2020 Schedule

(Keynotes and presentations stream on www.youtube.com/GeorgiaGameDevs; register for Zoom Workshops at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/georgia-game-developers-association-31610597027)

Friday, Nov. 13

3 pm Will Wright Keynote Game Design, Players as Creators, and Soviet Tanks

4 pm Killing Floor 2: A UGC Case Study (Dave Amata, Tripwire Interactive)

5 pm Full Steam Ahead: Optimizing Your Steam Page (Mike Stumhofer, HOF Studios)

5 pm Workshop: Larry Elmore Drawing (Larry Elmore)

6 pm Publishing Assets on the Unreal Engine Marketplace (Christian Allen, Epic Games)

6 pm Workshop: Loads of Dice: Dice Mechanics (Ben Sandfelder; Games, Ink)

7 pm New Markets for Mobile Games (Diego Rivera, Samsung)

7 pm Workshop: Game Design Improv (Ian Schreiber, RIT)

Saturday, Nov. 14

11 am Dynamic Data with Scriptable Objects in Unity (Ryan Kline, Lazer Bread Games)

11 am Workshop: Collaborative Character Drawing (Sandee Chamberlain, KSU)

12 pm How Fantasy Consoles Can Bring Out Your Best (Ben Burgh, Neuro Diversion)

12 pm Workshop: Twine: Zero to First Playable (Dov Jacobson, GamesThatWork)

12:30 The Art of the Tweet Cart (Ben Burgh, Neuro Diversion)

1 pm Neurodivergence in the Workplace (Michelle Menard, Oxide Games; Ben Burgh, Neuro Diversion, Catherine Ball)

1 pm Workshop: Game Audio with Unreal

2 pm Grow Your Creative Business in Good Times and Bad (Allyssa A Lewis, My Animation Life)

2 pm Workshop: Excel at VBA’ing (Michelle Menard, Oxide Games)

3 pm Intergenerational Game Design (Robin Koman, Story Tonic)

3 pm Workshop: Play Boss Fight & Learn to Pitch Your Game (Dov Jacobson, GamesThatWork)

3:30 pm An Inside Look at the Roblox Video Star Program

4 pm Gameplay Design Tectonics: Mapping how we interact with (game) design (Simon Hoffiz, Numinous Cry Project)

4 pm Workshop: Story Structure for Game Developers (Sandee Chamberlain, KSU)

5 pm Erin Hoffman-John Keynote A Quest for Meaning in the Dark Age of Middle Information

6 pm The 2020 Covid Positivity Indie Rants (Joe Cassavaugh, Puzzles by Joe; Michelle Menard, Oxide Games; Wes Wilson, Streamer; Karen Williams, Hiccup Interactive; Ben Burgh, NeuroDiversion; Nick Laing, Improbable; Tim Johnson, Gallium Studios; Michael Brown, Vicarious Games; Leah Causey Knighton; Mike Stumhofer, HOF Studios)

7 pm Online Flashpoint Tournament

7:30 Discord Networking and Gaming

Sunday, Nov. 15

12 pm Game Jam Blueprint for Success (Karik Kini, tastypill Games; Eric Cook)

12:30 pm Zero Trust Security for Game Developers (Christy Smith, Ken Lightner, Ionic Security)

1 pm Crisis Comms 101 for Game Devs – Tackling Sensitive Topics

1 pm Workshop: Make Something Great – Live demonstration and launch of Will Wright’s user-generated content tools

2 pm Creating Depth in Small Games (Brad Merritt, Cartoon Network Game Studios)

2 pm Workshop: Annual SIEGE Portfolio Review (Jesse Jacobson, GamesThatWork; Allyssa Lewis, MyAnimationLife;

3 pm Educating Today’s Youth Through Esports (Wes Byrd, Georgia Scholastic Esports Foundation)

3 pm Workshop: Making Sound with Intonal (Andrew Beck, Elastic Audio)

