//2011 Festival: Conference Speakers

The IndieCade conference is honored to have an amazing roster of speakers and panelists.

Michael Abbott, Daniel Benmergui, Jon Blow, Marc ten Bosch, Brandon Boyer, Eddy Boxerman, Mathieu Castelli, Terry Cavanagh, Simon Ferrari, Phil Fish, Mary Flanagan, Nick Fortugno, Tracy Fullerton, Zach Gage, Chris Hecker, Robert Hodgin, Rod Humble, Robin Hunicke, Jake Kazdal, Heather Kelley, Richard Lemarchand, Alex Neuse, Jane Pinckard, Kris Piotrowski, Cindy Poremba, Nathalie Pozzi, Casey Reas, Mike Roush, Adam Saltsman, Daniel Schiffman, Paul Sottosanti, Eddo Stern, Steve Swink, Greg Trefry, Nathan Vella, Jamin Warren, Jeff Watson, Chris Weed, Douglas Wilson, Eric Zimmerman.

And check back as we continue to add information about speakers.

//Conference Speakers

Michael Abbott
Michael Abbott writes and hosts the Brainy Gamer blog and podcast. He chairs the Theater Department at Wabash College and teaches drama, film studies, and courses devoted to the art and history of electronic games.

Jonathan Blow
Jonathan Blow is an independent game developer who lives in San Francisco.

Marc ten Bosch
Marc ten Bosch is an independent game developer based in San Francisco. He is currently making Miegakure, a puzzle game where you travel through four-dimensional space, and manipulate objects in that space. The game was first shown in prototype form at the Experimental Gameplay Workshop 2009. Since then it was nominated in the Excellence in Design and Technical Excellence Categories at the Independent Games Festival, was a finalist in the Indie Games Challenge, shown at the PAX East Boston Showcase, and well as the recipient of the "Amazing game" award at Indiecade.

Brandon Boyer
Brandon Boyer's wild, pure, simple life has seen him acting as artist, programmer, and indie record label head, as well as writer, columnist and editor for outlets like Edge magazine, Gamasutra, Offworld and Boing Boing. Currently he serves as chairman of the Independent Games Festival, the world's largest and most influential yearly showcase of indie games, now in its fourteenth year, and is operator and editor of Venus Patrol, a website about the intersection of art, music and videogame culture.

Terry Cavanagh
Terry Cavanagh is an Irish independent game developer, currently
living in Cambridge, UK. His games include At a Distance, VVVVVV, and
Don't Look Back.

Simon Ferrari
Simon Ferrari is a videogame researcher, designer, and critic. Currently a doctoral student in the digital media program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Simon has edited the Newsgames research blog for three years. Along with Ian Bogost and Bobby Schweizer, he is the co-author of Newsgames: Journalism at Play (MIT Press, 2010). For the past year, the Newsgames studio has been developing the Cartoonist engine--a framework that will help journalists and bloggers create small political or journalistic games without any formal design or programming knowledge. Simon has also written freelance criticism for Kill Screen Daily, Paste, and PBS's MediaShift Idea Lab.

Nick Fortugno
Nick Fortugno is a game designer of digital and real-world games based
in New York City, and a founder of Playmatics. Games by Playmatics
include the CableFAX award-winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation as
well as games for clients like Disney Interactive and LEGO. Before
Playmatics, Fortugno was the Director of Game Design at gameLab, where
he was a designer, writer and project manager on dozens of commercial
and serious games, and served as lead designer on the downloadable
blockbuster Diner Dash and the award-winning serious game Ayiti: The
Cost of Life. Nick teaches game design and interactive narrative
design at Parsons The New School of Design, and has participated in
the construction of the school's game design curriculum. Nick is also
a co-founder of the annual Come Out and Play street games festival
hosted in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam
since 2006, and co-creator of the Big Urban Game for Minneapolis/St.
Paul in 2003. Nick's most recent writing about games can be found in
the anthology Well-Played 1.0: Video Game, Value, and Meaning,
published by ETC-Press.

