2017 Speakers / Sessions:
In alphabetical order by Speakers first name. Associated track in [braces] after Talk Title. The targeted understanding / skill level (i.e. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) for each talk is listed after the talk description. Click here to go to Speaker Bios.
Amy Green / Numinous Games
"Beyond Choose Your Own Adventure: Crafting More Immersive Narratives" [Story]
Co-presenting with Ryan Green. Amy will be discussing the narrative approach and experimental journey the team at Numinous Games has been taking through the production of That Dragon, Cancer and their latest VR project, Untethered. First we’ll discuss how a designer’s view about God and how they see the world can affect the way designers craft interactive narratives. We’ll then share how we feel about the design and narrative decisions we made in That Dragon, Cancer and Untethered. Finally, we’ll talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the tools we’ve used to create our games from prototyping to production, including a technical deep dive into our use of Behavior Tree AI patterns for our latest experimental narrative.
(Intermediate) Friday 10:45a to Noon, Classroom 2
Brian Jeffreys / NonPareil Institute
"Bringing Hope to Adults with Disabilities through Love and Technology" [Business]
In this session, Brian Jeffreys talks about teaching adults on the Autism spectrum to write software to give them more control of their future. The focus of his work through the NonPareil Institute is to show a loving environment while teaching students about Christ. He will also be screening part of the documentary "Programming Hope" and previewing, Lightwire, the latest game made by the school's students and crew.
(Beginner) Thursday 6:15p to 8:45p, Theater
Brock Henderson / Numinous Games
"Unity Mind Meld" [Technology]
Come hangout and talk about one of the industry's favorite game engines. This is a time for sharing your favorite tips, tricks, and workflows. Have a favorite asset that you can't live without? Bring it! Have a problem you can't seem to solve? Bring it! If everyone brings something to show and tell, our group will go home smarter, more efficient game developers.
(Intermediate) Saturday 9:15a to 10:30a, Classroom 1
Chris Gwaltney / GameChruch
"Eat, Drink, Play: Videogames and the Mission of God" [Inspiration]
155 million Americans play video games regularly. We live in a culture of gamers. Few Christians are doing anything to reach this massive subculture. Enter Gamechurch. Since 2011, Gamechurch has been bridging the gap between the gospel and the gamer by bringing the message of Jesus to gaming and nerd conventions all over the world. In this session we share our unique approach to missions. We will challenge game designers to engage people on their level, learn to speak their language, and make more missionally-minded games. We will explore how our Savior ate, drank, and played with sinners and tax collectors and calls us to do the same.
(Beginner) Thursday 10:45a to Noon, Theater
Chris Skaggs / Soma Games
"Toward a Christian Art Aesthetic" [Art]
Chris Skaggs talks about a philosophy of art that seeks to embed the core Christian dogmas of ex-nihlo creation, a trinitarian Godhead and the Imago Dei and how Soma Games is seeking to embody such thinking for the Redwall universe.
(Beginner) Friday 9:15 to 10:30a, Classroom 3 Facebook Video
"Predators and Prey: Redwall Game Design around Scent and Stealth"
How do we approach a game mechanic like stealth that is typically defined by an Uber-predetor like Batman or Sam Fischer when the main character is in fact the prey? And how do specifically animal characteristics like scent impact core mechanics that are otherwise well-established tropes?
(Intermediate) Saturday 2:45p to 4:00p, Classroom 1
Drew Dixon / GameChurch
"The God Who Plays" [Design]
The story of the Bible begins and ends with play. In this session, Drew Dixon, editor-in-chief of Gamechurch.com unpacks not only the practical value of games but how they can be spiritual experiences. He challenges designers to make more playful games that connect players to their creator and to one another.
(Beginner) Saturday 10:45a to Noon, Classroom 1
Jeff Dotson / Planet 316 & Four Story Creative
"A Developers Journey" [Business]
How to survive 17 years being a Christian game developer and not give up.
From starting in an attic developing our first game title with 2 people to having a staff of 12. This talk is about the lessons learned over the years and the adjustments that we made to go from an expensive hobby to sustainable business model.
