Leigh Alexander is editor-in-chief of Offworld, Boing Boing’s counterculture games vertical dedicated to unsung voices and alternative movements in the field. As longtime editor-at-large for game industry news site Gamasutra, she contributed game criticism, design analysis, industry trend editorial, and interviews with developers. In addition to columns in games specialist press outlets like Edge, Kotaku and Polygon, her work has also appeared in Slate, The Atlantic, Paste, The New Statesman, The Guardian, The New Inquiry, the Columbia Journalism Review, TIME and others. She is the author of Breathing Machine and Clipping Through, two ebooks on tech and identity, and she frequently speaks at schools, festivals, conferences and other events on games for social good, often with a feminist lens. She’s also co-founder of Agency, a game design and communications consultancy.
Francesco is Principal Designer at Avalanche Studios New York. Before joining the creators of Just Cause, he worked on franchises as Prince of Persia and Assassin Creed. MFA with a thesis in Game Design, he loves Open Worlds and the teamwork behind them.
Chris Avellone started his career at Interplay’s Black Isle Studios division where he worked on Planescape: Torment (Lead Designer), Fallout 2, the Icewind Dale series, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, and Baldur’s Gate 3 and Fallout 3 (both canceled). Chris was the Lead Designer on Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, moved on to a Senior Design role on Neverwinter Nights 2 and Mask of the Betrayer, worked briefly as the Creative Lead of the Aliens RPG, then went on to lead design on Alpha Protocol, Obsidian’s espionage RPG. He worked on Fallout: New Vegas as a Senior Designer, went on to be Project Director of most of the Fallout New Vegas DLCs (Dead Money, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road), then back to narrative design on Pillars of Eternity. Other work includes inXile’s Wasteland 2 (area and systems designer), FTL: Advanced Edition (encounter design), Wayside Creations’ Grimrock movie treatment (and consultant on Fallout: Nuka-Break) and inXile’s Kickstarter Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Kevin is an independent game developer based in New York. He’s been creating games for over 15 years. In 1999, Kevin co-developed Science and Industry, a multiplayer mod for Half-Life, which was featured in Valve’s first Mod Expo. For nearly 5 years, Kevin served as Senior VP and Director of Game Development at NYC indie studio Area/Code, where he helped create games like Drop7, Parking Wars, and Sharkrunners. His work has been featured in GDC’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop, NYU’s No Quarter exhibition, and IndieCade’s E-Sports Showcase. He has taught game design and development at NYU and was conference co-chair for IndieCade East 2014. Recently, he’s been making games about dogs.
Meg is a Writer’s Guild of Great Britain award-winning writer & game-maker. She was the lead writer of anti-colonial steampunk adventure game 80 Days -which was nominated for four BAFTAs including best story, won the IGF 2014 Best Narrative award, and was named TIME’s Game of the Year 2014, amongst other accolades. She has also guest written for the darkly atmospheric game Sunless Sea, and wrote and designed Samsara – a lush game of courtly intrigue and dreamwalking, on the Storynexus platform.
Itay Keren is a Brooklyn-based indie game designer, author of upcoming title Mushroom 11 (IGF 2014 Excellence in Design Finalist, supported by Indie-Fund). Previously, after working for years as a server development lead, Itay quit his job to pursue his childhood dream of making games. Since then he was involved in many successful titles, moved to NYC, and opened studio Untame with his wife Julia.
Anna Kipnis graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and minors in Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Psychology. She is a Senior Gameplay Programmer at Double Fine Productions, where she has worked since 2002. At Double Fine, she has contributed to various unreleased and top secret projects as well as Psychonauts (2005), Brütal Legend (2009), Costume Quest (2010), Once Upon a Monster (2011), The Cave (2012), Dear Leader (designed and led the prototype, 2014), and Broken Age (2015). She is active in the indie game community and has collaborated with Santa Ragione on Final Candidation (2013), a game about the Italian elections. She is also the founding organizer of Molyjam, a game jam inspired by Peter Molyneux and his fake Twitter account, @petermolydeux. Anna has served on the IGF technical jury, the Global Game Jam theme committee, and as an advisor for UCSC’s MS Games & Playable Media program.
Jeff Mishtawy is the Senior Technical Manager of the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge. With decades of experience as a driver, coach, crew chief, team director and now series official. Jeff brings a vast knowledge of all aspects of racing to every project he tackles. From a young age tinkering with RC cars to working with the some of the best race engineers and drivers in the world, earning prestigious podiums, Jeff has applied his innovative mindset to help shape the competitive landscape of one of the best production-based sports car racing series in the world today.
Brian Moriarty authored three of the original Infocom text adventures, Wishbringer (1985), Trinity (1986) and Beyond Zork (1987). His first graphic adventure, Loom, was published in 1990 by Lucasfilm Games. He collaborated with Ron Cobb on the design of Loadstar for Rocket Science (1994), and is enigmatically credited with “Additional Additional Story” for Steven Spielberg’s The Dig (1995). He was co-founder and Creative Director of Mpath/HearMe, the Internet’s first voice chat service, and has designed and/or produced games for numerous publishers including THQ, Ubisoft, Konami and Mattel. He currently lectures as a Professor of Practice in the Interactive Media and Game Development program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Ben Ruiz is the co-founder of Team Colorblind, a game development studio in Phoenix, AZ. He is the core artist and combat designer on Aztez, Team Colorblind’s debut title. Ruiz is a classically trained animator and effects artist, and is responsible for conceptualizing, implementing, and tuning Team Colorblind’s combat mechanics. He frequently writes about combat design at the Aztez game devblog, and has provided implementation consultation to the likes of Sony Santa Monica, Slick Entertainment, Dreadlocks Ltd. and more.
Leslie Scott is a professional board game designer and the founder-director of Oxford Games Ltd. Probably best known as the inventor of Jenga, Leslie has devised and published around forty board games, including Ex Libris, Anagram and Flummoxed.
Born in Tanzania, Leslie was raised in East and West Africa, and educated in Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone and England. She and her zoologist husband live in Oxford, though travel extensively and spend several months of each year at the Mpala Research Centre, Kenya.
Leslie is a Senior Associate of the University of Oxford’s Pembroke College, and a founding trustee of the Smithsonian UK Charitable Trust. She is the recipient of the 2010 Wonder Women of Toys Inventor/Designer Award and the 2012 Tagie award for Excellence in Game Design.
Mare Sheppard is one half of Metanet Software Inc., a boutique game developer based in Toronto you’d probably know best for N, N+ and N++. After graduating from the University of Toronto in 2003, Mare formed Metanet Software with Raigan Burns, who is similarly passionate about games, art, music, design and many, many other things. Mare gets a lot of inspiration from print, industrial design, architecture and fashion, and her goal is to bring more of those ideas into games, and continue to explore the medium.
Erik Svedäng studied game design at the University of Skövde (Sweden) where his final thesis was the computer game Blueberry Garden, winner of the Independent Games Festival Grand Prize 2009. He now lives in Gothenburg where he makes games together with his friends. When not trying to tell stories through interactive experiences he likes to design hardcore board games.
Marc ten Bosch
Marc ten Bosch is an independent game designer based in San Francisco. He is currently working on the award-winning Miegakure, a game where you explore a world with four dimensions of space instead of our usual three.
To read more from past PRACTICE Speakers, check out our Three Questions series, where MFAs ask speakers three questions on their design philosophy and practice.
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