Tracy Fullerton
Tracy Fullerton, M.F.A., is an experimental game designer, professor and director of the Game Innovation Lab at the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she holds the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment. The USC Game Innovation Lab is a design research center that has produced several of the most influential projects to be released in the emerging field of independent games, including games like Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and The Night Journey -- a collaboration with media artist Bill Viola. Tracy is also the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook in use at game programs worldwide. Prior to entering academia, she was a professional game designer and entrepreneur making games for companies including Microsoft, Sony, MTV, among many others.

Zach Gage
Zach Gage is a designer, programmer, educator, and conceptual artist from New York City. His work explores the increasingly blurring line between the physical and the digital. He has exhibited internationally at venues like the Venice Biennale, the Giant Robot/Scion Space in Los Angeles, and the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. His work has been featured in several online and printed publications, including Rhizome.org, Neural Magazine, New York Magazine, and Das Spiel und seine Grenzen (Springer Press).

Chris Hecker
Chris focuses on solving hard problems at the intersection of gameplay, aesthetics, and technology. He is an outspoken advocate for pushing the current boundaries of design and interactivity, in the hope that games will eventually achieve their full potential as a medium. To this end he helps organize the Indie Game Jam and the Experimental Gameplay Workshop, and his recent work has centered on using proceduralism and artificial intelligence to enhance player creativity and agency. Chris has been on the advisory board for the Game Developers Conference for many years and is a regular speaker at the GDC, Siggraph, and other conferences. A frequent contributor to Game Developer magazine, Chris was the technical columnist for the magazine for two years and the Editor-at-Large for three, and is currently on the editorial board of the computer graphics research publication, The Journal of Graphics Tools. He has worked at both ends of the development spectrum, as a one-man indie game developer with his company definition six, inc. and on a hundred-person team at Maxis/Electronic Arts. His professional goal is to help games become the preeminent art and entertainment form of the 21st century. His current project is SpyParty, an indie game about subtle human behavior and deception.

Robert Hodgin
Robert is an artist/coder living in San Francisco. He co-founded The Barbarian Group in 2001. He is currently the creative director for Bloom Studio. His work ranges from simple 2D data visualizations to immersive 3D terrain simulations. His primary interests include theoretical physics, astronomy, particle engines, and audio visualizations. He works in Java, Processing, C++, Cinder, OpenGL, and GLSL. Recent work includes concert visuals for Peter Gabriel and Aphex Twin. He's also been experimenting and creating Kinect-based applications.

He has been a guest lecturer at NYU's ITP program, UCLA's DMA program, and SCI-ARC and his work has been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Wing Luke Asian Museum, McLeod Residence Gallery, Wired NextFest, San Francisco Exploratorium, and the San Francisco Independent Film Festival. He graduated in 1998 with a degree in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Richard Lemarchand
Richard Lemarchand is a Lead Game Designer at Naughty Dog in Santa
Monica, California, and is currently working on the studio's
forthcoming game, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. He was the Co-Lead
Designer of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which has been the studio’s
most successful game to date, winning 34 Game of the Year awards and
four BAFTAs. Richard also worked on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Jak 3
and Jak X: Combat Racing for Naughty Dog, and helped to create the
successful game series Gex, Pandemonium and Soul Reaver at Crystal

Richard has made storytelling action games the focus of his career,
and he is interested in the way that narrative, aesthetics and ludic
mechanisms can hold a player’s attention and facilitate the expression
of their agency. His role at Naughty Dog includes production as well
as design, and his controversial talk at DICE 2010 about Naughty Dog’s
unique production methodology is much discussed for its original take
on development studio best practices.

A passionate advocate of indie and experimental games, Richard was the
conference co-chair of IndieCade in 2010. He hosts the annual GDC
Microtalks, and is a faculty member of the GDC Experimental Gameplay

Richard grew up in a small town in rural England, dreaming of ancient
civilizations and outer space. Perhaps as a result, he has a degree in
Physics and Philosophy.

