The Interactive And Games Conference


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The Interactive And Games Conference

The Interactive And Game Conference on November 1, 2013 is a one-day summit focused on discussions about design and innovation in digital, interactive, and game media welcoming a mix of game developers, interactive designers, digital creatives, and artists.

Games and interactive media are clear companions, but few events have skillfully combined the two together.
The Interactive and Game Conference will feature 20 inspiring, useful talks from organizations and individuals who are experts in their fields in hopes of cross-pollinating and sparking cool, new ideas. (Gamercamp itself, for example, sprung out of drawing inspiration from tech, art, and culture events like TED, Come Up To My Room, and TIFF.) This is an opportunity to learn about a wide span of projects and ideas in a single day.
Attendees can expect interesting takes on the interactive and games space including:
  • An in-depth session on the game design lessons from DrinkBox Studios' critically acclaimed Guacamelee (pictured below)
  • National Film Board producer Gerry Flahive sharing about the future of documentaries including the award-winning interactive documentary Highrise
  • Mission Business, the team behind the spooky and successful interactive theatrical experience Visitations at the Drake Hotel, and
  • A first-look at Stringer, an immersive journalism first person videogame that places you in the middle of an Afghanistan battlefield using the Oculus Rift and Hydra technologies—a collaboration between George Brown College and Cinema Suite
  • Inspirations from the curator of TIFF's innovative and popular media experience DigiPlaySpace
  • The Royal Ontario Museum on finding a new way to engage audiences through the creation of games inside the museum
  • Demonstrations on using the creativity tools Lua and ZBrush
DrinkBox Studios\

DrinkBox Studios' Guacamelee
National Film Board\

National Film Board's interactive documentary Highrise

Speakers Include...

Gerry Flahive, Senior Producer, NFB

Gerry Flahive, Senior Producer, NFB
Emily Flynn-Jones, Research Fellow, York University

Emily Flynn-Jones, Research Fellow, York University
Jason Canam, Game Designer, DrinkBox Games

Jason Canam, Game Designer, DrinkBox Games
Lola Landekic, Managing Editor, Art Of The Title

Lola Landekic, Managing Editor, Art Of The Title
Nick Pagee, Curator, TIFF

Nick Pagee, Curator, TIFF
Dan Cox, Professor, Seneca College

Dan Cox, Professor, Seneca College
Will Perkins, Editor, Art Of The Title

Will Perkins, Editor, Art Of The Title
Vass Bednar, Policy Advisor, Minister of Education

Vass Bednar, Policy Advisor, Minister of Education
Adam Clare, Professor, George Brown College

Adam Clare, Professor, George Brown College
Rae Ostman, Managing Director, Ancient Cultures, ROM

Rae Ostman, Managing Director, Ancient Cultures, ROM
Bep Schippers, Manager Adult Programs, ROM

Bep Schippers, Manager Adult Programs, ROM
Elliot Pinkus, Game Designer, Uken Games

Elliot Pinkus, Game Designer, Uken Games

Schedule At A Glance (Scroll Down For Full Details)

