Friday, Oct. 5

3:30 – 4:30 pm

Breaking into the Industry (Salons D&E)
Curtis Hartung (m), James Portnow, Marisa Tontaveetong, Michelle Menard, Scarlet Dangerfield

Find out from the gatekeepers the best ways to make it into the games industry. These experts will share tips on what to do to land a job and the red flags that get candidates denied. From ways to excel at your interview to how to get your resume past the recruiter screening, our experts will answer your questions to help you score the job of your dreams. Whether this is your first job in the industry or your fifth, you will gain insight on what recruiters and hiring managers love and hate about candidates.

Failing Forward: A Collection of Retrospectives (Albany Room)

Ron Williams II (m), Joe Cassavaugh, Zane Everett

Failure in the game industry can take a lot of different forms. You might get turned down for a team role you really wanted. You might not get the job. Your project might not be well-received by the public. Or your company might never take off. Join us for this informative and inspiring series of microtalks from people who have been there and done that. Learn from their “failures” and how they handled those experiences.

Game Design Improv I: Not Just for Beginners (Macon Room)
Ian Schreiber

You’re going to be leveling up your skills all weekend- so why not start putting it into practice now? Back by popular demand, these fast-paced, challenging workshops will stretch your mind and skills. The value of a good designer is in his or her ability to turn anything into a game, and to take any problem and come up with a fun, viable solution. Participants will take on a variety of game design challenges based on IP and other constraints. Game Design Improv gives you both practical advice and practice based on real-world situations. No experience necessary! (Design)

5:00 pm Keynote sponsored by Flexential (Salons D&E)

Together We Thrive: Better Living Though Play

In this talk, James Portnow of Extra Credits discusses what it means to thrive, breaks down the elements of a thriving life and examines how we can deliver those through games. Aimed at new and experienced game designers and developers, this session looks at the tools and techniques that fulfill both fans and creators.

7:00 – 8:00 pm

What You Need to Know about Video Game Quality Assurance (Salons D&E)
Jonathan Betancourt (m), Brian Marquez, Tobe Sexton, Cody Ulrich

Join us as we cover the different QA processes of various video game companies, misconceptions about QA (it’s not just playing video games all day!), who QA is right for and how they can get into it, and the many paths that QA in games can lead to. Most importantly, learn how QA can help your games move from good to great. (Business)

Realtime Multiplayer Games in Unity (Macon Room)
Shaun Sheppard

Pulling off smooth networking in realtime multiplayer games can prove difficult. We need all of the things to look the same on all of the machines at the same time. This session will cover some proven designs, methodologies and implementation details that make accomplishing this much more straight forward. The power of the ECS design pattern will be covered as well as how it can be leveraged to accomplish ‘Networked by Default.’ Techniques of communicating more with less across the network will be highlighted as well. There will be diagrams, code samples, pseudo code, and demo video clips. (Programming)

Making It Stretch: Getting Hours of Soundtrack from Minutes of Music (Athens Room)
Nathaniel Chambers, Michael Garrett Steele

Turn 5 minutes of music into 5+ hours using fmod. In the world of low-budget indie games, making the most of your soundtrack is key. This session discusses randomization, parameters, and other ways to get the most out of your music or musicians in a limited budget. (Audio)

Elements of Team Building: What Do You Need to Know? (Albany Room)
Abby Joslin (m), Maria Cahill, Susan Duralde, Curtis Hartung, Judy Suiter, Jonathan Wolfman.

Whether you are making a game or starting a company, you know you can’t do it all yourself. You need the right teammates to be successful. Only… how do you figure out who you need in the mix? How do you find those people? How do you pull everyone together to work effectively together? What can you do as a leader to create a healthy, dynamic, and productive team? What does good (and bad!) leadership look like, and how can you improve as a leader? (Business)

8:00 – 9:00 pm Academic Roundtable (Contact us for invitation)

8:00 pm Portfolio Review (Cobb Ballroom)

9:00 pm IGDA-Atlanta Game Studio Smackdown (Cobb Ballroom)

Saturday, Oct. 6

10:00 – 11:00 am

Vicarious PR Presents: DIY Indie PR + Marketing (Salons D&E)
Michael Brown

Vicarious PR CEO Michael Brown gives insights into the industry and practical advice for indie developers who are looking to do their own PR and Marketing. Attendees will come away with a deeper understanding of PR and marketing and how to actionably implement it into their development and launch cycles. Michael will show you the importance of community growth, what launching on steam means in today’s market, how to contact press and influencers and what you should be doing to connect with players. (Business)