Alex Neuse
Alex Neuse is a 14 year industry veteran and has a wide breadth of talents, having held jobs in QA, Production, Design, and Management at multiple companies, including LucasArts Entertainment Company, Activision, and Santa Cruz Games before founding Gaijin Games in 2007. An avid gamer, he once pondered that “sometimes a really good video game is just awesome” and it is this mantra that drives him to create unique experiences at Gaijin Games with his dashing and debonair partner in crime, Mike Roush.

Jane Pinckard
Jane Pinckard is associate director of the Center for Games and
Playable Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is
internationally known for her long-running blog GameGirlAdvance, which
explores games and art in a broader cultural context.

Jane came to Santa Cruz from Foundation 9 Entertainment, where she
worked in Business Development. As a games journalist, Jane’s writing
has been seen in a variety of publications including Theme Magazine,
Xbox Nation and Salon. In 2005, she co-created The 1Up show, a weekly
video internet show about game culture for the 1Up Network. An expert
in gaming, she has lectured at Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, California
College of the Arts and Whitman College and served as a non-resident
fellow at Stanford University in Lawrence Lessig’s Law in Virtual
Societies class. Jane has also spoken at South by Southwest, PAX and
the Game Developers Conference, the industry's leading tradeshow for
videogame developers. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the
International Game Developers Association.

Kris Piotrowski
Kris Piotrowski is the co-founder and creative director of CAPY, an independent studio from Toronto best known for Critter Crunch on PSN and Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes for the Nintendo DS.

Recently, Kris has worked as co-creator of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, a collaboration between CAPY, Craig D. Adams of Superbrothers and Jim Guthrie of Jim Guthrie, as well as Clash of Heroes HD for XBLA/PSN/Steam.

Kris is currently leading CAPY's new batch of (hopefully) delicious gaming goodness.

He collects all articles written about CAPY and shows them to his Mom.

Nathalie Pozzi
Nathalie Pozzi is an architect whose projects cross the boundaries of art installation, architecture, and landscape. Trained in Venice, Stockholm and Helsinki, Pozzi explores the classical design of space and light and the use of materials, while also incorporating social and ethnographic elements into her work. Her projects expand the possibilities of architecture from building beautiful structures into a global and cultural act. Projects range from the short film “Home”, presented at the 4th International Festival for Architecture in Video in Florence, to design and production consulting for internationally renowned artists. Recent work with game designer Eric Zimmerman involves the creation of large-scale physical games, including Starry Heavens, exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2011.

Casey Reas
Reas' software, prints, and installations have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Reas is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds a masters degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Media Arts and Sciences as well as a bachelors degree from the School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. With Ben Fry, Reas initiated Processing in 2001. Processing is an open source programming language and environment for creating images, animation, and interaction. Reas and Fry published Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists, a comprehensive introduction to programming within the context of visual media (MIT Press, 2007). With Chandler McWilliams and Lust, Reas published Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010), a non-technical introduction to the history, theory, and practice of software in the visual arts.

Mike Roush
Mike Roush is totally bitch’n! As a young man he passed his time by building prosthetic creatures and making home made monster films. To fund this costly endeavor he had to take a job as a Computer Aided Drafter. Noticing the industry was leaning more and more toward CG he changed his focus and started to dabble in this emerging media. After 9 years of CAD and 3 years independent multimedia production he decided to enter the gaming industry. Years later, Mike is still totally amazing and continues his undeniable top echelon domination of daily tasks alongside Alex Neuse, genuine man.

Adam Saltsman
Adam "Atomic" Saltsman made Gravity Hook, Fathom, Flixel and Canabalt.
He lives in Austin, TX with his wife Bekah, his son Kingsley, and a
couple of pug dogs, where he makes iOS games for a living. Adam mains
Dhalsim and will go Medic if he can.

