Speakers & Special Guests

Featured Speakers for GEC 2020

Celia Hodent - website

Celia Hodent

Former Director of UX, Epic Games

At GEC 2018:
"Developing a UX mindset on Fortnite"


At GEC 2017: "How Neuroscience and UX Can Impact Game Design"
Track: Game Design and Production, UI/UX

Celia Hodent is recognized as a leader in the application of user experience and psychology in video game design and in the development of UX strategy and process in game studios. She holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Paris Descartes-Sorbonne, France, where she specialized in cognitive development. In 2005, Celia stepped aside from academic research to work with an educational toy manufacturer, VTech, and then entered the video game industry. She has worked at Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Montreal, LucasArts, and Epic Games to help guide the studios, and their projects, toward improved user experience practices. Celia's approach is to use cognitive science knowledge and the scientific method to concretely solve design problems and make sure the player experience is always enjoyable and engaging, while reaching business goals. Celia is also the founder and curator of the Game UX Summit, which launched in Durham, NC, in May of 2016, hosted by Epic Games. She has worked on many projects across multiple platforms (PC, console, mobile, and VR), including the Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six franchise, Star Wars: 1313, Paragon, Fortnite, and Spyjinx. Celia is the author of The Gamer's Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design, published in August 2017.


www.celiahodent.com
KateEdwards-Geogrify - Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards

CEO, Principal Consultant, Geographer & Industry Advocate, Geogrify

At GEC 2017:
"Maximizing Locales and Managing Mobs: Strategies for Game Culturalization"

Kate Edwards is the Executive Director of the Global Game Jam, as well as the CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, a consultancy which pioneered content culturalization. She is also a Board Member of Take This and is the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) from 2012 to 2017. In addition to being an award-winning advocate who serves in several advisory roles, she is a geographer, writer, and corporate strategist. Following 13 years at Microsoft, she has consulted on many game and non-game projects for BioWare, Google, Amazon, Facebook, LEGO, and many other companies. Fortune magazine named her as one of the "10 most powerful women" in the game industry in 2013 and in 2014 was named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of their six People of the Year. Besides being recently awarded by Reboot Develop, IndieCade, and GameRome for her advocacy work in the global game industry, she has been honored with the Ambassador Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards at GDC 2020. She is also profiled in the December 2018 publication Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play.


stanford - Matej Jan

Matej Jan

Game developer, Retronator

At GEC 2020:
" Crowdfunding for Indies"

Matej is a pixel artist and solo game developer working on Pixel Art Academy, an adventure game for learning how to draw. He started his professional career as a games journalist and teaching assistant, alongside working on PC, web and mobile games. He runs Retronator, the biggest blog about pixel art news, and creates educational content for the pixel art community.

rami-vlambeer-2

Rami Ismail

Producer & Co-Founder, Vlambeer

At GEC 2016:
""

Rami Ismail is the Business & Development Guy at Vlambeer, a Dutch independent game studio known best for Nuclear Throne, Ridiculous Fishing, LUFTRAUSERS, Super Crate Box, GUN GODZ, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter & Radical Fishing. Through his work at Vlambeer, Rami has come to realize that the marketing & business facets of many independent game developers could use some help.

Believing sharing knowledge openly is the cornerstone of independent development, Rami has spoken on a variety of subjects at dozens of game events around the world, ranging from the Game Developers Conference to Fantastic Arcade & from University seminars to incubator mentorship. Rami travels around the world trying to find game development communities everywhere, and tries to connect them to help enable anyone around the world to make games.


fsPhoto 750px - Raheel Yawar

Raheel Yawar

Game Developer, Flying Sheep Studios, Germany

At GEC 2020:
" 6 Years, 40 Games and the Lessons Learnt"

Track: Mobile Games market and monetisation,Game Design and Production

Raheel Yawar is a veteran of HTML5 game development. He started out with making highly optimized mobile games keeping a strong outlook on the representation of local culture in video games. He has over a dozen published titles under his belt and has worked on IPs of animation studios like LEGO and DreamWorks. He holds a Masterโ€™s degree in Media Informatics majoring in computer graphics and machine learning during which time, his inspiration grew towards improving player in-game experiences. His current focus is taking WebGL games to the bleeding edge of technology.

