Talks

How Sound Tells the Story of Night in the Woods
Em Halberstadt

This talk will focus on how sound is used to aid in the storytelling of Night in the Woods. We’ll explore the atmospheric design, including the ways in which it changes over time, and brings life to that which cannot be seen. There will be examples from the game as well as demonstrations of behind the scenes implementation.

Alternative Controllers: Bringing Humans & Machines Together
Jerry Belich

After all of the effort and hours put into creating the vibrant digital worlds of our games, like visiting a prisoner we still interface primarily through rectangles of plastic and glass. Form here does not follow function, but hammers function along with our worlds into the shapes of the devices with the greatest market shares. Instead, designing alternative controllers can reveal the nuance of connecting humans to machines - machines hosting your worlds - allowing you to create with a perspective less obstructed. We’ll take a crash course in how, with a cheap set of parts, some basic concepts, and a few lines of code, you can touch your games like you never have before.

Design Challenges in Splitter Critters: The Perils of Making a Freeform Puzzle Game
Jesse Ringrose

In this talk Jesse will discuss the design and development of RAC7's latest game, Splitter Critters. Because the game has a unique splitting mechanic and few restrictions on how it can be used, there was a never ending stream of design challenges to overcome. This talk will go through all the major iterations of the game, looking at what worked, what didn’t, and how that changed the course of development. 

Feeling the Vibrations
Jord Farrell

A holistic perspective of games is a valuable tool for developing and guiding your games to where you want them to be. They allow one to make games that are fully considered. Jord will use examples from his many experimental games to illustrate his ideas about absolute opposites and how these opposites lead to a a more concrete understanding of game concepts usually too abstract to talk about and consider clearly.

Indie Around the World and Beyond
Kelly Wallick

What is the present and future of Indie? Kelly Wallick has worked with over 700 indie companies as founder of the Indie MEGABOOTH, as chairman of the Independent Games Festival at GDC, and as co-organizer for Japan's premier indie event: BitSummit. She'll bring data and stories from the center of these institutions and the front lines of emerging communities. She'll share what Indie means to communities around the globe and her perspective on the cultural discussions surrounding indie games, changing attitudes, hotly debated topics and what the future has in store.

How Do You Do, Fellow Kids: How to Write Games for the Internet Without Embarrassing Yourself
Leighton Gray (Dream Daddy)

The Internet is constantly evolving-- if you've ever come back to Twitter after not checking it for a few days and realize that about 20 different memes have lived and died in your absence, you know what I'm talking about. So, how do we write for communities where the rules change so often? In this talk, we'll explore what it means to write games that exist adjacent to Internet culture and how to do it successfully. I'll also discuss how to seed hooks for organically shareable content within your writing, why directly referencing memes in your work is the kiss of death, and how the silly stories we tell for the Internet are actually masterpieces of meta-modernist art.

Working With A Failure Based Workflow
Matthew Marteinsson

Matthew's workflow involves a lot of failure. To the point that It's planned right in. This talk will cover how some of his best ideas have come from having that room to fail. That making it a planned event opens up to allowing more experimentation while still mitigating some of the risk.  Of course, not every experiment works so we’ll cover some learnings from those straight up failures as well.

The Marriage of Controls and Level Design
Tommy Refenes

If you have amazing controls and terrible level design, your game will suck. If you have amazing level design and terrible controls, your game will suck. In this talk we analyze Super Meat Boy's traditional controls and Super Meat Boy Forever's two button controls with respect to each game's level design philosophy.

Collaborating with Algorithms
Tanya X. Short

Procedural generation is a fundamentally indie endeavor and procedural systems in games have only just begun to explore the more interesting possibilities. Designs for procedural content at Kitfox Games have resulted in many dead-ends and frustrations but also surprising discoveries and breakthroughs. Working on Moon Hunters and The Shrouded Isle we discovered the team disagrees about when and how to use procedural generation; listen in on the debate to glean potential hazards and inspirations for your own projects in the works.

Second Gen VR: Playing to the Strength of Our Medium
Joel Green

Cloudhead Games learned a lot of lessons through the development of Heart of the Emberstone, our second VR title.  We'll discuss what we learned from our first game (Call of the Starseed), the ways we tried to improved on it, and what worked and didn't work.  We'll also touch on the ideas and experiments we're planning for our next project.

Steam Overview + Chat
Jose Palacios Vives

With the launch of Steam Direct it's never been so easy to get your game on the biggest digital game marketplace in the world. Join Justin and Jose from Valve for a presentation about the PC game market, how Steam works, and what you should know in this brave new world. We'll follow with Q&A and then time to mingle over drinks and dinner. We're looking forward to meeting game developers face to face, answering questions, and hearing feedback and suggestions.