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2024 Conference Program

Coming up on Friday, February 16th!

ALL CONFERENCE SESSIONS ARE ON ZOOM.
SESSIONS ARE LISTED IN EASTERN TIME.
TIMES AND SESSIONS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

  • 11:30 AM EST

    Welcome & Introduction

    Speaker: Stephanie Barish & Jonathan Elmergreen

  • 11:45 AM EST

    Intro

    An icebreaker with Willa Lim.

  • 12:00 PM EST
    Keynote

    Industry Keynote Presentation: Preparing Your Portfolio, Perspectives from a Pro

    Polished portfolios can make or break an application. Learn from Tim Dean from the Forza franchise on how to best organize and present your work.

    Speaker: Tim Dean (Forza Franchise)

  • 12:30 PM EST
    Networking

    Meet Other Attendees! Starting with Quick Tips for More Effective, Less Stressful Networking

    Hear from an expert: strategies for networking to level up your career and your experience in the industry. Get a chance to meet people at the conference. 

    Speaker: Chris DeLeon

  • 1:00 PM EST

    Essential Questions: Before you graduate

    In this talk, Ted Dinola, a developer relations engineer at Meta, will give you answers to essential questions you should to know before you finish your degree.

    Speaker: Ted DiNola

  • 1:30 PM EST

    Endless Studios & Student Game Support

    Come hear about a fantastic studios that is interested in helping students get professional feedback and support for their games! We will be highlighting some potential job opportunities, our learning programs world-wide, and ways that you can get involved with our mission of making the world a better place via game making.

    Speaker: Andy Phelps

  • 2:00 PM EST
    Keynote

    Faculty Keynote

    Have you considered graduate school? Some games-based jobs open up if you have a graduate degree and they can lead to interesting career paths. It can also just be enriching for your own personal path and interests. A graduate degree might be right for you! In this session, Professor Bo Ruberg will discuss options for pursuing a graduate degree in games.

    Speaker: Bo Ruberg

  • 2:15 PM EST

    Funding your games

    There’s no cookie-cutter way to fund your game. Learn different avenues to get funding and the pros and cons of each.

    Speakers: Colm Seeley and Jessica Murrey

  • 2:45 PM EST

    Alternate Pathways

    A common misconception is that games degrees will only get you a job in the games industry. In fact, many graduates take different paths. Learn more from these experts.

    Speakers: Gabe Liberti & Dave (1,000 boxes) 

  • 3:15 PM EST
    Keynote

    Alumni Keynote

    From deadlines to coffee breaks: hear from Alumni about their experiences and life in the industry.

  • 3:30 PM EST

    Preparing for a career in the industry

    Learn best practices to prepare for and get hired in industry.

    Speakers: Dave Padilla and Cami Smith

  • 4:15 PM EST

    Resource yourself: professional associations supporting marginalized identities

    We all can use community and support in the industry, and marginalized groups face additional challenges in the industry. Hear from Mental Health experts as well as, professional associations working to support marginalized students and industry professionals who can provide you resources, community, and tools to support your future and help you thrive.

    Representatives from Gay Gaming Professionals, Women in Games International, Latinx in Gaming, Blacks in Gaming, Reboot Representation, and Take This.

    Moderator: Jonathan Elmergreen

  • 5:00 PM EST
    Keynote

    Strong Communities Make Better Indie Games

    Early, consistent, and empathetic communication with one’s community is key to the successful launch and ongoing sustainability of a game, particular ones built by indie or small studios. This session discusses the success of Heart Machine’s flagship game Hyper Light Drifter, an indie game and former Kickstarter project that was developed with the support of its community members, and compares it against Solar Ash, Heart Machine’s sophomore project, which was developed more in a vacuum with the support of publisher Annapurna. Yiyi and Alx discuss strategies around building community through the current development process of Hyper Light Breaker, exploring the thesis that growing and retaining player trust are essential game business + marketing factors.

    Speaker: Alx Preston

    Moderator: Yiyi Zhang

  • 5:30 PM EST
    Networking

    Last Chance to Meet Other Attendees to Make Lasting Connections

    Connect with other conference participants in this social wrap up event!

    Speaker: Chris DeLeon

Speakers

– More to come! –

Alx Preston

Heart Machine, Inc.

Alx Preston, Studio and Creative Director at Heart Machine, is an artist, first and foremost, who seeks to express himself through games, a medium so complex and challenging that only the truly determined/mad/angry at themselves would pursue a career in it long-term. And yet, here we are, some 8 odd years later, after the Kickstarter campaign that launched Hyper Light Drifter, a game with measured success and “bleak” written all over it.

Alx Preston
Heart Machine, Inc.

Amy E. Allison

Women In Games Int’l

Fearless interactive and video industry professional who knows “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. I specialize in making human engagements with multimedia mindful, joyful, and frictionless.

Amy E. Allison
Women In Games Int’l

Andrew Maximov

Promethean AI

Andrew, a game industry veteran and former Technical Art Director for Sony Interactive, has made significant contributions to technology in top entertainment franchises and is recognized as a Develop and Forbes magazine 30 under 30 honoree. With expertise in both technology and art, he has co-chaired the Art Direction Summit at the Game Developers Conference for eight years and served on the Siggraph Realtime Live jury, all while championing the democratization of the creative process and fostering creativity in individuals throughout his career.

