The Speakers

The lectures and workshops of top-class international speakers of the indie game scene offer fascinating insights into the networks and strategies applied by a complex media compound, which challenge and alter existing production and reception methods.

Jonatan Söderström / SWE

Key Note (Apr 26, 11:00)

A few years ago games like “Braid”, “Everyday Shooter” and “flOw” created an awareness among the public that independtly developed games could be something very special. Through innovation and uniqueness the indie scene started to grow and made a place for itself in the games industry. Discussions went rampant about whether games could be considered an artform or not, and developers were talking about the evolution and maturing of our medium. It was truly a time of inspiration. Since then hits like “Minecraft” have shown that indies are even able to compete with mainstream productions in terms of audience. But what are the consequences of gaining such success? Where are we heading now and why?

Jonatan Söderström aka “cactus” is an award winning game developer from Gothenburg, Sweden who has been making independent games for seven years and has gained praise and fame for his continuous output of odd freeware games.

Jay Cousins / UK

Lecture - New Level Accessed (Apr 26, 11:45)

A presentation/provocation about how open source principles could change the game for games and game design. 

Jay Cousins is an Enabler of Interesting Projects, and an evangelist/explorer of Open Source Methods, Products and Practices. In the last 2 years he’s helped give birth to multiple awesome projects and supported many others.

Martin Nerurkar / DE

Lecture - The Indie Brain on F2P (Apr 26, 12:15)

This lecture aims to provide an introduction to the design of free to play games and show why free to play is a great fit for the indie developer. It will give a succinct definition of the F2P (free to play) business model complete with it’s advantages and disadvantages. This lecture will also provide some useful tips and advice on the actual design of F2P games along with a few common mistakes to avoid.

Martin has studied architecture and worked as a freelance 3d artist, as a level designer, scripter and game designer. His last employment was as Lead Game Designer for Gameforge. He is now a freelance game designer with his Sharkbomb Game Design Services.

Norbert Haacks / DE

Lecture - Buckle up (Apr 26, 12:45)

A talk about why you have to make creative concessions to achieve true independence. Norbert gives insights about the startup life and why it is the best and the worst thing that can happen to you

After trying to study Computer Science Norbert moved to Berlin to study Game Design. After that he co-founded Newtracks with two fellow students to work on Next Big Thing. He loves everything related to games, is a passionate comic reader, t-shirt collector and meme connoisseur.

Mario v. Rickenbach / CH

Lecture - From idea to prototype (Apr 26, 14:15)

A talk about how to evolve ideas for games and how to get them out of our heads to create prototypes.

Mario von Rickenbach (1987) is a game designer and developer, based in Zurich, Switzerland. He first started to study architecture, but then decided to do a Bachelor degree in Game Design at Zurich‘s University of the Arts instead, where he also works as research associate nowadays. His recent works include Mirage, a quirky game about a surreal creature and Krautscape, a generative racing game.

Jonathan Brodsky / UK

Lecture - Creative Music Games (Apr 26, 14:45)

Lucky Frame creates things that allow other people to create. With their recent projects, this has taken the form of games in which the player writes songs as they play the game. Jonathan will talk about some new ways to be creative with music using the vocabulary of games, showcase a number of prototypes and outline the design decisions that went into Pugs Luv Beats.

Jonathan Brodsky is a designer and programmer. He makes electronic musical instruments, games, and very occasionally websites. He is interested in presets, quick creation, minimalism, and maximalism. He lives in Scotland.

Thierry Platon / FR

Lecture - Cultural value in games (Apr 26, 15:15)

From the first moments of the design process, most of the Game Designers incorporate notions of “value” in their games (What value does my game going forward it to the player?) or even notions of “trace” (That he will remain in my game once the player has finished?). And this notion of value is directly associated with the cultural heritage of the Designer. Yet it is much rarer than the same Games Designers, at least in Europe, directly integrate elements of their own culture in their game… Our European cultural heritage has certainly no reason to be ashamed next to our Japanese and American colleagues … So isn’t it our role, as Game Designer, to do radiate our heritage through our modern creations?

Thierry Platon is a video-game industry veteran with a musician, actor, stage director, comic books and science fiction writer background. As early as 1985, Thierry worked for Atari France in the localization of the very first Atari 400 games, while publishing numerous articles in various games magazines. His career as a freelance Game Designer eventually led him to the creation of the BiP media studio, of which he is the Creative Director. Thierry is also vice-president of the SNJV (Syndicat National du Jeu Video) and the PRIMI (Mediterranean Transmedia Cluster), organizer of the European Indie Game Days in Marseille.

Andreas Podgurski

Open Discussion (Apr 26, 15:45)

Michael Liebe

Open Discussion (Apr 26, 15:45)

Michael Liebe studied Political Science and Media Studies in Trier, Bochum, Madrid and Potsdam. He has a M.A. in European Media Science and is working on his Ph.D in rules of the computer game. He is cofounder of the Digital Game Research Center at the University of Potsdam (DIGAREC) and was the strategic head of the game art festival A MAZE. As a free journalist he is specialized in digital culture, markets and technologies. At the moment he is a speaker in new media at the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (web, games, mobile).