AdilQ

Adil Qayyum

Principal QA Automation Engineer, Northbay Solutions, Lahore

At GEC 2020:
" QA Masterclass: Strategy for Game Testing"

At GEC 2018:
" Evolution of QA in Gaming

Track: Quality Assurance in Games

Having 40+ Technical, IT Compliance & Management Certifications, including:
๐—”๐—ช๐—ฆ ๐—–๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—–๐—น๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฑ ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ | ๐—œ๐—•๐—  ๐—•๐—น๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—–๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ | ๐—ฆ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—บ ๐—™๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ |
๐—ฆ๐—ถ๐˜… ๐—ฆ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—บ๐—ฎ ๐—ฌ๐—•/๐—ช๐—• ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น | ๐—”๐—ช๐—ฆ ๐—ง๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น
Adil Qayyum has diverse industry experience in IT sector, having worked with some top-notch software giants, and core expertise in Quality Assurance, Automation & Functional Consultancy, and Product Management. Having worked across a broad range of domains including Big Data, Web/Mobile Apps, Cloud Computing & beyond, he has led teams of several professionals to deliver quality products & strategize end to end implementations for corporate MNCs.


2017-Techwomen-State-23

Sadia Bashir

CEO & Founder, PixelArt Games Academy

At GEC 2020:
100 ways to kill your game design

At GEC 2018:
"The Game Design Workshop"

At GEC 2017:
"The Game Design Workshop"

At GEC 2016:
"Video Games Development Process Frameworks"


Track: Game Design and Production

She is a game artist/designer from Islamabad, Pakistan. She has been working in the game industry for more than seven years now. She has researched โ€œContemporary Practices of Game Development in Industry,โ€ and also extending her research to study traditional and industry-oriented process frameworks suitable for game development. She has organized multiple game jams, community development events, training courses, and workshops. She is extremely passionate about video game development & its education in bringing creativity from the diverse individuals of Pakistan

Haider Marham

Haider Ali Shishmahal

Founder, After Hours Therapist

At GEC 2020:
"Games & Transformative Tech"

At GEC 2018:
"The Game Design Workshop"

At GEC 2017:
"The Game Design Workshop"

At GEC 2016:
"Making Collaborative Games"


Track: Game Design and Production

Haider Ali Shishmahal lives at the intersection of psychology, games, education, and technology. He is the founder of Cyberjack Studios and After Hours Therapy.


Eve Thomas

Eve Thomas

Brand Director, TRU LUV

At GEC 2020:
" Gaming the System: How TRU LUV created an Apple App of the Year with someone who doesn't know a thing about game design"


Track: Game Design and Production

Eve Thomas is a writer, journalist, and artist based in Montreal, Canada. Her background in magazine publishing has taken her around the world, from the Great Wall of China to the Galapagos Islands. As co-creator of #SelfCare and Brand Director of TRU LUV, she works with the studio team and the media to connect with the audience for AI companions.

Shahzad_Akram_PP - shahzad akram

Shahzad Akram

Software Quality Assurance (Automation), Strategic Systems International

At GEC 2020:
" Trends of Quality Assurance and Security testing in Games"

Track: Quality Assurance in Games, Game Design and Production

Shahzad Akram is the Co-founder of Zoltron Tech, a training & consultancy firm, Co-founder of TaleemDost, a startup to provide online education, SQA Lead at Strategic Systems International, and a seasoned professional in IT Industry regarding Quality Assurance & Functional Consultancy, having over 5 years of extensive experience with diverse range of projects and multiple certifications in the field including ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL), AWS Certified DevOps Professional, AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate, AWS Certified Developer-Associate and Scrum fundamentals certified.


Shay---Shayan-Zaeem

Shayan Zaeem

Co-Founder and CPO , Fizz Inc.