(Beginner) Friday 2:45p to 4:00p, Classroom 2 Facebook Video
Jeff White / Lifetree Family & Group Publishing
"Once Upon a Time There Was a Video Game: Writing an Irresistible Story" [Story]
A great story makes a great video game. This workshop will take you step by step through the story creation process, exploring how to weave a compelling narrative into engaging gameplay. Includes tips for dialogue, character / world development, and creativity.
(Intermediate) Saturday 10:45a to Noon, Classroom 2 Facebook Video
Joshua Larson / Numinous Games
"Searching for Christ in Christian Games" [Design]
The ministry of Jesus, and likewise the ministry of the Christian Church, is largely defined by defying expectation through extending grace to the sinner. Un-intuitively, it is hard to find videogames that feature this concept, so it's safe to say the gaming landscape needs more of them! We will look at both challenges standing in the way and past experiments that can guide an effort to fulfill this need.
(Beginner) Friday 9:15a to 10:30a, Classroom 1
Julie Rollins / Gyroscope Books
"The Power of the Story" [Story]
Stories are a powerful way to convey ideas. Learn the simple elements and techniques for building a coherent and engaging story. This session will include hands-on practice so you can participate in the creative process of building a story.
(Beginner) Saturday 1:15p to 2:30p, Classroom 2
Justin Fox / Noroom LLC & Kingdom Arts
"Does my Game Look Lame or Too Christian?" [Art]
This is a discussion about Art direction in gaming for believers in Christ and how that distinction is significant. We'll be discussing common misconceptions about creative direction in the Body of Christ, and how to overcome these challenges. Also discussing how to partner WITH the Holy Spirit in the creative process. Practical steps to improve the overall art direction of your project will also be provided. There will be a bit of a Q&A later... we're going deep!
(Beginner) Friday 2:45p to 4:00p, Classroom 3
Kris Murray / KrisOnStrings
"Designing and Developing a 3D Adventure Game Using C# and Unity 3D" [Technology]
Co-presenting with Phil Conrod. In this session Phil and Kris will demonstrate how they designed and developed their 3D Exodus Bible Adventure Game step-by-step programming tutorial using Unity 3D and C#. They will briefly cover the Game Design Document (GDD) , 3rd Person Controller, User Control in the 3rd Person, Mini-map and World Maps, Actor Animation Controller, Dialogue System, Cinematics and Cut-scenes, Menu System and UI, Inventory Management, Building Levels, Game Music, Skybox Controller, Saving Player State, Quest Journal, Mini-games, Populating the Game World, Troubleshooting, Game Distribution and Community-Building. They will also be demoing a alpha game slice of the commercial PC & MAC 3D Adventure game based on Kris' historical Christian Adventure novel.
(Beginner) Friday 10:45a to Noon, Classroom 1 Facebook Video
Matthew Colón / Men on the Hill
"Designing Games to Reach Men's Hearts" [Inspiration]
It is easy to design games to reach men; the game industry has been doing this successfully for many decades. However, it is much more challenging to design games to reach men's hearts. If you are interested in creating content that resonates with men below the surface and leaves a lasting impact, we will be discussing ideas, inspirations, and pitfalls surrounding the topics of battle, adventure, women, and fatherhood.
(Beginner) Saturday 10:45a to Noon, Classroom 3
Melvin Claxton / Epic 4d & Premier 3d Animation
"Doing Business with Churches and Christian Organizations" [Business]
Mr. Claxton will share his experiences working with churches and religious organizations and Christian retailers across the country. He will address the financial opportunities and the many potential pitfalls of the Christian marketplace. He will focus on practical steps game developers can take to increase their likelihood of success in this market.
(Intermediate) Saturday 9:15a to 10:30a, Classroom 2
Michael Herrera / Break Ground Game Studio
"Year in Review 2016 - 2017" [Business]
For the third year in a row, Michael will provide updates and analysis of what's occurring in the Christian game space with information about the organization that is CGDC as well as games announced, released, and continuing since last year's conference.
