//2010 Festival: IndieCade Conference

Of all the game conferences throughout the year, there are only two conferences that neither of us can miss – that big one on Howard Street, and IndieCade. So when we were invited to co-chair the conference part of this year's IndieCade festival in Culver City, we both fell over ourselves to say “yes!” In putting together the conference we focused on the things that we love most about IndieCade: the sense of community, and the infectious, inspiring enthusiasm for indie games and their creation that every member of that community has.

We’ve tried to present a spectrum of ideas about what it means to be indie, by including developers just out of the gate as well as those with a ton of experience, and by creating a mix of practical, inspiring and just plain fun sessions.

We have invited people to speak from across the country and around the world – people who are making games for almost every platform imaginable. We’ve also tried to integrate the conference program into the flow of the rest of the festival, to give us all the best possible opportunity to get to know this year's finalist games. Plus, there is free coffee every morning. What more could you want from a conference?

See you in Culver City,
John Sharp and Richard Lemarchand
Co-Chairs, IndieCade Conference 2010

//Session Descriptions

FRIDAY:

9-10 AM @ Ivy Substation

Morning Coffee hosted by Intel App Up Developer Program

10-11 AM @ Ivy Substation
Intel presents: The Intel AppUp Center: Opening a World of Possibilities to Indie Developers
Christopher Croteau and Rob Jagnow

Intel has taken a major step forward and has opened its first online consumer marketplace for applications designed for Atom-based devices. With the explosion of Netbook sales over the last few years and Intel using Atom as the fundamental architecture for a plethora of new devices including tablets, mobile phones, set top boxes, etc., independent developers have an opportunity to take advantage of an explosion of new devices and consumers. By utilizing the tools and capabilities Intel is offering to the industry, indie developers can develop games for AppUp and leverage Intel’s worldwide distribution network to sell directly to consumers through the Intel AppUp Center. Come join a conversation between Christopher Croteau, Worldwide Developer Relations Director for Video Games and independent developers as they discuss the environment, outlook and opportunities for indie developers.
appup.com

10-11 AM @ Foshay Lodge
IndieCade ARG Finalists Panel

IndieCade alternate reality game finalists: Games of Nonchalance (Sara Thacher & Jeff Hull), Socks, Inc.(Jim Babb), Humans vs Zombies(TBA)

Hear first hand accounts from teams who have taken gaming outside of the living room and into the city. These games have all blurred boundaries between real life and fantasy, creating riveting and immersive game play experiences.

11:30 AM-12:30 PM @ Ivy Substation
Minimalism and Osmos: a Post-Mortem?Eddy Boxerman and Andy Nealen

?Osmos has been in development for four years at this point. In this talk, Eddy Boxerman and Andy Nealen from Hemisphere Games will give an extensive Post-Mortem on the design successes and failures during the project's development cycle. The presentation will guide the audience through several iterations of the game, talk about interface design on different target platforms (PC vs. iPad), discuss their minimalist game design approach, and present features that didn't quite make the cut.

11:30 AM-12:30 PM @ Foshay Lodge
What Happens After Launch?
Rob Jagnow, Andre Clark, Stephen Thirion, Tyler Glaiel, Dan Pinchbeck, moderated by Richard Lemarchand

Some of the finalists of IndieCade 2009 will be joining us to discuss their lives in the year since the last IndieCade Festival. What might seem like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — having a game recognized in an important festival — often proves to be only the start of the journey. The panelists will talk about the ongoing histories of their winning games, and the triumphs and pitfalls of life as an independent game developer. Join us for a lively panel that’s sure to be a source of both celebration and controversy.

1-2 PM at Rush Street
Indie Funding Models: Past, Present and Future
Jesse Vigil, John Hight, Ron Carmel, Jane Pinckard, David Nottingham (moderator)

The passion, autonomy and creative expression promised by independent game development offers an intoxicating draw to those that yearn to say something through the medium of videogames. But starving artists still gotta eat. This panel discusses the current state of indie game funding, its evolution from the traditional publisher source of funding to include new investment models, and speculates on what might be in the future as the indie game scene continues to grow.

