GAMEDEV ATLANTIC RETURNS TO HALIFAX

Speakers

Our line-up of industry experts and thought leaders.

Programming

A full day of programming with topics including careers, working with publishers, crafting IP, UI/UX and more!

Tickets

Tickets are limited so get yours now.

Join industry professionals in one of Canada’s fastest growing video game hubs!

Whether you’re already in the industry, just starting out, or looking to join, GameDev Atlantic is your opportunity to network, share knowledge, support emerging talent, expand our industry, and present our rapidly expanding sector on a global stage.

Join the industry at ShiftKey Labs, 6050 University Ave in Halifax on May 4th to connect with business executives, students, developers, and educators in a shared vision to grow our industry and prepare for the future.

Featuring:

    • Conference – gain insights from leading industry professionals through expert-led presentations and panels.
    • Exhibitors – meet our local industry and check out some of the amazing games designed and built right here in Atlantic Canada.
    • Networking – the industry is the people, and these people are amazing! Connecting with other industry professionals is not only fun, it creates the foundation to build future opportunities.
    • Indie Showcase – celebrating the Atlantic Region’s vibrant game development community. To learn more or nominate a studio or game click here.
    • VIP cocktail mixer – unwind and mingle with fellow VIPs for an exclusive evening at the Grawood.

Join as a Sponsor

We’re excited to offer partnership opportunities for sponsors. Elevate your brand while supporting the growing Atlantic video game sector!

Quick details

  • EVENT TYPE: Video Game Conference
  • LOCATION: ShiftKey Labs, 6050 University Ave, Halifax, NS
  • DATE: May 4th, 2024
  • TICKETS: Range from $20 to $65 CAD. Click here to get your ticket.

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CONNECT WITH AND LEARN FROM THE BEST

GameDev Atlantic is a full day conference featuring expert-led presentations and panels, industry insights, skill enhancement, and career advice.

  • Networking Opportunities: Connect with business executives, developers, educators, and emerging talent, forging valuable relationships that build business and open opportunities.
  • Expert-led Presentations and Panels: Delve into the latest industry insights with a series of sessions designed to enlighten and inspire. Whether you’re looking to enhance your technical skills or explore the business side of game development, there’s something for everyone.
  • Skill Enhancement: Gain actionable advice and learn new strategies to push your capabilities further, and prepare for the future.
  • Career Advancement: Whether you’re just starting out or ready for more, don’t miss the chance to learn from seasoned professionals, gather career advice, and discover new paths within the video game industry.