Innovation and Real-time in Animation (Macon Room)
Marisa Tontaveetong (m). James Martin, Mark Simon, Jeffrey Yu

Join experts and community leaders in the animation field to learn more about the innovation and real-time techniques that are currently being explored. Learn how your knowledge of Unity or Unreal in gaming can help you advance in the field of animation. (Art)

Adapt or Die: Lessons Learned from a Career in Audio (Athens Room)
Laura Taylor

I’ll take the audience on a journey through the many jobs I’ve held in my 27-year career, all of which have been audio-related. We’ll make pit stops at a few to discuss how I got that particular gig, the tools I learned and used, and what Big Picture Thing I learned from that job. (Audio)

Mixed Reality Design for Play (Albany Room)
Joshua Fisher, Gaby Shangguan

In this presentation, we will take attendees through a Mixed Reality (MR) design process that results in enhanced flow and play between the MR experience, physical reality, and the player. We’ll discuss how to do UX research for MR in relation to the MR design hierarchy. We’ll explain how to derive design insights and how to leverage rapid prototyping tools to quickly get feedback as part of this process. Further, we’ll present insights from our own MR projects and provide attendees with some foundational guidelines to use in their own MR games. (Design, Programming)

11:30 – 12:30

Live! Usability Testing (Salons D&E)
Sarah Massagee

UX is growing within the Games Industry and is proven to help your game become more fun and successful. With this session, we will be focusing on one of the most important aspects of UX: Research. Specifically, how to conduct a Usability Study. You will be leaving this session with a better understanding of what a Usability Study is, how to apply it to your game, and get honest, unbiased feedback that will improve your game. (Design)

Art Bot (Macon Room)
Dov Jacobson

Real art can be created by pure computer code. No paintbrush, no stylus, no mouse, and no beret. In this session, humans will present art produced by clever algorithms and a bit of sensor data. Then attendees will pull out their laptops and build their own art bots! This session may contain javascript, processing, js-fiddle, sound, speech libs, and peanuts. (Art, Programming)

An Earful of Intent (Athens Room)
Andrew Beck

This session will view sound design and mixing through the lens of providing 360° information to the player. UI and visuals are often simplified and optimized to provide clear feedback to the player, but are limited in how much you can see – Audio can provide a secondary stream of feedback about the world beyond what is immediately visible. We will discuss techniques for mixing for clarity in feedback, rather than mixing for immersion. (Audio)

Alexa, How Can You Make Me Money? (Albany Room)
Caleb Garner

Alexa and similar service devices are everywhere and you likely have a device or know someone who does. Games are something that naturally are an exciting and untapped potential on these platforms. Let Caleb give you a first hand breakdown of what the rapidly changing landscape is now and what is ahead for it in the future. The overall structure of how skills work and how it’s different than traditional app creation. He’ll show you the various ways you could make money from a skill and strategies for breaking into this still growing market. Have questions ready and let’s talk. (Business)

12:30 – 2:00 pm Hi-Rez Studios Networking Lunch

2:00 – 3:00 pm

If I Could Turn Back Time (Salons D&E)
Joe Cassavaugh (m), Dov Jacobson, Paul Jenkins, Elizabeth Strickler, Laura Taylor, Matt Woomer

Six industry veterans will answer the question “What would you do if you were able to press restart on your game dev career?” With over 200+ years of experience, this panel will reveal the secrets of what got them where they are today. All six have founded their own companies that have stood the test of time. Of course, the rules have changed, so what worked 30, 15 or even 5 years ago, might not work again today. Come hear what they regret, what they would do differently, and which insights they feel are still valid today. Joe Cassavaugh (of Puzzles By Joe & the Rants), will be moderating, so you know the pace will be lively. This is the one panel you don’t want to miss. (IGDA Leadership Track)

Kickstarting, Not Curb Stomping (Macon Room)
Andrew Greenberg (m), Michael Brown, Nandita Godbole, Eddy Webb, Jeffrey Yu

