanese Shibari for playfulness, connection and body positivity. We really hope someone who also goes to alt control makes a shibari game!


9:00 AM Modular Narrative: Pushing boundaries of choice in visual novel and text games

uring the session, we’ll cover some core storytelling theories and have a hands-on exercise with modular storytelling. Beginners are welcome and creative brains are needed! Attendees will walk away with a good understanding of core storytelling theory and a hands-on exploration of modular storytelling that puts them in the right mindset to create their own sensual and amazing content!


11:00 AM Critical Modification: A Gateway Drug for Tabletop Design

This tabletop design workshop is about critical modification, which Brit calls 'the gateway drug to game design'. "As soon as you make a house rule, you're a game designer." In this workshop, tabletop designer extraordinaire, Brit Snaggel, takes you through a handful of different styles of games, walk you through an example together, then she'll turn you loose to get started on your very first tabletop game!


Game Jam, Presentations and Party!

9:00 AM How about a quick dip!? 

Let's go for a swim at Byron Beach. Meet us at the peace pole on the Byron Waterfront to come for a swim! 

4:30 PM Game submissions and presentation practice

After a weekend of brain exercise it's time to show us what you've got. You have an hour an a half to work on a 2 minute presentation about the game you made! You'll be showing it to everyone from 6!

6:00 PM Showcase

We all sit around and hear and see what got made by our talented peers!

8:00 PM Byron Kick Ons (Afterparty) 

Location to be announced on the day. 



Sunday 21st