PROGRAMMING

TimeTalk/PanelDescription
10:00 AMPanel: JourneysJoin a panel of industry professionals as they discuss their unique paths into the video game industry.
Featuring: Daniel Nascimento, Director of Bitten Toast Games Inc., Matthew Doucette, CEO of Xona Games Inc, Abigail Evans, 2D/3D Artist at Alpha Dog Games | Bethesda, and Jeff Mundee, Chief Design Officer and Co-founder of Reframe Games.
10:40 AMTUNIC: This Was Here The Whole TimeTUNIC creator Andrew Shouldice talks about the game's development, the value of mystery, and techniques you can use to make your game feel like it always has one more secret, just around the corner.
11:20 AMBumps In The Road: How to Dodge Disaster When Taking Part in Game JamsInterested in joining a game jam with your friends? Curious about finding others online to help you build out that competition winning concept? Woah there! You might just be driving towards a cliff edge of calamity! If only you had turned left at 'Scope Creep St', dodged 'Bad Communication Bvd', or skipped the pit stop at 'Misjudged Expectations', then maybe your ride would have been smoother. Seasoned jammer and senior game designer Kai is here to help you navigate those bumps in the road as he shares his personal experience of gathering with teams to create awesome dreams. With Kai McGilligan Oliver, Freelance Senior Game Designer.
11:40 AMMuseum of Industry / Indie SpotlightTBA
12:00 PMBreak for LunchBreak
1:00 PMKeynote: Where should I open my studio – Comparing Operating Costs in 20 Cities around the world.Serge Landry, International Sales Lead Multimedia at Ayming Canada, will present his updated study (2024) showing the scenario results of putting together a small team of 10 people in game development to implement a new studio "somewhere" by analyzing the median salaries for these positions in the selected cities, the social benefits to be paid in this jurisdiction and the effects of Tax incentives like IDM and R&D Tax Credits in 20 cities ultimately informing the best "cost wise" location for this studio.
1:40 PMWe Have Sonic at Home: Crafting IP in MinecraftKnown for our high-quality content, Gamemode One is a premium partner within Minecraft's Creator Platform.
Alongside our original intellectual property (IP) we have created many licensed experiences that leverage world-renowned IP into Minecraft, including Dreamworks’ “How To Train Your Dragon”, Nickelodeon’s “Avatar” and SEGA’s “Sonic the Hedgehog".
In this talk, we will dive into our process of how we translate these IPs into Minecraft, adapting them to fit within the game's unique aesthetics and mechanics to create hit content that players love. Presented by Tian Figg, Executive Producer at Gamemode One.
2:00 PMUI/UX and Accessibility: UI, Video Games, and making both more Inclusive for our audiences.Accessibility in gaming has become an exciting topic in recent years, and is having a far-reaching impact on the industry today. In this presentation we will discuss UI, Video Games, and how we can make both more inclusive to a wider audience. Presented by Tina Micklethwaite, UI Designer at Ubisoft Halifax.
2:40 PMRetro Mobile Games: Preserving a History That is Quickly DisappearingWe're now entering an era where a significant portion of mobile gaming history is being lost. You cannot go into your closet, grab an old iPhone 4, dust it off and play the classics. Gaming history is being lost and a lot of amazing games were made prior to push to games as a service are going the way of the dodo.

Iron Fox's careers were born at the advent of the App Stores, and now we're spending our resources and time to try and preserve our history. This talk will be one part history lesson, one part call to action and one part bringing these classics to a new audience. Presented by Ryan Filsinger, CEO and Founder of Iron Fox Games.
3:00 PMPanel: TBATBA
Featuring Dan Dunford, Senior 3D Artist at Ubisoft Halifax, Abigail Evans, 2D/3D Artist at Alpha Dog Games | Bethesda, and Leonid Romanov, Lead Artist, Animator, and Producer at Pink Moon Studios.
3:40 PMCreative Realms: Navigating Artistic Expression and Control in AI SystemsAs video game developers continue to embrace AI systems, they must also consider how to regulate these powerful tools that "innovate" or "create" autonomously without human direction or intervention. Copyright laws and legal protections have often focused on humans and their role as innovators, authors, or creators, but in the world of generative art, how do we maintain an ethical standard for art creation that is partly automated? Since developers cannot always control the output an AI tool, how do we train these tools to scrape data that has been ethically sourced? While artists can pay for patents or watermark their work, they are often at risk of copyright infringement. As of March 2023, the US Copyright Office said they will only consider an AI-generated work copyrightable if a human can prove that they put a meaningful amount of creative effort into the final content. This dispute makes it challenging to try to compensate individual artists, since there is no clear way of knowing whether an AI model has used significant components of existing art to generate new art. Therefore, for companies both large and small, there should be more of an emphasis on the human individual’s invaluable creativity and well-roundedness in the development and utilization of AI models. Presented by Judy Ehrentraut, PhD, Creative Content Strategist at Red Meat Games.
4:00 PMJumping the Fence: Traversing into Games User Research from AcademiaUser Research and playtesting has become an increasingly ingrained and valued part of the game development cycle over the last decade. As a result, careers in user research have become more widely available, allowing more avenues into the games industry that do not rely on coding experience. Familiarizing ourselves with the skills valued by this field can help us best position ourselves and discover our niche within it, and these skills are widely available throughout academic psychology research. Thus, in this talk I provide an overview of the intersection between user research and psychology research, and highlighting the relevant skills gained in academic contexts that can bridge research process gaps and encourage best practices in the games user research field. Presented by Dr. Chanel Larche, PhD, User Research Project Manager at Ubisoft Halifax.
4:20 PMPanel: Working With Publishers - or NotA panel of industry veterans will discuss the optimal ways to work with publishers - or not. Featuring Pierre Moisan, Senior Advisor, Creative Industries at CEIM, John Nguyen, Canadian Regional Vice-President of Xsolla, John Henley, Partner – Business Development of Indie Games Services Ltd., and moderated by Will Perkins, Principal & Creative Director at CONTINUE.
5:00 PMENDThank you everyone for what will have been an amazing day!