(Beginner) Thursday 9:15a to 10:30a, Theater
Neil Sauvageau / Pixelight Games
"Indie Team Dynamics" [Business]
Co-presenting with Ray Wade. Neil and Ray will share their experiences as a virtual team working with 14 individuals to create Echo Dawn: Turning Tides, a Polynesian Fantasy RPG for PC and Consoles. They will explore what it means to be in good communication, using regular meetings, SCRUM, source control, and lots of google hangouts chat.They will share about their roles, how they collaborate and fulfill specific tasks each week to hit deadlines. They will also go over their journey to find the right artists, writer, composer and more to fill out the team and make an excellent game using Unreal Engine 4.
(Intermediate) Saturday 2:45p to 4:00p, Classroom 2
Nic Biondi / Soulareus Interactive
"Simplifying Unity with Messaging: You Won't Know How You Lived Without it!" [Technology]
Unity is an amazing engine and quick to learn largely because of the power of it's visual editor and component model. However, that power comes at a price: communication between scripts. If you've used Unity for even a short amount of time you've undoubtedly experienced this headache first-hand. There are many common solutions to this problem including "god classes", static managers, and the dreaded gameobject.find. Each of these methods has its place but few people know about the simplest and most powerful solution: Native c# messaging. In this workshop we will discuss how to add proper messaging to your game with only a few keystrokes. You won't know how you lived without it!
(Intermediate) Saturday 1:15p to 2:30p, Classroom 1 Facebook Video
Patrick Lysaght / Chara Games
"Finding the Fun!" (Ice Breaker) [Design]
This session contains three sections designed to build community within your area of expertise, spur creativity with a team game design exercise, and then discuss emerging issues within your genre of games (video, tabletop, and educational). The session will allow you to network across the conference, practice using a game design framework tools to help you find the fun in your designs, and develop approaches to problems within your particular styles of gaming.
(Beginner) Thursday 1:15p to 3:30p, Cafeteria / Expo Hall
Peter Venoit / LightHeart Labs and Christian Broadcasting Network
"Sparks, Combat Key Poses, and Screenshake: Animation Fundamentals to Boost Engagement" [Art]
Animation tips for both artists and programmers how to make your games communicate better stories and feel more alive! We'll cover a brief overview of Animation, both functional and aesthetic, in games and game development. Focus on 2D animation, but much will apply to a variety of game types including 3D.
Following a discussion, we will perform a workshop to create a small game animation: either Flourish FX, Jump animation, or screenshake depending on the audience vote.
(Beginner) Saturday 9:15a to 10:30a, Classroom 3 Facebook Video
Phil Conrod / BibleByte Games & Kidware Software
"Designing and Developing a 3D Adventure Game Using C# and Unity 3D" [Technology]
Co-presenting with Kris Murray. In this session Kris and Phil will demonstrate how they designed and developed their 3D Exodus Bible Adventure Game step-by-step programming tutorial using Unity 3D and C#. They will briefly cover the Game Design Document (GDD) , 3rd Person Controller, User Control in the 3rd Person, Mini-map and World Maps, Actor Animation Controller, Dialogue System, Cinematics and Cut-scenes, Menu System and UI, Inventory Management, Building Levels, Game Music, Skybox Controller, Saving Player State, Quest Journal, Mini-games, Populating the Game World, Troubleshooting, Game Distribution and Community-Building. They will also be demoing a alpha game slice of the commercial PC & MAC 3D Adventure game based on Kris' historical Christian Adventure novel.
(Beginner) Friday 10:45a to Noon, Classroom 1 Facebook Video
Rand Miller / Cyan Worlds
"Agenda in Games: A Discussion About Having a Message" [Inspiration]
Messages are tricky business. What is it that turns a beautiful desire to communicate truth into the nasty stench of an agenda. As the game industry matures, there is more potential for making a statement, or preaching a sermon. Is there a difference?
