The best industry folks from across the country




GDEX 2018 features our first year of having a Guest Artist brining their unique talents and story to create something amazing for GDEX guests. Check out his one of a kind art piece at the show.


Every year GDEX hosts the GDEX Perspectives talks, which is a platform for industry leaders to talk about the gaming industry from new viewpoints. Design to focus on the constructive directions that the industry can go, GDEX Perspectives brings many thought provoking topics to the forefront of the gaming industry. This year we are excited to welcome Kate Edwards who will be speaking about the global perspectives of game developers from across the world.

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Kate Edwards is the CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, a consultancy for content culturalization, a Board Member of Take This, and is the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) from 2012 to 2017. In addition to being an outspoken advocate who serves in several advisory/board roles, she is a geographer, writer, and corporate strategist. Following 13 years at Microsoft, she has consulted on many game and non-game projects for BioWare, Google, Amazon and many other companies.  Fortune magazine named her as one of the "10 most powerful women" in the game industry and she was named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of their six People of the Year. In April 2018, she was honored with Reboot Develop’s annual Hero Award.



Steve Hamaker is the Eisner Award winning colorist of Bone, RASL, and Table Titans. In 2005 he self published his first graphic novel, Fish N Chips and has contributed several original stories to the Flight and Explorer anthologies.

Other coloring work includes: Terry Moore’s SIP Kids (2014-15), Shazam: Monster Society of Evil (2009), and Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto comic series (2012-13).

Steve lives in Columbus Ohio with his wife and son



Scott Johnson is an illustrator and veteran podcaster based in Salt Lake City. His webcomic MyExtraLife launched in 2001 and still runs to this day. He started podcasting in 1999, before it was called podcasting, and has since created a network of shows boasting 500,000+ weekly listeners. In 2009 Scott launched Frogpants Studios, and continues expand and grow it to this day. Scott is the winner of multiple podcasting awards, and was recently inducted into the Podcaster Hall of Fame. He launched Nerdtacular in 2007, a gathering convention of fans, followers, readers and listeners from around the world. He resides with hims wife and children in SLC, Utah.



Daemon Hatfield is a senior producer at IGN.com and a host of IGN’s popular video game talk show Game Scoop! He currently resides in San Francisco where he is also an electronic DJ/Producer.  Daemon has produced several LPs, EPs, and singles as well as music for film, video games, and theatre projects.  Check out Game Scoop! on Youtube and his music at daemonhatfield.com.


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Jess has almost five years of game industry experience under her belt, and currently works as a freelance event and video host, partnered Twitch streamer, and YouTube partnered content creator. She also has experience with in-studio hosting, promotional modeling, interviewing, booth emceeing, and tournament organization. Jess has worked previously with amazing companies like Curse, DreamHack, Ubisoft, and HyperX



Mike Geig is a Technical Evangelist for Unity Technologies where he develops and delivers recorded, live, and onsite learning content. He enjoys loitering and accordions. A gamer at heart, Mike works to make game development fun and accessible for all skill sets. Rumor has it he also wrote a book called “Unity Game Development in 24 Hours”. Mike was once set on fire and has over a million “likes” on Facebook.

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William Evans is a writer and nerd connoisseur from Columbus, OH. He is the co-founder of Black Nerd Problems. In addition to authoring three manuscripts, he is a freelancer contributing to various publications including a monthly column for Columbus Alive.

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Kazuma Jinnouchi is BAFTA-nominated music composer, actively working both in U.S. and Japan.
He has provided scores for numerous projects including Microsoft's blockbuster, Halo 5: Guardians, Halo 4, for which he recorded orchestra and choir at 20th Century Fox Newman Scoring Stage (Los Angeles, CA), Abbey Road Studios (London, UK), Rudolfinum (Prague, Czech), and mixed with Alan Meyerson at Remote Control Productions, and Kojima-Production's video game franchise Metal Gear Solid series. His most recent work is the music for the latest Halo: Infinite E3 2018 trailer.