GAMEDEV ATLANTIC 2024 SPEAKERS

Our line-up of industry experts:

Serge Landry

Serge Landry
International Sales Lead Multimedia
Ayming Canada

Serge joined Ayming Canada in June 2021 and leads the Sales for the Interactive Digital Media (multimedia) practice worldwide. He has been involved in the video game and the interactive digital media industry since 2011, when he co-founded Miralupa – a studio focusing on Augmented Reality games and experiences. Serge was an active member of the Board of Directors and interim General Manager of Alliance Numérique the trade association for Interactive Digital Media in Quebec as well as the CEO and Chairman of CIAIC (the Canadian trade association of Interactive Digital Media provincial associations) from 2012 to 2017. He was also the producer and Managing Director of MIGS, the largest Canadian B2B technical and creative conference for video games. He is one of the co-founders of La Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec and he is the Vice-President of the Board of the DigiHub in Shawinigan since 2014. He has previously been the spokesperson for the Quebec and Canadian video game industry at many international events.

Find Serge on LinkedIn

Andrew Shouldice
ISOMETRICORP Games Ltd.

TUNIC creator Andrew Shouldice will talk about the game’s development, the value of mystery, and techniques you can use to make your game feel like it always has one more secret, just around the corner.

Find Andrew on Mastodon, Bluesky

Serge Landry

Pierre Moisan, LL.B., M.A
Senior Advisor
Creative Industries at CEIM

A pioneer in the Canadian interactive entertainment industry, a seasoned manager and entrepreneur, Pierre Moisan has developed, over his twenty-five years in business, a sought after expertise before joining the CEIM team in 2015.

He acted as Vice-President of Megatoon (Behavior), CEO and founder of ArtMedia Studios and producer at Ubisoft. For nine years, he was also Vice-President Strategic & Business Affairs at Frima which became Canada’s largest independent studio with 450 employees.

Pierre Moisan has built a large network of contacts around the world, particularly in the field of new media and video games. Over the past few years, he has organized several trade missions abroad (North America, Europe, Asia, etc.). He chairs the Board of Directors of the Center for Development and Research in Digital Intelligence (CDRIN).

Pierre Moisan holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Université Laval (Université de Montpellier 1, fellow of the French Republic) as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, also from Université Laval (Dalhousie University, fellow of the Government of Canada).

Find Pierre on LinkedIn

Judy Ehrentraut, PhD
Creative Content Strategist
Red Meat Games

Judy Ehrentraut earned her PhD from the University of Waterloo in Digital Design. Her role at Red Meat Games involves high-level conceptualization of content, character building, gameplay, and interactive storytelling. Her background is in posthumanism, AI ethics, procedural gaming, VR, cyborgism, and smartphone culture.

Find Judy on LinkedIn

Serge Landry

Dr. Chanel Larche, PhD
User Research Project Manager
Ubisoft Halifax

Dr. Chanel Larche has a dedicated career researching videogames in both academic and industry settings , totalling 8+ years of hands-on experience. She currently works as a User Research Project Manager at Ubisoft Halifax supporting various titles including Rainbow Six Mobile. She received her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Waterloo where her work contributed to our understanding of the relation between immersive experiences (i.e., flow experience), emotion and motivation in humans during in the context of videogame play.

