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Saturday, June 12

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Lindsay Grace

Horizons Chair – He/Him

Lindsay Grace is a game designer, developer, artist, author and professor who has primarily focused on social impact and games for education. He served as Vice President for the Global Game Jam and as co-organizer for the annual international conference on game jams and hackathons (ICGJ). He has published more than 50 books, chapters, and papers on game design, primarily focused on indie games.

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Coffee and Candid Conversations with Faculty

Lien Tran, MFA


Lien Tran, MFA (she, her, hers) is an Assistant Professor at DePaul University (School of Design, College of Computing and Digital Media) where she teaches design for social impact. She mentors students to think critically and systemically including when designing and developing interactive experiences and games across technology platforms. Lien and her students have collaborated on social justice and impact projects with international, national, and local organizations, including World Wildlife Fund and Open Society Foundations. and have launched and contributed to the #PoorNotGuilty initiative.
DePaul University
School of Design

Matthew Board

Miami University

Matthew Board is a technical artist, digital sculptor, Independent game developer and founder of sleekTiki Interactive. He has done contract work and consulting for various clients including Great Eastern Technology, Vermont Digital Arts, Owlchemy Labs, Anzovin Studio, and Hasbro. He is an Associate Professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Kat Schrier (Dr. Kat)

Marist College

Dr. Kat Schrier is the Founding Director of the Games & Emerging Media program and Associate Professor at Marist College. She has written/edited over 100 works, including We the Gamers: How Games Teach Ethics & Civics (Oxford); Knowledge Games (Johns Hopkins University); and the Learning, Education & Games book series (ETC Press). She previously worked at Nickelodeon, Scholastic, and BrainPOP, and has over two decades of experience of designing games, apps, and websites.

Dr. Daniel Vella

University of Malta

Dr. Daniel Vella is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta, where he teaches classes in digital game studies, player experience and narrative in games. His research interests including the phenomenology of player experience, aesthetic theory and digital games, subjectivity and identity in virtual worlds, and space and architecture in gameworlds. His work has been published in a number of international journals, including Game Studies, Countertext and the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. He is the co-author of Virtual Existentialism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). He is also a narrative designer for board games, having worked on a number of titles including Posthuman Saga (Mighty Boards, 2019).

Dr William H Huber

Abertay University

William is a researcher, lecturer and writer focusing on the aesthetics of games, media, and software. He is the head of the Centre for Excellence in Game Education at Abertay University, where he promotes efforts to advance game education and create a vibrant international centre for the intellectual and artistic exploration of digital games and interactive media. He is also currently the president of the Digital Games Research Association.

Chris Totten

Kent State University

Chris Totten is an Assistant Professor of Game Design at Kent State University and the founder of Pie For Breakfast Studios, an award-winning Northeast Ohio indie game company that explores the intersections of games and the arts. He has done work as an artist, animator, level designer, and project manager in the game industry and published books on game and level design. Chris is a co-founder of the Smithsonian American Art Museum Indie Arcade and GameFest Akron at the Akron Art Museum.

Song Nam

Associate Professor & Director of Computer Game Design Program, George Mason University

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Game Tournament (eSports)!! : Playing Serpent Showdown

Kevin M. Williams


Kevin M. Williams, also known as AlchemistJoker is a brash, trash-talking monster hunter who primarily plays Survival, Horror, and FPS games. As a streamer, he primarily focuses on taking the scare out of horror games and slaying both grotesque monsters and malicious trolls. However, as a host and interviewer, Alchemist’s focus is on taking his passion and gaming industry knowledge to engage his guests with meaningful questions and insights into his interviews. Alchemist is one of the monthly hosts of the Seattle Online Broadcasters Association meetup and has also hosted Seattle Indies Expo online in 2020.