(Intermediate) Thursday 3:45p to 5:00p, Theater
Ray Wade / Pixelight Games
"Indie Team Dynamics" [Business]
Co-presenting with Neil Sauvageau. Ray and Neil will share their experiences as a virtual team working with 14 individuals to create Echo Dawn: Turning Tides, a Polynesian Fantasy RPG for PC and Consoles. They will explore what it means to be in good communication, using regular meetings, SCRUM, source control, and lots of google hangouts chats. They will share about their roles, how they collaborate and fulfill specific tasks each week to hit deadlines. They will also go over their journey to find the right artists, writer, composer and more to fill out the team and make an excellent game using Unreal Engine 4.
(Intermediate) Saturday 2:45p to 4:00p, Classroom 2
Rich Tanner / Abilene Christian University
"Thinking Fourth Dimensionally: Designing For Virtual Reality" [Technology]
Learn how developing for Virtual Reality is both different and the same as standard video game development. Rich Tanner will discuss his observations whilst creating VR content for both games and simulations, and how VR presents new challenges and ways to think about usability and immersion. Rich will also discuss some of the technology he has used, including Unity, SteamVR, Maya, Blender, the HTC Vive, and Android Cardboard VR.
(Beginner) Friday 1:15p to 2:30p, Classroom 1 Facebook Video
Roxanne Adams / SAGA
"That was Then, This is Now: Part 2" [Inspiration]
Roxanne will be continuing Scott's presentation from last year and sharing her life journey to understanding the challenges of improving interpersonal relationships.
(Beginner) Friday 10:45a to Noon, Classroom 3
Ryan Green / Numinous Games
"Beyond Choose Your Own Adventure: Crafting More Immersive Narratives" [Story]
Co-presenting with Amy Green. Ryan will be discussing the narrative approach and experimental journey the team at Numinous Games has been taking through the production of That Dragon, Cancer and their latest VR project, Untethered. First we’ll discuss how a designer’s view about God and how they see the world can affect the way designers craft interactive narratives. We’ll then share how we feel about the design and narrative decisions we made in That Dragon, Cancer and Untethered. Finally, we’ll talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the tools we’ve used to create our games from prototyping to production, including a technical deep dive into our use of Behavior Tree AI patterns for our latest experimental narrative.
(Intermediate) Friday 10:45a to Noon, Classroom 2
Stephen Weese / Marvelous Spiral Theater Inc
"Quality Voice Over: Not Optional" [Art]
How much do good voices mean to your game? Everything. Bring your story and characters to life through professional quality acting and production. Topics include: Approximate costs for budgeting. Using union talent and the current SAG strike. How NOT to do game voices. Benefits of quality voices for your game, common pitfalls, and how to do it right. It may not be as difficult as you think.
(Intermediate) Saturday 1:15p to 2:30p, Classroom 3
Thomas Henshell / Defiance Game Studio
"What Tolkien Can Teach Game Developers" [Inspiration]
How did Tolkien go from nerdy boy in South Africa to producing Lord of the Rings, with sales over 150 million copies, voted Britain’s best loved novel of all time, and creating/transforming an entire genre of literature? He is an orthodox Christian who is a respected giant in his field. We will explore key lessons and insights from Tolkien for all creatives: designers, artists, coders, and writers.
(Beginner) Saturday 2:45p to 4:00p, Classroom 3 Facebook Video
"How to Start a Successful Business (Including a Game Studio) Parts 1 & 2" [Business]
A mini-MBA in about 2.5 hrs. Based on everything I've learned in the last 18 years while starting six ventures: two have seven digit revenue and the rest have six-digit revenues. Business success isn’t just luck! These are sound foundational business principles that make any business successful including a game studio or game.
(Intermediate) Part 1 - Friday 9:15a to 10:30a, Classroom 2
Part 2 - Friday 1:15p to 2:30p, Classroom 2
"VR Panel" [Technology]
Moderated by Jon Collins of Kaio Interactive, this group will tackle VR topics from a variety of perspectives.
Expected panelists include Jonathan Hogins of Unity, Rand Miller of Cyan Worlds, Rich Tanner of Abilene Christian University, Nathan Jelli-Blair of Uforia, and Ben Myers of Inner City Movement.
