Ladies of Industry and Host, Ladies Playing Indies
Krispy has been working in the technology sector for 20 years and for the last 4 years he has been part of the engineering teams at Google. He has founded and worked for startups as well and has worked for large organizations such as Nortel Networks, Unilever and the FDA. Over the last three years Krispy has been working with the game developer industry to help bring amazing game titles to the Android platform. Android TV gaming is of particular interest to Krispy.
Mike “Gabe” Krahulik is part of the art-writing duo that creates the comic strip Penny Arcade. He has been spearheading the development of the Thornwatch card game adventure and apparently is also a stormwizard.
Adult Swim Games
Product Marketing Manager
Sean Baptiste is a longtime veteran of the games industry having worked for larger companies like Harmonix, indie companies like Fire Hose Games, and now publishers like Adult Swim Games. Having seen the industry from roughly every angle (and not running away screaming) he feels like he can give mostly adequate advice, while hopefully not boring with his longwinded stories.
Games Strategic Lead
Jamil leads games strategic partnerships on the business development team for Google Play. This includes providing development resources, business model feedback, and editorial featuring. Jamil also heads up games portfolio outreach and sourcing for Android TV, and works on improving discovery on the store. Jamil has been in games for over a decade, having headed a game development startup, lead business development for Funzio through its acquisition, signed publishing deals at EA, and managed GDC and Game Developer magazine.
Sr. Game Systems Designer
Ben Ahroni is the game designer at Lumosity, the worldwide leader in brain training games. Prior to that, he was a producer at Seattle-based PopCap Games where he worked on hit franchises including Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, and Peggle. He consults with companies about the science behind engaging products, and he’s the creator of the mobile application SideCast. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a major in Computer Science and minors in Psychology and Music Technology. Ben lives in San Francisco, California.
Lone Shark Games
Liz Spain devises ways to sell cardboard to gullible people by making games that have stories in them. Like, old-fashioned games played with cards and dice like the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Incredible Expeditions. Yeah, people still play those. Lots of people. Enough people that she has a full time job imagining new ways to frustrate people in the name of “fun.” Her job is the best job ever and you can’t have hers.
Green Bee Studio
Born in Montreal, Canada, Eric has been designing tabletop and digital games professionally for the last 17 years. Games based on awesome licenses like Star Wars, Marvel and DC Comics, Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, A Game of Thrones, Warhammer, XCOM, Call of Cthulhu, and many more. He’s also designed many original themed games such as Quarriors!, Arcadia Quest, Duelyst, Blood Rage and Kaosball, with several new original IP’s currently in development.
Wizards of the Coast
Jeremy Crawford is the co-lead designer of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. A game producer at Wizards of the Coast, he oversees the creation of books for the D&D tabletop roleplaying game. Over the years, he has worked on many books for D&D and other games, including Blue Rose, Mutants & Masterminds, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. He lives in Seattle.
Tanis’s love of games and puzzles began at a young age, when she figuratively devoured the pages of GAMES Magazine with her grandmother. (Paper, it turns out, tastes bad.) She’s designed and run three MIT Mystery Hunts, developed and edited D&D for Wizards of the Coast, played an evil corporation in a coast-to-coast hunt for escaped organ renters, edited The Maze of Games puzzle novel, and now masterminds the Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild, Paizo’s card game organized play campaign.
Brian Giaime is a Game Designer at Undead Labs, focused on game economies and player progression. He’s been making games professionally for 5 years, at Gazillion, Glu Mobile, and now at Undead Labs. He’s a champion of games that “last forever”, and game systems that provide endless engagement for players without the need for an army of content designers. He’s often found excitedly building spreadsheets, oblivious to the fact that they’re supposed to be boring.
DigiPen Institute of Technology
Fara Nizamani received her B.S.Ed. degree from the University of Miami and went on to earn both her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English Literature. She has taught literature, writing, and pedagogy courses, and in her current position at DigiPen, she teaches storytelling, mythology, research, and the graphic novel to students across several disciplines. She has published poetry, short stories, book reviews, articles on accommodating diverse populations in the classroom, and is working on her first novel.
DigiPen Institute of Technology
Vanessa Hemovich is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the DigiPen Institute of Technology. She holds a dual-Master’s degree in Psychology and Program Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University, and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology. Her research explores personality theory in game design with a strong interest in exploring the role of competitive success/failure on prosocial gaming behaviors. She teaches a variety of courses at DigiPen that emphasize the value of psychological principles on game design, UX/UI experiences, and player perceptions.
DigiPen Institute of Technology
Sonia Michaels received her B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Washington. She has taught English and communication for 25+ years, and has also worked extensively in admissions and career services. In her current position, she helps students create outstanding career search materials, develop their professional networking skills, and prepare themselves to launch their careers in the game industry. Under her guidance, DigiPen students and alumni have earned positions at Blizzard, Riot Games, Bungie, Microsoft, Amazon, and more.