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Daniel "iKasperr" Bong is a veteran online content creator, a proud father of two (cats), the director of the premiere broadcasting team Main Menu, creator of charity fundraising marathon Quest for the Cause, and Community Manager for the charity fundraising platform Tiltify. Over the past 6 years of content creation, Daniel has made a living solely off of his livestreaming content and has raised over 3.5 million dollars for charity. An event organizer, live stage host, and experienced panelist, Daniel is a literal "jack of all trades" when it comes to the gaming industry.

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Justin Moodley is a Strategist at LASANAN, a digital agency that develops and manages performance marketing programs for growth-stage organizations. 

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Joshua DeBonis is an award-winning game designer and President of BumbleBear. Joshua is a co-founder and organizer of NYC-Playtest. He has taught game design and development at Parsons the new School for Design and the NYU Game Center. Josh is particularly interested in creating games that provide a deep and meaningful experience in a short play time.

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Nikita Mikros is the CEO of BumbleBear and a veteran game designer. He is a three time IGF finalist, Indiecade and Come Out and Play winner. In addition he has worked on many games for clients including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, LEGO, and others. He has taught game design and programming at the School of Visual Arts since 1994. Nik is currently very focused on creating new types of competitive games for arcades.



SwankyBox (Brad) is an Ohio-based YouTuber who runs a video game-focused channel with over 182,000 subscribers and 28 million views. He speaks at conventions around the country about YouTube, storytelling, and pursuing your creative passions. By trade he is an animator, videographer, and writer. He took the YouTube plunge in 2015 and has been living in the world of online video ever since.

Brad’s attentiveness to each viewer’s experience has allowed him to reach the front page of Reddit twice for videos he created. Beyond that, his channel gained over one hundred thousand followers within the first year of pursuing it full-time. He constantly analyzes trends to deliver optimized content for a search-heavy online world. He also is a YouTube consultant for other creators and businesses.

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Katie is an illustrator from Ohio, Lead Concept Artist for Multivarious and partnered Twitch streamer. She has three wonderful cats and a passion for creation.

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Seven is the Co-Host of The ELEAGUE Report podcast by ELEAGUE, the winner of Blizzard’s “So You Think You Can Cast”, and an official Hearthstone Commentator for Blizzard and Tespa.

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Rebekah Saltsman is the co-founder and CEO of Finji, mom-and-pop indie development studio and publisher based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rebekah started her career as a technical writer and product manager in the photography software industry. She moved into games in 2008, managing the finances and porting partnerships for Semi Secret Software. Rebekah manages the console and storefront relationships for all of Finji’s internal and partner publishing projects along with guiding all teams through the long years of development via design, production and publishing.

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Kira Magrann is a tabletop roleplaying game designer, queer cyborg, and snake mom living in Columbus, Ohio. She currently has a Patreon where she designs experimental games, a YouTube channel where she talks about game design, and she blogs a few times a month at Gnome Stew. With the support of her patrons she recently released a game about Lesbisnakes in wintertime titled A Cozy Den. Her work can be found here: https://kira-magrann-xf7x.squarespace.com/.

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Hope Moore is a member of the development team at the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab at Ohio University in Athens. Her background includes interactive multimedia design, filmmaking, photography, journalism, software development, and instructional technology. When she isn’t working or studying, she is writing science fiction screenplays, experimenting with technology, researching local history, and streaming story-based games on Twitch. 

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Philip "PTibz" Tibitoski is president of Young Horses Games, the nine person independent game development studio in Chicago, IL that created Octodad and Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Young Horses is now working on a new unannounced game they hope will delight and bring joy to players everywhere.

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Brett Pennings is the game design and development half of Bowlcut Studios, based in Grand Rapids, MI. He designed and developed the GDEX 2017 "Best in Show" award winning game, MageQuit, and will be talking about its creation as well as game design, in depth. Expect to learn about the inspirations and techniques that went into it and the reason the studio cancelled their nearly-complete mobile game title "Feisty Fist" after over a year of development.