(Intermediate) Friday 2:45p to 4:00p, Classroom 1
"CGDC Small Groups: Results of a 1 Year Experiment"
Moderated by Thomas Henshell of Defiance Games.
Last year a grand experiment was born: CGDC Small Groups. A small group focused on accountability and "Iron sharpening Iron" in game development. This panel will share what we did, how it went (good and bad), and allow you to hear directly the participant's experiences. A new batch of groups will start up this Fall and signups for this year will follow after the panel.
(Beginner) Saturday 4:00p to 5:00p, Cafeteria/ Expo Hall
2017 CGDC Games Cup
Jii Vasquez / Nintendo Technology Development Inc
"2017 CGDC Games Cup"
Jii will be hosting the popular contest where you show your games skills, knowledge and possibly risk embarrasment to vie for the top-scoring team. Arguably more fun for the spectators! Join in regardless of your role.
(Beginner) Friday 7:30p to 9:00p, Cafeteria / Expo Hall
Amy Green was a contributing writer, narrative designer and voice actor for That Dragon, Cancer, a video game created about her son Joel’s battle with cancer. She continues to work for Numinous Games as a writer and game designer on the studio's current projects. In addition to her work in the video game industry, she is a freelance writer, speaker, and the proud mother of four children in addition to Joel.
Brian Jeffreys is the CTO at nonPareil Institute, a working software company for adults with autism spectrum disorders. A 20 year software engineer at Texas Instruments and start-up technologist at TeacherTube, Brian brings energy and experience to the software and gaming markets. His first game, “The Admiral’s War,” was written using an Apple 2e in 1982. He has 5 science fiction titles on Amazon, including co-authoring the companion book to the newly launched nP game title, “Lightwire.” Brian has an adult son with Autism who attends nonPareil Institute as a full-time 3D Modeler and animator and has been featured on CNN, NPR, and appeared in the documentary, “Programming Hope.” Brian and his wife Carol of 31 years serve in their local church and have recently returned from a mission trip to Anchorage Alaska.
Brock Henderson is lead programmer at Numinous Games. Before joining Numinous, he co-founded the mobile game studio Elevate Entertainment and the design firm Paper Tower, where he served as creative director.
Chris Gwaltney has been in full-time ministry most of his adult life. Chris spent 7 years as a worship and associate pastor. He has always had a heart for doing ministry differently to reach people that no one is reaching. He has also been a gamer since the age of 4. His grandparents got him and his brother a NES for Christmas, much to the chagrin of his parents. In 5th grade, he put a Sega Genesis on layaway at K-mart and slowly paid it off with his $10/week allowance money. To this day, it remains one of his only life’s regrets because of all the great RPGs he missed out on for SNES. In 2013, when Chris found out about Gamechurch, he knew his great love for Jesus and burning passion for video games were colliding. He went on his first video game missions trip with Gamechurch to Phoenix Comicon in 2013. He didn’t know this at the time, but he was actually the first-ever missionary with Gamechurch! Shortly after this, Chris and his wife Ashley moved from Arizona to California to take on the role of Missions coordinator for Gamechurch. In just 3 years, the missions program grew from 6 people to 150! In July 2016, Chris was placed in the captain’s chair and named the new Director of Gamechurch.
Chris Skaggs is an 18 year veteran of the web and mobile software industry. The found and CEO of both Code-Monkeys and Soma Games LLC, Chris has delivered software applications to some of the country’s most discerning clients such as Intel, Four Seasons, Comcast, MGM and Aruba Networks. In addition to corporate customers, Code-Monkeys and Soma Games have programmed many casual and mid-core games for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Mac/PC platforms. A Black Belt in Intel’s Software Developer Network, Christ also writes and speaks on topics surrounding the rapidly changing mobile application environment at venues like GDC Next, CGDC, Casual Connect, TechStart, Serious Play, and AppUp Elements. Soma Games acquired the rights to produce games based on the wildly popular Redwall series of books.