Tanya X. Short is the Captain of Kitfox Games, co-director of Pixelles, and a featured Gamasutra writer. She got her start as an intern on the Halo 2 marketing campaign ilovebees. She has since worked on The Secret World and Age of Conan, while also publishing several short stories to literary magazines. She currently writes, designs, and scripts Moon Hunters, which earned $178,000 on Kickstarter.
Project Spark, Microsoft
Head of Acquisitions
Rahul is a marketing and international business expert with an 18-year track record of driving explosive growth for start-ups and established brands in the interactive entertainment, media, and technology verticals. Rahul has demonstrated expertise in building and managing cross-functional and global marketing and business teams to execute innovative campaigns, develop and launch of industry-leading product lines and roll out online and traditional customer acquisition initiatives. Rahul joined Microsoft in 2013 where he heads Customer Acquisition and Retention for Project Spark. Prior to joining Microsoft, Rahul was the Chief Marketing Officer at Reloaded Games.
Senior Technical Support
Derrick comes from 7+ years at Valve Software in Steam Support. He collaborated with other members of Steam Support and game teams to create the initial economic policies and restrictions in the Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Over the course of time he continued to iterate on policies and restrictions as new features unlocked in the game economies. The policy and restriction changes resulted in large reductions of malicious activity from Steam users.
Editor-in-chief at Paizo Inc. and co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, F. Wesley Schneider is the author of dozens of Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons adventures and accessories. Aside from having passionate opinions about horror, world-building, and storytelling, he’s spoken at length at Gen Con and other conventions on inclusively and GLBTQ topics in gaming. His first novel, Bloodbound, releases in December.
Jessica Price has worked in video games, alternate reality games/transmedia entertainment, and tabletop roleplaying games as a writer, editor, game designer and producer on everything from MMOs to Xbox titles to games involving a lot of dice. After helping create the Kinect launch portfolio as a writer/editor at Microsoft Studios, she moved to Paizo Publishing, where she is the project manager for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
John Ryan has been building worlds ever since he played Dungeons and Dragons in junior high. These days, he gets paid for what he imagines. John’s worked as a writer, editor, and lore wrangler for such franchises as Fable and Guild Wars. Today, John edits and is the lore keeper for the Destiny universe. When he’s not at the office, he’s either working on his own projects, mentoring aspiring narrative designers, or getting scowled at by his cats.
Kate Edwards is the Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). As a unique hybrid of an applied geographer, writer, and corporate strategist, she is also the founder and principal consultant of Geogrify, a Seattle-based consultancy for content culturalization. In October 2013, Fortune magazine named her as one of the “10 most powerful women” in the game industry and in December 2014 she was named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of their six People of the Year.
Rob McCreary is Senior Developer at Paizo Inc. and oversees half of the Pathfinder Adventure Path line. He served as development lead for the Hell’s Vengeance, Mummy’s Mask, Reign of Winter, and Skull & Shackles Adventure Paths, and has written for numerous Pathfinder Campaign Setting books, including The Inner Sea World Guide, Dragon Empires Gazetteer, Lands of the Linnorm Kings, and Cities of Golarion. Rob has had a lifelong interest in history, no doubt influenced by years spent living abroad.
Crystal Frasier is a writer, game developer, and graphic designer with eighteen years’ experience, currently working for Paizo Inc. to help create the Pathfinder line of products. She is a survivor of both the Art Institute of Seattle and New College of Florida, and pulls heavy inspiration for her work from European and African history. In her free time, Crystal reads comics, plays with her dog, and obsessively rewatches CSI even knowing how bad it really is.
The Pokémon Company International
Game Design Manager
Dylan “ExoByte” Mayo is presently the Game Design Manager for The Pokémon Company, International. He has over 15 years of TCG design experience, from Magic: The Gathering sets to co-founding Tenacious Games where he was lead designer of The Spoils. His digital exploits range from the GameBoy Color RPG Magi-Nation to managing the digital design team for Wizards of the Coast. Through TCGs and digital, he’s always been able to work in more economic theory. Those are alpaca ears.
Wizards of the Coast
Nik Davidson is the Digital Design Architect for Magic: The Gathering at Wizards of the Coast. He’s been building online games for 15 years, at Turbine, Amazon, Gazillion, and now at Wizards. He’s a frequent lecturer on the ways that behavioral economics can guide game designers to create superior experiences for their players, and is currently working on Magic: Duels and advanced eyebrow science.
Keith Holman is a programmer and game designer at Zachtronics, the independent game studio behind SpaceChem, Ironclad Tactics, Infinifactory, and TIS-100.