2:30-3:30 @ Ivy Substation
Game Design by Accidents
Steph Thirion

Programming is a sensitive creation tool. Changing one single line of code could just as easily improve a full landscape just a notch, radically transform it, or expose something amazing that the creator couldn’t have thought of. This talk is about how for Steph Thirion - originally a graphic designer - coding has gradually become a fundamental instrument in every stage of video game creation, and how code is not just a tool to materialize an idea, but can also be the thing that invents the idea itself.

2:30-3:30 @ Foshay Lodge
Business Tips for Indie Game Creators
John Hight

Industry veteran John Hight will share some of the do's and don'ts about running your indie game project. Topics include: setting up a business, hiring team members, managing cash flow, pitching to publishers or investors, negotiating a deal, finding the right match in publisher and distributor, estimating return on investment, and maintaining a growing concern in a cyclical industry. John compresses the most important insights from his semester-long USC games business course into an hour of accessible indie business briefing - this is a not-to-miss session for every upcoming indie games creator.

4-5 PM at Ivy Substation
All Play is Personal
Brandon Boyer

Games and their creation don't exist in a vacuum. Every moment of our life informs our creative process, our personal themes, our unique perspective and need to express something. But what difference does any of that make to the games that we make? This session takes a look at the deeply personal nature of independent gaming and argues that it makes all the difference in the world.

4-7 PM in Game Galleries
hosted by PlayStation Home
Gallery Opening Receptions and preview of Game Walk

SATURDAY

9 AM: Coffee and reception at the Sony Playstation Home Lounge
Sony Playstation Home presents a special VIP preview and lounge: featuring games and gamemakers from Outso Ltd/Lockwood Publishing, Mass Media, SCEA, and Codename Games.

10-11 AM @ Ivy Substation
Artgame Sessions
Naomi Clarke, Simon Ferrari, Charles Pratt, John Sharp
Artgame Sessions takes the position that game designers use game design and its mechanics, player goals and thematic premises are a form of expression in the same way painters use line, color and form to express themselves. The core of games— interactivity— provides an experience and a point of view. Through a series of four short talks, audience members will come to understand some of the motivations and goals of the artgame movement. These presentations will not be made by the developers themselves. Instead, other game-makers and journalists will examine the developers’ approaches to making artgames and the play experiences they provide.

11:30 AM-12:30 PM @ Ivy Substation
Iron Game Designer
Eric Zimmerman and friends

Whose design will reign supreme? Join host Eric Zimmerman and several of the IndieCade finalists and speakers as they rise to the challenge of real-time game design. Teams of designers will be given a theme, materials, and a secret ingredient, and then will have to design a real-world game - right before your eyes. As they wrack their brains for the right recipe, get a sneak peek into how these game designers solve difficult design problems. And who knows? You might just witness the birth of a brand new kind of game.

1-2 PM @ Rush Street
Punk Rock, M***** F*****
Brandon Boyer, Frank Lantz, Richard Lemarchand and John Sharp

Game culture is often thought of as naive, disposable and operating in a cultural vacuum, isolated from everything other than genre fiction and Japanese pop culture. Brandon Boyer, Frank Lantz, Richard Lemarchand and John Sharp beg to differ, and offer punk rock as a case in point. Punk demonstrates the ways in which pop culture can be simultaneously exuberant, naive, primal, critical, disposable and savvy, sophisticated, intellectual, and culturally self-aware, and is therefore a wonderful inspiration for videogames. These four old school punks will talk about the overt and hidden connections between games, punk rock, and the arts.

2:30-3:30 @ Ivy Substation
Discovering Multiplayer Dynamics in Journey presented by USC Interactive Media Division
Jenova Chen and Robin Hunicke

In ThatGameCompany's upcoming title Journey, players meet and travel with strangers through a vast landscape. Players cannot speak to each other via voice or chat... which means that they must communicate in other ways. In this talk we will share some of the early prototypes that inspired our decision, discuss challenges we've encountered, and demonstrate the resulting dynamics in Journey itself.

