We're still ironing out the full catalogue of content we'll have at PAX Dev, but here's a sampling of what's to come. The full schedule will be coming soon, but if this is the type of content you're interested in, register now!
This talk will focus on the development of Game Master Mode in upcoming Divinity: Original Sin 2. Larian’s Founder and Creative Director Swen Vincke will discuss the challenges of translating pen-and-paper RPG gameplay into a fun video game experience for both the Game Master and the players.
Swen Vincke [Creative Director, Larian Studios]
We like to tell stories with our games, but the stories we tell are generally much less compelling than the stories the players are actually talking about with their friends. Enabling the players to tell their own stories is a big strength of games and is much more important than pushing our stories on them. There are some great tools that can be put into games (both Video and Board games) that will help the player tell their own stories and give the player ownership and investment in the game.
Eric Dodds [Game Director, Blizzard Entertainment]
On a dark and stormy night, when it was the best of times, it was also the worst of times for your game. Writing is hard, harder still if you don’t consider yourself a writer. We will skip over the Literary Theory and interpretation that drove you mad in English Lit class. Instead, this talk will cover narrative hacks, tricks, and shortcuts used by Hollywood to create compelling, memorable stories and characters and help you tell the story your game deserves on the budget you have.
John Williamson [Owner, Wayward Sprites]
Whether it’s installations at expos, HTML5 games to promote products, or a simple web banner, today’s online and interactive advertising is growing into a complex field that uses modern HTML5 game techniques, web frameworks, and a ton of ingenious solutions. In our panel, we’ll give our 9+ years experience of being an Interactive Dev Studio, and how we’e managed to produce some of the best interactive experiences on the web for more interactive agencies than we can keep track of.
Ben Britz [Developer, 14four], Seth Gossler [Developer, 14four], Jacob Varns [Developer, 14four], Ryan Mauer [Tech Director, 14four]
Real-time visual effects artists discuss how they go about developing a visual language in games. By answering the question “what is slow?” we explore the role of visual effects as a discipline existing between art and design. Our experience spans many genres, platforms, and developmental tools. Shipped titles of our panelists include: League of Legends, Destiny, Shadow of Mordor, Bioshock Infinite, Guild Wars 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Halo 5, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, and more!
Sarah Grissom [VFX Artist, FXVille], Bryanna Lindsey [VFX Artist, DS Volition], Tina Hottovy [VFX Artist, FXVille], Lindsay Ruiz [VFX Artist, Bungie]
Dragon Age Creative Director Mike Laidlaw and Localization Development Manager Melanie Fleming team up to detail the guiding principles that take the world and feel of Dragon Age beyond the games and into other media. With specific examples from developing comics, animated films, and localized content, learn how the DA team communicates and collaborates with external partners.
Mike Laidlaw [Creative Director, BioWare], Melanie Fleming [Localization, BioWare]
Sure, they say knowing Game Theory makes you better at board gaming, but how do you actually take a complex game and analyze it? Games and Game Theory 102 is all about finding the key moments in games that can allow players to build meaningful strategies and give designers the opportunity to make their games shine using the same tools that drive psychology, economics, and politics. This panel builds on the material from last year’s 101 talk but will be accessible to anyone!
Richard Malena [Advanced Math Teacher, Pacific Crest Community School]
The power of social media and how it can be used to engage with your fan base is a more powerful tool than some may think. Often times being relegated to being just a “source for news/promotion,” this panel will go over how a corporate Twitter and Instagram account stepped away from being totally corporate and grew into a space that is one among the fans.
Mikey Dowling [Social Media Manager, Obsidian Entertainment]
The fear of investing our heart and soul into making a game that no one will love can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
By using the intuitive and human design framework of building experiments, measuring results, and integrating that learning, you can investigate the small assumptions that feed that big fear if left unanswered.
In this session we introduce the fundamentals of lean startup and show how easy it is to conquer that fear and design games you know people will love.
Navin Supphapholsiri [Producer, Studio Wild Card], Charles Egenbacher [Producer, Riot Games], Bill Rooney [Producer, Rogue Ruckus], Chris Green [Producer, Rogue Ruckus]
While most game developers are well aware of the need for localization, far fewer are familiar with the concept of culturalization, the process by which content is adapted for a global audience with varying local expectations. With the use of many actual examples from her 20+ year career as a culturalization strategist dealing with geopolitics, cultural issues and games, Kate will discuss the challenges of combining content with culture and crossing the lines of local geopolitical expectations.
Kate Edwards [Executive Director, IGDA]
This has been a political year like no other in recent history. Close races in both the Democratic and Republican parties have put rules into play for delegate selection, convention management, and the Electoral College creating conditions for all sorts of strategic choices and surprise twists. PAX Dev takes place after the parties have nominated their candidates but before the election - an opportunity to dissect what happened in both party’s primaries and the outlook for November.
Ryan Dancey [Director, Alderac Entertainment Group]
Just how precise are floating point numbers? The answer: not as precise as you’d think they are. In this talk, there will be real world examples in how a simple floating point number will bite you in the most unexpected ways.
Rebecca Ann Heineman [CEO / CTO, Olde Skuul], Matt Pritchard [Senior Staff Engineer, HBO]
Using everything from 1950s wire recorders all the way to modified stethoscope-microphone hybrids, Hyper Light Drifter’s sound design was anything but conventional. Over the course of three years, the soundscape for the game was slowly forged, though it took countless revisions, refreshes, and retries for the audio design language for the game to come together.
Come join sound designer Akash Thakkar to take behind-the-scenes look at Hyper Light Drifter’s unique audio design process.
Akash Thakkar [Sound Designer, Heart Machine]
Afterbirth+ is the second expansion to the acclaimed Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. It is the direct result of a rabid community of players that began making amazing mods based on Rebirth and Afterbirth. Developer, Nicalis, not only listened to player feedback, it hired from within the community to make the definitive Isaac. Join us as we talk about how community and outreach can positively affect game development and how Nicalis created tools for players to create, build and carry the Isaac torch.
Tyrone Rodriguez [Owner, Nicalis]