At GEC 2020:
"100 ways to kill your game design"

At GEC 2018:
"Quantifying Chat"

Track: Mobile Games marketing and User monetisation

Co-Founded Caramel Tech Studios. I'm a product guy at heart, therefore, I worked with the team hands-on be it strategy, design, UX since the conception of the studio to date.

profile picture - Samia Khalid

Samia Khalid

Senior Software Engineer , Microsoft Seattle, USA

At GEC 2020:
"Using Reinforcement Learning to Personalize User's Experience and Responsible AI"


Track:AI in Games, UI/UX

Samia is a Senior Applied AI Engineer at Microsoft. She is working with large-scale distributed systems to power new intelligent experiences in Office 365 and Outlook. She is passionate about education and sharing what she learns to pave the way for others. This led her to start her own Machine Learning blog as well (towardsml.com). Samia is also actively leading various diversity and inclusion efforts in the technology industry. She is the Seattle Lead at PWiC (Pakistani Women in Computing).


Siggamyndin - Sigurรฐur รsgeir รrnason (1)

Sigurรฐur รsgeir รrnason

CEO and Founder , Drexler Iceland

At GEC 2020:
"What is M-Media"


Track:Sound and M-Media, UI/UX

MS degree in innovation and Business Development from the University of Iceland. Specialized in start-up lean development. Rapid prototyping, user development and growth hacking marketing tactics. Has a former experience working on smaller projects with ร–ssur, Arion Bank and LarsEN Energy Branding. Former musician, toured Europe, a trained pianist.

Richard Dagnall

Richard Dagnall

Head of Independent Gaming, Music, and Content Creators, Howdoo

At GEC 2020:
"What is M-Media"


Track:Sound and M-Media, UI/UX

Richard has been pushing the boundaries in the technology world and has captivated audiences worldwide with his visions and predictions of where Video Data and Audio would lead since the '90s. His background in testing and developing cutting edge technologies in the telecoms industry has taken him across the world to meet the major influencers in the design and development of the technologies needed to meet the needs of the ever-hungry end users of online and telecom services. An award-winning gamer of the detailed strategic genre he has always had a passion for the independent gaming community and has been involved in several designs and is a highly respected game tester.


Harry Aslam Midgard

Harry Aslam

Creative Director at Sideways Tiger

At GEC 2020:
"What is M-Media"


Track:Sound and M-Media, UI/UX

Sideways Tiger (#SDWYSTGR) is a a wild tribe of Creative Savages that emerged from Brazil but operates on a global basis, crafting powerful and compelling stories to stir the soul. The team utilises the following technical capabilities and capacities to deliver original projects and works for clients around the world; He has worked in Filmmaking, Audiovisual Production, VFX, CGI, Motion Graphics, Animation, Sound Design, Fashion Design, Merchandising, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Art Direction and Experience Design / UX

elena

Elena Lobova

Founder of Achieverยดs hub

At GEC 2020:
"What is M-Media"


Track:Sound and M-Media, UI/UX

She is a thought leader in the gaming space, former CEO of Ilogos and now the Founder of Achieverยดs hub, a meeting point for indie teams, investors, publishers and mentors where they can share knowledge, resources, connections and successfully collaborate on new amazing projects.


WhatsApp Image 2020-02-19 at 3.00.44 PM

Umer Memon

3D Art Lead at Quixel Pakistan

At GEC 2020:
"MEGASCANS 101"


Track: Game Art Production, UI/UX

Umer memon is the 3D art lead at Quixel Pakistan. started on mobile games in W.er.play back in 2014 and then joined Quixel in 2017 creating and training teams that would go on to populate worlds largest collection of AAA game art known as Megascans.

Past Speakers 2016-2019

BrieCode-2016-byRichmondLam

Brie Code

CEO, Creative Director & Founder, TruLuv Media

At GEC 2018:
"Q&A with Brie"


At GEC 2017:
"Games From the Heart"


At GEC 2016:
"Video Games are Boring"

Track: Game Design and Production

Lead Programmer at Ubisoft Montreal, who has also worked at Relic Entertainment and Pandemic Studios on the Assassinโ€™s Creed franchise and games like Child of Light, and is helping to launch an exciting diversity initiative at Ubisoft Montreal.