4-5 PM at Ivy Substation
Romero Archives Interview
John Romero with Colleen Macklin

As part of the ongoing Romero Archives project, John Romero, one of the original indie developers, will be interviewed during a special open session. John Romero, the designer of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake (among 80-plus titles) and co-founder of iD will reflect on his early career as a developer. Colleen Macklin will interview John and guide us through his work as an early indie developer.

5:30 – 6:30 PM @ Ivy Substation
KEYNOTE

One Falls for Each of Us: The Prototyping of Tragedy presented by Independent Television Services [ITVS]
Brenda Brathwaite

Incorporating 50,000 wooden figurines, incense and dozens of leather hides, Brenda Brathwaite’s latest game is One Falls for Each of Us. Currently in development, it is the fourth game in the Mechanic is the Message series and chronicles the experience of the Native Americans as they walked and died upon the Trail of Tears. Like the other games in the series, Brathwaite uses the medium of the game mechanic much like traditional artists use paint to capture and express difficult events. It is a form of historical system design which provokes both player and designer to look and interact more deeply than they otherwise might. Influenced by the works of Jackson Pollock, Richard Serra, Marcel Duchamp and Gerhard Richter, Brathwaite’s works push games in directions not yet considered.

More about Brenda:
Brenda Brathwaite is a game designer, artist, writer and game developer who entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15. She worked with Sir-tech Software for 18 years on the Wizardry series and later the Jagged Alliance series among others before moving on to work with Atari on Dungeons & Dragons. During this time, Brenda had the opportunity to work alongside legends in the game industry and quite literally apprenticed in the ways of game design moving up through the ranks from lowly acolyte to lead game designer to creative director.

Since her days at Atari, Brenda has worked with a variety of companies, including Electronic Arts, Cyberlore, Firaxis and numerous companies in the social media space. She is presently Creative Director at LOLapps. Brenda develops her games both in analog and digital mediums, depending on the needs of the game. She has worked as a system designer, writer, level designer, world designer, lead designer and creative director throughout the years.

6:30 - 8:30 PM
Happy hour mixer hosted by EA Partners @ Haro Gallery

8:30 PM
Night Games @ IndieCade Village created by Gregg Fleishman
Will include Humanoid Asteroid and games by the Copenhagen Game Collective

SUNDAY

9-10 AM @ Ivy Substation
Morning Coffee hosted by PlayStation

10-11 AM @ Ivy Substation
PlayStation Network presents: An Indie’s Guide to the Galaxy
Justin Cooney, Nathan Vella, John Baez, Rusty Buchert

Learn from successful Indie developers on how to survive and thrive in today's climate. From design to business, this panel of top developers will share their experiences and provide insight on the best practices that helped them become who they are today. This one is not to be missed!

10-11 AM @ Foshay Lodge
White Cubes, Show Floors and Dance Parties: The Curation and Exhibition of Games
Brandon Boyer, Sarah Brin, Heather Kelly, Richard Rinehart

Games are a tough nut to crack when it comes to organizing and exhibiting public shows— they don’t really work with most of the assumptions of traditional art display, and are often at odds with the assumed passive consumption of art exhibitions. Nonetheless, game exhibitions have become commonplace in both the art world and within the game conference and festival circuits. This salon will consider the gallery and museum traditions, audience expectations, the concerns of exhibition design and the role and purpose of games exhibition in the broader culture.

11:30 AM-12:30 PM @ Ivy Substation
Out of the Box and Onto the Block
Will Carter, Nick Fortugno, Catherine Herdlick, Jeff Hull. Co-moderated by Colleen Macklin and Jeff Watson

What are some of the more interesting developments in “big games,” the movement to create large-scale games in public spaces? As games are unleashed in city streets and festivals such as Come Out and Play and Hide and Seek, how is this once-niche field in the back alley of game design maturing and developing into more sophisticated experiences and mechanics? In this panel, big game designers talk about the present and future of big games, and where we’re going from here.

