GDEX brings in some of the best names in the industry into Columbus for a fun weekend of games and creative tech. Whether it’s the latest developers or your favorite streamer, our speakers bring excellent all weekend long.
Do you want to be on the list? Check out our Speakers Info Page or Apply below!
GDEX 2019 Speakers
CEO | Iron Galaxy
As Chief Executive Officer of Iron Galaxy Studios, Adam Boyes is responsible for the Company’s finances, strategic development, partnerships and alliances. Prior to his current role, Boyes was Vice President of Third-Party Relations & Developer Technology Group at Sony Interactive Entertainment America where he oversaw Publisher & Developer Relations, Portfolio Strategy, Financial Strategy, Partner Alliance, Technical Account Management, Developer Technology Group and the 3rd Party Production team - driving them to record revenue and profitability numbers consistently year over year. Previously, Adam has held various management and production roles at companies like Capcom, Midway, and Electronic Arts.
Technical Artist | Gearbox
Ian Davis has been a technical animator for over 10 years, and is currently working for Gearbox Software. His work includes Borderlands 3, Battleborn, Bioshock: Infinite, and Alvin and the Chipmunks (the Movie the Game) Despite his best efforts to derail himself, he graduated from CCAD in 2006 with a B.A. in Time Based Media Studies, and then proceeded to use very few of his hard-earned art skills in an industry he swore he would never enter, but now cannot imagine working anywhere else.
Award-winning narrator and actor DB Cooper is the voice of a national conscience, a car brand, a casino; the AI, the Mercenary, the Goblin, and the Goddess.
DB Is a director, editor, and speaker, and has been teaching people how to take bullets, howl in agony, and die since 2006.
Founder | Loading Law
Ross is the Founder of Loading Law, a Chicago-based law practice, and provides legal counsel to video game developers and entrepreneurs in the tech sector. Ross is also the Organizer of the Chicago Video Game Law Summit and an Adjunct Professor of Video Game Law at DePaul University. He speaks frequently on hot topics in law and technology. Ross also serves as the Chair of IGDA Chicago, Chair of the CBA YLS Creative Arts Committee, and Vice Chair of the ABA IPL Digital Games and New Media Committee.
CTO | Exultant Games
Jason Conaway is the CTO of Exultant Games, a video game development studio which he co-founded in 2018. For more than two decades, Jason has been a Software Engineer and Technical Director in the Video Games Industry. His developer credits include engineering roles on more than a dozen blockbuster video games, including League of Legends; Star Wars: The Old Republic; Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3; Golden Eye: Rogue Agent; Bulletstorm; Return to Krondor; and several titles in the Medal of Honor series, for companies such as Dreamworks Interactive, BioWare, and Electronic Arts. Jason is also a Senior Instructor at Game-U, where he teaches students how to design, build, and program their own video games using professional tools and methods. In his free time, Jason enjoys exploring nature with his wife and their three dachshunds.
CEO & Founder | Emblazon Industries
Susan Magnani received her B.Sc. in Computer Science from Bowling Green State University this past May, and was hired by Avanade - the joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture - six months prior to graduating. Magnani started Emblazon Games as a freshman in college to gain experience while also working on her hobby of video game design. The Emblazon Games team - which eventually became a part of Magnani's larger idea for Emblazon Industries™ - is currently working on a mobile game and continues to work on their ambitious MMO concept, Shadowless, with ideas for several more games in the wings as well.
Founder | Hyperion Marketing
Tom Caprel is a marketer for games, tech enthusiast, and trained opera singer. In 2013, Tom and his co-founder started a big-data website to analyze virtual markets with the goal helping players get the most out of their time in-game. In 2015, Tom started a dedicated marketing company, Hyperion Marketing, to help small game/software developers show their success to the world. Tom is on the board of IGDA Chicago, and has been the Communications Director and Expo Director at the Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery since February 2016. Tom has been in marketing for 9+ years, and regularly works with Chicago startup incubators.