Kickstarter is best known for raising money for indie devs, but it has other uses – marketing, QA and even team building. Our panelists approached their Kickstarter campaigns in different ways. Learn how to make the most of your crowdfunding campaign. (Business)

Oxide Games Presents: Procedural Design and Balance Issues (Athens)
Dan Baker, Michelle Menard, Paul Murphy

Join us to discuss and learn about some of the processes to handle procedural designs, as how it relates to balance, technical challenges, art scope, and the narrative gymnastics it brings with it.  Exactly what in your game can be, or should be, procedurally controlled or generated?  What are the benefits and costs across disciplines?  Are there specific techniques that can be employed to minimize design disruption, give artists creative control, and keep tech manageable that work across multiple genres?  Bring yourselves, your questions, and personal experiences while we jump down this rabbit hole together. (Design, Programming)

Indie Experiences in AI (Albany Room)
Zane Everett (m), Jason Hillhouse, Kartik Kini

Covering the experiences of several indie game developers, this panel will discuss implementing AI at small, independent studios. Topics will include how to start specializing in AI, the most difficult problems tackled, managing scope, and thoughts on the future of game AI with Machine Learning. Attendees will walk away with a general understanding of what it is like to be an AI developer at a small studio. (Programming)

3:30 – 4:30 pm

Innovative Designs for Board Games (Salons D&E)
Ben Burgh (m), Kevin Lanzing, Michelle Menard, Paul Murphy, Dean Velez

There are more amazing board games out now than ever before, that incorporate game design mechanics, art, story-telling and more. Come learn more about the design issues and constraints developers are working with in creating successful board games. (Design)

Creating Rapid Sci-Fi Landscape Concept Art in Photoshop (Macon Room)
Tim Matney

Come learn how to seriously manipulate and combine photos in Photoshop through “photo-bashing” techniques to build awesome sci-fi environments that only you can imagine! This course is suitable for anyone interested in learning how to quickly make realistic concept art and illustration for games, film or TV. (Art)

Rickwood Music Presents: Ask Me Anything Audio (Albany Room)
Chris Rickwood (m), Andrew Beck, Bob Carter, Nathaniel Chambers, Zach Hanks, Michael Steele, Laura Taylor

…And we do mean anything (audio, that is!). Technical questions? Audio career management questions? The meaning of life, the universe, and everything audio? Feel free to ask that too. Audio

Video Game Publishing Agreements (Athens Room)
David Schulman

This overview and discussion of game publication agreements will cover some of the most important issues you need to be aware of. This panel will look at video game agreements from the publisher’s standpoint and from the developer’s standpoint. (Business)

5:00 – 6:00 pm Plenary Session

Not a Boss Battle: Business and Legal Challenges for Game Studios (Salons D&E)
Brandon Huffman (m), Nathaniel Blair, James Portnow, Molly Proffitt

From the outside, the challenges that face a game studio seem overwhelming. Not only are there the creative, technical and insane challenges of shipping a good game, but there are finances, employees, partners, fans and others with interests in what the studio accomplishes. Our panel includes some of the foremost experts on these topics, ready to share the lore you need to keep running your studio from turning into a boss battle. (IGDA Leadership Track)

8:00 – 9:00 pm Rants (Cobb Ballroom)

Whose Rant is It Anyway? Where the Rants are Real and the Points Don’t Matter

Sunday, Oct. 7

10:00 – 11:00 am

Soft Launch Tactics: Why You Should Trash Your Game (Macon Room)
Molly Profitt, Michelle Menard

You’ve got a great core mechanic. You’ve got a stable build. However, you are scared to launch. Most games fail and no one can guarantee success….or can theyRetention is the secret parameter to answer all your questions. Join us for this in depth look at validating your games viability. (Business)

Designing for Kids… A Parent’s Perspective (Athens Room)
Meldrena Chapin (m), Ian Schreiber

Interested in designing board or card games for kids? What does good game design look like… from a parent’s perspective? Come join our panel of designers, parents, and avid gamers, as they walk through some of what they have found their kids enjoy the most, and what they look for in games they would buy for their kids. (Design)

Community Management 101 (Albany Room)
Kathryn De Shields, Nicholas Bashore, Auverin Morrow

When it comes to community management there’s a lot indie developers and content creators can learn from the way esports community managers create hype and keep fans engaged. In this panel, we’ll be sharing tips, tricks and best practices when it comes to community management, including: personality-driven engagement, cultivating a positive community culture, managing multiple communities and more. (Business)

Taking an Esports Team from Good to Great (Cobb Ballroom)

Andrew Greenberg (m), Lucas Bailey, Casey Loria, Erich Thomas

Join industry representatives and college team captains for a roundtable discussion of how to attract the right people, the roles that must be filled, training techniques and more.

