Developer Conference Schedule

Friday, October 26

DISCLAIMER: All scheduled programming is subject to change at any time.

|| 11:00

|| 2:00

|| 9:00

Saturday, October 27

DISCLAIMER: All scheduled programming is subject to change at any time.

|| 10:00

Speaker: Jeet Shroff, Director of Gameplay at Santa Monica Studios

Exploring a new world, mastering unfamiliar mechanics and finding the joy in discovery are what make many game experiences memorable for players. For the team behind God of War this was our experience throughout development. Accepting this as a new beginning, the team embarked on a path to reimagine the identity of this well-known and established franchise. The story of Kratos and Atreus very much mirrors that of the development team – exploring the unfamiliar, taking risks and crafting an entirely new experience. The talk will highlight examples by which the team upheld the tenets of this bold new vision and executed development across a 300+ team. By sharing development stories from our journey, we hope attendees will be inspired as game makers, to find the joy in discovering new ways to bring their game experiences to life.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to view Jeet’s Bio

Speakers: Nicole Lazzaro (CEO & Founder, XEO Design) and Coraly Rosario (Sr. UX Designer, Scopely)

One of the first steps for any user researcher or UX designer is to understand the project: what are its goals and, most importantly, who’s the target player. This workshop goes into techniques to start teaching game devs about empathy, understanding your users, and how to incorporate UX into your game development pipelines. We will cover how you can apply these techniques to games, virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.

|| 11:00

Speaker: Jim Leedham, Programmer at Digital Extremes

In today’s landscape of free to play it’s never been more important to keep growing your game beyond its initial release with rich, meaningful content updates, but what kind of technical challenges does that introduce? How can you reconcile a cohesive code base against an ever-growing feature set? And how can you effectively stabilise your builds when there’s always work in progress? Join me as I present Digital Extremes’ tried and tested approach to continuous iteration within our flagship title, Warframe.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Jim’s Bio

Speaker: Andy Wood, Co-Founder of Lithic Entertainment

A hopefully humorous guide to indie development startup from a tenacious and scrappy developer determined to succeed in direct opposition to better judgement. The ups and downs of large scope, small teams, and no budget.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Andy’s Bio

Speaker: Stéphanie Bouchard, Game Designer AI at StockholmSyndrome.AI

All gamers can name at least one specific moment when they were outsmarted by a brilliant NPC’s strategy… or troubled by the behaviour of a not so clever opponent.

Today, Artificial Intelligence is ubiquitous to video games, but as glamorous as it sounds, the topic remains a bit nebulous for most Designers. If you are looking to know a bit more about the best practices surrounding: NPC types, Scripting Tools, NPC patterns, Utility, Contextual Overrides, Narrative Conversations and Emergence, this might just be the talk for you.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Stéphanie’s Bio

|| 1:00

Speaker: Osama Dorias Senior, Game Designer at Warner Brothers Games Montreal

In this session, Osama Dorias (Game Designer at Warner Brothers / Coordinator of the Video Game Programs at Dawson College / Co-Founder of the Montreal Independent Games Festival) will draw on his professional experience to create card, board, and video games with his children.

Attendees will hear about the lessons that he’s learned from this journey, and will walk away with advice if they wish to make games with or for children.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click to View Osama’s Bio

Speaker: Pawel Czaplarski, Quality Assurance Lead at 11 bit studios

During this talk I will focus on many issues that any developer will encounter when trying to get reliable feedback about their game. I’ll also try to provide some of the good practices I’ve learned while carrying out focus tests for the past 7 years.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Pawel’s Bio

Speaker: Lee Vermeulen, Lead Developer at Alientrap

One of the most important aspects of immersive VR is proper interaction with the virtual world. In this talk we will go through how to handle physics in VR – showing the latest tools and techniques used for VR games. We will go over best ways to handle picking up objects, setting the correct world physics and scale, interacting with buttons/triggers, and techniques for giving the camera motion/collision. Aimed at VR game developers this presentation will show you how to implement intuitive and effective VR physics based interaction for your games.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Lee’s Bio

|| 2:00

Speaker: Nicolas Eypert, UX Director at The GameDesign TRUST

All content creators/designers have an impact on the game User eXperience, so how to be in control? and how as a team can we drive the game UX development in complex modern game productions?