Ryan Davis is a solo indie developer based in Indiana. As an artist, programmer, and designer, Ryan specializes in the magic space among all three. Ryan's past work includes Adventure Lamp, PopDream, and Precarious Potions. His latest title is RASHLANDER, a lunar lander roguelike that feels like spinning across an icy road and nailing a parallel park. RASHLANDER was originally made for physical arcades and hit Steam in August 2019.
Mike Sill is a Supervisor and Lead Engine Artist for Halon Entertainment out of Santa Monica, CA. With 12 years of experience using Unreal Engine, and a background in Game Art & 3d modeling, Mike has worked in practically every art department role from 3d Generalist and Lighting to World Builder. His current role lands him in the sweet spot of Previsualization and Finals Production for Hollywood Films, TV, and AA~AAA Games Cinematics & Cut-scenes. Starting out at Schell Games as an Intern Tech Artist in 2010, Mike has since gone to work on: 6 films, 3 TV and web series, 6 game properties, 3 theme-park rides and attractions, and 1 Disney Hotel. You can find his latest work in Ad Astra, Borderlands 3, Disintegration, and The Mandalorian. A native of Rocky River, OH, Mike is also the author of the video series Unreal Engine 4.x Projects. His 3 keys to industry success are Pinball, Karaoke, and Google Search.
Lead Desinger/Developer | Zacfierce
Zac is a freelance game developer who lives in the Greater Cleveland area. He released the award-winning BOMBFEST in January 2019, and is currently working on multiple video games and personal projects. He can be found speaking at high schools and colleges about game developer careers and entrepreneurship.
Dan Vicarel is a software developer and game designer from the Cleveland area. He wrote his first program on a TI-84 calculator in high school, and quickly began coding games like Battleship and Euchre. After earning his B.S. in Biology from the University of Akron in 2015 (with minors in Math, Chemistry, and Computer Science), Dan went on to pursue a career in software development. He is currently a developer at Rakuten OverDrive, working primarily on backend systems for their flagship app, Libby. Dan is also a Unity Certified Programmer, and spends most of his free time working on hobby game projects and collaborating with other members of the Cleveland Game Developers. He and his wife look forward to sharing their love of games and film with their soon-to-be-born son or daughter.
Asa GreenRiver is digital marketing professional and content creator. He works to help small businesses improve their presence & effectiveness online. With a passion for the video game industry, he now has set his sites on indie devs and other creators. Using his knowledge and experience, he has begun working to help those in the industry.
AJ isn't the biggest fan of bio's but here is one anyway. While living in Michigan, he became trained in both TV and Film Production. Having worked at a few studios he also expanded his knowledge of the craft.
Known for cynical viewpoint on basically everything his voice has been heard on different spots of the internet. He currently co-hosts "The SWW Show" and will talk about any film directed by Denis Vileneuve.
Caleb is a freelance game porter specializing in bringing indie games to mobile platforms. He recently finished porting the award-winning “rogue-lite” Rogue Legacy to iOS with specially designed touch controls. Caleb is an open source advocate and frequent contributor to game development libraries such as SDL, FNA, and MojoShader. In addition to his work on other people’s games, he has developed more than 30 freeware games of his own, including the hit Flash game “Howmonica”. When he’s not working on games, Caleb teaches computer programming classes for middle and high school students in Lexington, Kentucky.
Brian is a freelance composer, sound designer, and engineer from Columbus, OH. His music has been featured by Universal, Sony, NBC, CBS, PBS, MTV, VH1, as well as original artist releases, various production volumes, short films, and video games. He is currently working on the music and sound effects for the game "Doomblade" from Muro Studios.
Reilly Zink is currently studying Immersive Technology at Ohio University with minors in Computer Science and Mathematics. Working for the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, she has held many roles from 3D modeler and animator to VR developer. She has developed VR experiences using redirected walking, and even worked with doctors to create a VR medical treatment for Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS). This past summer, she interned at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland on their AR/VR team, developing for science and engineering purposes. Her thesis this year will involve AR game development for individuals with cognitive disabilities.