Andrew Maximov
Promethean AI

Andy Phelps

Endless Studios

Andrew “Andy” Phelps is an artist, designer, and professor with over 25 years experience in the field at American University, Uppsala University, the University of Canterbury, RIT, and more. His latest games are The Witch’s Way (Itch.io, 2021) and Fragile Equilibrium (XBOX, Steam, Itch.io 2019). He is currently the Chief Learning Officer at Endless Studios.

Andy Phelps
Endless Studios

Cami Smith

Shrapnel Studio

Cami Smith – Women in Games Ambassador since January 2022. Cami has been contributing to the games and entertainment industry’s impact since 2008. Currently, Cami serves as a Sr. Executive Recruiter for a local Seattle Studio.

Cami Smith
Shrapnel Studio

Chris DeLeon

HomeTeam GameDev

Chris has been making games since 1997, professionally since 2005, though his main work for two decades has been founding several communities that support teams of beginners developing freeware games. His current and most accessible version of this format is fully remote and fits part-time, for more information visit: https://HomeTeamGameDev.com

Chris DeLeon
HomeTeam GameDev

Colm Seeley

Ukie

Colm is a data & research manager at Ukie, the UK’s trade association for video game companies where his role sees him regularly report on the size, shape and makeup of the UK industry. Before this, Colm worked in public video game funding at the British Film Institute and was an IndieCade volunteer for many years, working across tech, social media and experience design.

Colm Seeley
Ukie

Dave Rife

Game of 1000 Boxes

Dave Rife is a Brooklyn-based developer of ground-breaking interactive and immersive experiences for temporary events and permanent installations. Co-creator of Game of 1000 Boxes and co-founder of creative studio Dave & Gabe.

Dave Rife
1000 Boxes

Gabe Liberti

Game of 1000 Boxes

Gabe Liberti is a Brooklyn-based developer of ground-breaking interactive and immersive experiences for temporary events and permanent installations. Co-creator of Game of 1000 Boxes and co-founder of creative studio Dave & Gabe.

Gabe Liberti
Game of 1000 Boxes

Jannie Fernandez

Reboot Representation

Jannie is the Director of Talent Engagement at Reboot Representation. Her role focuses on connecting students to educational and professional advancement opportunities.

Jannie Fernandez
Reboot Representation

Jesse Vigil

USC Games

Jesse Vigil is an award-winning writer, game designer, filmmaker, and educator. He is the cofounder of two independent studios, an independent games publisher, and since 2013 has been teaching game design, audio for games, fabrication, attraction design, production, and pervasive game design at USC GAMES, where we was also an artist-in-residence from 2014-2019 as the designer and lead gamemaster for the alternate reality games Reality Ends Here. His games and work have been featured at GDC, IndieCade, IndieCade Europe, SXSW, SIGGRAPH, ELO, and countless film festivals around the world.

Jesse Vigil
USC Games

Jessica Murrey

Wicked Saints Studios

Jessica Murrey is an Emmy-Award-winning storyteller and international peacebuilder turned game designer. Jess is the CEO/Co-founder of Wicked Saints Studios, and creative mind behind World Reborn.

Jessica Murrey
Wicked Saints Studios

Kelli Dunlap, PsyD

Take This

Kelli Dunlap is a licensed clinical psychologist and game designer. She is the Community Director at Take This, a mental health non-profit serving the game community.

Kelli Dunlap, PsyD
Take This

Peter Zetterberg

Xbox Game Camp

With over 30 years of game industry business and development experience, Peter Zetterberg currently leads Xbox Game Camp on behalf of Microsoft. In prior roles Peter founded game studio UDS in Sweden in 1992. Later, he headed up Codemasters’ (now EA) talent acquisition and developer relations, and recently in 2018, founded company Wanderword. Living and working in Redmond, USA, Peter has played an important role in multiple publishing deals for Xbox over the past 15 years, including Minecraft, which later, in 2014, led to Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang Studios.

Peter Zetterberg
Xbox Game Camp

Ted DiNola

Meta

Ted DiNola is a game maker with over 15 years working in games, from solo development to working at a major platform and publisher.

Ted DiNola
Meta

Tim Dean

Turn 10, Xbox, Microsoft

Tim Dean is the Director of Franchise content at Turn 10 Studios, overseeing the production of shared Car and media assets as well as the content early in career program. 30 years games industry experience, working on all types of games from mobile to AAA.

Tim Dean
Turn 10, Xbox, Microsoft

Yiyi Zhang

Heart Machine, Inc.

Yiyi (she, her, pronounced ee-ee) is a community organizer, artist, and human rights lawyer based in Brooklyn, NY. As a queer immigrant woman of color in this industry, she feels a strong sense of duty to advocate for the development of diverse and supportive communities around games.

Board of Directors | Gumbo Collective, Inc.
Community + PR Manager | Heart Machine, Inc.
Vice President | Arcade Commons

Yiyi Zhang
Heart Machine, Inc.

Individual Tickets

If your school is not a Horizons partner, individual tickets are available for students and faculty. Tickets are also available for industry members.

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