11:30 – 12:30

Building a Voice Acting Career (Salons D&E)
Bob Carter (m), Nicole Britton, Zach Hanks

Learn all about the Good, the Bad, and the Greatness of Voice Acting in Video Games! (Audio)

To Make Money in a Global Market: Be the Localization Master (Macon Room)
Tobe Sexton

Many projects don’t think about localization until the game is done. Then localization is done as a hack, and it’s obvious that it was added on later. Have fun while learning or reviewing what it takes to get yourself and your game ready for international markets. Localization is more than just “Translating” word on a page. Here you will learn the nuts-and –bolts of what’s really involved and how to make the right decisions for you, your fans and your pocket book. Will review the History of localization and why it’s important to gaming culture. Then go over the services and all that is involved to achieve AAA Localization no matter your platform or budget. This is for those that want to learn more about translation, localization and how to improve workflow communication to save time and make money. (Business, Programming)

Successful Long Term Collaboration, or How to Not Kill Each Other for Fun and Profit  (Athens Room)
Pat Bollin, Leah Knighton, Jeremiah Clark, and Molly Proffitt

Collaborating with a partner over the long term can be tough, especially when you both have full time jobs and real lives that keep getting in the way. It is possible though. We have been working together, slowly building a base for our business over the past three years. In this presentation we will talk about the trials we faced – and still face – in learning to work together effectively, and how we overcame them. We will also touch on the tools and methods that have helped along the way, and some that have not. (Business)

Get Your Financial S**** Together (Albany Room)
Michelle Waymire

When artists and entrepreneurs follow their passion, they often find themselves unprepared to handle the financial side of their new career. This workshop will help fill that education gap. Participants will work on creating S.M.A.R.T. financial goals, build a budget that’s consistent with the way humans actually spend money, and learn tips and tricks to automating their finances. (Business)

Livecasting and Shoutcasting (Cobb Ballroom)

Wes Wilson (m), CW Brooks, Matt Franklin

For successful esports teams, livestreaming represents both their best form of publicity and a revenue stream. Great shoutcasters are a critical part of that. Join us for a look at how to use OBS to stream games and build a following. (Esports)

12:30 – 2:00 pm

GEL Brunch and Influencers: Building Content and Community (Cobb Ballroom)

Michael Brown (m), James Portnow, Powerspike.tv, and YoMama combine to give an in-depth look at how to build and monetize a strong on-line presence. Presented by people who have turned their channels into careers.

2:00 – 3:00

Launching Your Indie Game on Steam (Salons D&E)
Mike Stumhofer (m), Kevin Dressel, Stu Phelps, Robert Wahler

Launching Your Indie Game on Steam. You’ve made a game. What next? We’ll discuss creating and optimizing your listing, marketing, and other advice to launching on the world’s largest digital storefront. (Business)

Advanced Game Design Improv (Macon Room)
Ian Schreiber

You’ve spent the weekend learning about games, so how about showing off all those new skills? The advanced version of this challenging workshop stretches your mind and your game design skills. Participants take on a variety of game design challenges based on IP and other constraints. No experience necessary! Game Design Improv gives both practical advice and plenty of practice, with challenges based on real-world situations. (Design)

Game Character Art Pipeline from Concept to Start Screen (Athens Room)
William Moritz

Meet Pip! Why does he look and behave the way he does, and how does this fit with our game narrative? In this workshop we will explore all phases of Pip’s development, from concept to rigging, modeling, texturing and finally importing into the game environment. We will be working in Maya, Zbrush and Photoshop.  Come with plenty of questions, and get ready for a fun hour getting to know Pip. (Art)

Going Pro in Esports (Cobb Ballroom)
Wes Wilson (m), Greg “AlternitPanek, Brandon “Rude” Roukey, David Schulman, Shawn Smith

A look at building a team that can compete at the highest levels, as well as the other careers for which esports prepares people. (Esports)

More session announcements to come.