Drew Dixon is the editor-in-chief of GameChurch.com, a site dedicated to exploring the spiritual side of vidoegames and co-host of the GameChurch Podcast where he interviews videogame developers about their spiritual beliefs. He is also the lead editor for Explore the Bible Students at LifeWay Christian Resources. He also hosts the Christ and Pop Culture Digest and writes about video games for WORLD Magazine and Paste Magazine. He has written extensively about videogames and the Christian world view for many sites including Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, and Think Christian. You can follow him on Twitter @drewdixon82.
Jeff Dotson, VP / Creative Director, is a futurist who reaches rising generations through interactive and digital languages. Continually developing robust, accessible, innovating user experiences techniques and forming agile development processes. A career-long change agent and digital pioneer in software development, since 1996 Jeff has experience developing Interactive media from multiple roles. He has been responsible for conception, planning, and oversight of design implementation for numerous shipped games across a wide spectrum of platforms and genres.
Jeff has worked hard over the years to partner with forward-thinking brands to deliver innovative Content, Apps, Campaigns, Communications platforms and Commerce Solutions that maintain the highest levels of brand integrity in the digital, mobile and social landscape. With years of experience and deep knowledge of the digital space, Jeff acts as a liaison for Four Story Creative’s strategic partners and global brands to create "state-of-the-art" digital media properties.
Jeff White serves as the development champion for Group Publishing in Loveland, Colorado, where he’s responsible for creating and writing new products, both print and digital. He’s the co-creator of Buddy Quest, a mobile-based video game that helps kids learn and practice virtues, as well as Gabbit, a series of family conversation apps. He’s also the author of the Friends With God Story Bible, due to release in September 2017.
Jii Vasquez is in the Product Development group at Nintendo, where he works with internal teams and 3rd party companies to get products working, shipped, and updated. He also works on improving software tools and designing new product prototypes. He also does brand ambassador and performance work for Nintendo's media events, and he loves his job.
Jii holds a B.S. in Real-Time Interactive Simulation with a minor in Computer Engineering at DigiPen, where he co-developed a handheld game system, and a classroom was named after it. He also held a pretty low GPA. He is published in the book Game AI Pro, and is completing his M.S. in Computer Science with a focus in AI for games.
Jii lives in the Seattle eastside with his lovable pup, Connor, and some gold-hearted friends. He loves dancing, nature walks, and home-grown veggies. He is a dance fitness instructor licensed for Zumba and Zumba Kids, and he's held staff positions at multiple churches. Jii finds that game development offers a unique way of appreciating and understanding God's creation work. He is passionate about edification, and encouraging craftsmanship in the game industry.
Joshua Larson's goal is to use the medium of videogames to invite players to experience the awe and wonder of God's relentless, unconditional love for humanity. He is a designer, programmer, and director with 12 years of professional experience developing videogames, VR, and Augmented Reality for game players, researchers, and faith-based audiences. He currently co-leads Numinous Games, known for its award-winning “That Dragon, Cancer”, and resides in Iowa on a hobby farm with his loving wife Jessie and two children.
Julie Rollins is the author of the Vadelah Chronicles, a Christian science fiction series with 17 published novels (and more on the way). She graduated with a BA in Art from CSULB. Julie and her husband David live in Woodinville WA with their three daughters. She also holds a commercial pilot's license, home-schooled her daughters through high school, taught various classes at her church and sings on the worship team. Along with writing stories, she enjoys composing music using FL Studios, and creating digital art with Photoshop. She has a passion to see people use their gifts and talents for God.
Justin Fox is an Indie, African-American, Christian Game Developer that diligently explores the possibility of incarnating uplifting spiritual truth through better game design via world building, characterization, compelling narrative, audio experiences and visual techniques. He is the founder of the Kingdom Arts movement which promotes Christian artists whose work is Spirit-led and demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit. He also serves as Assistant Pastor of the non-denominational Feasts of God church in Lexington, Kentucky.
