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An original online event showcasing & supporting new work and talent emerging from game design programs


April 9th Conference & Playtesting    |    June 4th Showcase

Conference Program

All conference sessions are on Zoom.
(Zoom links are available on our Discord.)

  • 11:00 AM EDT

    Introduction and “Grand Challenge”
    INTRODUCTION: Stephanie Barish and Games for the Future Team

  • 11:05 AM EDT
    Keynotes

    Keynote: Rami Ismael

  • 11:30 AM EDT
    Career in Industry

    Tips and tricks for submitting your portfolio
    Unsure of how to submit your portfolio? Learn best practices from a pro.
    SPEAKERS: Mirjam Eladhari, Andy Phelps

  • 12:00 PM EDT
    Going Independent

    Successfully working on your own game
    Discover strategies to master working on your own game and going solo
    SPEAKERS: Adam Mayes, John Sharpe, Andy Phelps

  • 12:30 PM EDT
    Community & Competition

    Community & creating a game club
    Having a community of colleagues and friends who can support you is essential.  Discover how to cultivate professional and informal games communities.
    SPEAKERS: Kate Edwards, Jonathan Elmergreen

  • 1:00 PM EDT
    Career in Industry

    Preparing for a career in the industry
    Learn best practices to prepare for and get hired in industry.
    SPEAKERS: Andy Phelps, Fiona Cherback, Dave Padilla, Cami Smith

  • 1:45-2:00 PM EDT

    BREAK

  • 2:00 PM EDT
    Going Independent

    Crowdsource funding your game
    Learn tips and tricks to fund your game through crowdsourcing.
    SPEAKER: Chris Totten

  • 2:30 PM EDT
    Community & Competition

    Academic Game Show
    Participants compete to see which school’s students and faculty are the most in-tune.
    MODERATOR: Jeremy Gibson Bond
    PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS:

    • University of Tulsa
    • Kent State University
    • University of Miami
    • Michigan State University
    • DePaul University
    • University of Southern California
  • 3:15 PM EDT
    Going Independent

    Setting up your own studio
    Whether as a side project or your main gig, setting up a studio can feel both daunting and exciting––find out how to do it here.
    SPEAKERS: Latoya Peterson, MJ Johns, Jakub Kasztalski

  • 3:45 PM EDT
    Community & Competition

    Collegiate esports is the Wild West
    Esports is rapidly developing at colleges––get the latest scoop here.
    SPEAKERS: AJ Dimick, Stephanie Orme

  • 4:15-4:30 PM EDT

    BREAK

  • 4:30 PM EDT
    Community & Competition

    Iron Game Design Challenge
    Two teams of mighty game designers come together and use a small set of basic tools and one mystery ingredient to make an amazing piece of play! Watch each team struggle with the creative process and make something that will then be judged by our wondrous panel of players.
    MC: Sam Roberts
    PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS:

    • NYU Game Center
    • UC Santa Cruz
    • UC Irvine
    • Bradley University
    • University of Miami
    • Michigan State University
  • 6:00 PM EDT
    Career in Industry

    Interning with Indies
    Find out how to be successful when applying and interning at an indie studio.
    SPEAKERS: Celia Pearce, Tyler Coleman, Cam Perry

  • 6:45 PM EDT
    Career in Industry

    What can I do with a games degree?
    Did you know graduates of games programs get jobs in both the games industry and elsewhere? Learn how your degree is versatile and can get you a job in many fields.
    SPEAKERS: Naomi Clark, A.M. Darke, Sean Gouglas, Sam Roberts

  • 7:15 PM EDT
    Keynotes

    Keynote: Yaprak DeCarmine

  • 7:35 PM EDT

    Closing Address
    SPEAKERS: Stephanie Barish

All AMAs and AMA schedule information will be on Discord

AMA SCHEDULE

AMA’s on a variety of topics both live and asynchronously throughout the conference, so jump in on Discord anytime that works for your schedule!