Mike is Game Designer and Programmer who has accidentally specialized in VR Development. Graduating from Columbia College Chicago, he has experience working at multiple shops in the Midwest including Mass VR, Elbe Creative Partners, and Codeverse as an instructor. He currently works at Vertex Solutions as a programmer on VR projects in Northwest Florida.
While not working, he is currently build a top secret Indie Game and co-hosts "The SWW Show", a podcast about video games and films.
Travis Faas is a a media arts and science lecturer in IUPUI's School of Informatics and Computing. There he teaches game design and development, with some web development on the side because the dollars need to be made somehow. Currently in his fourth year in a PhD program, his research expertise is in online game development communities, especially those that rely on live streams to build and sustain themselves. He is because you are.
Narrative Designer | People Can Fly
Bradley Plaxen is a Narrative Designer for People Can Fly in New York City. He has written for multiple studios on a variety of projects, ranging from branching dialogue games about mental health to traditional AAA entertainment. In addition to his career work, Bradley serves as creative director for The Presence Project, an academic consortium of international universities exploring narrative design in virtual reality. He believes interactive media can be a powerful tool for storytelling, and when he’s not making games, you can find him dancing at a concert, telling jokes, or eating delicious ice cream.
By day, Jon Gazda is a mild-mannered accountant. By night, he dons his cowl and writes music and narrative for video games. He has written music for multiple indie game developers, including Multivarious Games, and has received a Bachelor's Degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University. Concurrently, he has written dialogue and narrative for Theater, Video Games, and Role-Playing Games for over a decade. Jon has been an active participant in GDEX since its inception and is delighted to be speaking this year.
Jeff Kuhn, PhD. serves a split appointment at OHIO University, working for the Office of Instructional Innovation and in the Games Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab. In this role he works with faculty to incorporate innovative approaches in their teaching practice and explores new tech-focused opportunities for OHIO. Since 2017 he has lead OHIO’s exploration of esports and how to more widely incorporate gaming into campus life. Prior to this role Jeff taught game design and games literacy to K-16 educators and developed videogames for the U.S. Department of State. He frequently delivers talks and keynote addresses on technology in education, game design, and videogame culture and literacy.
Ivy is a senior at Ohio University and will be graduating in May 2020 with a Bachelor in Communications and a minor in Business. During their time at OHIO, Ivy was an officer for the Ohio University Game Developer's Association for 2 years, before moving to find ways to bring esports on campus. What started as an idea for an Overwatch esports team turned into something much larger upon working with Kris and others to help grow Bobcat Esports. Using connections from the school, Ivy, alongside Kris, has worked with contacts throughout Ohio University and the state to find new, exciting ways to help bring esports to campus.
Kristofer is currently a senior at Ohio University and will be graduating in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems, Quantitative Business Analytics, and Finance. During his research at the College of Business he participated in the Business of Games Summit Case Study Competition. Kristofer pitched creating an umbrella organization, Bobcat Esports, and beginning to establish varsity teams at Ohio University. After succeeding in winning the case competition he sought out help from a variety of mentors and established connections with existing leadership at Ohio University to create Bobcat Esports and further develop esports on campus.
Brendan Mulcahy is a senior software engineer with experience in web development, game design, and machine learning (ML). He wrote his first computer game 15 years ago and has been hooked on programming since. In 2018, Brendan co-founded Cleveland AI, a nonprofit with the mission of educating Cleveland-area developers in the subjects of artificial intelligence and ML. He is bringing ML to gaming with his startup Strife AI LLC.
Chris Sanyk has been a gamer since Christmas Day 1981 and first aspired to design games in approximately January 1982. He is active with the Cleveland Game Developers and has regularly participated in Ludum Dare and Global Game Jam since 2011. Chris contributed technical reviews for two books about GameMaker Studio: GameMaker Game Programming with GML and HTML5 Game Development with GameMaker Studio. He publishes his game projects at csanyk.itch.io and blogs about videogames and game development at his website, csanyk.com.