Hotel Ocho - Floor 1
Hotel Ocho - Floor 2
9:00 AMRegistration
9:30 AMGerry Flahive, National Film Board — The Future Of (Interactive) DocumentaryJason Canam, DrinkBox Games — Guacamelee! DLC & Teaching through Level Design
10:05 AMRae Ostman & Bep Schippers, ROM — Lessons From The ROM Game Jam and the Ancient ArcadeElliot Pinkus, Uken Games — Creating the Brain Power Fantasy
10:40 AMLola Landekic and Will Perkins, Art Of The Title — Talking Titles: How The Language of Cinema Changed Video GamesSarah Thomson, Brian Silva, and Nick Suttner, SCEA Developer Relations — PlayStation: Where Developers are Publishers, and What That Means for You
11:15 AMBreakBreak
11:30 AMNick Pagee, TIFF — Playtime In The Digital Media RevolutionBen Rivers, Home —PLAYERS WANT A VOICE; GIVE IT TO THEM!
12:05 PMAb Velasco, Toronto Public Library — Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference LibraryEmily Flynn-Jones, York University — Machines of Loving Grace: Romancing the Medium of Videogames
12:40 PMLunch (buffet-style, provided)Lunch (buffet-style, provided)
1:40 PMSteve Engels, University of Toronto — The "Key" To Games For The Visually ImpairedCharles Randall, Capy Games — Use more Lua: learn about this programming language for game development
2:15 PMBen Sainsbury — 3D Training The Journalist For The BattlefieldDan Cox, Ubisoft Toronto — Introduction to the Modelling Tool Zbrush
2:50 PMMission Business —Mixing Theatre And Games: Visitations At The Drake HotelEmerging Artists Showcase
3:25 PMBreakBreak
3:40 PMOCAD — New school: On a course that uses an intricate yet open game structure for students to generate workAdam Clare, George Brown College — Deconstructing Transmedia for Games
4:15 PMAndy Smith, Get Set Games —A Fun Look at Applying Freemium-Gaming Engagement Loops to Other Media - TV, Movies, Art, Music, TheatreBobby Richter, Mozilla —Games, The Web, and You
5:00 PMNetworkingNetworking

$149 + HST + fees
Gamercamp All-Access: $199 + HST + fees
Get the full Gamercamp experience with our special Gamercamp All-Access option!
The Gamercamp All-Access includes the Interactive and Games Conference on Friday, in addition to the festival programming on Saturday and Sunday:
- Gamercamp Exhibition and Arcades: See Gamercamp over the weekend and enjoy our Board Game Cafe
- Three More Amazing Talks: On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, hear conversations with global award-winning talent featuring Nels Anderson, the lead designer of Mark Of The Ninja; Jill Murray, co-writer of Assassin's Creed: Liberation; and, Alexander Bruce, creator of Antichamber
- Gamercamp Saturday Night Party: Join the celebration with a night in our country fair featuring favourites like Skee-Ball, Ring Toss, and other classic games

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2013 SPEAKERS* (In Alphabetical Order)
*We're categorizing speakers based on Interactive and Games for guidance, but in actuality the divide is much less obvious!
Gerry Flahive, Senior Producer, National Film Board

The Future Of (Interactive Documentary)
NFB founder John Grierson defined the documentary as “the creative treatment of actuality”.  Now it doesn’t just apply to ‘films’ – and is perhaps more relevant than ever.  Documentary has always been an evolving and exciting genre and the NFB is pushing its evolution online with such interactive projects as Highrise, a multi-year many-media documentary project looking at vertical life across the planet. Highrise: Out My Window won a 2011 Emmy Award.

NFB Senior Producer Gerry Flahive will present the latest Highrise project – done in collaboration with the New York Times —  A Short History Of The Highrise, a blend of linear filmmaking and interactivity.

In a career spanning more than 30 years with the National Film Board of Canada, Gerry Flahive has produced more than 75 documentary films and interactive projects on a wide range of subjects, including health care, cultural diversity, urbanism, history, communications, diplomacy, globalization and racism.

Flahive has been at the forefront of the NFB’s innovative work with digital media, producing the groundbreaking multi-platform Filmmaker-in-Residence project at St. Michael’s Hospital, winner of the NFB’s first Webby Award in 2008. Flahive is a frequent contributor to the Globe and Mail, and has been published in Time, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, the Toronto Star, and the Los Angeles Times.