Friday, April 8th

Topic: Fundraising
Speaker: Anthony Palma (Griffin Gaming Partners)
Channel: #💰-fundraising-ama

Saturday, April 9th

Topic: Narrative Design
Speaker: Geoffrey Golden (Narrative Designer)
Channel: #📖-narrative-design-ama

Topic: Publishing and Marketing
Speaker: Benjamin Tarsa (Freedom Games)
Channel: #📈-publishing-and-marketing-ama

Topic: Career Paths: Crossing back and forth between indie games and big tech
Speaker: Rob Jagnow (Meta)
Channel: #⚙-career-paths-ama

Topic: Making Games from Hardware, Electronics, & Code (i.e. AR, Smart tabletop, etc..)
Speaker: Tim Burrell-Saward (Sensible Objects/ Beasts of Balance)
Channel: #🤖-making-games-from-hardware-electronics-code-ama

More sessions will be announced on Discord, so be sure to join us!

Speakers

Kate Edwards

Geogrify/SetJetters

Kate Edwards is an award-winning veteran of the game industry who is CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, and the CXO and Co-Founder of SetJetters. She is also the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and the Global Game Jam.

Kate Edwards
Geogrify / SetJetters

A.J. Dimick

University of Utah EAE/Utah Esports

AJ serves as the Director of Esports Operations for the University of Utah’s varsity Esports program. Utah Esports is in its’ 5th year as a varsity program and scholarships 34 student-athletes and competes in 4 games. Utah Esports is operated out of the Entertainment Arts & Engineering game development program.

A.J. Dimick
University of Utah EAE/Utah Esports

Jeremy Bond

Michigan State University

Jeremy Gibson Bond is a Professor of Practice teaching game design and development at Michigan State University, the #1 ranked public university for undergraduate game design education (Princeton Review, 2022). Since 2013, he has served the IndieCade independent game festival and conference as the Chair of Education and Advancement, where he co-chairs the IndieXchange summit each year. Jeremy is the founder of ExNinja Interactive and the author of all three editions of “Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development: From Concept to Playable Game in Unity and C#,” a best-selling book on game design and development.

Jeremy Bond
Michigan State University

Anthony Palma

Griffin Gaming Partners

Anthony Palma is a Partner at Griffin Gaming Partners, the world’s largest VC firm exclusively focused on the video game industry.

Anthony Palma
Griffin Gaming Partners

Rob Jagnow

Meta / Lazy 8 Studios

After running Lazy 8 Studios for 8 years and launching award-winning games like Cogs and Extrasolar, Rob moved on to work at Google and Meta, where his lessons from his work as an indie developer have informed his work and shaped his career.

Rob Jagnow
Meta / Lazy 8 Studios

Geoffrey Golden

Pixagon Games

Geoffrey Golden is a narrative designer and game writer in Los Angeles, CA. He’s written for Capcom, Disney, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and indie studios around the world.

Geoffrey Golden
Pixagon Games

Dave Padilla

Evening Star

A veteran producer with over 18 years of experience in the games industry, Dave has played a critical role in successfully shipping award-winning projects for major game studios and Fortune 500 companies.

Dave Padilla
Evening Star

Mirjam P Eladhari

Stockholm University

The overall goal of my work is to investigate ways in which we can create deeply meaningful and personalised play experiences. I like AI. Besides researching and teaching, I make games, and paint.

Mirjam P Eladhari
Stockholm University

Sean Gouglas

University of Alberta

Sean Gouglas is a Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on the relationship between universities and the computer game industry in Canada and the United States, especially as it relates to curriculum and technology transfer.

Sean Gouglas
University of Alberta

Tyler Coleman

Retora Games

Indie Founder/Director at Retora Games and Adjunct Lecturer at University of Texas at Austin. Loves Procedural Generation, Algorithmic Art, and hearing what you are most passionate about!

Tyler Coleman
Retora Games

Steph Orme

Emmanuel College

Steph Orme specializes in gaming and esports research, with a special focus on diversity and inclusion. She has helped several colleges and universities develop esports curricula.

Steph Orme
Emmanuel College

A.M. Darke

UC Santa Cruz

A.M. Darke is an artist and two-time failed IndieCade award nominee. She currently teaches game design and media art at UC Santa Cruz, and directs the Open Source Afro Hair Library.

A.M. Darke
UC Santa Cruz

Camille Kanengiser

Freeform Labs, Inc.

