SCHEDULE

24th – 25th june 2024 | Nouveau Siècle, Lille

SPEAKERS

 Game Design

The Playable Series: Writing Seasonal Narratives for Live Games

Valentina Tamer, Senior Narrative Designer UBISOFT PARIS

Live games have the ambition to go on for as long as they remain profitable. This means that any narrative needs to be written in a way that could potentially go on forever, too. Videogames aren't the first medium to try this, and specifically television shows can serve as means to understand how to pull it off. But due to their interactive nature, games have narrative potential and tools that are entirely unique to the medium, such as non-linear narrative, emergent storytelling, time-limited events, and using narrative design to convey a story beyond plot. This talk will dive into the manifold narrative opportunities of live games, how to structure seasonal plot with inspiration from TV shows, and how to keep a long-running story interesting for many years to come.

Biography:

Valentina Tamer is a senior narrative designer and writer at Ubisoft, where she has worked on the live service game “Wild Arena Survivors” and the Netflix collaboration “Mighty Quest Rogue Palace”. Previously, she’s been employed by the mobile game developer King (overseeing the narrative of the “Candy Crush” franchise at the Berlin studio) and German indie game developer Daedalic Entertainment (writing for the point-and-click adventures “The Pillars of the Earth” and “The Night of the Rabbit”). With 9 years of industry experience, she’s developed a wide range of PC, console and mobile games, and has been sharing that knowledge as a speaker and guest lecturer since 2014. She’s recently published the textbook “Narrative Design for Mobile and Live Games” with CRC Press, which outlines the creative techniques and challenges of writing for games-as-a-service.

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 Game Design / Production / Art

Cultural Specific Design of Thirsty Suitors

Chandana Ekanayake, Creative Director OUTERLOOP GAMES

Learn about how the award winning indie game Thirsty Suitors was created, designed, and produced by a small diverse team at Outerloop Games. Thirsty Suitors is a surreal story-driven game which throws turn-based RPG battles, skating and over-the-top cooking mechanics together in a spicy fusion.

Biography:

Chandana Ekanayake is Co-founder and Studio Director at Outerloop Games, a minority led, fully distributed indie game studio that creates accessible games with depth about underrepresented culture and themes. Prior to starting Outerloop, Eka was an art director, game designer, and producer for over twenty years at various game studios.

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 Biz / Marketing

Ravenswatch Early Access: A battle against Steam’s Review Score

Margaux Saly, Communication Manager PASSTECH GAMES

Ravenswatch retrospective through the prism of the community and Steam Reviews. I'll be recounting the highs and lows of our Ravenswatch experience, sharing techniques and tools for monitoring, reacting and responding to player feedback, and stressing the importance (or otherwise?) of the Steam Reviews score (with a detour into the Chinese market).

Biography:

Margaux Saly is currently Communication Manager at Passtech Games, a studio she joined in 2019. After a stint in the book industry and animated film, she turned to video games with the aim of creating communication strategies as close as possible to players. Margaux participated in the development of the indie games Curse of the Dead Gods and Ravenswatch.

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Biz / Marketing

TactiCon: from zero to herald, a look back at the creation of a Steam event

Louise Le Guen & Simon Bachelier, Communication Lead / Director of Operations FIRESQUID

In 2022, we conceived and co-organized our first online convention celebrating strategy gaming in all its forms via Steam. Based on the constraints of the tool set up by Valve and inspired by the original LudoNarraCon format, we succeeded in creating a strong and memorable event for fans and creators of strategy games from all over the world, attracting over a million unique visitors to the first edition. On the strength of this experience, we've laid the foundations for an annual event, which we'd like to share with you behind the scenes, as well as the data gathered from our past 2 editions: marketing issues, visibility of creators and their games on an increasingly saturated platform, market trend studies, the possibilities and limits of support offered by a platform like Steam, etc.

Biographies:

Louise Le Guen is communication lead at Firesquid and Lightbulb Crew and is also involved in professional associations such as Women in Games.
Simon Bachelier is a producer by trade, and has organized various European events dedicated to the independent video game scene (IndieCade Europe, Zoo Machines, NotGames Fest).