Lola Landekic and Will PerkinsArt Of The Title
On Art Of The Title: Detailing The Creative Process Behind Title Design
Lola Landekic is Managing Editor of Art of the Title (, the leading online resource of title design spanning the film, television, gaming, and conference industries. She is also a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, and editor. She still remembers her ICQ number and makes a wonderful pineapple pie. Her work can be seen on Currently, she is based in Toronto.
Will Perkins is a freelance film and video game journalist based in Toronto. In addition to his role as Editor at Art of the Title (, the leading resource for film, TV, and game title sequence design, he is also the Editor-in-Chief of the hyper-local genre culture site Dork Shelf ( and a contributor for Yahoo! Movies Canada. He can often be found sitting in darkened rooms facing the wall or in the company of a surly cat named Gordon. Find him at

Mission BusinessVisitations
Mixing Theatre And Games: Visitations at the Drake Hotel
Members of the design team will explain the argument for mixing theatre and games, illustrate how components for each were used in the design of Visitations, discuss the payoffs, drawbacks and challenges that resulted from our techniques, showcase similar work going on elsewhere in the world, and present our plans for further exploring this space. We hope to encourage other gamemakers to consider the possibility of bringing their works off the screen.
The Mission Business is an adventure laboratory dedicated to bringing stories to life. Their first work, ZED.TO, was an award-winning 8-month transmedia narrative about the end of the world, featuring 4 large-scale immersive live events as well as a dense web of online content. Their second work, Visitations, was an intimate, supernatural experience at the Drake Hotel, which The Grid called 'a step towards a new theatrical nirvana.' Their third work is a mystery, and bound to be something exciting.

Rae Ostman and Bep Schippers, Royal Ontario Museum
Gaming And Museums: Lessons From The ROM Game Jam & Ancient Arcade
For the first time, game developers were given access to the Royal Ontario Museum's galleries to be inspired and make games within 72 hours. The ROM Game Jam resulted in a dozen games, many of which formed the Ancient Arcade. Why did the ROM take this step and what does it mean for cultural institutions?
Rae Ostman is the Managing Director for ROM Ancient Culture and responsible for sharing the ROM's research and collections with the public through programs, exhibits, media, and more. She is especially interested in creating experiences that bring together different communities to explore the relevance of ancient cultures to our world today. Prior to joining the ROM, Rae worked in museums in the United States, including the Sciencenter in Ithaca NY and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. She has a PhD in anthropological archaeology.
Bep Schippers is the ROM's Manager of Adult Programs and responsible for the development and execution of innovative outreach and programming streams for adults. Bep began her career as a volunteer in the education and entomology departments at the ROM in 1996; 16 years later she continues to enthusiastically find new and nerdy ways to engage the public. In addition to her degree in Anthropology and Human Biology, she holds a degree in Education from the University of Toronto and has previously worked at York University, Beaty Biodiversity Museum at University of British Columbia, Toronto District School Board and Ontario EcoSchools.

Nick Pagee, curator DigiPlaySpace — Toronto International Film Festival
Playtime In The Digital Media Revolution
This spring, over 12,000 family and student visitors experienced the TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace, one of the world’s most innovative media exhibitions for children featuring interactive media technologies, art installations, learning-centric games, and creative tools.
The kids’ content landscape of yesterday—traditionally comprised of film, animation, television, and books—has since evolved significantly, now tied to computers, apps, online creative communities, videogaming, transmedia, interactive projection and a surge in “DIY and Maker cultures”. So how did TIFF, an institution internationally acclaimed for its film programming, embrace the digital media revolution?TIFF Kids Curator Nick Pagee reveals the research and process behind this and shares a series of the inspirational touchstones one needs to consider in order to understand what “kids’ content” means in the interactive, instant-on, pervasively-connected, massively mobile, infinitely hackable media ecosphere of today.
Nick Pagee is a designer who also works as an arts programmer in Toronto focusing on interactive art, videogames, film and animation. He is the Curator of the TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace, an interactive exhibition for children, families and students as well as a Film Programmer for the TIFF Kids International Film Festival. In addition, he has consulted on gaming and interactive media for TIFF, including programming the recent TIFF Nexus series focused on increasing collaboration amongst Toronto’s Film, Gaming and New Media sectors. As an independent creator trained in experience, interaction, interactive and visual design, Nick is involved in various creative side projects (software, hardware and social), including a mobile app coming out soon(ish).