4 PM The Economic Impact of the Georgia Game Development Industry (Dr. Jay O’Toole, Old Dominion University)

4 pm Workshop: What a Dev Can Learn from Clickteam Fusion (Kevin Dressel, Shiny Dolphin Games)

5 pm Nick Laing Keynote Video Game Publishing Framework

6 pm Annual GGDA/SIEGE Townhall

And memorial for SIEGE Registration director William Alonso


This list is tentative and subject to change

Sunday, Oct. 13

10:30 – 11:30 am

Game Design Improv I: Not Just for Beginners

Ian Schreiber

You’re going to be leveling up your skills all weekend- so why not start putting it into practice now? Back by popular demand, these fast-paced, challenging workshops will stretch your mind and skills. The value of a good designer is in his or her ability to turn anything into a game, and to take any problem and come up with a fun, viable solution. Participants will take on a variety of game design challenges based on IP and other constraints. Game Design Improv gives you both practical advice and practice based on real-world situations. No experience necessary! (Design)

Noon – 1 pm

Advice, Schmadvice: A Critical Look at Game Dev Wisdom

Joe Cassavaugh (m), Nicole Britton, Bob Carter, Dov Jacobson, Nick Laing, Allyssa A Lewis, Karen Williams, Ron Williams, Wes Wilson

Join us as we dissect “common-sense” advice on how to succeed. We will pick it apart and (we hope) offer more useful solutions for being successful during the next/ongoing indie apocalypse.

How to Communicate with QA

Charlie Hawkins (m), Curtis Hartung, Ron Jones, Vince Mohan

Quality assurance (playtesting) is no longer just a critical part of game development – it is one of the core skills required of everyone on the team, at every stage of the process! Good QA is a key part of what separates good games from all the others. Learn how to plan for it and how to communicate effectively with the QA team that can save your hide. Quality Assurance – it’s not just playing video games all day!

Using Zbrush to Set Your Art Direction

Christopher McLaughlin

Many people think of digital sculpting as the last part of the game art pipeline. However, Zbrush can help at every step of the process – especially the beginning! Join us for a look at how to use Zbrush to quickly concept and iterate on design, all to get moving faster in production.

1:30 – 2:30 pm

Steam Launch Report

Michael Stumhofer, Stu Phelps, Robert Wahler, Jason Hillhouse, Kevin Dressel

We’ll expand on our previous “Launching your game on steam” panel by taking a look at 5 recently launched games. Our panelists will analyze each game’s launch on Steam and talk about lessons you can learn from each one.

Branding for Employment

Allyssa A Lewis

In 2019, your brand is everything – even for employers! Learn how to craft your portfolio, demo reel, business card, website, resume, cover letter, and correspondences in ways that will greatly increase your chances of employment.

Story Structures for Level Loaders

Sandee Chamberlain 

Explore how game story structure gives players an integral role in deciding the fate of the protagonist – answering the age-old question: is my character the hero or anti-hero and why? Discover how the non-interactive cinematics can inform and affect the player when thinking about character motivations inside of the overall sweeping story arc. Including an audience participation in the development of a protagonist, sub-plot (sidekick character) and antagonist and using those characters created on the spot – to craft a simple story utilizing the three-act paradigm structure.

The Business of Game Music

Melissa MacMaster

Making the music is only one part of the process. Join us as we dig into the difference between work for hire vs. non-exclusive, PRO rights and royalties, soundtrack monetization, and publishing.

3 – 4 pm

How to Cast and Direct Voice Actors

Bob and September Day Carter

Good voice acting can help make a game more memorable. Unfortunately, gamers remember bad voice acting as well! Join us to learn how you can cast the right actors and learn how to work with them to create something you want fans to remember..

Selling the Drama: Designing Meaningful Combat

Shawn Alexander Allen

Why do Game Designers love John Wick? Or why do the grand finals at EVO evoke such a strong emotional response? They both represent different sides of combat, but at the same time they both focus on story, tactics, psychology and overall, selling the drama. Game combat does not need to be a means to an end, something to give players to do on their way from point A to point B. This talk is here to encourage a different way of thinking about combat; focusing on making combat smaller, more personal, and overall, more meaningful. This talk will be focused on an analysis combat in games, movies, professional wrestling, and experience designing combat in my game, Treachery in Beatdown City.

