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Event Overview

Press A to Start is back, and bigger and better than ever! Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to grow Press A to Start 2019 into a full day game development conference! This year, our team is excited to bring you a larger showcase, featuring video games, board and tabletop games, VR projects, and portfolios from talented developers across the province, as well as seven distinct panels on different topics in game development, such as UX Design, VR and Real-Time Rendering, Character Design, Building Your Brand, and more!

 

Whether you’re a student or someone just starting out, a developer already in the industry, or someone who just loves games and is curious about how they’re made, Press A to Start 2019 has something in store for you! Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Join us for a night of celebration and community-building! Tickets are available on Eventbrite. 

Don’t forget to follow #PressAtoStart and @macewangamedev for news and updates!

Panels

Are you interested in a career in game development? Are you unsure of where and how to start, or what opportunities are available to you? Join our table of expert panelists as they share their stories of how they got their start in their careers, as well as a look into the day-to-day of what their roles entail, and how this may change throughout the development process. Our panelists will share tips and tricks on how to build a portfolio, what skills you may need to work on depending on your discipline, and more!

Panelists:

Ron Dazo – Audio Artist (BioWare)

Nick Sadler – Senior Technical Artist (Improbable)

Jen Cheverie – Associate Producer (BioWare)

Katrina Barkwell – Programmer (BioWare)

Don Moar – Lead Programmer (BioWare)

All games, whether they are analog or digital, are designed experiences that require hundreds of hours of research, iteration, and testing to create a product that is smooth, intuitive, and accessible to everyone. Our panelists will talk shop about the different ways we can approach and execute UX design in games, such as how accessibility affects their approach to design, as well as how to get from prototyping to final product, and the formulation of mechanics, theme, and other components in the games we love to play.

Panelists:

Charles Cue – Game Designer (White Ravens Games)

Roberta Taylor – Game Design Consultant (Freelance)

Åsa Roos – Principal UX Designer (BioWare)

What sets video games apart from other mediums like books, TV shows, and movies? Immersion. Unlike other formats, video games allow players to be active participants rather than passive observers. Join our panelists as they discuss what it means to build immersion into your game, and how the different elements of a game (level design, narrative, art, sound, gameplay, etc) come together to create a cohesive experience that is unique to video games as a medium.

Panelists:

Emily Taylor – Senior Level Designer (BioWare)

Carson McConnel – Narrative Designer (Beamdog)

Jeremie Voillot – Director of Audio (BioWare)

Scott Carmichael – Artist/Producer 

Putting together a killer portfolio or working on the next big game idea is only half the battle. It’s not enough to just have the skills—you need to get people to notice you! Whether you’re an individual looking to land that dream job, or a developer or team looking to sell your game, building a brand isn’t just good for business, it’s vital for growing and cultivating a community around you and your work.

Panelists:

Kelly Froese – Founder (Edmonton Nerd List)

Rebecca “MostlyBex” Deveau – Community Manager (Edmonton Twitch)

Lidi Giroux – Communications Manager (East Side Games)

Erik Johnson – President (Infinite Monkeys Entertainment)

Scott MacArthur – Director (Direct-Play)

Creating compelling, memorable characters can be a critical step in the game development process. Characters are a way for players to interact with the game world and learn about new and different perspectives, and can even act as an avatar for people to find or see themselves or others represented. This panel will explore the process of designing characters, specifically in how we can be more thoughtful, diverse, and inclusive in designing the characters in the games we make and the ways in which players can interact with them.

Panelists:

Loves Hues Game – Indie Developer 

Brianne Battye – Writer (BioWare)

Lukas Kristjanson – Senior Writer (BioWare)

Vlada Monakhova – Illustrator and Concept Artist 

  • This panel is an in-depth, technical discussion that focuses on VR and the challenges of real-time rendering, and how these challenges affect the pipelines of both artists and programmers working in VR. The discussion will also discuss the difficulties associated with rendering a full VR world in real time, as well as the differences and similarities between developing for VR versus traditional displays.

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Panelists:

Allyson Cikor – CEO & VR Developer (Simulacrum Interactive)

Reanna Hamill – Lead Artist (Serious Labs)

Dayna Lacoursiere – Lead Programmer (Serious Labs)

Alberta has a thriving and growing indie development scene. Not only are there successful developers, teams, and companies in different places throughout the province, there is also more support and avenues of support for developers to access to help augment their success. This roundtable discussion will explore the culture, challenges, and community of indie development in Alberta, as well as talk about the different resources that are available.

Panelists:

Logan Foster – Artist | Instructor (Max Gaming Technologies | Edmonton Digital Arts College)

Kaelyn Boyes – President (XGen Studios)

Patrick Kelly – CEO (Cubic Timeline Production)

Tristan Chambers – Programmer (Independent)

Craig Pfau – Community Evangelist (Alberta Makes Games)

The Showcase Floor

Are you curious about the wider game development community and what they have to offer? Our showcase has expanded beyond Edmonton and now includes developers from Calgary and Lethbridge. Alberta has a rich game development community which encompasses video games, board and table top games, as well as VR development. Make sure to check out our showcase to see what projects Albertan developers have to offer this year!

Our Sponsors and Partners

Press A to Start would not be possible without support from the community, as well as our valued sponsors and partners. Thank you for your support!

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