Zach Barth is the creative director and founder of Zachtronics, the independent game studio behind SpaceChem, Ironclad Tactics, Infinifactory, and TIS-100.
Eka started his video game career at a small startup eighteen years ago and gained experience in working at both medium to large public and private studios. For the last seven years, Eka has been creating indie games at Uber Entertainment, makers of Monday Night Combat for XBLA and Steam, Planetary Annihilation for PC, and Toy Rush for mobile platforms. Currently, Eka is designing and art directing VR games for Morpheus, Vive, and Oculus platforms.
Paul Peterson has spent his career as a game designer with one foot in digital games and one in hobby games. He has worked on collectible card games, MMOs, mobile games, board games, and games for kids at companies such as Wizards of the Coast, Zynga, and Popcap. He is currently a Creative Director at Popcap Games, with a heavy side of board game design with games like Smash Up and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.
Developer & Business Guy
Rami Ismail founded Vlambeer in 2010 with Jan Willem Nijman, and the studio has gone on to create such favorites as Super Crate Box, Ridiculous Fishing, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, Luftrausers, and the in-development Nuclear Throne. Ismail has been a frequent speaker at games events all over the world, especially studying the business development of games in emerging territories. He (sometimes) lives in his home in the Netherlands.
Matt is an Engineering Director at Couchbase. He had previously helped scale Java, Ruby on Rails and AMP web applications for large scale deployments. He has been a contributor to the memcached project, the maintainer of the Java spymemcached client and a core developer on Couchbase. He is currently heading up Couchbase’s efforts in helping developers be most effective with Couchbase and continues to lead the team in getting the right bits needed for Node.js, Java, .NET and PHP developers.
Castle Production Services
Executive, Creative, Artistic and Technical Director
Louis Castle is a 30-year video game industry veteran and passionate philanthropist in his hometown of Las Vegas, NV. Educated in Fine Arts and Computer Science, Louis co-founded Westwood Studios in 1985 and continued with the company through multiple acquisitions through serving as Electronic Arts (ERTS) Vice President of Creative Development for EA’s Los Angeles Studio. Louis has contributed to over 100 games created by Westwood and including Command & Conquer, Lands of Lore, The Lion King and more.
Darin Briskman is a Services Leader at Couchbase. For over 20 years, Darin has worked to help people use data to do cool stuff, working in Life Sciences, Health Care, Government, Finance, Retail, Hospitality, Aerospace & Defense, Consumer Goods, Wholesale Distribution, Travel, Logistics, Oil & Gas, Entertainment, Communications, Technology and Internet Services. He’s helped design, develop and support explosive growth where solutions expand from a few hundred users to millions and even billions.
Raph Koster is a veteran game designer and creative executive who has worked at Sony Online and Disney Playdom. The lead designer and director of massive titles such as Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, he’s also contributed writing, art, music, and programming to many other titles. In 2012, he was named an Online Game Legend at the Game Developers Conference Online.
Elan Lee is a professional technologist and storyteller. Elan founded several companies including 42 Entertainment and Fourth Wall Studios. He was the Chief Design Officer at Xbox Entertainment Studios, and most recently co-created “Exploding Kittens”, the most funded game on Kickstarter, and the most backed crowd funded project in history. Elan has won awards for Best Web Game of the Year, Best Advertising Campaign of the Year, Best Idea of the Year, the Indiecade Trailblazer award, and an Emmy for Original Interactive Programming.
James Ernest is a game designer specializing in tabletop games, with an emphasis on lightweight and casual games including casino and pub games. He is best known as the president and lead designer of Cheapass Games, and he created the new Introduction to Tabletop Games curriculum for DigiPen. His best-known games include Kill Doctor Lucky, Pairs, Button Men, BRAWL, Pirates of the Spanish Main, and the Fable II Pub Games.
Game & Technical Writer
Ryan Macklin has made a career out of watching people try to play tabletop games, and creating solutions to bolster player confidence and success. His work spans across tabletop gaming—from co-designing Fate Core System, editing for Paizo’s Pathfinder lines, coaching indie publishers in text production, and publishing his own award-winning books. By day, he’s a technical writer for a Seattle start-up. Ryan occasionally buys preserved animals for his wife, and blogs about tabletop game design and production at RyanMacklin.com.
Minister of Product Acquisition
Alex Yeager is Minister of Product Acquisition for Mayfair Games, and also oversees Mayfair’s podcast offerings such as The Bob and Angus Show. Alex was a founding member of the Steve Jackson Games Men in Black and Cheapass Games Demo Monkey programs, and has over 100 product credits for playtesting, development and contributions to RPG, board and card games. He lives in Ypsilanti MI with too many toys, not enough pets and just enough wives.