Find Chanel on LinkedIn

Kai McGilligan Oliver
Freelance Senior Game Designer

Kai (he/him) is a freelance senior game designer from the UK who found his way to Kjipuktuk/Halifax during the pandemic. He focuses on games and interactive experiences with ‘play-with-purpose’ at their heart. Projects he has worked on have won gold at the Serious Play Awards and Learning Technologies Awards, and his latest collaboration Drawing Up Dust is a finalist in the Just Play Jam competition. Kai also plays banjo, does weaving and collage, and runs an interactive theatre company BAGEL+BALLOON with his wife Francine.

Find Kai on Twitter, LinkedIn

Kai McGilligan Oliver
Serge Landry

Ryan Filsinger
CEO and Founder
Iron Fox Games

As the CEO and Founder of Iron Fox Games, I lead a team of talented game developers who partner with the world’s best game companies to create and launch innovative and engaging games. With a BA in Behavioral Science and over 16 years of video game industry experience, I have a deep understanding of how to design and deliver games that resonate with millions of players around the globe.

Before starting Iron Fox Games in 2022, I was the General Manager of Kabam Acadia, where I established and founded the PEI location, and was the Executive Producer of Transformers: Forged To Fight, a successful mobile game based on the popular franchise. I also worked as the Director of Live Service at Electronic Arts, where I managed the launch and operations of Star Wars: Rise To Power, a strategy game set in the iconic Star Wars universe and was the Lead Producer on The Simpson’s Tapped Out.

I am passionate about producing and directing high-quality creative content that meets and exceeds the expectations of both our clients and our fans.

Find Ryan on LinkedIn 

Jeff Mundee
Chief Design Officer and Co-founder
Reframe Games

A game designer with many years of experience in a wide range of game production specialties from project management to motion capture. This includes many serious, indie, educational, mobile games, gamification projects, and high budget projects like mission design for Sleeping Dogs, and work in many of the top selling game series from Electronic Arts in the mid 2000s. Now I am more focused on gamification, VR/AR, and games for good.

An instructor/ curriculum designer developing and delivering training for college and university level programs and courses on game production, design, and game studies for over fifteen years. This is supported by a wide range of experience and training in media production; from graphic design for national publications, to web development, LMS admin (D2L), film production, courseware development, and learning innovations.

Find Jeff on LinkedIn

Kai McGilligan Oliver
Serge Landry

Tina Micklethwaite
UI Designer
Ubisoft Halifax

Hello! My name is Tina, and I’m a Game UI Designer in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’ve been a part of the Maritime video game industry for more than fifteen years, and currently work at Ubisoft Halifax with some amazing people. To date I’ve worked on more than a dozen shipped games, with the latest being Assassin’s Creed: Rebellion, and Rainbow 6 Mobile. I’m especially passionate about Accessibility and Inclusion, and firmly believe that no matter who we are or what barriers we may face, everyone should be able to enjoy video games.

Find Tina on LinkedIn

Daniel Nascimento
Director
Bitten Toast Games Inc.

Daniel Nascimento is a full time indie game developer who turned his passion into a thriving indie career since 2016. Graduating from Vancouver Film School as a 3D Animator, he further honed his expertise with a master’s degree in Digital Media. Daniel’s journey took a unique turn as he learned programming independently and started making his own games, ultimately releasing 10 commercial games with other collaborators.

Find Daniel on Linkedin

Kai McGilligan Oliver
Serge Landry

Tian Figg
Executive Producer
Gamemode One

Tian Figg is the Executive Producer of the “Minecraft Online” Division of Gamemode One, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

She has been working within the Minecraft space for ten years, working primarily within Minecraft’s Creator Platform in partnership with Mojang Studios.

She has worked on a range of 3rd party games and experiences, and alongside Gamemode One she has had the opportunity to translate popular IP content into Minecraft based on franchises such as Dreamworks’ “How To Train Your Dragon”, Nickelodeon’s “Avatar” and SEGA’s “Sonic the Hedgehog”.

Find Tian on LinkedIn

John Henley
Partner – Business Development
Indie Games Services Ltd.

International partner relations and business development executive with 15 years of experience initiating and building long-term developer, publisher, and platform partnerships in video games. Through various experiences, John has balanced his drive to succeed with lessons learned along the way. Currently collaborating with some of the most talented development teams with game concept “Pitch” origination, polish, and representation.