She is currently working on her own startup Tru Luv Media and travelling around the world meeting diverse communities to learn and engage them in creating interesting games. Brie is creating games with the people who donโ€™t like video games.

Umair_picture

Umair Azfar Khan

Assistant Professor, Habib University

At GEC 2018:
" Introducing Game Design and Programming in a Liberal Arts University's Curriculum"

Track: Games Education

Dr. Khan has always been passionate about computer games from the early days of Commodore 64 when a game was considered to be a good game with graphics if its size was bigger than 256 Kilobytes. His interest brought him into the realm of Computer Science where he found out that there is much more to games than fancy graphics. His research took him through the fields of Software Engineering and Design, and applying graph theory techniques for Artificial Intelligent Decision Making through Planning.


Jill Murray

Jill Murray

Narrative Design, Discoglobe Interactive Inc.

At GEC 2018:
" The Soul of the Game - Character Drives Story"

Track: Video Game Narratives

In games we talk a lot about story structures like branching dialogue or whether to emulate the Heroโ€™s Journey. But at the end of the day, every story needs believable characters whose motivations feel real, and whose actions propel the plot forward. Games are no different. Using examples drawn from Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Assassinโ€™s Creed Liberation, and a host of indie games, this talk illustrates how to create characters players will love, identify with, and want to fight for-- or against-- all while avoiding tropes and cliches.

fdd0d790-b193-11e6-a953-75c2291b8f52 - Qasim Meher Asad

Qasim Meher Assad

Head of Products, Mindstorm Studios

At GEC 2018:
"How to scale your app from 1 Download to 1 Million Downloads"

Track: Mobile Games marketing and User monetisation

Mr. Assad has been working in Mobile Game Industry for more than 10 years. He has worked with international clients like Chilingo, Stick Sports, 6 Waves, Tango and Pocket Gems.


Ian

Ian Schreiber

Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology,Rochester, NY, USA

At GEC 2018:
" Game Design Workshop"

Track: Game Design and Production

What is game design and how do you start designing a game? In this session, game designer, educator, and author Ian Schreiber leads a hands-on workshop that takes participants through the process of coming up with ideas for games and taking them to rapid paper prototypes. Topics covered include ideation, working within constraints, the connection between tabletop and digital games, rapid prototyping, playtesting, and iteration.

Abeer Kaisari (1)

Abeer Kaisari

Illustrator, The Citizen Archive of Pakistan

At GEC 2018:
"Concept art and illustrations in Game Design"

Track: Art and Animations

Design is the best way to communicate, we artists are fortunate that anyone and everyone can understand what we communicate through our art.


Lauren Clinnick

Lauren Clinnick

Marketing Manager, Lumi Interactive

At GEC 2018:
"Marketing for Mobile Games"

Track: Mobile Games marketing and User monetisation

Lauren's session on marketing for mobile game development will help giv eyou the tools you need to plan for success in the modern marketplace. This talk will cover social media, making the most of your store page, planning your monetisation, UA, scaleability and more.

Mehran Khan

Mehran Khan

Game Artist, Megaparticle LTD

At GEC 2018:
" Career Hunter"

Game career guidance

My session will give students and newbies in the field of game-art and dev an essential insight into how to properly curate your folio, develop skill-set and maintain their inspirational levels in an infant industry. I will give advice on how to curate your folio, which skillsets to develop and how to make yourself valuable for the local gaming industry.


Ahmed

Ahmad Shah Nawaz

Strategic Partner Manager, South East Asia, Google, Singapore

At GEC 2018:
" App Quality and Ad-funded Monetization in Games"

Track: Mobile Games marketing and User monetisation

Comming Soon !!