Demetri Detsaridis is a consultant, investor and entrepreneur in the videogame space. Demetri most recently built the Player Insights and Analytics practice at a top US developer, leading the design and development of quantitative analysis systems for their flagship AAA console title. Prior to this, Demetri was General Manager of Zynga New York, GM of indie studio Area/Code, cofounder of London’s Massively Mobile, and has held various game design and production roles at Gameloft, Warner Bros/DC Comics, and casual games pioneer Pop & Co.
EEDAR & Experiment 7
Geoffrey “GZ” Zatkin co-founded EEDAR, the video game industry’s premier research and business-intelligence firm, in 2006 with the goal of increasing video game industry profitability through disruptive data and technology driven research services. Prior to his work with EEDAR, Mr. Zatkin had over a decade’s worth of video game industry experience, having performed in senior design roles for international corporate conglomerates and independent development studios. Geoffrey was an integral part of the original EverQuest design team and helped pioneer the rise of MMO games.
Senior Community Manager
Mike has had a variety of titles providing broad experience in all business, marketing, and community aspects of the analog and digital game industry for 16+ years. Currently a Senior Community Manager for Microsoft Studios, Mike is focused on building and expanding the intersections that occur between games and gamers for the betterment of both sides.
Helen volunteers for the Online Fraud Prevention Foundation, the Outpost Network, and was the former Head of Reports for fraud prevention site SteamRep. Within her 6 years of experience in this discipline, she also investigated fraud and theft in private gaming groups on the Second Life virtual platform. She is currently a community coordinator at Microsoft Studios and provides insight on game and gaming platform economies.
Boyan Radakovich is a co-producer for the hit show “TableTop,” hosted by Wil Wheaton and the creator of the international gaming holiday TableTop Day. Bo is also an Origins Award-finalist game designer, the creative director for Gamesmith, sought after industry creative consultant and lecturer, the former marketing director of one of the largest games distributors, valued community organizer, and an outspoken advocate for the cognitive and social benefits of tabletop gaming.
Founder & Creative Director
Raphael has been making games since 2001 – as a director, writer, producer, and designer – and has contributed to award-winning titles like Company of Heroes, Far Cry 3, Dawn of War, and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. In 2012 he founded Hinterland Studio, the developers of the art exploration-survival experience, The Long Dark. He lives with his wife and children at the foot of a mountain on Vancouver Island.
Art Unicorn/Marketing Coordinator
Michelle is the Art Unicorn at Ska Studios. After obtaining a Fine Arts degree in 2007, she became a QA tester and tested James’ first game “The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai”. They then met in person at PAX and are now a husband and wife dev team. She creates art, manages events, community and even the merch store! She previously worked at Microsoft, WB Games and ArenaNet. She is currently working on Salt and Sanctuary.
QA Lead/Scripting Red Mage
Jacob Ramey is a man of many talents: armorcrafting, game scripting, stream hosting, and routine bug tracking and assassination. He joined DoubleBear Productions in 2014 as it’s Quality Assurance Lead, and has since graduated to its esteemed Scripting Red Mage, where he is handling may excellent secret things on their super-secret second project with deftness and aplomb. He resides in Seattle with his wife, DoubleBear Producer/Designer Christina Ramey, and his excitable dog and reclusive cat.
High Art Necromancer of Doom
Kim is a games artist and illustrator based in LA. Dead State is her first project, and from this point on she hopes to balance games art and becoming a lich queen.
Brian Mitsoda has been a writer/designer in the game industry for over 15 years, and is best known for being the lead writer on the cult hit Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. He founded DoubleBear Productions in 2009, and was the project lead for its first title, Dead State. In his spare time he enjoys fine bourbon, befriending crows, and terraforming his yard. He and his team are currently at work on DoubleBear’s second game.
Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda is a writer/game designer who has been in the game industry for over ten years, and intends to keep making games until the Doom of All Things takes her. She has worked on multiple action and RPG titles such as Neverwinter Nights 2, Guild Wars 2, Destiny, and Dead State. She is now a full-fledged indie dev at DoubleBear Productions by day, and hunts monsters at night. (…Wait, that’s a witcher. Crap. Never mind!)
Christina started her game development career as a producer at DoubleBear, applying the skills she learned from her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology to managing and organizing a small team. After the successful release of the studio’s first game Dead State, she shifted gears to a designer role to pursue her passion for UX and systems design. Christina lives in a Seattle-based underground labyrinth with her husband, dog, cat, and live-in minotaur, looting the bodies of adventurers to survive.