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At the age of 13, Chris advanced to the Semi-final round of the 1990 Nintendo World Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio. Twenty-five years later, he was given a second chance to fulfill his boyhood dream and won the Chicago, Illinois regional of the 2015 Nintendo World Championships, finishing 9th in the finals in Los Angeles, California. Chris is an amateur video game historian and game collector and was featured in the documentary series Nintendo Quest: Power Tour. In 2014 he founded the Columbus Retro League, a group that runs offbeat retro video game tournaments around Ohio and runs the annual Replay Rx Dr. Mario National Championship at the Replay Fx expo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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George Ziets has been writing and designing games since 2001. He spent the first part of his career on MMOs like Lord of the Rings Online and D&D Online before running off to make RPGs at Obsidian Entertainment. His favorite Obsidian projects were Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, for which he was the creative lead. Since then, he’s been a stretch goal on a few Kickstarter games, including Pillars of Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenera. He is now a lead designer at InXile Entertainment, working on the latest installment of the post-apocalyptic Wasteland series.

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Alyssa Stahl is currently attending Ohio University and is majoring in Media Arts & Studies with a focus in animation and virtual reality. She works in the Games Research & Immersive Design Lab at the University as a 3D modeler/animator and helps develop various interactive virtual reality experiences. Alyssa is Vice President of the Ohio University Immersive Media Association and is a student in the Honors Tutorial College.

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Nick Locapo is a former game developer turned magician. In the early 2000's he was at the forefront of browser-based gaming, and was responsible for numerous "questionable" viral marketing practices. Most of which, are now completely illegal. After having to take some "time off" from the internet, Nick became a master magician. Over the last decade he has performed his magic act for millions of people all over the world.  In 2015 he began teaching magic , and has worked with thousands of magicians on their act. And now, in attempt to atone for his prior internet sins, Nick has returned to the gaming community to share his secrets... good or bad, with you.

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Ross is an attorney, writer, and gamer.

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 and his book on Video Game Law will be published soon. Ross also serves as Co-Chair of the CBA YLS Creative Arts Committee, Vice Chair of IGDA-Chicago, and as a Board Member of the VGA Gallery.

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Cat Musgrove is a Medical Artist & Animator at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She worked as an animator at Activision for 5 years, and an indie artist, designer and animator for another 5. She currently makes indie games on the side.  

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Jason Tharp has dreamed of being an author and inventing crazy creatures since he was a kid. Being an obsessive daydreamer and doodler has led him to create many licensed properties, write books, travel the country speaking to adults and kids, and design clothing and various other products. Jason’s story proves that with hard work, determination, and a sprinkle of magic, anything is possible. He currently has books published with Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, and MacMillan. Wonderville Studios is based in Columbus, Ohio, housing The Wonder Plan and the apparel company Dreams Live Here, all being overseen by one extremely fat kitty.

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Henry has been working as an artist since 1999, and has been in the game industry since 2006.  Since 2010, he has been in charge of the Video Game Art and Animation program at Columbus State Community College, located in Columbus Ohio.

Henry regularly speaks to youth groups, and at conferences and expos.  He discusses mental health issues, self sufficiency, and game development.  He is on the Board of the Ohio Game Developer’s Association, and helps to organize GDEX (Game Developer Expo) each year.

When he is not working on games, or teaching, Henry likes to draw, write, spend time with family, and work in his garden.



Mars Ashton is an award-winning Indie Game Developer and Director/Assistant Professor in Game Art at Lawrence Technological University. He co-founded the IGDA SE Michigan Chapter and has been working to bridge the gap among game development communities throughout Michigan to foster connections and opportunities. His current project, Axis Descending, has placed in numerous showcases, exhibitions and competitions including Taco Bell's Feed the eta, Terminus and Intel's Level Up contest. 



DB Cooper is the voice of the AI, the mercenary, the goblin, and the goddess. She casts and directs films, advertisements, and video games; and has been speaking at game conferences and teaching people how to take bullets, howl in agony and die since 2006.