   Game Design

Design Challenges in Dune: Spice Wars

Sylvain Legay, Game Designer- SHIRO GAMES

Feedback on the design of a 4X/RTS hybrid: What problems did this hybridization create? How did we address them? But also, what did it bring to the gaming experience, and why was it worth it?

Biography:

Game Designer at Shiro Games, on the game Dune: Spice Wars; curious and passionate about a wide range of ludic activities such as board games, sudokus and mathematics.

   Game Design / Production

Dave The Diver Postmortem – Making A Game with Community

Jaeho Hwang, Game Director MINTROCKET

Despite being created by developers with no prior console game experience, Dave the Diver became one of the biggest hits of 2023, selling over 3 million copies and winning the Best Game Design at the BAFTA Games Awards. Join Jaeho Hwang as he shares how Dave the Diver began as an idea and the preparation that led to its success. As the game's designer and director from inception to the present day, Jaeho Hwang will recount the challenges faced during development and how they were tackled based on user feedback.

Biography:

Jaeho Hwang is the Game Director of Dave the Diver at MINTROCKET. He has left his mark on games of unique and fulfilling quality, from his first pixel art mobile action game, Evil Factory, in 2017 to one of the biggest hits of 2023, Dave the Diver. His profound passion for subculture also led him to create Godzilla Defense Force in 2019.

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Game Art

Photos, Plants and Cats: Behind the Art of Viewfinder

Sophie Knowles, Lead Artist SAD OWL STUDIOS

Surreal dreamscapes, luscious overgrown gardens and solarpunk aesthetics are what the art of Viewfinder is all about, but what about the puzzles? It’s a lot of work to strike a balance between visually stunning spaces and the clarity required for a puzzle game. This talk goes over the influences of Viewfinder’s art direction, approach to building levels and a bit about the creation of CAIT.

Biography:

Sophie Knowles is a 3D Generalist and Lead Artist at Sad Owl Studio, the studio behind Viewfinder. Through her career she’s dabbled in most art related things from illustration to modelling and animation. Other titles she’s worked on include Avo!, The Bradwell Conspiracy and Off Grid. Sophie lives in London with her dog Isla.

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Biz/Marketing

Player Perception : Is telling the truth always the right choice?

Emile Zhang, Community Lead TACTICAL ADVENTURES

Is telling the truth always the best option when it comes to communicating with your audience? In this talk we’ll discuss how Player Perception can often diverge from the truth and consequently supersede it, as well as ways to prevent and rectify this issue.

Biography:

Currently Community Lead at Tactical Adventures, I’ve been in the gaming industry for 10+ years going over various poles from Community to Monetization, Live Service and Producing before heading back to Community once again!

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Game Art / Design

Chants of Sennaar rendering: making a texture-free 3D game

Julien Moya & Thomas Panuel, Co-founders / Art director & Developer RUNDISC

Making a 3D game without any texture: a strange choice in 2021, but representative of the radical decisions that governed the creation of Chants of Sennaar throughout its development. How do you build a visually striking game when you're a micro-team? How can technical solutions transform constraints into creativity? Graphic research, shader coding, modeling principles... We take a look at the methods used by Rundisc to build Sennaar's visual universe.

Biographies:

Julien began his career as a graphic designer in the early 2000s, during the golden age of Flash, on which he created his first games. He then spent 20 years freelancing for hundreds of customers in all sectors of the economy. In 2016, he met Thomas Panuel, and the two decided to develop the first game of what would become the Rundisc studio two years later. In 2023, the success of Chants of Sennaar, their second game, enabled him to join the studio full-time.
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Trained as an IT engineer, Thomas has spent most of his career working as a project manager for various customers. Since 2016, he has also been active in video games with the Rundisc studio, which he co-founded with Julien Moya. Like his partner, he will be working full-time in the studio from 2024.

Production/RH

Level Up Your Career: How to stand out in recruitment and expand your network in the video game industry

Jennifer Merlino, Human Resources Director OLD SKULL GAMES

In this conference, discover how to navigate the competitive world of recruitment and networking in the video game industry. Get tips on how to best apply to a video game studio and how to develop a professional network. Get ready to advance your career in this ever-changing field!

Biography:

Working in HR and recruitment for over 15 years, I had the opportunity to work in 2 video game studios in Lyon before arriving at Old SKull Games, where I’ve been HR Director for 6 years.