The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Game Designer and Software Engineer
Ty Taylor (@IMakeIndieGames) is an independent game designer and software engineer who has been making video games for over 12 years. He is best known for creating The Bridge, a puzzle game selected for the PAX 10, IGF, Indie Game Challenge, IndieCade, and more. He is now working on Tumblestone, a puzzle game selected for the PAX East Indie Showcase, IndieCade, and Seattle Independent Game Competition. Ty has a Master’s degree in Computer Science.
Hidden Path Entertainment
Jeff is CEO of Hidden Path Entertainment, and an 18-year veteran of the games industry. HPE was founded in 2006, developing games with Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Valve, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and independently releasing the award-winning tower defense games Defense Grid and Defense Grid 2. Jeff was previously part of the Xbox portfolio team at Microsoft working with game developers around the world and a producer at Sierra-On Line on the Half-Life, Homeworld, and Lord of the Rings.
Chip Sineni is a game director and co-founder of Phosphor Games. He has been working in the Games Industry since 1994 and has his first game credit in a Beavis and Butthead SNES game. Since then he has worked on numerous games, including Sepeterra Core, BLITZ, Psi-Ops, Stranglehold, Kinect Adventures, The Dark Meadow, HORN, WWZ, Nether, and HEROES: REBORN.
Sean is a software engineer at Electronic Arts in Vancouver, Canada, specializing in development operations and automation. Being part of a central services team at EA, he has the opportunity to work with numerous game and technology teams, and their varying development processes. Having had aspirations of independent game development himself, Sean is eager to share his thoughts and expertise on how strong development practices can be invaluable to those in the industry.
Kayla has spent 15 years in game development from QA tester to development director to game director. She has managed many teams and projects from front-end development to audio production, and has had the privilege of contributing to several leading game franchises including FIFA, NHL, NBA, Need for Speed, SSX, James Bond, Madden and Skate. Kayla joined Roadhouse Interactive to pursue a production career in the social, free-to-play and mobile space, and was the game director on Warhammer 40,000: Carnage.
Over the course of 15 years, Chris has leveled up and multiclassed across QA, Design, Production and Game Direction. He has spent these years managing teams both small and large, contributing to the success of such titles as FIFA, NHL, Madden, Mario Strikers: Charged and Punch Out!!. Chris is pursuing the ever elusive beast of free-to-play in mobile and is leading a few top-secret projects at Roadhouse Interactive.
Luke has been designing and publishing roleplaying games since 2002. His most popular titles, The Burning Wheel and Mouse Guard, are known to a chosen few who seek to do more than just kill things and take their stuff. He’s recently published a two-player strategy game called Swords & Strongholds and hopes to release his Viking LARP soon. He’s also the Games Lead at Kickstarter and since 2012 has helped thousands of games creators fund their projects.
Ninja Robot Dinosaur
Shane Neville is a game developer, artist and pop-culture nerd.
Shane has been making games since 1997 and has shipped almost 20 games including Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts and Shellrazer.
In 2010, Shane went indie and founded Ninja Robot Dinosaur Entertainment. He is currently working on Bunker Punks, a FPS/Revolution Management game with roguelike elements (www.bunkerpunks.com).
Head of Development
Brianna Wu is the head of development at Giant Spacekat, a company specializing in cinematic experiences using the Unreal engine. She’s also a frequent speaker on women¬in-tech issues. In the past, she’s worked as a journalist and a politico. When she’s not developing software, she enjoys racing motorcycles and running marathons.
Amanda Warner is the cofounder of Giant Spacekat, and lead animator. Her work on Revolution 60 lead the team to three game of the year awards in 2014. Recently, she’s launch the subdivision of the company called Giant Spacekittens, whose first title Cupcake Crisis tells young girls they can grow up to be engineers too.
John Compton, once an archaeologist and a teacher, is now a developer at Paizo and the development lead for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. He proudly shows off scenarios published over the last year as if they were photos of grandchildren, continues to pad his 5-Star judge rating with more GMing, and is always ready to rattle off underappreciated Pathfinder RPG trivia to unsuspecting passersby. His hobbies include experimenting with archaeometallurgy, watching nature documentaries, practicing martial arts, and taking on freelance RPG assignments.
Lead Concept Artist
Matt has been drawing for BioWare since his summer internship on Jade Empire in 2004. As Lead Concept Artist he works with a team of talented artists to transmute the imagination of the development team into tangible inspiration and blueprints.
Matthew Goldman graduated art school in 1998 and sneakily joined a young startup with the unlikely name “BioWare”. Matthew is currently art and animation director at BioWare Edmonton working exclusively on the Dragon Age series. Titles he has worked on include MDK2, BG2, NWN, Jade Empire, DAO, DA2, and most recently Dragon Age Inquisition.
