#PxP2018 Schedule

All times, sessions, and speakers are subject to change.

Saturday, July 28Sunday, July 29

Saturday, July 28

10:00 AM - 10:20 AM : Rules to Play By: Perspective

Rules to Play By selected 14 works to build dialog between the intersecting worlds of games and art. Come learn more about how these games fit into art history and how games can continue pushing boundaries of the art world.

Read more about the Rules to Play By art exhibition, featured in the PixelPop Festival Expo Hall!


10:30 AM - 10:50 AM : Using Music in Games: Legal Issues You Need To Know

An overview of music copyrights and hidden traps in licensing, including a discussion of public domain works, fair use, and an update on music reform laws. Q & A format.


11:00 AM - 11:20 AM : Game Accessibility: Four Key Features

According to the Census Bureau, nearly 1 in 5 people in the United States have some form of disability. Despite that, many games lack basic features that would expand their reach to this audience. Along with general best practices for accessibility, this talk will cover four key features: button remapping, colorblind modes, subtitles, and text options.


11:30 AM - 11:50 AM : Intimacy Games: Unlocking the Inner Heart of Fighting Games

A guided deep dive into how the mechanics and play of fighting games create intimacy between players despite the confrontational nature. Explore how the systems of the genre afford players for a broad palette for expression. Designer Jason Li proposes why and how we can repurpose the genre’s intimate heart for more than beating each other up.


12:00 PM - 12:20 PM : A Fireside Chat with Leah “Gllty” Hayes

Join Street Fighter e-sports champion Leah “Gllty” Hayes in an informal exploration of her career, the fighting game community, and the ways that game creators can design games to better support professional players. Q&A moderated by Jason Li.


1:00 PM - 1:20 PM : Small Communities, Big Power: Your Gaming Group Can Make a Difference

In gaming, we tend to focus on the large communities: gigantic streamers, YouTube stars, the like. But what about small groups like local clubs, small streamers, and regional conventions? Josh talks about the power in those small communities and how you can help yours make a positive difference in the world.


1:30 PM - 2:20 PM : Making Games Across Multiple Mediums

Sentinel Comics is the IP behind the card game and video game Sentinels of the Multiverse, the tactical miniatures game Sentinel Tactics, the tabletop roleplaying game Sentinel Comics the RPG, and the upcoming Sentinels of Freedom video game. It’s also the topic of the Letters Page podcast. But how did putting all of that together work? Game designer and storyteller Christopher Badell shares his experiences with making multiple games in one game world across card games, video games, tabletop RPGs, and even a podcast!


2:30 PM - 3:20 PM : Our Princess is in Another Castle: Feminism, Women, and the Game Industry

Moderated by Fox Smith of Superheroines, Etc.

In this session, we’ll discuss some of the issues women have faced in the game industry as content creators, game creators, players, and those being represented. We’ll look at how the industry has changed in recent history, and how we can work together for a better and more inclusive future of games.


3:30 PM - 3:50 PM : From Passion to Business

It’s great to make games for fun, but how about making them for a living? Jenny Gibbons will discuss her personal journey into founding a sustainable video game company, focusing on the challenges one might face and how to overcome them.


4:00 PM - 4:20 PM : Humanistic Game Design

There’s many different approaches to game design that can create a toxic relationship or benefit their players. Here’s a dive into 16 different patterns to be aware of and ideas for approaching how to make games that benefit your players.


4:30 PM - 4:50 PM : Personal Play: Games about Us

A discussion on sharing personal experiences through play and design. Emphasizing the intimacy of analog games, speakers Brianna and Jason propose how we can use abstraction or specificity to create interactive designs that speak to our lives.


5:00 PM - 5:50 PM : Experimental Aesthetics

Experimentation is key to extending the limits of an artform. Join us for this rapid-fire series of microtalks exploring how game creators experiment with different aesthetic forms within their projects. From art to audio to hardware design, we’ll explore how we can push ourselves as creators, and produce groundbreaking work that continues to inspire new creators in our wake.