Douglas Wilson / DK

Lecture - Proteus, Johann Sebastian Joust, and the magic of "low process intensity" games (Apr 27, 11:00)

On paper, indie games Proteus and Johann Sebastian Joust seem like polar opposites. The former is an intimate and colorful exploration game that thrives in quiet settings, whereas the latter is a no-graphics physical party game designed for multiple players and spectators. In this talk, Johann Sebastian Joust designer Douglas Wilson will explain why he draws so much inspiration from Proteus, and why the two games are actually more similar than they might first appear. Both games call attention to the fertile space of game design possibilities beyond formalized systems and computational algorithms – a space where players are rallied to improvise their own gameplay and appropriate games to their own purposes.

Douglas Wilson is a Lead Game Designer and Partner at Die Gute Fabrik, a small indie games studio based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is currently working on a number of game projects including Johann Sebastian Joust, which received the Innovation Award at the 2012 Game Developers Choice Awards. Doug recently finished a PhD dissertation at IT University of Copenhagen, where he wrote about designing games that embrace an aesthetic of confrontation, silliness, and brokenness. His work has been shown around the world, in venues such as the Independent Games Festival, IndieCade, Babycastles, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Hendrik Lesser / DE

Workshop - Lessons learned (Apr 27, 11:00)

Successful development and progression of indie studios, their special challenges and the art of staying independent

Hendrik Lesser is managing director of the Munich based production house remote control productions. He is Executive Producer of the development studio Chimera Entertainment as well as a member of the jury of the German Developer Award. He is also an executive board member of the non-profit association “Videospielkultur e.V.” and teaches at different game-specific educational institutes like the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, the Technische Universität München and the Games Academy.

Thomas Bedenk / DE

Lecture - Cognitive Psychology and Game Design (Apr 27, 11:30)

The game design process involves an understanding of how the game, the player and the designer relate and connect to each other. Thomas Bedenk tries to illustrate and integrate different researchers points of views on interactive processes into an imperfect mapping of the cognitive aspects of this relation. He raises the question in what way these findings of psychologist might help us to make better games.

Thomas Bedenk is creative lead and co-founder of Brightside Games. He studied Media Design in Nuremberg and Human Factors in Berlin. Currently he is also teaching at the TU-Berlin, Games Academy and Mediadesign Hochschule. Before focusing on the games industry he was freelance interactive/web designer and developer for about 10 years and worked on special effects in the movie industry for a while. He started his love for games playing Pac-Man against his twin brother on the Atari 800XL.

Dr. Margarethe Jahrmann / AT

Lecture - The Exhibit Game (Apr 27, 12:00)

In the history of media, looking at early movie making and TV shows, propaganda never reached a passive audience. It rather enabled and demanded an actively hedonistic but not necessarily critical way of consumption. No wonder, that the game industry today leaves movies and television way behind. Not only technologically but also in the ways of transmitting propaganda in a smooth and enjoyable fashion. The exhibit game is about subliminal messages and the rules we all have already accepted in live and media. Step right up and don’t play along!

Margarete Jahrmann
Margarete Jahrmann, founder of, is an artist who works with performances and installations at the intersection of fashion, propaganda and subliminal messages.

Vlambeer / NL

Lecture - Sensible Nonsense (Apr 27, 12:30)

Vlambeer explains how believable, solid nonsense is an important yet undersung aspect of videogames. Using recent games as Super Crate Box, Yeti Hunter, LUFTRAUSER and GUN GODZ as examples, they'll explain how a consistent and complete fiction is the only way to creating a great game.

Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman, bringing back arcade games since 1776. Creators of Super Create Box and Radical Fishing.

Karel Millenaar / NL

Lecture - Breaking the magic box: Designing pervasive games (Apr 27, 14:00)

Anne Katrin Ulrich / DE

Workshop - Game Design for Location Based Games: tripventure – every place tells a story (Apr 27, 14:30)

Hunting down criminals in Berlin, finding hidden objects across London – location-based games attract an increasing number of gamers. While being a lot of fun to play, they hold a variety of challenges for game designers.

This workshop kicks-off with an overview of location based games and trends given by Michael Sträubig, professional designer of location based-games. We will shortly introduce tripventure, a new platform for location-based and story-focused games using AR. tripventures combine the key features of point and click adventures (riddles, inventory, game-in-games) with opportunities of location-based gaming.

Anne-Katrin Ulrich is General Manager of tripventure, a platform for location-based and story-focused games realized via the tripengine. tripventure has been developed by sprylab technologies, a young software company based in Berlin.

Peter Kirn / USA

Workshop – Build Games That Sound as Dynamic as They Look, Free, with libpd. (Apr 27, 14:30)

Think back to your favorite games: how big an impression did the soundscape make for the ones to which you were really addicted? Isn’t it time to make the sound and music score in your games level up? In this workshop, learn to build dynamic soundtracks and interactive music scores, whether you’re a composer/sound designer or a game designer looking to collaborate with sound and music nerds. We’ll use libpd, a free and open source library based on Pure Data, the powerful tool that allows musicians to program elaborate sounds and generative music graphically. libpd is already used in titles for desktop, iPhones, iPads, and Android (including the wildly-popular Inception: The App). For the purposes of rapid prototyping and getting straight to gameplay, we’ll work with the simple, free, design-friendly tool Processing, but you can apply what you learn to your tools of choice.

Peter Kirn is a music producer, technologist, writer, and editor of and He’s a core contributor to libpd, and has taught Pd and Processing at venues like Parsons: The New School for Design (NYC), Crashspace (LA), and Casa da Musica (Porto, Portugal).