Wizards of the Coast
Mike Mearls is the head of game design and story development for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast. He was the co-lead designer on 5th edition D&D. He created the strategic vision behind the game’s design and the player engagement program used to reignite the D&D brand. He also co-designed the award-winning Castle Ravenloft board game.
Mike Hines is a recovering serial entrepreneur, and is currently a Developer Evangelist for the Amazon Appstore. An advocate for getting more developers over the app poverty line, Mike is on a continuing mission to find out and share what currently is and isn’t working in mobile app monetization, and to identify trends that shape the industry.
Adrien (Yorozu) Piro is the Producer of Plants vs. Zombies 2 at PopCap Games in Seattle. In managing the PvZ2 team, Adrien focuses on setting business expectations, creating autonomy and accountability, establishing shared team values, and fostering a productive team culture. Often known as a “get-it-done-person,” it’s been challenging to prioritize working on Team Culture, but it’s always paid off. Outside of work, Adrien enjoys hiking, flowers, Sudoku, and purses.
Director of Technology
Michael Saladino has been making video games for 20+ years. I’m an engineer by trade but have worn many hats focusing on production, development methodologies, culture, leadership, management, and systems thinking. I’ve worked at small independent companies and large publishers alike. I currently work at Riot Games where I support the League of Legends engineering team along with some other products. At the end of the day, I want to grow and support an amazing collection of game makers who are making awesome experiences for our players around the world.
Robin Hunicke is the Co-Founder of the independent, San Francisco game studio Funomena, as well as an Associate Professor of Art at UC Santa Cruz, co-directing the Center for Games and Playable Media. Listed as one of Fast Company’s 1000 Most Creative People in Business, Robin is also an outspoken evangelist for diversity in both design and business. She believes that by broadening our community and expanding the feelings our designs explore, we will make better, more broadly appealing games.
Ash Sevilla is co-host of the Rated NA Podcast for NerdAppropriate.com and commnity manager for the site of the same name. Currently, Rated NA has over 195 episodes of varying quality available on iTunes and other fine places of podcastery. When not recording his love of video games, film, and pop-culture on the web, he’s the community manager over at n-Space, currently working on Sword Coast Legends alongside Wizards of the Coast (Dungeons & Dragons).
Marketing and Community Manager
John Sylvester is the Marketing and Community Manager for ThinkGeek Solutions, working with video game studios to create high end licensed products for their official online stores. He is also the volunteer Social Media Manager for TakeThis.org, a charity organization created to raise awareness, provide education, and reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Currently employed by Perfect World Entertainment, Alex Monney has worked in the public relations field for over five years, focusing on gaming, consumer electronics, and technology. With positions both in-house and at an agency, he has managed product campaigns focusing specifically on establishing and maintaining buzz through the product’s life cycle. He frequently strategizes on activations that break the mold of day-to-day public relations tactics and strives to showcase products in an unexpected way.
Josh Stein (“Steinekin”) is a professionally amateur community coordinator, wrangler, and manager for Xbox. He manages the community relationship for Xbox.com Forums Moderators, Xbox Ambassadors, Xbox Alphas, and Xbox MVPs. He shepherds community feedback through the proper channels, ensuring community influence on internal/external projects. He also assists in creating content from feedback sessions to playdates and events. He regularly engages with the Xbox community through various Xbox avenues including the forums, Ambassadors website, podcasts, Xbox Live, and events.
Senior Global Product Manager
Hilary Heskett Shapiro is the Senior Global Product Manager on the BioWare Dragon Age and Mass Effect Franchises. She has worked as a freelance consultant for clients including BioWare, Electronic Arts (EA), Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Princess Cruises, and been published in three NYT best-selling editions of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL. Additionally, she has helped jumpstart women-owned businesses such as Crabcat Industries (recently featured on SyFy network’s Heroes of Cosplay) and a few of her own. Twitter: @HilaryHeskett
Miellyn Fitzwater Barrows is a writer, producer, and general creative force. She wrote and produced the supernatural romance comedy game Strange Loves: Vampire Boyfriends (now in print), and has provided creative content for more than a dozen national television networks including National Geographic, TLC, Travel, and HGTV; and publications including Random House and Smart Pop Books anthologies; the Telegraph Newspaper Magazine Stella; Not For Tourists, Knuckle Salad, WiDGET (Women in Development (Games and Everything Tech)), Nerd Appropriate, and VICE Magazine. Twitter: @MiellynB.
Michelle Clough is an freelance writer, editor, narrative designer, and lecturer based in Vancouver BC. Her credits include writing/editing for 1931: Scheherazade at the Library of Pergamum, narrative-focused playtesting for Mass Effect 3, and two GDC talks on male sexualization and healthy fanservice in games. A professional fangirl who’s been sighing longingly over video game crushes since Final Fantasy VII, Michelle is an avid lover of Square Enix, BioWare, and dating sims… and would pay good money for a combination of all three!