Kai Nyame

Developer – Serpent Showdown

Kai Nyame is a developer and student at University of Southern California studying game design. She is most commonly known for her cooperative field game Ideal Meal, and her cartoon fighting game Serpent Showdown. Kai grew up in Oakland, California and she has aspirations of working in the Japanese game industry post-graduation.
Ideal Meal Link:
Serpent Showdown Link:

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Kickstart Your Game

Anya Combs

Anya Combs is the director of Games at Kickstarter. She has been in the digital games space for over a decade, overseeing multiple mobile and online titles launched for Nickelodeon & AddictingGames, and has worked with countless game creators launching successful projects on Kickstarter.  She is excited to continue supporting game devs as they bring their creative projects to life.

12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Highlight Opportunity: Learn how to optimize for the cloud!

Mark Easton

Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Mark Easton works as a Solutions Architect at AWS, advising video games customers on Cloud. He splits his spare time between playing FPSes and developing indie games.

Pawan Matta

Solutions Architect (Games), Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Pawan Matta is a Solutions Architect (Games) at Amazon Web Services who works to bring the best possible experience to AWS customers. In his current role, he helps customers build and operate games on the AWS cloud. Pawan graduated from Northeastern university in 2016 and will be completing 5 years in AWS.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Live Game Feedback with Experts Part 1

Nika Nour


Nika Nour is the executive director of the International Game Developers Association Foundation and the leading voice on diversity and inclusion in the video game industry. With more than a decade of experience working with Internet and video game companies on social and cultural impact, she’s collaborated on issue advocacy, coalitions, and corporate social responsibility. Nika is a two-time Ironman finisher, an avid Batman fan, and is currently a Ph.D. student.

Noah Wardrip-Fruin

Expert Panel Judge

Noah Wardrip-Fruin is a Professor of Computational Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He co-directs the Expressive Intelligence Studio, a technical and cultural research group, with Michael Mateas. His new book is How Pac-Man Eats (2020).

John Sharp

Expert Panel Judge

John Sharp is a designer, art historian, curator and educator with over twenty five years of involvement in the creation and study of art and design. He is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, which focuses on games as a research platform. John is also the Associate Professor of Games and Learning in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons School of Design at The New School where he co-directs PETLab (Prototyping, Education and Technology Lab).

José P. Zagal

Expert Panel Judge

Dr. José P. Zagal is a game designer and scholar. He is also a Professor with the University of Utah’s nationally ranked Entertainment Arts & Engineering program where, among other things, he teaches courses on game design, ethics in videogames, and experimental games. He taught his first university-level game development class in 2000, has supervised multiple award-winning student projects, and many of his former students work at leading game studios worldwide.

Chris Melissinos

Expert Panel Judge

Chris Melissinos serves as the Worldwide Game Technology Integration Lead at AWS, is the former Chief Gaming Officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc., guest curator and creator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s “The Art of Video Games” exhibition, and a founding board member of the Video Game History Foundation. With a career spanning more than two decades in the games industry, he has led the creation of video game technologies in Java, mobile, server platforms, and next generation game distribution solutions. The first video game art exhibition of its kind, his “The Art of Video Games” installation explored the 40 year evolution of video games as an art form and examined their impact on American culture. The exhibition traveled to 10 additional museums across the US, and he co-authored the companion book, “The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect.” For his efforts, he was awarded the game industry “Ambassador Award” at the 2013 Game Developers Choice Awards, held during the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA. A prolific and sought after speaker, his engagements include CES, Game Developers Conference, PAX, Mobile World Congress, JavaOne, and TEDx, and has been featured in more than 30 news outlets including CBS, ABC, FOX, BBC, NPR, Wired, Time Magazine, Nintendo Power, and Game Informer.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Prepare for your Career!