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Technology / Tech art

Procedural Content Generation: The First Steps to Advanced Development

Chris Murphy, Senior Technical Artist EPIC GAMES

Procedural Content Generation, or PCG, caught the Unreal Engine community by storm with 5.2 but it left quite a few people only scratching the surface. In this session Chris Murphy briefly covers the basics of PCG then dives into some of the advanced techniques to help you further your PCG dreams.

Biography:

Chris Murphy is a Senior Technical Artist for Epic Games with the Tech Consulting team. With over a decade of Unreal Engine experience, and nearly 8 years at Epic Games, his role at Epic Games is to help developers build successful Projects with Unreal Engine through support, training and education.

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Game Art

Design the Goodbye Volcano High characters

Lucie Viatge, Art Director et Character designer FREELANCE

As art director and character designer for the game Goodbye Volcano High, released in August 2023, I'd like to talk about how I designed the game's 8 main characters, from the very first concepts to the final assets.

Biography:

Versatile artist, formerly at KO_OP as art director and character designer on Goodbye Volcano High, and 3D animator on GNOG.

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   Production/RH

Quickly produce games that look good

Alain Puget, Creative Director – ALKEMI

A compilation of in-house methods (in development, art direction or management) for getting the best out of a small team, to create high-production-value games on schedule... and without crunch.

Biography:

Creative director of Alkemi, the small Nantes-based team behind Foretales, An Ankou and a few others. A bit of a jack-of-all-trades, but still in video games after 20 years, because they offer the perfect blend of science and artistic creation.

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   Game Design

Demystifying sensitivity reading for more inclusive games

Jennifer Lufau, Video game D&I consultant and speaker, Founder of Afrogameuses FREELANCE

Find out what's at stake in this profession, which is still too little known in France, and learn how the help of a sensitivity reader can impact your game's narrative, gameplay and communication.

Biography:

Jennifer is a diversity and inclusion consultant in the video game and tech sector. A content creator, video game columnist on RFI and speaker, Jennifer works with video game studios such as Twin Drums and Ubisoft to help them create more inclusive narratives and characters or promote their games. Combining her expertise in communications and community management with her experience as a gamer, in 2020 she founded Afrogameuses, an association with over 600 members today that promotes the inclusion and representation of black, racialized and queer women who play or work in the field. Revolutionizing the industry with passion and dedication, Jennifer is leading the way towards a more diverse and vibrant video game and has been recognized by the industry, making her the recipient of the Top Leaders Under 35 award, as well as Games Industry Biz’s Game Changers 2023 list.

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  Technology

The nuts and bolts of repartee in En Garde!

Simon Gigant, Programmer FREELANCE

Storytelling in a video game can take many forms. When developing an action game, the player may spend a lot of time in combat, but that doesn't mean these battles have to be poorly narrated. I'll be presenting how we designed and integrated an intelligent, dynamic bark system into En Garde! to reward the player, distill narrative through the basic actions of combat and reduce the repetitiveness of situations. The aim of this talk is to present techniques for architecting a dynamic bark system in a medium-sized team at a relatively accessible level for designers and programmers alike. It will mention ticket management to avoid repetitiveness, the condition/prioritization of lines to have situation-specific dialogs, the tools put in place to integrate and test these barks as well as the mistakes we've made and how to avoid them in future projects.

Biography:

I’m an independent video game developer specializing in gameplay programming and tools, having worked on the game “En Garde!” released in August 2023. I try to have a fairly holistic view of development, taking a close interest in design, graphics and sound design. I graduated from the JMIN Master’s program in 2021 and until recently worked at Fireplace Games. I’ve already been to Game Camp on two occasions, and now I’m keen to pass on my knowledge and experience through a conference.

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Technology / Visual arts

Building a Universe in a Bottle: The Tools of Outer Wilds

Logan Ver Hoef, Tech Artist- MOBIUS DIGITAL

The solar system of Outer Wilds throws a lot of common game development assumptions out the airlock: “up” was almost never actually up, anything bigger than a shack required curvature modeled into it, and every location was actually a dynamic rigidbody careening through space. This talk focuses on the thought and design behind the tools we created to make working on this project possible, while also enabling designers and artists to iterate and make major changes right up until shipping the game (and even beyond!).