Daniel Schiffman
Daniel Shiffman works as an Assistant Arts Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Originally from Baltimore, Daniel received a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University and a Master’s Degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program. He is the author of Learning Processing: A Beginner’s Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction and a founder of Page Seventy Three Productions, Inc. a non-for-profit theater company dedicated to producing and developing the works of emerging playwrights.

Paul Sottosanti
Paul Sottosanti has been designing games since childhood and designing them professionally for over seven years. The first five were spent at Wizards of the Coast, where he designed cards for games like Duel Masters and Magic: the Gathering, including a lead design role on the Morningtide expansion. When the company started exploring the digital space, he spent a year and a half as creative director of the ill-fated turn based strategy game Uncivilized: the Goblin Game, and then was lead designer of the Facebook app Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures. Next, he joined Maxis and was the sole systems and content designer for the sci-fi action RPG Darkspore. He's always found the indie community to be a huge source of inspiration, and he's since set out on his own, designing a variety of board games (including the recently released Penny Arcade: Gamers vs Evil) and exploring small digital game experiences, attempting to create strategic depth while retaining simplicity.

Steve Swink
Game designer, author, lecturer, teacher.

Creative Director of Enemy Airship (http://www.enemyairship.com), an
independent game studio. Currently working on a game called Shadow
Physics (http://www.shadowphysics.com).

Before that, a game designer at Flashbang studios, creating games for

Before that, Neversoft, as a designer on Tony Hawk Underground.

Wrote a book one time, about the tactile sensation you get when you
control something in a game. More at http://www.game-feel.com.

Co-coordinator of the Independent Game Festival (http://www.igf.com) and the
Independent Game Summit (http://www.indiegamesummit.com).

Teaches game design and level design at the Art Institute of Phoenix

Nathan Vella
Nathan Vella is co-founder and president of Toronto, Canada-based Capybara Games, or Capy for short. After developing Critter Crunch (iOS, PSN) and Might & Magic Clash of Heroes (DS, XBLA, PSN, PC), Capy recently released Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP for iOS in collaboration with pixel-king Superbrothers and musical mastermind Jim Guthrie.

Nathan was addicted to Tribes 1, still plays Cammy in Street Fighter 4, and enjoys long walks on the beach while holding hands. You can follow Nathan on twitter via @capy_nathan.

Jamin Warren
Jamin Warren is the co-founder of videogame arts and culture company
Kill Screen, which publishes a website, produces a magazine, and runs
a store. With mentions in the New York Times Magazine, New Yorker,
Observer, NPR, and Wired, Kill Screen is dedicated to asking the
question of what games mean to those who play them and those who make
them. Jamin spent four years at the Wall Street Journal as an arts
and entertainment reporter and previously was a music critic for
Pitchfork Media. He's spoken at Harvard and New York University and
his writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New Yorker, Paris
Review, Fast Company, Slate and others. He graduated from Harvard
University in 2004 with a focus on cultural theory and lives in

Eric Zimmerman
Eric is an internationally recognized creative force, design scholar, gadfly pundit on game design and game culture and professor at the NYU Game Center. He was the co-founder and CEO of Gamelab, a computer game development company known for many innovative games including Diner Dash, and for co-founding the Institute of Play. Eric is also the co-author of four books including Rules of Play (2004) with Katie Salen. He has exhibited game artworks at museums and galleries in the US and abroad. Eric's diverse activities have made him one of the New York Observer's "Power Punks," one of Interview Magazine's "30 To Watch," one of International Design Magazine's “ID 40” influential designers and one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Digital 50” along with Stephen Spielberg and Will Wright. Eric recently was honored with a “VIP Award” by the International Game Developers Association for his years of work in the game creation community. Eric has been called “The Lou Reed of Games” by author Stephen Johnson in Emergence and leading games scholar Dr. James Paul Gee has written that Eric “is surely one of the smartest and most creative humans I have ever met.”