Bobby Richter, Creative Tech Lead, Mozilla
Games, The Web, and You
With the advent of ubiquitous mobile technology and an increasingly powerful web platform, modern game developers have a rare opportunity to leave their mark on new territory. I'll share some history, open some eyes, look to the future, and engage Toronto's game developer community with first-hand platform engineering and strategy experience and, of course, demos!
Bobby Richter is a creative technologist, and a coordinator for fundraising and partnerships at Mozilla. Inspired by his love for games, art, graphics, sound, and community, he has been a major contributor to several projects that have consistently challenged the state of rich media and interactivity on the web -- from the NFB's HIGHRISE Out My Window project, to Mozilla's Popcorn Maker and Appmaker. As a proponent of indie game development and the web platform, Bobby currently splits his focus between supporting the burgeoning HTML5/JavaScript game development community, and proliferating empowerment through digital literacy with mobile technology.

Ben Sainsbury, Cinema Suite
3D Training The Journalist For The Battlefield
Stringer is an immersive journalism first person video game that places you in the middle of an Afghanistan battlefield armed with only a video camera and a first aid kit. This 3D simulation uses the Oculus Rift VR headset and the Razer Hydra controller to bring a deeper level of immersion to the player. The game was developed to help combat journalists prepare to do their jobs before they go out into the battlefield. The player uses a virtual camera to film events as they unfold in the game. The player is given a first aid kit and the game teaches them how to stop severe bleeding using a tourniquet, ETD, and a gauze.
Ben Sainsbury was born in Toronto, Canada and was raised in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.Ben served for 3 years with the US ARMY 361st Psychological Operations battalion. He later graduated with a Masters in Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California. While a student at USC he wrote/directed/produced the short film “Jail Bait” starring Peter Dinklage that screened at the IFP Market, the Toronto Online Film Festival, and the Ion Film Festival in Los Angeles. Ben recently produced the 3D short film 'The Killer' - written and directed by Darren Cranford. Ben has also freelanced as a ghost writer and a journalist for the Peace Reporter - an online Italian magazine. The idea for Stringer, the VR video game comes from Bens internal conflict of having been both a US army soldier and a peace reporter. Stringer-VR and the 3D short film 'The Killer' were both powered by Cinema Suite -  3D software tools for film makers and video game developers:

Andy Smith, Get Set Games
A Fun Look at Applying Freemium-Gaming Engagement Loops to Other Media - TV, Movies, Art, Music, Theatre

Ab Velasco, Toronto Public Library

Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library
Get a preview of the Digital Innovation Hub being developed for Toronto Reference Library. This collaboration, learning, experimentation and making space will provide users with free access to new and emerging technology and programs and workshops - so they can innovate, design, play and create digital media and physical objects, including: audio and video, graphic design and photography, and 3D design and printing. The Digital Innovation Hub supports Toronto Public Library’s mission to provide universal access to a broad range of human knowledge and experience by offering access to both technology and an environment for self-directed learning.

Ab Velasco currently serves as the Project Leader, Digital Content and Innovation at Toronto Public Library. His projects include helping develop the library’s first Digital Innovation Hub. Expected to open in early 2014 at Toronto Reference Library, this new creation, collaboration and learning space will provide users of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels with free access to new and emerging technology that they can use to create a wide range of digital media projects. In Ab.’s previous roles at the library, he has worked on a wide range of cultural programs including the annual Keep Toronto Reading Festival and stewarding the partnership between the library and the annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which has welcomed thousands of guests from around the world to the Reference Library since 2009.