Star is a Twitch partner, community leader, and game developer who does art and marketing in the industry. She spends her time helping developers and streamers pursue their passion. Star also works at Indiecade as a community coordinator and social media strategist, hosts Gamkedo club meetings, and helps run Pro Indie Dev online conference. She loves to drink coffee and is very fond of pugs.

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Jason Conaway was previously a Senior Software Engineer at Hypnos Entertainment and is working with Riot Games to help create their updated League Client. He previously held engineering positions at videogame publishers Electronic Arts, DreamWorks Interactive, and Sierra Studios. Since 1996, Jason has programmed core systems of some of the most popular video games in the world, including League of Legends, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Bulletstorm, Golden Eye: Rogue Agent, Return to Krondor, and several titles in the Medal of Honor series. Jason also teaches game development at Game-U, in Powell, OH.

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Rachel Presser is a game developer, writer, content strategist, and business educator from The Bronx. A noted business-of-games speaker, Rachel is a frequent and trusted contributor to Gamasutra and long-time business instructor at Playcrafting. She has spoken at Indiecade, ECGC, Gameacon, the North American Basic Income Congress, among others. Her mix of financial and gaming industry experience coupled with playing in hardcore bands have made her a sought-after speaker in the entrepreneurship sphere.

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Leanthony focuses on trademarks, technology transactions/licensing and privacy. His experience includes assisting clients with social media, trademarks and contract matters dealing with technology.

He has knowledge and experience in the area of privacy law and obtained certified information privacy professional U.S. certification through the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Leanthony earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and his B.A. in Political Science from California State University San Bernardino. 

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James Deighan is a co-founder of Mega Cat Studios.  With over a decade of start up experience and 100+ shipped projects, he's a proven leader.  A retro gamer at heart, James works to distill the retro ethos of what makes NES, SNES & Sega Genesis games fun while looking to the future. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA where he entertains and cares for his socially challenged pets.  

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Zack Manko is a self-proclaimed Retro Apostle.  He's been a game designer for over a decade and now celebrates his role as co-founder/co-conspirator at Mega Cat Studios primarily focusing on game design. He also has experience with experential marketing, color commentary, interviewing, tournament emceeing, and tournament organization. Zack has worked with video game, board game and escape room projects over the globe.  

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Andrew Marsh is the Lead Designer at Mega Cat Studios.  He's been working on NES games with color and technical restrictions since the late 90's.  He gave us his career in the film industry to pixel his way into your hearts.  Andrew's dedication to the art form is best represented by the glamour shot above of him sleeping PVM televisions.   He's worked on projects like Batman, Castlevania & Coffee Crisis

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Cory Brown is Founder and Creative Director at AFO Studio, an indie game company based in Huntington West Virginia.  He’s a Board Member of the Appalachian Game Creators Association, teaches Animation and Game Development and creates games for Strictly Business Computer Systems. He helped launch West Virginia’s first Game Developers Expo (WVGDE) after being inspired by OGDE in 2015 - thinking to himself, “if there aren’t these communities near you, build them." 

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Susan Magnani is in her final year at Bowling Green State University, where she will complete a Bachelor's of Science degree in Computer Science. Throughout her time at BGSU, Susan has worked three internships in her field, all in different specializations - including Data Analysis, Web Development, and IT Support. She also worked as a Software Support Specialist at BGSU for more than 2 years and spent a summer as a professional PHP Developer. Susan's true passion is video game design and she has been the head of self-started Emblazon Games since her freshman year, when she first had the idea for what is now the MMO concept Shadowless Online . Susan lives with her fiance Kevin, and their two cats, Boots and Ella.

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During his tenure, he has solved hundreds of localization challenges. By utilizing his unique experience, he helps companies find solutions so they may extend their global reach. This year GameScribes was honored in London with Video Game Award nomination for Best Localization and QA Provider. His client list crosses all platforms and includes: 505 Games, Atari, Capcom, FaceWare, GameTrust, Gravity, Insomniac, inXile, Mattel, NIS America, Nickelodeon, Obsidian, Pokémon International, Reloaded, Sony, Spike ChunSoft, Stardock, Stoic, Tencent & Zynga – to name a few.