Passionate about creating at the intersection of art and technology. Working as a consultant and tech-artist for studios of various sizes, primarily on realtime XR and virtual production projects.

Camille Kanengiser
Freeform Labs, Inc.

Chris Totten

Kent State University

Chris Totten is the program coordinator of the Kent State Animation Game Design program. He is also an experienced game developer, author of several books on game and level design, and a co-founder of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) Arcade.

Chris Totten
Kent State University

Benjamin Tarsa

Freedom Games

Benjamin is the Director of Publishing at Freedom Games. A long-time supporter of IndieCade, Benjamin is also on the IndieCade Alumni board.

Benjamin Tarsa
Freedom Games

Tim Burrell-Saward

Alumni

Tim uses hardware, electronics and code to make products, games and experiences that couldn’t exist in any other way.

Tim Burrell-Saward
Alumni

Cam Perry

Schell Games

Cam Perry is a black, nonbinary designer and writer currently working as a designer for Schell Games. Outside of Schell, they are also working on a variety of projects part-time, most notably the dating-sim “Validate”.

Cam Perry
Schell Games

Ted DiNola

Meta

Ted DiNola is a game programmer and designer with over 13 years of experience building games. They currently work at Meta as a developer relations engineer.

Ted DiNola
Meta

Akram Taghavi-Burris

University of Tulsa

Professor Akram Taghavi-Burris is an award-winning designer, writer, and educator, who currently holds the title of Instructor of Computer Simulation and Gaming at the University of Tulsa and is the coordinator of the Computer Simulation and Gaming Conference (CSGC) which takes place annually at the university.

Akram Taghavi-Burris
University of Tulsa

Ryan Circelli

University of Tulsa

I am currently a student at the University of Tulsa studying Computer Simulation and Gaming, with an emphasis in design. I hope to work in either the gaming or film industry telling stories in a digital space.

Ryan Circelli
University Of Tulsa

Fiona Cherbak

Xbox Game Studios

As part of Xbox Game Studios, Fiona drives and supports hiring initiatives across all 1st-party studios. Fiona was previously Gaming Talent Acquisition Lead on Team Xbox and Talent Acquisition Lead, Worldwide Studios for Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Fiona Cherbak
Xbox Game Studios

Cami Smith

IGDA, VES, Diversity Collective, Seattle Indies

For more than a decade, Cami has helped studios big and small build teams, primarily in the fields of gaming, film, and XR. Currently, Cami is a recruiter at ggLocators.com

Cami Smith
IGDA, VES, Diversity Collective, Seattle Indies

Adam Mayes

Copenhagen Academy of Digital Arts

Adam has been a game designer for (too) many years, was Head of Education at a Game Design department and is now a Head of Education at a private 3D school.
He buys comics and TTRPGs but as there is no such thing as “too many” he is happy with the amount he has…

Adam Mayes
Copenhagen Academy of Digital Arts

John Sharp

The New School

John Sharp is Professor of Games & Learning at Parsons School for Design at The New School. He is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, the creators of The Metagame and Dear Reader. He is the author of Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Game and Art, and co-authored Games, Design and Play: A Detailed Approach to Iterative Game Design with Colleen Macklin; Fun, Taste, & Games: An Aesthetics for the Idle, Unproductive, and Otherwise Playful with David Thomas; and Iterate: Ten Perspectives on Creativity and Failure with Colleen Macklin.

John Sharp
The New School

Lindsay Grace

University of Miami

Lindsay is Knight Chair in Interactive Media and an associate professor at the University of Miami School of Communication. He is Vice President for the Higher Education Video Game Alliance and the 2019 recipient of the Games for Change Vanguard award. Lindsay’s book, Doing Things with Games, Social Impact through Design, is a well-received guide to game design. In 2020, he edited and authored Love and Electronic Affection: a Design Primer on designing love and affection in games. In 2021 he published the Amazon best seller, Black Game Studies, an Introduction to the games, game makers and scholarship of the African diaspora

Lindsay Grace
University of Miami

MJ Johns

Astire Games & University of Texas

Over a decade of experience working in games ranging from mobile and VR to AAA (credits include Call of Duty and Mafia III). I’ve been runing my indie startup Astire Games since 2016, and teaching game design and development since 2015.