Working with Influencers

Patrick Durbin (m), Kat De Shields-Moon, Dr. Krazy, Tygarlily, Wes Wilson

The world of influencers is a world that is quite valuable, yet often treated as a last-minute plan.  Come learn how to make your efforts to reach influencers more successful and effective by listening to the experience and wisdom of influencers, along with those who prepare campaigns to reach these influencers.  Learn about details that will help your reach efforts stand out along while avoiding pitfalls that occur time and time again. Make the right impression you want your game to deliver to the right audience.

Pricing Your Work

Allyssa A Lewis

Get paid what you are worth by learning how to properly calculate your prices, use a variety of pricing strategies, and negotiate your payments with clients.

4:30 pm Keynote sponsored by Flexential

Productive Producers: How to Make a Good One

Nick Laing

Make great games! Do it on time and within budget! All with a happy team and a clear vision. With a Producer! Wait, what? Yes! This role is a linchpin of teams large or small. The role of the Producer in modern game development is more vague than ever and our games can suffer for it. The difference between a great Producer and a bad one can be the difference between shipping a game and one more project lost to history. Learn more about the role and how it fits with modern development; what to expect from your Producer; how best to work one and, if it’s the right path for you, how to become the Producer.

Monday, Oct. 14

Noon – 1 pm

Non-Traditional Game Dev Jobs

Casey Loria (m), Paul Bartlett, Zane Everett, James Simpson, Brannan Vitek

Game development requires a wide array of skills, and many other industries want your talents. Whether it be a Fortune 500 company, a government agency, real-money gaming or non-profits, there are lots of ways to profit from your skill set. Join us for a look at the benefits and opportunities that lie outside of games made purely for entertainment. Learn how you can break into even more fields.

Teamwork: How to Harness the Most Powerful Tool on Earth

Ryan Kline

Learn what you can do to identify your development team’s strengths and weaknesses, and what steps you should take when deciding to seek out additional teammates. What makes a teammate a good fit for your development environment or creative vision? What steps can you take to build a great environment where you and your teammates can thrive? With this understanding, young teams can avoid some of the most common pitfalls that often derail projects.

Manufacturing Lasting Innovation in Audio

Andrew Beck

Audio technology is on the brink of an explosion of innovation. We’ve got the people, the drive, and the raw power. The only problem: That’s been the case for a long time. Why is it that some fields seem to have an inexhaustible supply of fresh ideas and new techniques but audio only has isolated bursts of innovation that don’t seem to go anywhere? Let’s dig into how true “Lasting Innovation” occurs, and what we can do to create an environment that will trigger a wave of audio innovation.

1:30 – 2:30 pm

Ask Me Anything: Art

Marisa Tontaveetong (m), Akil Jules, Jeff Yu

Working in game art? Trying to figure out how to work with your game’s artists? Game art is a very broad category, ranging from the simplest 2D interface items to the craziest Zbrushed models and animations you can find anywhere. Join our panel of artists to discuss every aspect from pay to tools to work process to inspiration to becoming an art lead, and anything else your incredibly creative brains can picture.

Making and Managing a Successful Esports Brand

Allie Young (m), Lucas Bailey, Kat De Shields-Moon

Some people are already succeeding in esports, and the ones who are doing it best have a clear vision of what they are trying to create. From player to team to streamer to caster, the ones you remember have a clear brand in mind. Everything they do reinforces this. Join us as we discuss how to both establish a brand and maintain it in the face of the saltiest situations.

Silver Games: Designing for Older Adults

Robin Koman

Join us for a discussion on how to design content for seniors. Participants will get a raised awareness of the science of Gerontology–the study of cognitive, physiological and social aging–and how that information can be utilized to adapt game design approaches. There will also be interesting insights into issues of aging in the game industry workforce.