Kris Murray is 35 years old and currently resides in Folsom, California. He regularly attends weekly worship services at a non-denominational church where he helps out with music, playing violin and viola. He is also a member of Bible Study Fellowship where he volunteers teaching the Bible in the children's program. He's been a software engineer for a leading tech Fortune 500 technology company developing internal SW tools and Windows device drivers for over 10 years. Additionally, Kris, his wife, and son, enjoy biking, hiking, and camping in the outdoors at the many natural wonders local to Northern California and beyond.
Matt Colón is a software developer who has had a passion for video games from a young age, and he soon desired to develop games of his own. Despite feeling called to this by God in college, his direction became unclear after hearing first hand about the crunch culture of the gaming industry and the effect it has on marriages. It was not until Minecraft opened his eyes to the viability of small indie teams and digital distribution that he fully understood where God would be leading him someday. While taking steps towards his calling, Matt leads Men on the Hill, the men's ministry at his church, is enjoying marriage with his wonderful wife, Katie, and raising his three children to be the next generation of gamers.
Melvin Claxton, the senior managing partner and founder of Epic 4D LLC, is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and the creator of the Great Bible Race video game. In his role at Epic 4D, a Michigan-based educational video game company, Mr. Claxton oversees the development of all new games and apps. He and his team are currently working on several major releases for later this year and early next year, including an online virtual chemistry lab, expected to be the largest in the world.
Michael Herrera was born in Anaheim, California next to Disneyland, which he always maintains was a sign that he belonged in the entertainment industry. His interest in video games began during his childhood, just as video games were emerging as a popular new form of entertainment; his first video game was the original King’s Quest by Sierra Online.
Prior to entering the game industry, Michael obtained a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies at the University of Maine Fort Kent. Almost a decade later, Michael obtained a second degree (Bachelor of Art) in Game Design at Collins College and thereafter moved to the Seattle area to pursue working in the game industry. Michael currently works at Barnes and Noble while pursuing his game development aspirations part-time as an independent game creator for Break Ground Game Studio.
Born and raised near Pasadena, California, Neil Sauvageau has been playing video games since the age of 4, starting with Pong and Super Mario. Neil currently lives in Kona, Hawaii, where he founded Pixelight Games and is currently working for GVS Accelerator which helps Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs to launch original transmedia franchises. Neil has worked with avid L. Cunningham and his team for the last 7 years assisting with the startups of Global Virtual Studios, and Honua Studios. He is passionate about his family, bringing transformational content to pop culture and working with an outstanding team on the second game in the Echo Dawn series.
God lover, encourager and Code Monkey, Nic Biondi founded Soulareus Interactive, making indie games ever since 2013. He's also a serial game jam junkie and Unity zealot. Nic is currently working on ArchMage Rises, "The best RPG Ever".
Patrick Lysaght is a Christian, husband, father, military member, and game designer. In 2014, he started Chara Games to build games that create joy by developing relationships with God and people. To date, Chara Games has successfully Kickstarted and produced three games. Commissioned is a cooperative game about the early church, released in Jan 2016, and has sold approximately 3,200 copies. 3 Seeds is a light strategy game about reaping and sowing that released in Nov 2016. UNAUTHORIZED is a team game of deduction and influence about the underground church, and releases this fall. Pat and Kat have been married 15 years, have 4 children, and just relocated to Wichita Falls, TX.
I, Peter Venoit, am a husband and new dad with aspirations of creating games with heart. When I find the time, you can find me working on digital art or coding, depending on how many cups of coffee that day. I lead youth ministry (grades 1-5) where I find great joy in sharing the love and hope of Jesus. There's nothing better than getting kids excited to serve the Lord!
Professionally, I have experience in animation, visual effects, and web design/development. In my pursuit to make gamedev a full-time venture, I am currently developing my skills on a handful of projects including my passion project: "The Guarding of Eden." Eden is a couch co-op adventure game set in post-Fall Eden. In February 2017 I released my first game "Rodger Dodge" (a cartoony arcade game where you try to Get Hit by dodgeballs) on iOS and Android. I love everything about the learning process and enjoy sharing what I've learned with others. I'm excited to participate in my first CGDC and look forward to the amazing things we all create!