Tom Caprel is a marketer, gamer, 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 8+ years, and regularly works with Chicago startup incubators.  

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Travis Faas brings his experience working for an advertising company into the classroom, teaching students how to build interactive media experiences that combine technical mastery and an eye for artistry. He’s written several introductory texts on media applications development that have been used as resources in universities nationwide. 

He is pursuing a Ph.D. in human-computer interaction, with specific interest in the programming and game development communities of practice supported by internet technologies, such as Twitch.tv



Ryan Davis is a solo indie dev based in Indiana. As both an artist and a programmer, Ryan specializes in the magic space between art and code. He has a long history making games for fun and for sale. Check out his latest finished work at www.adventurelamp.com. Ryan is currently making games for the modern arcade, using small resolutions on high end hardware to create a new kind of arcade experience. 

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Jon is a music composer and sound designer specializing in advertising, film and games. He has composed music for national brands, including Downy, Mentos, Southwest Airlines, and ADP. His film scores include the internationally distributed feature film, Dusk and the documentary Hate Crimes in the Heartland. Match Point, exhibited at GDEX, will be his first video game score.  In 2012, Jon received an MFA in Music Composition for the Screen from Columbia College Chicago.

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Zack Kelly is an entertainer at his core. By day, he's a Product Owner and Business Analyst with the consulting firm Improving. By night, he marvels audiences as a master improv performer. He applies his love for improv to everything in life, like creating dynamic stories for his RPG groups and making others laugh when they need it most. Outside of work and improv, he's an avid video game player who dreams of designing games one day.

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Mike Sill is an Engine Lead for Halon Entertainment. With 11 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 Hard Surface and Lighting Artist to World Builder. His current role lands him in the sweet spot of Previs and Postvis Engine Production and R&D. Mike's notable works include: Mass Effect: New Earth, Logan, and more. A native of Rocky River, OH, Mike is also the author of the video series Unreal Engine 4.x Projects. He likes to spend his days as a pinball-karaoke-fencing master wizard. Buy him a drink, and he'll tell you about that time he butt-dialed Adam Boyes.

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I currently work for InContext Solutions as a senior engineer using Unity. I wrote the first edition of Unity in Action while working for Synapse Games as a developer of web and mobile games. I've also taught classes at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Columbia College Chicago.

I've had a long career in game development, but technically only two places I've worked were game companies, including Synapse Games. Before that I spent years as a freelancer doing work for clients like Navteq, Encyclopedia Britannica, and KidzClix. During this time I also created digital artworks in collaboration with Mark Skwarek, showing our work in venues like Famous Accountants gallery in NYC, Boston Cyberarts, ISEA in Ireland, and the Sunshine gallery in Beijing.

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Harris Foster is the Community Manager of the award-winning indie publishing team Finji. With his coming-of-age taking place during the boom of easily accessible online gaming, Harris set off to craft a community for Finji that resembled what he always wanted to see in his favorite online spaces. 

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Morgan is a Cleveland based costumer, makeup artist, and performer who has been cosplaying for five years. What started off as a hobby evolved into something more as she became hooked on the convention scene and the art of cosplay. Her cosplays serve as a culmination of many different creative ventures including costume design and fabrication, makeup artistry, and acting. A lover of comics, video games, and animation, Morgan strives to create a positive and welcoming environment in the community and share the joy of cosplay with others.



Stephanie is a full time cosplayer, model, & Twitch streamer from Ohio. She’s been attending conventions since 2013 & cosplaying since 2014. She’s been featured in multiple magazines, such as Cosplay Culture Magazine. She’s been interviewed & featured on webpages, blogs, & podcasts such as: Kotaku, The Lightning Palace Blog, & Kill The Music



Meerami is a cosplayer and propmaker based in Cleveland, OH. She started cosplaying at the end of 2016 when she attended her first convention- NYCC. Since then she has honed her armor making skills and has completed 4 full armors in less than 2 years. Her recent awards include Wizard World Cleveland “Best Villian” for 2017 & 2018, House of Blues Cleveland Costume Contest 1st Place, Colossalcon “Best in Show Journeyman” 2018, and ReplayFX “Crowd Choice” 2018.