Heidi McDonald is a Game Designer at Schell Games in Pittsburgh, PA. Winner of the 2012 Women in Gaming Rising Star Award, her portfolio of shipped titles includes both serious and entertainment products. An avid fan of narrative games who has done independent research about romance in single-player RPG’s, McDonald has been academically published and has lectured internationally. With Michelle Clough, McDonald co-chairs the IGDA’s new Romance and Sexuality in Games SIG. And she is a shameless Dragon Age obsessive.
Wizards of the Coast
Peter Lee is a game designer for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast. Since joining the company in early 2008, he has worked on board games, miniatures, trading card games, and tabletop roleplaying games. He is best known for the board games Lords of Waterdeep and Castle Ravenloft. His most recent work includes the board game Temple of Elemental Evil and the 5th edition of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game.
After working in the PC mod scene for several years, I was hired by Raven Software in 2000. Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked with so many incredible developers/publishers and have been a part of some amazing franchises including: DOOM, X-Men Legends, Soldier of Fortune, Jedi Knight, Quake, Wolfenstein, and FEAR. I am now audio director for the Killer Instinct franchise at Microsoft Studios. I make a lot of punch sounds.
Richard Lico is currently Principal Animator with Bungie, and occasional animation instructor with iAnimate.net. Richard has over 15 years of industry experience bringing your favorite gaming characters and gameplay systems to life. The light-saber combat of Jedi Academy, the visceral melee feel of Condemned, the honed gun-play of Halo: Reach, and now the space magic of Destiny, many of your favorite gaming moments have been given life by Richard.
Hidden Path Entertainment
Patrick has been designing and programming games for over 22 years. He began his career at Raven Software crafting gameplay on titles such as Heretic II, Soldier of Fortune, Star Trek Elite Force, Jedi Outcast and X-Men Legends. Since then he’s designed for games like Bioshock Infinite and Dead Space 2 & 3. He is now at CS:GO developer Hidden Path Entertainment doing cool new stuff as well as offering advice on creating powerful combat and feedback.
Skaff Elias is a partner at Three Donkeys, a game design and consulting business. Skaff was a Senior Vice-President for Wizards of the Coast. Skaff helped design and develop many of Wizards’ games. He was the primary architect of the Magic Pro Tour and organized play system, giving out millions of dollars in prizes yearly and running thousands of tournaments weekly. Skaff was the brand and business manager for Magic in its formative years, taking it to a $300 million brand.
Lead Game Designer
Brandon Bozzi is a game designer with fifteen years of experience. He has worked on dozens of games across platforms and genres, including tabletop strategy games, hardcore PC games, casual MMOs, Facebook games, and free-to-play mobile games. His career highlights include working on Magic: the Gathering and creating Game It Forward, a studio that made compelling games to raise money for nonprofits. He strives to design elegant experiences that enchant players. Brandon is currently the Design Director at DropForge Games.
Lead Game Designer
Tyler Bielman is a game designer, marketer & inventor with nearly twenty years of experience in the entertainment industry. Tyler served as the Global Brand Manager and Creative Director of Magic: The Gathering, in addition to holding the position of Director of New Business while at Wizards of the Coast. From start-ups to Microsoft, tabletop to digital, he has seen the industry from every angle. He currently works for The Coalition, advancing the Gears of War franchise.
Director, Global Media
Christine is the Director of Global Media at Electronic Arts. In this role, she manages a team responsible for media investment strategy, innovation, and deployment across digital, mobile, TV, and console platforms. Her team develops “player-first” media strategies for both the console & e-commerce business focused on driving player engagement & efficiency through personalized media experience.
Sr. Manager, Customer Acquisition
John leads the mobile media buying team for EA. He is focused on advertising innovation, programmatic buying strategy, new partnerships, and growing existing business with companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. John joined EA through their acquisition of Seattle-based PopCap Games in 2011. For a decade John has been immersed in digital advertising with experience across search, display, video, social, and mobile. He is working on his M.B.A. at the University of Washington (2016) and holds a B.A. in Business Administration with a minor in Economics from the University of Puget Sound.
Director, Media Infrastructure
Glenn is the Director of Marketing Infrastructure at EA. His team helps to provide tools, systems, processes, and operational support to enable EA marketers to acquire, connect, and engage with gamers around some of the best games in the world. He loves his job. You can follow him at @justicar.
Director of Operations
Ruth worked on the Dungeon Siege franchise as a level designer for 7 years before making the transition to a production role. She’s spent the last 7 years working to help game developers be more effective and successful: first, as a producer at Snowblind Studios and Monolith Productions and, most recently, as director of operations at PlayFab, a backend and operation service for live games that she helped spin out from Uber Entertainment in March 2014.