Sunday, July 29

10:00 AM - 10:50 AM : What’s Phase 2? Legal, Marketing, and Publishing Strategies for your Game in Development!

Content creators are justifiably obsessed with the actual creation of their projects. That doesn’t leave much time for becoming an expert in marketing, finance, or legal issues. In this presentation and Q&A, Ross and Tom will break down and explain the non-development basics of incorporating your business, legally protecting your work, making social media work for you, the pros and cons of publishers, and much much more!


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM : Building healthy communities through content creation

The internet can be a volatile place — as creators of games and game content, how can we build healthy online communities that support not only the work we do, but also each other and the world around them? This panel of experienced gaming content creators will explore the ways they’ve been able to encourage healthy attitudes and interactions among their communities, in order to build a healthy online atmosphere around their work and beyond.


12:00 PM - 12:20 PM : Game Design Workshop

This session will explore what it means to be a game designer, as well as other roles of game development, followed by a short pen and pencil design brainstorm activity.


1:00 PM - 1:20 PM : Welcome Home: Utilizing Matterport to Craft an Indie Horror Game

Join filmmaker Taryn Westphale and game developer Colin Robinson in a discussion regarding their interactive thesis film, The Bell Garden. The pair will detail the technologies (such as Matterport) and processes utilized for development of the project, as well as the importance of collaboration between varying industries.


1:30 PM - 2:20 PM : Being a Cupcake in a Doughnut World: Understanding and Combating Bias

Unconscious biases affect our perceptions, decisions, and interactions every day. They’re the biases that we don’t actively realize that we have. How do we address biases if we don’t know about them? We’ll discuss how can change the way you act today to actively work towards countering bias!


2:30 PM - 2:50 PM : Building Sustainable Game Dev Communities

Collectives and communities have sprung up in cities all over the world to help bring creators together, but starting them, running them, making them sustainable, and making them inclusive are each unique challenges that you will have to be prepared to face if you want your community to thrive. This talk will cover (and offer practical solutions for) the different difficulties faced in small, large, and metropolitan-scale communities; will deal with the practicalities of funding and finance; and will address volunteering, codes of conduct, event structure, and other endeavours you can take to make your community approachable and inclusive.


3:00 PM - 3:20 PM : Cute Dogs and Comfort Zones: Designing For Empathy

CW: Euthanasia

Games are an excellent medium for creating empathy in an audience, but doing so can cause unique design challenges. The designers of To The Rescue, an upcoming dog shelter simulator, faced these very problems in trying to make a difference while maintaining positive player motivation. This talk will cover “the euthanasia experience,” why representing reality is important in our game when awareness is involved, and the difficulty of walking the fine line between creating empathy and pushing players to the edge of their comfort zones.


3:30 PM - 4:20 PM : Designing Games, As If Story Mattered

In this interactive session, Lisa Brunette draws on her decade-long career focus in narrative design and game writing to tackle a thorny question that really shouldn’t be so thorny: Why does story matter? You’ll design your own game narrative and come away with do’s and don’ts based on a wealth of development experience across hundreds of games.


4:30 PM - 4:50 PM : Collaboration & Communication: It’s Cool!

Collaboration is fun, rewarding, and ultimately, it’s hard work.
Whether you’re telling collaborative stories, making a video game, or making music as part of an ensemble, understanding healthy communication and collaboration skills will make your team stronger and increase the odds of successfully finishing a project.

This talk will cover several useful communication tools, ways to manage large collaborative projects, and how to know when a collaboration will be fruitful.


5:00 PM - 5:50 PM : Celebrating Unique Games

Moderated by Carol Mertz, Executive Director of PixelPop Festival

As the game industry grows, we have begun to see more experimentation and maturation of the technology, themes, and social impact of games. This panel will reflect on the ways that experimentation, accessibility, and unique approaches to play are helping games evolve as an expressive commercial medium. Together, we’ll explore our hope for games as we work together to push the industry forward.