Andy Phelps


Andrew “Andy” Phelps is a designer and professor at the Human Interface Technology Laboratory NZ (HITLabNZ) within the College of Engineering at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand exploring virtual and augmented reality, games and education, and art and interactive media experiences. He is also a professor in the Film & Media Arts division of the School of Communication, holds a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science, and is the director of the AU Game Center at American University in Washington DC, USA. His latest game is Fragile Equilibrium (XBOX, Steam, 2019), and he maintains a website of his publications, popular writing, artwork, curriculum development, and more at

Fiona Cherback

Talent Acquisition Lead, Xbox Game Studios

As part of the Talent Acquisition team for Xbox Game Studios, Fiona supports hiring initiatives across all 1 st -party studios. Fiona was previously Talent Acquisition Lead, Worldwide Studios for Sony Interactive Entertainment. Fiona is former chairperson of IGDA Women in Games SIG, co-founder of Women in Games International (11 chapters globally), co-creator of GameMentorOnline, partnership advisor for the European Women in Games Conference and Women in Games Jobs U.K.  Fiona speaks regularly at college campuses and industry events, including USC Games, MIT, SCAD, PAX, GDC, GDC Europe and GDC’s Game Career Seminar series, plus has served as advisory board member and speaker for SXSW Interactive, AIGA and SIGGRAPH. As a member of the indie games community, Fiona is co-founder and prior executive producer of the Boston Festival of Indie Games, now in its 10 th  year, and prior advisor to national indie game events IndieCade and Fantastic Arcade. Fiona was part of a women in games initiative developed under Obama’s U.S. White House in 2015. She was previously a U.S. advisor on behalf of BAFTA Games in 2018-2019, supporting a diversity and inclusivity campaign.

Shaina Peshkov

Director of Operations, Filament Games

As Director of Operations at Filament Games, Shaina’s responsibilities involve allocating the studio, resolving roadblocks, ensuring processes are followed in both sales and project development. She also manages AV, production, and QA, collaborating with other studio managers in the creation of process improvements for the studio. Summarily, Shaina ensures the day to day operations of Filament game development.

Cindy Armstrong

Chief Administrative Officer, Playable Worlds

Cindy Armstrong is an experienced online entertainment executive with over 25 years’ experience starting companies, managing teams expanding international operations. She has worked at Nintendo, Sony Online Entertainment, Activision and Wargaming among others. Cindy is currently Chief Administrative Officer at Playable Worlds focusing on building out an exceptional team stressing innovation, accountability and inclusion.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Coffee and Candid Conversations with Faculty

Jeremy Gibson Bond


IndieCade Chair of Education and Advancement since 2013, Jeremy has taught game dev for over 20 years and is the author of Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development, the 3rd edition of which will be released this year. Jeremy is a Professor of Practice teaching game design and programming at Michigan State University, which Princeton Review ranked the #1 public university for undergraduate game development in 2021.

Professor Akram Taghavi-Burris

University of Tulsa

Akram Taghavi-Burris has over 15 years of experience teaching game development and design, along with computer graphics, animation, and web development in higher education. Akram is currently the instructor of Computer Simulation and Gaming at the University of Tulsa and coordinates several outreach STEM-related events including the annual Computer Simulation and Gaming Conference (CSGC). Throughout her career, Akram has been awarded several prestigious awards for her work such as the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Award and, the Davinci Fellows Award for innovation in teaching.

Nick Fortugno

Long Island University

Nick Fortugno is a designer of games and interactive narrative experiences and co-founder of Hello TeamSolar. Fortugno has been lead designer on dozens of works, including leading interactive narrative design on Frankenstein AI, shown at Sundance New Frontier, and on games and experiences including the downloadable blockbuster Diner Dash, award-winning serious game Ayiti: The Cost of Life, CableFAX award winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation, and MUSE award winner Body/Mind/Change.

Eddie Melcer

UC Santa Cruz

Eddie Melcer is an independent game developer, director of the Alternative Learning Technologies and Games (ALT Games) Lab, and Assistant Professor in the UC Santa Cruz Department of Computational Media. Eddie is also a core faculty member in the Serious Games and Games & Playable Media Professional Masters Programs at UC Santa Cruz, and his teaching interests range from introductory programming and game design to alternative game controllers and serious games. His research explores the usage of novel gameplay mechanics and emerging technologies (AR, VR, 3D printers, wearables, and so forth) to enhance learning outcomes in educational games.

Clay Ewing

University of Miami

Clay Ewing is an Associate Professor and director of the New Experience Research and Design Lab (NERDLab) at the University of Miami. Professor Ewing’s games have tackled issues such as vector borne diseases, the cost of health care, social safety nets and labor practices in collaboration with subject matter experts and researchers.