Vass Bednar, Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Education
Gamer-ment & the Gamer-crat: a new way to subvert the system through playful policy partnership
A final frontier for the gaming community will be (or is) to gamify elements of government to engage the public in a playful and productive way because policy makers need the ingenuity and wit of gamers. In Canada, we’re ignoring the merits of gamification, crowd sourcing, and mass-collaboration as we confront increasingly “wicked” socioeconomic problems. It’s time to partner with the open data movement and create a sub-genre of “gamer-crats” who help make Canadian public policy more relevant and accessible across the age spectrum with games that can explain/abstract democratic processes and explore policy solutions.
Vass Bednar is a Policy Advisor at Queen’s Park and an Action Canada Fellow, but don’t let her Master of Public Policy (MPP) fool you. Vass’ spirited playfulness is her edge in the policy world, where she uses humour to make complicated ideas more accessible. She’s a Dame with Dames Making Games, and gleefully straddles the worlds of government and gaming. Ultimately, Vasiliki wants to gamify elements of government to engage the public in a playful and productive way. How fun would that be?

Jason Canam, DrinkBox Studios
Guacamelee! DLC & Teaching through Level Design
A discussion on how DLC (downloadable content) was added to Guacamelee! and how level design was used to teach players advanced techniques and new ways of playing the game. Some of the most successful (and even the less successful) examples of how this was achieved will be shown.
Jason Canam is a Game Designer at DrinkBox Studios in Toronto. Jason has 7 years experience working on games for casual, core and mobile audiences. Most recently, Jason worked as a game and level designer onGuacamelee! and was the primary designer on Guacamelee!'s DLC: 'El Diablo's Domain'. Jason is a proud member of the gaming community and loves talking about games, especially speedruns!

Adam Clare, Professor, George Brown College
Deconstructing Transmedia for Games
Catering to a medium is still an important consideration despite that how people engage with content is different than it was even five years ago. The way we interact with traditional media is new: multiscreen viewing is on the rise and even the face of gaming has changed dramatically. We still need to be reminded that a comic is different than a movie and both are different than a game.
Adam Clare s a professor at George Brown College, where he teaches Game Psychology and Advanced Game Design in the post-graduate game design program.  Adam is lead game designer at  Wero Creative, a small Toronto game studio with a history of serious games. He co-founded Board Game Jam and loves all jams. Adam has a Masters of Education from OISE/ UofT; his work on games and education has been presented at educational conferences around the world.

Dan Cox, Professor, Seneca College
Introduction to the Modelling Tool Zbrush
Zbrush is a super powerful and relatively inexpensive modelling tool which can help artists focus on art instead of technical workflows. This can help many people break into 3D modelling with little to no prior experience in 3D art. Sculpting is a much more natural way of doing 3D modelling. We will start with learning the interface, then moving to building some simple objects and characters.
Dan Cox has been in the games industry for 6 years. He's worked in Toronto for whole career and places both big and small  such as Frozen North Productions, Bedlam Games, and currently Ubisoft. He also works part-time as a professor at Seneca College, teaching 3D game art and loves learning and educating people in the industry. You can find him on twitter at @danjohncox and see his work at

Emily Flynn-Jones, Research Fellow, York University
Machines of Loving Grace: romancing the medium of videogames
Romance has moved into the digital age: from genre pieces on the page-like interface of an e-reader and the compatibility metrics of online dating services to the affectionate emails that replaced the love letter and relationships statuses set to "it's complicated". This talk explores games as digital romance looking at the capacity for finite state machines to represent romantic themes or provide emotional experiences for players.
Research Fellow at York University Play: CES Lab. Dr. of videogames. Writes about love and dark play. Animal Crossing overload. @finalfinalgirl