I will share 5 easy to grasp mindsets and design tools usable by all trends to help rationalize and organize overall game UX work as a team and become user informed content creators.

And show a simple to implement way to make it happen progressively and have your whole team work together on the game UX while maximizing creativity.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Nick’s Bio

Speakers: Jillian Mood, Osama Dorias, Indigo Doyle and Min-Taylor Bai-Woo

Speaker: Tanner Rogalsky, Software Developer at Big Viking Games

An examination of approaches and techniques used to display Flash animations in Unity. From rasterization to tesselation to more exotic forms of rendering, we examine the pros and cons of each approach and how they are helping to preserve years of artwork made in Flash.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Tanner’s Bio

|| 3:00

Speakers: Randy Orenstein, Pawel Czaplarski, Stéphanie Bouchard, Tanya Kan and Travis Martin

A discussion of the state of narrative in games, and where its future lies. 

Speaker: Gabby DaRienzo, Art Director and Co-Founder of Laundry Bear Games

In this talk, A Mortician’s Tale creator Gabby DaRienzo will discuss simple strategies indie game developers can use to successfully market their games pre, during, and post-launch. She will provide tips for branding your game, getting it in front of a wide audience, and garnering press attention. This talk is suitable for everyone, regardless of game making experience or game/team size.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Gabby’s Bio

Speaker: Kenny Backus, Founder of Fractal Phase

Ever wanted to let players create mods (User Generated Content) your game? Ever wondered why you’d want to do it in the first place? Increase your sales, expand your community, and give them a sense of authorship by welcoming their creations into your game. Kenny Backus, founder of Fractal Phase, will share real-world examples from Sky Rogue of what worked and what didn’t. Learn multiple methods of loading player-created content at runtime and interfacing with the Steam Workshop, supporting many common file formats and making content creation easier for your modders without adding a ton of development time to your game.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Kenny’s Bio

Speaker: Ray Gould (Founder, Soundkamera)

|| 4:00

Speaker: Anne Gibeault, Creative Lead at Epsilon Games

Working in a small studio in the early 2000s, then in a gigantic one for over ten years, Anne Gibeault decided to go indie and founded her studio in 2017. We’ll explore the challenges she faced in founding Epsilon Games – and making a first game in less than a year.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Anne’s Bio

Speaker: Sam Berube, Level Designer at Digital Extremes

In today’s landscape of online games and live services, designing levels for near infinite replayability is a must.  In this talk, Sam will discuss the pros and cons of procedural level design, delving into how the Warframe team embraces the benefits of this technique and designs around its drawbacks.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Sam’s Bio

Speakers: Randy Orenstein, Lee Vermeulen and Dustin Freeman

|| 5:00

Speaker: Gaby Aveiro-Ojeda, Dames Making Games co-director

Developing a unique and strong art style helps contextualize a game narrative and its mechanics–whether it’s a flat simplified style or one that relies more on shape and form. This talk will cover how the art style for DON’T WAKE THE NIGHT was developed and refined to communicate story and world-building.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Gaby’s Bio

Speaker: Ryan Blanchard, Carly Shields, Evolve PR

PR doesn’t have to be a dirty word(s). Join two public relations specialists from Evolve PR as they discuss the importance of injecting a little humanity into your comms plan, from breaking away from ye olde press release, to making the most of your life on Twitterdotcom.

Whether you’ve got a game in the oven or have an interest in games PR, join Ryan and Carly on a journey of bad vampire puns and spicy pitches as they share the tips that’ll help get eyes on your game.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Ryan & Carly’s Bio

Speakers: Randy Orenstein, Tanner Rogalsky and JC Baillie

|| 6:00

Speakers: Randy Orenstein, Adam Duff, Nicolas Eypert, Osama Dorias, Stéphanie Bouchard and Travis Martin