MJ Johns
Astire Games & University of Texas

Max Baldwin

University of Miami

Max is a senior at the University of Miami studying Business Technology with a Minor in Game Design.

Max Baldwin
University of Miami

Latoya Peterson

Glow Up Games

I shot the Girl Gamers documentary at IndieCade.

Latoya Peterson lives at the intersection of emerging technology and culture. She is cofounder and CXO at Glow Up Games, a game studio working on their first title set in the world of HBO’s Insecure.

Latoya Peterson
Glow Up Games

Quentin Young

Bradley University

Instructor of Game Design at Bradley University.

Quentin founded Symptomatic Productions LLC shortly after graduating from college and has published two PC games through the company: `Starcats` and ‘Color Cannons+’. Starcats was an official selection of the 2017 IndieCade Festival and a Top 5 Finalist of the 2017 E3 Collegiate Game Competition.

Quentin Young
Bradley University

Naomi M Clark

New York University

Naomi Clark is an independent game designer who lives and works in New York City; among her three dozen game credits is Consentacle, a two-player card game about intimacy with aliens that won Indiecade’s Impact award in 2015. She’s also the chair of the NYU Game Center, where she teaches game design.

Naomi M Clark
New York University

Tim Cullings

Tim Cullings

Tim Cullings(he/him) is a Seattle video games industry veteran and champion for game development and climate science and currently the Interim Executive Director and Director of Operations at Global Game Jam, Board President for Seattle Indies and a Board Member for IGDA. Prior to GGJ Tim was a Systems Engineer at Oculus helping ship everything between Rift and Quest 2.

Tim Cullings
Global Game Jam

YuXiao Wang

University of California, Santa Cruz

Serious Game Graduate Student in UCSC

YuXiao Wang
University of California, Santa Cruz

Jakub Kasztalski

Unbound Creations LLC

I am Polish guy and a traveler. I lived all over the place working on games, freelance writing, and even cinematography at one point. I studied humanities and ethnic conflict, all of which inspire my creative works. I founded my studio Unbound Creations in 2013 which is most known for Headliner: NoviNews, a game about news manipulation and how it affects society, as well as Rain on Your Parade, a game where you play as a cute cloud and ruin everyone’s day.

Jakub Kasztalski
Unbound Creations LLC

Dargan Frierson

University of Washington

Dargan Frierson is a climate scientist who leads the EarthGames group at University of Washington.

Dargan Frierson
University of Washington

Jennifer Ha

Student

I am Jennifer Ha, an Animation and Game Design major in my senior year at Kent State University. I am President of the Animation and Game Design Club.

Jennifer Ha
Student

Joe Antonucci

DePaul University

I’m currently a DePaul University graduate student within the Game Design program. I focus on game & level design.

Joe Antonucci
DePaul University

Sean Tang

MS. GPM UCSC

A passionate game designer focuses on level design. Currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Games and Playable Media at the University of Santa Cruz.

Sean Tang
MS. GPM UCSC

Tim Fritz

Kent State University at Tuscarawas

I am a Lecturer of Animation Game Design and I have been teaching full time at Kent State University as an NTT since 2017. I’m also an animation / game design generalist with 15 years of experience.

Tim Fritz
Kent State University at Tuscarawas

Allen Turner

DePaul University

Allen Turner is a game designer, artist, performer, writer, who teaches game design at DePaul University.

Allen Turner
DePaul University

PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS

Premium

American University
Bradley University
Falmouth University
Miami University
UC Santa Cruz
UC Irvine
University of Canterbury
University of Miami
University of Southern California

Plus

DePaul University
The University of Tulsa
George Mason University
Sheridan College
Kent State University
NYU Game Center

Partner

Western University
Art Center College of Design
Columbus College of Art and Design

Basic 

Emmanuel College

Horizons is possible in part from support from the Knight Foundation


Horizons is a partnership of HEVGA and IndieCade

The Higher Education Video Game Alliance is the leading academic association advocating for the critical role video game programs play in higher education, industry, and government. Our mission is to create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities.

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