Find John on LinkedIn

Kai McGilligan Oliver
Serge Landry

Matthew Doucette
CEO
Xona Games Inc

Matthew Doucette is the CEO of Xona Games Inc., an award-winning, indie game studio he co-founded with his twin brother. They make intensified, arcade-style, retro games. Their business, games, game engines, and themselves as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press.

Xona Games has won $190,000 in competitions. Xona Games titles have ranked #1 in Japan, become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 ratings in Japan. Xona Games technology (game engines) have been awarded for technical excellence. Matthew and his brother have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions — relating to the games they make.

Matthew’s other roles include: Board member and co-founder of Ignite Labs, an innovation hub that supports rural entrepreneurship. Xbox Ambassador Community Champion, with focus on inclusive gaming communities and advising Xbox. Faculty Chair of Game Development and Game Programming programs at NSCC.

Find Matthew on LinkedIn, Website

Abigail Evans
2D/3D Artist
Alpha Dog Games | Bethesda

Abigail Evans, a distinguished 2023 alumni of the NSCC Game Development program, is currently making waves as a 2D/3D artist at Alpha Dog Games. She was the recipient of a Silver Award from Skills Nova Scotia in 2022, underscoring her exceptional talent. With a strong foundation in traditional art, Abigail excels in the gaming industry, seamlessly integrating classical art techniques with contemporary digital artistry.

Find Abby on LinkedIn, ArtStation, MightyDOOM

Kai McGilligan Oliver
Serge Landry

John Nguyen
Canadian Regional Vice-President
Xsolla

John is a seasoned business developer, marketer and game developer, with close to 15 years of industry experience. He co-founded Stompy Bot Productions, a Canadian indie development studio which grew into an indie publisher, where he worked primarily as the company’s Senior Business Developer and Marketing Director, but also played a role in game production.

He then went on to co-found Turboplay, an indie-focused store platform where he acted as the COO. In between Stompy Bot and Turboplay, John also worked as a consultant with game related and technology clients.

Find John on LinkedIn

Dan Dunford
Senior 3D Artist
Ubisoft Halifax

Senior 3D Artist with a passion for modeling and texturing, high detailed environments, props, weapons and vehicles.

Fourteen years of experience working on AAA projects with studios including Ubisoft, Capcom Vancouver, Hothead Games, EA Vancouver, BioWare, Sony and Timbre Games.

Find Dan on LinkedIn, Artstation

Kai McGilligan Oliver
Serge Landry

Leonid Romanov
Lead Artist, Animator, and Producer
Pink Moon Studios

Leonid Romanov is a Lead Artist, Animator, and Producer with over 9 years of extensive experience in the gaming and educational industries. Currently working as a 2D Game Artist at Pink Moon Studios, he has contributed to the creation of visually stunning and engaging games. His diverse portfolio includes stand-alone game titles and over 150 educational mini-games and mobile apps. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated proficiency in collaborating with cross-functional and multinational teams, ensuring the successful delivery of projects from concept to release.

Find Leonid on Linkedin, Website

Will Perkins
Principal & Creative Director
CONTINUE

Will Perkins is a multi-hyphenate creative and marketing professional with nearly two decades of experience in the arts and entertainment space, including film, games, and design.

Will’s career in marketing has spanned agencies large and small, where he planned and executed campaigns for the likes of Universal Pictures, Mattel, LG, and Guinness. As a writer and editor, Will is the co-owner of Art of the Title, an online resource celebrating the unsung craft of title design in film, TV, and video games; and publisher of ThatShelf.com, a leading Canadian entertainment publication.

Since 2021, he has led CONTINUE, a creative marketing agency specializing in arts and entertainment that supports game studios such as Cococucumber, Games by Stitch, and Sinn Studio, production companies such as Raven Banner Entertainment and BLINK49, and brands like Reebok and Amazon with creative needs, consulting, and more.

Find Will on LinkedIn

Kai McGilligan Oliver

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