David (D.S.) Cohen

The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies

Michael Baker

The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies

Allen Turner

DePaul University

Elin Carstensdottir

UC Santa Cruz

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Live Game Feedback with Experts Part 2

Adam Mayes


Roger Altizer

Expert Panel Judge

Eric Zimmerman

Expert Panel Judge

Eric designs videogames, tabletop games, and with architect Nathalie Pozzi has installed large-scale projects in locations including the Museum of Modern Art. He is the co-author of Rules of Play with Katie Salen and is a founding faculty at the NYU Game Center.

Miguel Sicart

Expert Panel Judge

Miguel Sicart is an Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen. He is the author of Play Matters (MIT Press).

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Impromptu Keynote:
A Conversation About Indie Games, Intersections, Things that Matter, and the Future

Tracy Fullerton

Professor and Director Emeritus at USC Games, Director of the USC Game Innovation Lab

Tracy Fullerton is an experimental game designer, professor and founding director (emeritus) of the USC Games program. Her research center, the Game Innovation Lab, has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Night Journey, with artist Bill Viola, and Walden, a game, a simulation of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond, which was named “Game of the Year” at Games for Change 2017 and “Developer’s Choice” at IndieCade 2017. Tracy is the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook used at game programs worldwide, and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment.

Hesiquio Mendez

Hesiquio Mendez Alejo is a game designer and indie developer at TenderClaws and Co-Founder of No Static Games. Hesiquio is also an educator at Pasadena City College and recently completed his thesis on developing cultural-specific mechanics through cultural values.

Jake Weidner

Jake Weidner is a producer and game designer at Funomena Inc. He has a background as a multidisciplinary digital media creator and team leader with experience across experimental games, VR+AR, web marketing, IT, videography, and advocacy. Graduated from the UC: Santa Cruz Art & Design of Games & Playable Media (AGPM) program in 2018.

Sunday, June 13

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
University of Malta

Konstantinos Sfikas

University of Malta

PhD Student in the field of Game-related AI, at the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta.

Games Streaming: J92, Closing time

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Abertay University


Abertay University

Abertay University Game Design and Production Student! I love streaming, creating, and engaging with people! I’m a huge enthusiast of competitive multiplayer games as well as esports!

Games Streaming: PHOGS!

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Kent State University

Joe Phillabaum

Kent State University

I’m a lifelong gamer, current student at Kent State, and Level Designer at Square Table Games.

Games Streaming: Call of Darkness

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
University of Texas at Austin

Alyssa Diaz

University of Texas at Austin

I am currently a student at the University of Texas at Austin studying game design and development within the Arts and Entertainment Technologies major. I hope to one day become a level designer within the games industry!

Games Streaming: Frogmented, HEARTSTRING, Robber Rideshare

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
George Mason University

Paul Hiniker

George Mason University

Games Streaming: TBD

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Miami University

Connor Redwine

Miami University

Senior at Miami University, majoring in Games + Simulations and minoring in Computer Science. President of the Miami Game Design Club, Miami eSports Captain, and more! Gaming Gamer.

Games Streaming: Lumpy

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
DePaul University

Michelle Lega

DePaul University

Michelle Lega is a game designer, writer, and artist based in Chicago. She recently received her MFA in Game Design from DePaul University, and her work focuses on character-based storytelling, narratives exploring complex emotions, and sweet and cute art and experiences. She is currently the producer at Seattle-based indie publisher/developer The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild.

Games Streaming: Homing

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
University of Miami

Paulina Fiore

University of Miami

Howdy~! My name is Paulina and I’m a game design student at the University of Miami. The first game I ever played was Banjo Kazooie, and it’s had a special place in my heart ever since, right next to my favorite game Dark Souls.

Games have given me the opportunity to meet so many people and make wonderful friends, I hope that I can achieve my dream of working for the game industry and give back to the gaming community that has helped me through so much.

Games Streaming: My student Project, Hyper Box and Unsavory by NerdLabs

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