2V2A2792-Edit - Robin Yang

Robin Yang

Senior Product Manager, CodeCombat, San Francisco

At GEC 2018:
" Advocating for Yourself When Your Manager Doesn't, Can't or Won't"

Track: Mobile Games marketing and User monetisation

Hard work doesnโ€™t always speak for itself, and its not always easy to see a path forward in your career as a game developer. Sometimes your contributions go unnoticed, you lack the feedback you need to grow as an individual contributor, or you just donโ€™t feel set up to succeed on your team. In an ideal world, a supportive manager is there to help you address these problems and champion your growth โ€” but oftentimes even good intentions fall short. Learn how to advocate for yourself, gather insights about how to improve, and boost your own career growth; you might even make your managerโ€™s life easier along the way.


Farah Ali

Farah Ali

Vice President Engineering, Electronic Arts Inc.

At GEC 2018:
" ML: Its in the game!"

Track: AI in Games

This talk will focus on how Electronic Arts (EA) uses AI and Machine Learning in the games they make. It starts with a brief overview of EA and how a central platform tech organization enables game studios to leverage scalable, central services that allows them to focus more deeply on building great game experiences. The talk goes deeper into 3 different examples of how AI and Machine learning are used in building the games of today and shares some open ended ideas of future areas to explore for AI in gaming. There will be a 10 minute Q&A session at end where you will get a chance to ask the speaker your burning questions

Amy Claussen

Amy Claussen

Game Designer, ANKI

At GEC 2017:
"Bringing Cozmo to Life: Designing a Robot with Character"

Amy is a game designer and writer based in the Bay Area. She works in games, theatre, film... and robots.

Currently, she's a game designer for the robot Cozmo at Anki. Google him. He's adorable. And has some amazing tech going on inside his little brain.

Previously, she designed The Sims Mobile for Maxis/Electronic Arts, as well as wrote punderful words for SimCity BuildIt. She also worked on Pocket Gems' hit mobile games, Tap Paradise Cove and War Dragons, as well as contributed to Episode: Choose Your Story to optimize its community authors' writing tool.

KenLevine-Portrait

Ken Levine

Creative Director, Ghost Story Games

At GEC 2017:
"(TBA)"

He is the creative director and co-founder of Ghost Story Games (formerly known as Irrational Games). He led the creation of the BioShock series, and is also known for his work on Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2. He was named one of the "Storytellers of the Decade" by Game Informer and was the 1UP Network's 2007 person of the year. He received the inaugural Golden Joystick "Lifetime Achievement Award" for his work.

Emre Deniz - website

Emre Deniz

CEO, Opaque Space

At GEC 2017:
"Serious Games in VR"

Emre Deniz has been working in Virtual Reality for the past four years, being one of the first developers in Australia to work on the HTC Vive as well as having worked as both lead game designer and artist on multiple projects in Virtual, Augmented and Mobile experiences. Emre has previously worked with international partners such as Microsoft, Google and Epic on projects such as the award winning Virtual Dementia Experience, Kinect for Unreal and the internationally recognized Earthlight. Emre is currently the director at the HTC Vive-X backed 'Opaque Space', working alongside Epic and NVIDIA to bring space-based VR experiences to consumers as well as collaborating with NASA laboratories working on hybrid reality training for astronauts. He has also been an active advocate for diversity, accessibility and ethical development in VR and regularly speaks at conferences and lectures on game design, community building and development in VR.


Facetune - Jennifer Scheurle

Jennifer Scheurle

Game Design Lead, Opaque Space

At GEC 2017:
"Emotional Contagion: Neuroscience for better Game Design"

Jennifer Scheurle is a world-travelling Game Designer and public speaker who has worked on 10+ released titles since she started working in the industry 6 years ago. Born and raised in Germany and with a Bachelor of Arts (hons) in game development, she has played her role in Europeโ€™s thriving indie game scene. She was named as one of the 100 most influential women in game development in 2016 by the Australian MCV Pacific. In 2017, she made MCV Pacificโ€™s 30 Under 30 list.

Currently, Jennifer is working as the Game Design Lead at Melbourne-based Opaque Space, mainly designing the internationally acclaimed Earthlight VR in collaboration with NASA.

Beyond that, she works with Flat Earth Games on Objects in Space, which won the PAX Australia Indie Showcase in 2016 and was nominated for its physical controller set for the Alt.Ctrl.GDC award in 2017.