Biography :

Logan Ver Hoef was born and raised in California, and growing up spent many weekends tearing through the wilderness at a cabin in the Sierra Nevadas. Logan joined Mobius Digital as a Technical Artist when work was just starting on Outer Wilds, and by release had dipped into gameplay, physics, asset streaming, and rendering code, and had also written a plethora of tools for the rest of the team.  Over the past few years, Logan has become increasingly obsessed with landscapes in video games.

Game Art

The Art of Terra Nil

Jonathan Hau-Yoon, Lead Artist & Programmer FREE LIVES

As a game about ecosystem restoration, Terra Nil had to have art that felt lush and alive. This art talk is about how we sought to achieve this: from a pixel art prototype into different experiments at art direction, as well as challenges and solutions for working with a procedurally-generated and player-manipulated environment.

Biography :

Jonathan (he/they) is a versatile game developer with over a decade of game experience. He works at Free Lives in Cape Town on Terra Nil, a cosy eco puzzle game. He has worked on both indie and AAA games, including contributions to Broforce, Fortnite, GORN, and Genital Jousting. Although he is primarily a technical artist, he also has game credits as a lead artist, fx artist and programmer. He holds a degree in applied mathematics and a diploma in visual communication. Jonathan is enthusiastic about game jams, life drawing and cats.

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Game Design

Game economy design et expérience joueur

Natacha Leonard, Game Economy DesignerGAMELOFT PARIS 

Sometimes referred to as evil design, economy game design is not just a tool for enriching game developers. It is also a major influence on the player experience. What are the challenges facing the game economy designer? How does their work influence gamers? If there's such a thing as evil design, can we also do benevolent design? These questions will be answered in this conference.

Biography :

A game designer by training (Mastère de lead game designer from Isart Digital Paris), I specialized in narrative design thanks to two years spent at Tamanoir Immersive Studio. We worked on a number of parallel projects. Call me Calamity won the Audience Award at the Cannes XR Festival 2021, A City of Foxes (by Nihaarika Negi) won the XR Market Award at the NewImages Festival 2020, and Sable Noir became a series of sound role-playing games.

I continued my study of storytelling at different scales, thanks in particular to a game studies research internship (with Isart Digital, Université Cotes d’Azur and game studio Ludogram) on the subject of multiple-choice storytelling, as well as professional stunt training (at Action Training Productions) which I’m currently pursuing to improve the creation of credible and intense experiences.

So it was only natural that I should become… the game economy designer at Gameloft Paris Studio!

 

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Sound Design

Composing and recording the OST for an independent game

Thomas Brunet, Composer – FREELANCE 

First, I'll give a brief overview of Chants Of Sennaar, the game in question, then I'll show working documents to talk about the initial meeting and dialogue with the devs, particularly from the point of view of musical direction and the liberties taken in relation to the original mission. The main themes of the talk will be: the importance of organization and project management, logistics and human management during studio recordings, and the constraints linked to the nature of the game of reflection (the need for periods of calm or even silence, but also the need for melody due to the traditional aspect of the music required).

Biography :

Thomas is a multi-instrumentalist composer specializing in video game music. He started out as a percussionist in orchestras, then went on to learn piano and guitar. His performing experience is diverse, but he is particularly attached to traditional world music. He has studied Brazilian, African and Indian Ocean music through percussion, guitar and singing. In 2022, he met the creators of the Rundisc studio, behind the game Chants Of Sennaar, released in September 2023.

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Game Design

Wartales: the 12 Commandments

Quentin Lapeyre, Game Director – SHIRO GAMES

In this talk, I'll look back at the 12 lessons learned from the Wartales lifecycle, from building its prototype to its final release. Establishing and converging the game's vision, game design non-methods for designing leveraged systems, building a 15-person open world, the Shiro formula, the useful meeting without an agenda, the art of not planning, from failures to learnings... An experience rich in reflections and decisions on game design, producing and management.

 Biography :

Lover of skyr, andouillette and literature; Game Director at Shiro Games, working on Wartales and another unannounced project; in love with creation, elegant game design and the pleasure of good surprises.

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