Philip Conrod has published dozens of computer games and step-by-step game programming tutorial textbooks over the past 35 years. His step-by-step game programming tutorial textbooks are used in schools all over the world to teach computer programming to beginners. Philip Conrod holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and a Master’s certificate in the Essentials of Business Development from Regis University. He has also served in various Information Technology leadership roles in companies like Sundstrand Aerospace, Safeco Insurance, FamilyLife, Kenworth Truck Company, and PACCAR Inc. Today, Philip currently serves as the Chief Information Officer for a $2B manufacturing company based in Seattle, Washington and in his spare time, Philip serves as the President & Publisher of Kidware Software and BibleByte Books & Games in Maple Valley, Washington.
Rand Miller comes from the trailblazer end of the video game industry - meaning he has gray hair. He co-founded Cyan with brother Robyn about 30 years ago with the release of The Manhole - an award winning world for kids. Since then his company has managed to create everything from small mobile apps to massively multiplayer online games, including the bestsellers Myst and Riven, and Cyan's latest release - Obduction. His passion is discovery, and when he's not exploring the real world with his wife, he's contemplating ideas of strange new places that can be explored virtually.
Ray Wade is a game designer hailing from Redmond, Washington. In 2007, he graduated from the Art Institute of California, Orange County with a major in Game Art and Design. Ray has worked on titles such as Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants: Globs of Doom, Disney Pixar's Cars: Race O’ Rama, Disney's Club Penguin, and more. He has filled roles such as Game Designer, Level Designer, Camera Designer, and Design Director. Ray's most recent project includes a Strategy RPG with Pixel Light Games. Ray's pursuit is to work on quality projects, and to collaborate with professionals that strive towards a main goal: make meaningful games that are fun and entertaining.
Rich Tanner is a Clinical Professor of Digital Entertainment Technology at Abilene Christian University, where he teaches 3D modeling, animation, and software development to aspiring game developers and content creators. Prior to his return to academia, Rich worked for several years in the technology and financial services industries, developing daily-use productivity & financial applications and performing research and exploration into the viability of various emerging technologies. Rich has a passion for digital creation, usability, and generally fun projects, including anything to do with Virtual and Augmented Reality systems and applications. He is currently working on a simple VR game for the HTC Vive with a team of former students and protégés, scheduled to release in the Fall of 2017.
Roxanne Adams, wife of Scott Adams, mother of 5 children and 10 grandchildren, has worked at Allstate Insurance Company, been a Pastor and Lay Pastor, and homeschooled children. She is currently a homemaker and happily retired.
Ryan Green is an artist and videogame designer, currently focused on creating narrative VR experiences. Ryan currently serves as Head of Narrative for Numinous Games, a studio he co-founded. Numinous Games first title, That Dragon, Cancer, was created as a poetic memorial to Ryan and his wife Amy's third son Joel, and Joel's fight against terminal brain cancer.
Stephen Weese is a professional film and voice actor, as well as a writer, director and producer. He is known for his voice roles in anime and video games, including Hellsing Ultimate and Samurai Heroes. Stephen co-produced the English dub for the anime Kick-Heart, and wrote, produced and starred in the live action feature sci-fi film, Altered Spirits. He does sword fighting as well, as can be seen in the film Legend of the Red Reaper. He is a lifelong believer who has been in Christian ministry for over a decade. He founded the Christian geek group Fans for Christ and is the author of God Loves the Freaks. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he also teaches Java Coding and History of Video Games at a film college.
Thomas Henshell took the scenic route to game dev through enterprise software. In the early 2000s he helped build Canada's largest ecommerce site and in 2005 founded a tech consulting firm building award winning mobile solutions for fortune 500 companies. In 2012 Thomas retired from biz software to pursue games. But God had other plans and threw some other ventures his way including a tabletop gaming store, a grocery store, and a discount fashion store. Thomas is now exploring new territory in AI, emergent story, and procedural generation with Archmage Rises: an RPG/simulator where the world and characters age with the passage of time. One thing that has driven him throughout his career: understanding the underlying principles (the "why") behind success and failure in different fields: business, entertainment, and art.