Michael is a developer specializing in voice direction and writing. Notable works include Bioshock 2 and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. He is the founder of The Brightskull Entertainment Group, a production services company providing audio and narrative for development teams. Beyond work he builds motorcycles, coaches youth soccer, and continues to make rude noises with guitars and microphones. Michael lives in Los Angeles, keeps his roots in NYC, and is proud to have been raised in the Catskills.
Mike Vaillancourt launched his career as a creative in the game industry as the cofounder of WildFire LLC, providing art direction, illustration, graphic design, and concept art for the RPG CthulhuTech. As a freelancer, he served as an art director and graphic designer for Catalyst Game Labs, Posthuman Studios, Closet Nerd Games, and Lone Shark. Beyond graphic design and art direction, Mike has worked as an illustrator for Microsoft/343 Industries and Bungie for the Limited Editions of Halo: Reach and Destiny. Since 2012, Mike has worked at Privateer Press as art director, overseeing concept art, illustration, and miniatures development for all of Privateer’s product lines, most notably WARMACHINE and HORDES.
Product Development Manager
Stacy Longstreet’s career has been defined by working with award-winning artists from around the world. She has commissioned tens of thousands of
pieces of art for various mediums including: books, miniatures, high-end collectibles, Prop replicas, Table-top Games, and digital art for web, Video Games and Apps. These were for high visibility IPs such as Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Star Wars.
Most recently Stacy had been working in New Zealand at Weta Workshop as the Product Development Director.
Andy joined Wizards of the Coast on April Fool’s Day in 1996. Since then he’s enjoyed a nearly unbroken string of dream jobs, right up to his current gig as the Lead Writer for Undead Labs, the folks behind the zombie survival-fantasy STATE OF DECAY and a new real-time tactical creature battler called MOONRISE. Before that he was the Lead Story Designer for Gazillion’s MARVEL HEROES ARPG, and he also wrote a few DUNGEONS & DRAGONS books you might have on your shelf.
CEO / CTO
Rebecca Heineman is an American video game designer and programmer. In 1980, she was the National Atari 2600 Space Invaders Champion and some of her best known works include The Bard’s Tale III, Dragon Wars and Out of this World (SNES), and has single-handedly programmed many games. In 1983, Rebecca was one of the founders of Interplay Productions and currently is the CEO of Olde Sküül. In total, Heineman has programmed over 200 video game titles.
Andrew Looney is the Chief Creative Officer at Looney Labs and has invented most of the games they’ve produced. Before co-founding Looney Labs, Andy was a computer programmer, first spending 8 years at NASA, where he wrote software that flew on the Hubble Telescope, then spending time working for Magnet Interactive Studios, where he created and coded a video game called Icebreaker. Andy has been creating games for Looney Labs for 20 years.
Jordan has had a long, varied career creating games and game worlds across many facets of the game industry including the paper and pen game worlds BattleTech/MechWarrior, Shadowrun and Crimson Skies. He also invented the collectible miniature figure game format for MageKnight, MechWarrior and HeroClix. His current company Harebrained Schemes has explored mobile games with Crimson Steam Pirates and Strikefleet Omega and PC video games Shadowrun Returns and Dragonfalll: Director’s Cut. His latest game, Golem Arcana, is a return to tabletop games and is a digitally-enhanced hybrid miniatures game that just received the coveted Origins award for 2015.
Stone Blade Entertainment
Justin Gary is the founder and CEO of Stone Blade Entertainment. He is the creator of the Ascension Deckbuilding Game, available in physical form as well as on iOS, Android, and PC. In 2012, Gary partnered with Richard Garfield to create Solforge, a crowdfunded digital trading card game. Gary began his gaming career as a professional Magic: The Gathering player, winning both a US National Championship and a World Team Championship.
Patrick Rothfuss is the New York Times Bestselling author of The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear and The Slow Regard of Silent Things . He is also on the writing team for the upcoming game Torment: Tides of Numenera. When not working on his writing, Pat plays with his children, makes mead, and runs Worldbuilders, a geeky charity that raises money for Heifer International.
James founded Sprung Studios, a unique UX/UI design agency, in 2005.
He has since worked on many high-profile games on all platforms including CSR Racing, World of Warriors, Dawn Of Titans, Rare Revealed, Just Cause 3, Velocity 2X & Surge Deluxe.
Prior to Sprung Studios, James was Creative Director of a world-leading interaction design agency working for multinational clients. His experience and attention to detail has made him sought after by both indie and major developers. His goal is to continue to push the boundaries of UX/UI design as it finds its place in emerging technologies.