Speaker: Guilherme Bandini, Game Producer/Designer at Loopy Lore

Spoiler: you can’t. But with some ingenuity, connections, friends, lots of luck and a pinch of money, you can make something incredible. In this talk, Guilherme Bandini (@CappuccinoGuil) will share the development tale of Loopy Lore, a co-op storytelling card game that’s been in the works since 2016. He’ll tell you the good parts and the bad ones, the exciting moments and the soul-crushing instants that nearly broke everything. Don’t worry, everything turned out alright in the end. If you want to know more, stay awhile and listen. We promise lots of jokes to laugh the stress away.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Guilherme’s Bio

Speaker: Peter Kieltyka, CEO at Horizon Blockchain Games

This presentation demonstrates why and how blockchain will enrich the future of gaming. And while not all games will require blockchain technology, the majority of game designers should at least consider blockchain’s implications–so many of which are incredibly fun. The talk will also give you a first look at SkyWeaver–a blockchain trading card game in which gamers, strategists, and collectors compete for one-of-a-kind cards that can be exchanged for real-world cryptocurrency.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Peter’s Bio

|| 7:00

Speaker: Yifat Shaik, Game Designer at The Really Serious Game Company

The talk is about making games a zines- or in other words, making small and imperfect games.

The talk is based on a series of games I am working on (called The Medium is the Message) which are small quick games that are made using programs (or apps) that are not game engines (so the first two were made in Excel and Instagram stories). The talk will focused on zine making and how it relates to video games, as well as about art-games and trash-games and the importance of designing experimental games.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Yifat’s Bio

Empathy is a critical component to all VR, AR, and XR experiences. It’s the gateway to emotion and its depth separates XR from all other media. This talk covers three research-based techniques for deepening emotion through greater empathy. We will take a deep dive into the 4 Keys to Fun to show how empathy mechanics drive engagement. These techniques are based on years of XR research and development for companies such as Google, Hidden Path, Survious, EON Realty, and PhaseSpace. Examples include Beat Saber, Wave Runner, Fragments, and Lone Echo. Whether you want to add emotional depth to combat, more poignancy to a romance, create branded emotions for the Ghost Buster’s IP, or social emotions for a social VR the 4 Keys to Fun with double your game’s emotional depth during play.

Speakers: Jillian Mood, Dave Proctor, Tanya Kan, Ben Rivers, Ken Seto and Anne Gibeault

A discussion of the challenges and techniques of starting and running your own studio.

Sunday, October 28

DISCLAIMER: All scheduled programming is subject to change at any time.

|| 10:00

Speaker: Noreen Rana

UI teams are a relatively young specialization within game studios. There are still plenty of misconceptions of this discipline that can have an effect on how UI development is treated internally and externally, which can lead to missed opportunities or oversimplification of what the role entails.

This talk will delve into some of the common misconceptions surrounding UI, and how we can overcome them to create a better user experience in games.

Speaker: Kezia Adamo, Programmer at StudioMDHR

A talk about imposter syndrome at large and the progression of mine from when I first started working on Cuphead to it being a commercial success.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Kezia’s Bio

Speaker: JC Baillie, CEO of Novaquark

We will introduce the technical challenges and the state of the art in dual contouring voxel generation in the context of a single-shard server technology used in the game “Dual Universe”, and show how this can contribute to emergent gameplay when coupled with LUA scripting and customization of players creations.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View JC’s Bio

Speaker: Nathan Pringle (Game Developer, Snowed In Studios)

Neural Networks have the potential completely change the way that artificial intelligence in games work. At the same time, they can seem very confusing and potential unintelligible. This workshop is meant to introduce people to the Neural Network, how they learn, and arm them with the ability to expand on this knowledge to use them in their own games.

|| 11:00

Speaker: Travis Martin, Game & Level Designer at Snowed In Studios

Level design is a brand new art form – but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We’ll look at other compositional art forms – music, story design, and poetry – to draw inspiration for quickly building stimulating levels.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Travis’ Bio

Speaker: Alexander Karpazis, Art Director Presentation at Ubisoft Montreal

Every game has an identity. The strength of this identity relies on the visual branding of the game. Whether it’s the typography used in a million dollar advertising campaign or the colors used in an indie games logo – the branding style guide is the rule-set that defines a games voice.