11:30 AM-12:30 PM @ Foshay Lodge
Microtalks: Indie Future

How is indie gaming altering the videogame landscape? What should we be doing more of, and why? If this is a revolution, when will it be co-opted? 10 speakers, 20 slides, 5 minutes and 20 seconds each. If you’ve been to a Microtalk before, you know the thrill of rapid-fire presentations. If you haven’t, then join us and experience the fun as a diverse group of independent game makers and free thinkers present their personal thoughts on the future direction of independent gaming.

1-2 PM @ Rush Street
Interactive Storytelling Goes Indie
Erik Loyer, Dan Pinchbeck (moderator), Jamie Antonisse

When you think of story and games, the first things that might come to mind are big-budget AAA titles and their reliance on cinematic conventions, genre and fancy graphics. The indie scene is also quietly working away at the enigmatic story-game problem, but in ways that differ from the mainstream industry. Erik Loyer (Ruben & Lullaby, Blue Velvet) and Dan Pinchbeck of the Chinese Room (Korsakovia, Dear Esther) will discuss their work and opinions about melding game and story, the tensions and connections between the two, and why the indie scene is likely to pave the way for great interactive storytelling.

2:30-3:30 PM @ Ivy Substation
Project Next
Jonathan Blow, Ian Bogost, Alex Neuse, Paolo Pedercini, Chris Hecker, moderated by John Sharp
Want a sneak peak at the next wave of indie games? To see how finalists and ground-breaking indies are following up their successes? Project Next is a series of quick previews of unreleased games by a wide range of indie developers. Confirmed speakers include Jonathan Blow (Braid), Ian Bogost (A Slow Year), Chris Hecker (Spy Party), Alex Neuse (BIT.TRIP RUNNER) and Paolo Pedercini (Every Day the Same Dream).

4-5 PM @ Ivy Substation
KEYNOTE

Frank Lantz

If you play games, if you make games, it's a great time to be alive. The 21st century belongs to us. It's important for independent developers and game scholars to maintain a sharp critical eye on the mainstream game industry and the existing status quo. At the same time we need to keep our spirits high and our motivation strong, because we have places to go and important work to do. With that in mind, this talk is meant as an inspirational rallying cry for the 21st century gaming revolution.

About Frank Lantz:
Frank Lantz is creative director and co-founder of Area/Code, a New York-based developer that creates cross-media, location-based, and social network games. He has worked in the field of game development for the past 20 years. Before starting Area/Code, Lantz worked on a wide variety of games as the director of game design at Gamelab, lead game designer at Pop & Co. and creative director at R/GA Interactive.

Over the past eight years, he helped pioneer the genre of large-scale, real-world games, as one of the creators of the Big Urban Game, which turned the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul into the world’s largest board game; ConQwest, which featured the first major application of semacodes in the United States; PacManhattan, a life-size version of the arcade classic created by the students in his Big Games class at NYU, and many other experiments in pervasive and urban gaming.

For over 12 years, Frank has taught game design at NYU in the interactive telecommunications program and at the School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design. He is currently director of the NYU Game Center. His writings on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of publications.

5-9 PM @ Rush Street
Audience Choice Awards and closing party presented by Nickelodeon/Shockwave/Addicting Games.

//About the Conference Sessions

IndieCade will promote the innovative culture of independent games through a lively and accessible mix of talks, panel discussions, informal conversations and gallery conversations involving independent game creators, game industry professionals, journalists and critics. All conference sessions will fit one of three broad categories:
  1. Practice: Sessions grounded in the practical what, how and when of indie game development. These sessions will cover topics from design to technologies to production processes to business considerations.

  2. Reflection: Sessions focused on the interpretation and criticism of independent games. Game developers, critics and journalists will discuss their play experiences and provide insight into the nuance and power of indie games.

  3. Culture: Sessions looking at the past, present and future of games. This is where the big ideas will start flying, helping to shape the future of independent gaming for years to come.
IndieCade's 2010 Conference is co-Chaired by Richard Lemarchand (Naughtdog) & John Sharp (SCAD).

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