Independent Games Summit (M-T)

Independent Games Summit (M-T)

Hear from the best and brightest indie game creators in the Independent Games Summit, Monday and Tuesday March 19-20, 2018. Attend lectures, postmortems representing diverse voices, experiences and perspectives, including many former and current Independent Games Festival finalists and winners.

Independent Games Summit passes are now sold out. Register for an All Access pass or GDC Summits pass pass to attend Independent Games Summit sessions.

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Featured Sessions

Foolproofing the Controls for 'What Remains of Edith Finch'
Evan Rogers (Giant Sparrow)
The various controls of 'What Remains of Edith Finch' were built to satisfy many goals. Giant Sparrow aimed to build a game that could be enjoyed by even the least skillful players, while repeatedly introducing unexpected control schemes. Each control scheme aimed to capture the feel of performing a unique action. But also, each scenario needed to be learned and mastered almost immediately, without explicit tutorials, to avoid distracting the player from the narrative. Each scheme needed to give a sense of control, while gently guiding the player to move the narrative forward at a desired pace.
Partnership on 'Darkest Dungeon': The Double-Edged Sword
Tyler Sigman (Red Hook Studios)
Chris Bourassa (Red Hook Studios)
Sharing almost every major decision, from business strategy to staffing to product development, can be alternately wonderful and maddening! Since its inception, Red Hook Studios (makers of 'Darkest Dungeon') has operated with two Co-Presidents. Co-running a company in this way has unique benefits, challenges, and risks. Because of an unwavering commitment to (often brutal) honesty, Tyler Sigman and Chris Bourassa believe that together they have been able to achieve more than they could have alone. They will share crucial lessons learned throughout the development of 'Darkest Dungeon', illustrated through real examples.
Your Indie Game on Console: A Practical Guide to Porting
Thomas O'Connor (PlayEveryWare)
In this session, Thomas will shine a light on the technical and administrative work that goes into getting a console game out the door. Drawing from the work Thomas has done porting indie games to consoles for other studios, and as a developer support engineer at Nintendo, he'll show the audience how they can prepare their own games to be ready for releasing on any console. Using examples from recently released console versions of games such as 'Hello Neighbor', 'Milanoir', and 'Elliot Quest', he'll cover numerous issues that developers run into throughout the process, from onboarding and development to submissions and release.
Breaking Through: Psychosis and the Making of 'Hellblade'
Dominic Matthews (Ninja Theory Ltd)
Tameem Antoniades (Ninja Theory Ltd))
This talk is an exploration of the delivery of the mental health themes in 'Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice', all within the structure of an independent AAA model. The talk discusses the approach taken by a small team of 20 to deliver a AAA quality game that strives to push the boundaries of narrative within gaming, with a particular focus on the team's approach to researching and collaborating around the subject of psychosis, in order to deliver a compelling and thoughtful depiction.
Intensely Practical Tips for Growing an Indie Studio
Alexis Kennedy (Weather Factory)
Alexis Kennedy founded Failbetter Games, grew it, and moved on, leaving a stable, happy, and respected studio which just won's inaugural award for "Best Places To Work" in the UK. This is a talk about the lessons learned in that process, and the lessons taken into a second studio founding, focusing on war stories and practical advice.
Procedurally Generating History in 'Caves of Qud'
Jason Grinblat (Freehold Games)
You want to procedurally generate histories for your game. But history is a complex, tangled network of people, places, and, events, so how do you possibly start? In this talk, Jason Grinblat walks through the novel approach he used to generate histories for 'Caves of Qud'. He starts by laying out some commonalities across games that generate histories, using 'Dwarf Fortress' and 'Epitaph' as examples. Then he demonstrates how he avoided building a full historical simulation by generating historical events and rationalizing them after the fact. Tying in a discussion about the power of replacement grammars, he explains how to produce rich, convincing histories on a tight scope budget.

Independent Games Summit Advisors

Ryan Clark
Brace Yourself Games
A veteran independent game developer, Ryan Clark has been creating award winning games since 2004, including 'Crypt of the NecroDancer', 'IncrediBots', 'Professor Fizzwizzle', and many more.  With biweekly game industry analysis streams on Twitch, frequent speaking engagements, detailed Gamasutra articles, and numerous volunteer roles, Ryan is heavily involved in the independent games community. Ryan is also the co-founder of a technology and creativity focused school called Claren Academy in Vancouver, Canada, where he lives with his wife and two young sons.
Kellee Santiago
As former president and co-founder of thatgamecompany, Kellee Santiago has developed one of the most prominent brands in independent and innovative game development, pushing the communicative possibilities of video games as a medium. She is currently a partner in Indie Fund, which aims to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get, and stay, financially independent. She is also on the Google Daydream team, as the publishing producer for games & apps.

Kellee speaks around the world at video game business and entertainment conferences on innovation in games, entrepreneurship, games as art and better methods for video game development. In 2010, she became a TED Fellow and was recognized as one of The Ten Most Influential Women in Games of the Past Decade. Kellee has also received the 2011 Microsoft Top Women in Gaming award for Business.
Akira Thompson
Akira Thompson is the owner of and a game designer for RainBros. Rainbros has recently worked on VR projects for theme parks such as Universal Studios Japan, released '…&maybetheywontkillyou', a LARP about being poor and Black in America, and released its first commercial title 'Stop! Thief!!' for iOS and Android  (soon to be released on Sony PlayStation Vita). Akira holds a master's degree from the University of California Santa Cruz and has previously worked at Creative Artist Agency, Walt Disney Imagineering within Research and Development, the University of Southern California and IndieCade. He is also a founding member of Glitch City, a Los Angeles based game development community.
Jonatan Van Hove
Joon is a game designer, event organizer, and arcade builder living in Reykjavik. Besides his work on the IGS, he hosts the Tech Toolbox session and he's been involved in a myriad of events in the European indie scene, both on and off-stage. Joon co-founded a tiny game development studio named Glitchnap, based in Copenhagen, where he makes innovative mobile games by day. By night he takes part in a whirlwind of side gigs and makes bad jokes on Twitter.

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