Explore examples of style guides produced for AAA games. Discover the essential building blocks for a style guide and review the Does and Don’ts to help build a better guide.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Alexander’s Bio

Speaker: Pejman Mirza-Babaei, Director of UXR Lab

The overall aim of developing a game that is fun to play is a complex one due to the diversity of players who may interact with the game. An accurate understanding of player behaviour and their gameplay experiences can help identify and resolve any potential problem areas before release. There are two main data sources from which useful data for gameplay balancing can be extracted: the game data (analytics) and the player data (behaviour). In this talk, I provide guidelines and approaches on how smaller studios can also benefit from game analytics and player metrics to optimize their gameplay.


Click Here to View Pejman’s Bio

|| 1:00

Speaker: Jake Ganz, CEO / Animation Director at Studio Yotta, Max Collins, Animation Director, Studio Yotta

Speakers: Jillian Mood, Isabelle Tremblay and Andrea Bertignoll

Speaker: Daniel Steger, President of Stegersaurus Software Inc.

Unity is a great engine for making Physics-based games, but tools such as the Configurable Joint, which is central to making physical rigs, can be daunting to use at first glance. We’ll be running through some of the common ways of making physics rigs for a variety of purposes, such as for creating pistons, catapults, or claw machines and sharing tricks to making your gadgets behave in predictable ways.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Daniel’s Bio

|| 2:00

Speaker: Benjamin Rivers, Director of Benjamin Rivers Inc.

What do designing story-rich indie games and running a studio have in common? You can use lessons from both to learn some simple, time-tested techniques — and get your next game done, now!

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Benjamin’s Bio

Speaker: Sean Skelton is a member of AMD’s Immersive Technology Special Projects Team.  He has been in a few roles during his 9 years at AMD.  Previously to AMD Sean worked at Crystal Dynamics, Rock Star and Ubisoft.  Sean is currently a member of the Board of Directors at Interactive Ontario.

This talk will provide a brief introduction to the GPU profiling tools and technology available when developing on AMD hardware.

Speaker: Tabby Rose, Creative Director at Axon Interactive Inc. and Jeff Rose, Axon Interactive Inc.

In a puzzle game all about controlling the environment, what’s the best way to simulate water physics? What if the studio is new to game development and the level editors are all artists?

Join Tabby and Jeff Rose as they discuss their solution to this challenging design problem – they used a combination of the indie art tool Hexels, and the Unity game engine to get the job done, and made it so level editors could paint levels into existence! 

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Tabby’s Bio

|| 3:00

Speakers: Randy Orenstein, Alexander Karpazis, Andy Wood and Jake Ganz

Speaker: Dave Proctor, CEO of Mighty Yell Studios Inc.

As creative people in charge of our own businesses, it is hard not to take it personally when things go wrong.

Saying “Fail Faster” doesn’t help overcome that challenge however, and we as founders need a good eye on our own mental health and our management tools to take these failures in stride.

This talk will help identify some common problems that new companies experience and will help ready for the inevitable little failures. Everything from cash flow tools to mindfulness exercises from a guy who has felt the need for all of them.

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Dave’s Bio

Speaker: Andrew Carvalho, Co-Founder, Developer at Laundry Bear Games

Common practices and tips to help during development of games, with a focus on the Unity engine, to aid in the ability to use a single code base and project on many platforms. For porting, a pragmatic approach to handling the challenges of an existing project when bringing it to a new platform.

Duration: 30 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Andrew’s Bio

|| 4:00

Speaker: Adam Duff, Senior Concept Artist / Teacher / Art Director at Lucidpixul Online Art Mentorship

Learning the fundamentals on communicating story and emotion in still imagery (illustration based)

Duration: 45 minutes + Q&A

Click Here to View Adam’s Bio

Speakers: Jillian Mood, Dave Proctor and Jacqueline Joy

|| 5:00

Speaker: Fleur Marty

In this session, Fleur Marty (Senior Producer at WB Games and formerly Producer at Eidos Montreal on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Shadow of the Tomb Raider) will talk about the mindset Producers should be in, and the actions they should be taking, to enable dev teams to focus on what they do best: make awesome games.

Speakers: Randy Orenstein, Lee Vermeulen, Nathan Pringle, Pawel Czaplarski, Stéphanie Bouchard and JC Baillie

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