3 – 4 pm

Ask Me Anything: PR/Marketing

Michael Brown (m), Kimberly Starks, Stephen Johnston

PR and marketing are very different areas, but in many small studios, the same person handles both. Since that person is usually trained in neither, join our panel of experts and hit them with all your burning questions. Learn how to attract the right attention to your work, deal with the wrong attention, and make sure the right people learn about your game.

Making Games with Kids

Ian Schreiber

More and more game developers are having kids of their own, and want to introduce them to the craft. How young is too young? What’s the best way to start? Are there any tools, workshops, events, or other resources that you can use? In this session, attendees will learn the value of teaching game dev skills to their kids and receive tips and tricks for getting them started.

Driving Creative Decisions Through Sound

Michael Cardillo

Thinking about sound as energy across the frequency spectrum, dynamic range, sound field, and over time can influence creative decisions about emotion, pacing, and story. Attendees will learn to think differently about sound and allow it to influence creative decisions when writing, designing, editing, etc. They will be exposed to several methods of controlling sound energy including EQ, compression, ducking, multi-band compression, and newer active EQs. Sound Designers and other audio professionals will start thinking about the mix earlier in their design process.

Practical Debugging Tips for Game Programmers

Curtis Hartung

Join our discussion of the kinds of bugs you will get as a game developer, and some specific tips, tricks and techniques for quickly tracking them down. Debugging can range from game-breaking critical issues to vague cosmetics. Expect technical details as well as principals applicable to all languages.

4:30 – 5:30 pm

Breaking into the Game Industry

Allyssa A Lewis (m), Curtis Hartung , Nick Laing, Matt Wesdock, Ian Schreiber

Find out from the gatekeepers the best ways to make it into the games industry. These experts will share tips on what to do to land a job and the red flags that get candidates denied. From ways to excel at your interview to how to get your resume past the recruiter screening, our experts will answer your questions to help you score the job of your dreams. Whether this is your first job in the industry or your fifth, you will gain insight on what recruiters and hiring managers love and hate about candidates.

Failing to Fail: How to Finally Ship Your Game

Jason Hillhouse

This session dives into the many reasons indie and hobbyist game development gets stuck. Take a look at examples of famously prolific indies, go over the latest research supporting the importance of failing and learn how to move on from your projects. Learn the steps needed to properly scope and wrap up your project. Attendees will have a better understanding of what it takes to ship a self-published game within a reasonable time and know the ramifications of working on a “forever project.”

Game Concept Art Contest

Tom Biondolillo, Craig Brasco, Sandee Chamberlain, Chris Malone

This two-hour panel and competition helps you take your concept art to the next level. Our panelists will create a game story concept and then give an Art Prompt to eight contestants (sign up on site). The participants then have one hour to do some speed-drawing and create their concept art .

While the contestants get to it, the panel will inspire them and the audience with secrets of good concept art. The panel ends with a presentation of the newly created art. The winner gets a free SIEGE T-shirts and special recognition.

We have a limited number of participant slots. A limited amount of drawing materials will be provided. Contestants are invited to bring their own art supplies.

Creating an Audio Programming Language

Andrew Beck

Audio programming is fragmented amongst many different languages and environments, largely due to the need for fast runtime processing. This makes it harder to implement procedural audio, but advances in compiler technology has made it simpler than ever to create new languages, and we look at a way to create a new language for audio. Instead of manipulating values in memory, as most imperative languages do, manipulating streams of values as first class citizens in a dataflow style language promotes thinking about how signals change over time, removing friction from common audio goals, while still being powerful enough to handle procedural audio.

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Advanced Game Design Improv

Ian Schreiber

You’ve spent the weekend learning about games, so how about showing off all those new skills? The advanced version of this challenging workshop stretches your mind and your game design skills. Participants take on a variety of game design challenges based on IP and other constraints. No experience necessary! Game Design Improv gives both practical advice and plenty of practice, with challenges based on real-world situations. (Design)

More session announcements to come.