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|    Programming
Monday, February 27 & Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Independent Games Summit is the place for the independent game developer at GDC. It features lectures, postmortems and roundtables from notable independent game creators, including many former and current Independent Games Festival finalists and winners. The Independent Games Summit seeks to achieve diversity of voice, experience and perspective, while highlighting the best and brightest in indie development.

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Polishing the Boots - Designing 'Downwell' Around One Key Mechanic
Ojiro Fumoto (moppin)
In this talk, Downwell creator Ojiro Fumoto will share his experience about the development of his acclaimed game Downwell. The lecture is centered around the way Ojiro discovered a fun 'gimmick', and designed the entire game around it trying to maximize its use in gameplay. Along the way, you'll find out the detailed design process behind the popular action title.
Practices in Procedural Generation
Tanya Short (Kitfox Games)
Tarn Adams (Bay 12 Games)
Procedural generation changes the design approach of every system it touches, offering infinite variation. But how is it used in a concrete way, for developers actually at work on their game? Designers from Dwarf Fortress and Moon Hunters will share their tools and methods for implementing procedurally generated experiences, by live-editing their game systems during this session.
A Torch in the Dark: Using Creative Direction to Light The Darkest Dungeon
Chris Bourassa (Red Hook Studios)
This talk breaks down the creative philosophy of Darkest Dungeon - one that is characterized by a steadfast commitment to a clearly articulated, externalized creative core. A strong creative direction not only guides art direction, audio, and design to arrive at a thematically tight product, but it also serves as a razor to make the hard cuts necessary in any game project. In the deepest, darkest production crunch, smart creative choices let you play to your limitations as well as your strengths!
Videogames Are Better Than Sports: A Thought- Experimental Journey into VIDEOBALL
Tim Rogers (Button Entertainment)
Would basketball be more exciting with two balls? Would soccer be even more popular with three balls? Well, maybe, though they'd also be illegible -- near-impossible to spectate, officiate, or televise. This is where the ice-cold computer-precision of an electronic game begins to rise in superiority over analog sports. Join Action Button Entertainment director and VIDEOBALL designer Tim Rogers on a tour through various frustrating thought-experiments one might encounter on the quest to triangulate The Perfect Sport (spoiler: it's not cricket, it's probably a videogame, and it's hopefully VIDEOBALL (it might not be VIDEOBALL)).
Flying by the Seat of Our Pants: GALAK-Z
Raj Joshi (17-BIT)
With more than six decades of shared development experience, 17-BIT embarked on creating GALAK-Z with a strong knowledge of solid production practices. While that should have been the recipe for a stable production cycle, things got...interesting along the way. Join us as we take a candid look at how and why we got off the rails - and what we did to get back on track.
SOMA - Crafting Existential Dread
Thomas Grip (Frictional Games)
Frictional Games' sci-fi horror game SOMA was created with a very specific purpose in mind: to explore the disturbing aspects of consciousness, the self and what it means to be human. Designing a game that could, through play, communicate this kind of thematic exploration posed a tremendous challenge. This talk will cover the various design approaches we used and how they helped us achieve our goal.


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 weekly 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 & creativity focused school called Claren Academy in Vancouver, Canada, where he lives with his wife and two young sons.
Kellee Santiago
Google VR
Kellee Santiago, as former president and co-founder of thatgamecompany, 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 currently at Google VR, as 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 owner and game designer of 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 and 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 founding member of Glitch City, a Los Angeles based game development community.
Jonatan van Hove
Jonatan "Joon" is a game designer, event organizer, and arcade builder from Antwerp. He hosts the Tech Toolbox at GDC, and co-hosts the Innovative Games Summit at GDCE. 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.