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Ben Serviss has been making games as a writer, producer and game designer since 2004. He's worked on everything from console shooters to licensed Facebook games, point-and-click adventure games, F2P MMOs and training simulations for the US Military, and is the author of How to Score Your First Game Job (And What to Expect from the Videogame Industry). He's currently working on his second interactive novel/text game for Choice of Games.

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Christopher Totten is an Assistant Professor in the Modeling, Animation, and Game Creation at Kent State University. He is the founder of Pie For Breakfast Studios, an award-winning Northeast Ohio independent game company, and has done work as an artist, animator, level designer, and project manager in the game industry. He holds a Masters Degree in Architecture with a concentration in Digital Media from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Chris is an executive organizer for the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) Arcade and lifetime member of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). He is the author of An Architectural Approach to Level Design, published with CRC Press/AK Peters in 2014 and Game Character Creation in Blender and Unity.

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Bria Davis is a game developer, digital artist, and social media expert. A lover of inclusive storytelling and a good pun, she currently works as a narrative designer for Multivarious Games. Bria graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Communication and a triple minor in Creative Writing, Art, and Popular Culture Studies. She tries to honor her overly complicated degree by pursuing opportunities that allow her to intertwine creative disciplines and connect communities in interesting ways.

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Charles Pratt is an Associate Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center, where he teaches game design, history, and studies. He is also the Director of the No Quarter Exhibition, an annual show centering around local multiplayer and gallery games, which has hosted the world premiere of Nidhogg, Hokra, and Killer Queen. Finally, he hosts a weekly Killer Queen tournament in New York called Five v Five Fridays, and is serving as the producer of the new arcade game, Foiled.

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Rick Payne is the founder of CincyHolo LLC, a software development company that specializes in building applications for wearable mixed reality devices.  Rick started developing Microsoft Hololens apps a year ago with using Unity and recently demonstrated an early alpha version of table top gaming framework at GenCon 2018.  When not working on slinging Hololens code, rick is senior cloud developer.  He also plays guitar and analog synths with his wife and 3 cats.  

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Roland Garza is a local composer, percussionist, private music educator, and sound designer within the Columbus, Ohio area. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Roland has 12 years of percussion experience, ranging from a variety of concert, marching, and world ethnic percussion. This includes his academic studies from Richland College in Dallas, Texas, and Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. In recent years, he has composed music for live performances, game-scores, and percussion ensembles.

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Matthew "Queso" Niederberger is a programmer at Muse Games, and studied undergraduate Game Design and Development at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. As a previous player, community ambassador, moderator, and programming intern for Muse on their title Guns of Icarus, he's explored the game from nearly every angle it has to offer. He now works as a project director and lead programmer for an unannounced project at Muse.

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Chris Volpe is the co-founder of Multivarious Games, the leading game development company in Columbus, Ohio. The President and Co-Founder of the Ohio Game Developer Association, leading a dynamic team of dedicated individuals to create novel gaming experiences and further the game development industry within Ohio. He is also the Director of Operations for Game-U, an educational company where industry professionals teach kids how to develop video games using industry software, STEM learning techniques and soft skill development. Lastly, Chris is a co-founder of GDEX, the Midwest’s largest gaming expo that brings together people from across the country, to Connect, Learn, and Share, at a Weekend Celebration of Games!




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Tim Claubaugh Jr. attended Terra State Community College from 2009-2011 and then graduated from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in music composition and technology 

At the age of five Tim's father enrolled him into piano lessons which lasted throughout his high school years. Tim began composing original piano music while he was in high school and since then he has composed music for many short films, video game trailers, TV show entries, NASA , Radio Spots, and for personal use.