Elliot Pinkus, Game Designer, Uken Games
Creating the Brain Power Fantasy
Playing as Altair, Faith, or the Prince (of Persia) makes me feel like a skilled free-runner. Playing as Kratos or Marcus Fenix conveys some of the experience of being a big, tough badass. There are puzzle games, adventure games, and strategy games where I, the player, can feel smart, but what about a game that makes me feel like I’m inhabiting a clever character? I’ll discuss how we can make games where the fantasy is to be someone smarter than ourselves, while keeping the game mechanically interesting for the player.
Elliot Pinkus is a game designer at Toronto’s Uken Games, where he’s currently developing a competitive dungeon-crawling RPG, Uken’s most ambitious title yet. Prior to joining Uken, he was a designer at Silicon Knights and a research assistant at MIT's GAMBIT Game Lab. His occasional blogging about game design, theory, and whatever else pops into his head can be found at

Charles Randall, Capy Games
Use more Lua: learn about this programming language for game development
A quick rundown of what the Lua language offers for game development, complete with multi-disciplinary usage cases, and a brief overview of how to get up and running with Lua, either as part of your own engine or with off the shelf tools. It also goes into both the pros and cons of Lua, to help devs make an appropriate choice.
Charles is a gameplay programmer and designer. He got his start at Bioware just before the turn of the millennium, and has been making games (un)professionally ever since. After a lengthy stint at Ubisoft where he was part of the Assassin's Creed core team, he decided that smaller teams are where it's at, and so joined Capy, where he lived happily ever after.

Benjamin Rivers, creator of Home
As games grow and evolve, the possibilities for interactive narrative flourish, but are often difficult to grasp. Indie developer Benjamin Rivers explains how storytelling in games doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition, and that there are more tools at our disposal than just text or cutscenes. Whether you design indie games or big-budget releases, getting back to the roots of how players project and react to game-based narratives can help you find new ways for your audience to connect with and be a genuine part of your next project—both in-game and out.
Benjamin Rivers designs games, writes and illustrates graphic novels and teaches at OCAD University in Toronto. He released the critically-lauded, independent horror game Home on Steam in 2012 and iOS in 2013. He was listed as one of Game Developer Magazine‘s “Power 50” developers of 2012.

Members of SCEA Developer Relations, Sony PlayStation
Where Developers are Publishers, and What That Means for You
What does self-publishing ACTUALLY mean on a console? The SCEA Developer Relations team will be on-hand to discuss everything from licensing to business models, and how you can get started developing for PlayStation platforms. Bring your questions!

Jeff Watson, Simone Jones, and Adam Tindale; OCAD University
New school: On a course that uses an intricate yet open game structure for students to generate work
This talk will explore an innovative new class structure for Digital Futures students at OCAD University. The class uses a playful creative brainstorming card game to facilitate the rapid ideation and prototyping of game projects. Each week, students produce entirely new projects in groups of varying sizes, based on creative prompts that they generate themselves. The games produced in the class span genres and formats, incorporating everything from screens and traditional game controllers to projectors, analog game elements, gestural interfaces, wearable computing, custom-built electronics, and more.
Jeff Watson is an artist, designer, researcher, and Assistant Professor of Digital Futures at OCAD University. His work focuses on investigating how game mechanics, pervasive computing, and social media can enable new forms of storytelling, participation, and civic engagement. Jeff has consulted and produced commissioned work for a variety of institutions and companies, including Microsoft, Intel, BMW/Mini, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Boeing, Tiltfactor, Take Action Games, Los Angeles World Airports, and the Institute for Multimedia Literacy. He is the co-director of the OCAD University Situation Lab, has worked as a designer and research associate at the USC Game Innovation Lab, and is the co-founder of Pervasive and Environmental Gaming LA (PEG-LA), a Los Angeles-based design exchange and mobile games play testing group. Jeff has presented work at festivals and conferences such as IndieCade, the Game Developers Conference, Games for Change, DiGRA, DIY Days, the Digital Media and Learning Conference, and ARG Fest; and at exhibitions at the Hammer Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image. In October of 2012, Jeff’s pervasive game (and doctoral research project), Reality Ends Here, won the Impact Award at the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games. Jeff’s work has received coverage from Wired, ARGNet, Fast Company (Co.Exist), G4TV, Engine29, Culture Hacker, and Henry Jenkins, among others.