CGX Ottawa 2018 - A Celebration of Games!

We are thrilled to announce that we are coming back for

Saturday, June 23 @ 9am  to  Sunday, June 24 @ 6pm

at the gorgeous

Ottawa Conference and Event Centre!

After 2 sold out events CGX is back! The conference will focus on positive leadership in gaming & technology through three separate tracks, including the famous founder’s track. Along with advances in tech and creative, we will also have art workshops and masterclasses.

The expo zone will have 100 studios showing off games and tech! Indie, AAA, VR Zone, leaders in tech, arcades, Escape rooms, and life-size games.

Included in Conference are Mentor Lounge, Connect Cafe (meet hiring studios), and a gorgeous video game art gallery showing off Canadian game artists!

Our new beautiful venue is located 10 minutes from Parliament and next to the train station.

We can’t wait to see you in our beautiful new space, full of great games and industry leaders! We also promise, as with all our events, to be incredibly diverse and inclusive.

Event tickets

Expo Day Pass
  • One full day access to the Expo floor
Expo Weekend Pass
  • Full weekend access to the Expo floor
Conference Day Pass
  • Day access to the expo floor
  • Day access to the conference
Conference Full Pass
  • Full access to the expo floor
  • Full access to the conference
Buy now!

Our Speakers

Meet this year’s

Celia Hodent

Game UX Expert & Game UX Summit Founder

    Tina Nawrocki

    Cuphead - The Creative Process and 2d Animation


      Creative Director @ Kitfox Games


      Design Director @ EA Motive Studios

      Dan Vargas

      Art Director @ Ubisoft Quebec


      Senior Game Designer @ WB Montreal


      Co-Founder & CEO @ TheMeatly Games, Ltd.

      Jim Leedham

      Programmer @ Digital Extremes


      Partner & Head of Design @ Karman Interactive

      Corina Diaz

      Community & Marketing @ Lightning Rod Games; Editor & Host @ GameDevCafe


      CEO & Game Designer @ Clever Endeavour Games


      Animation Director @ Eidos Montreal

      Ken Hall

      CEO @ 2Dogs Games

        Sax Carr

        Producer / Writer / Social Media @ Geek & Sundry

          Ben Palevsky

          Business/Marketing Director @ Hyroglyphik Games

          Adam Duff

          Concept Artist @ Lucidpixul

            Guillaume Charrin

            Lead Art @ Ludia

            Lidi Giroux

            Team and Culture Manager @ East Side Games

            Geoff Ellenor

            Game Director @ WB Games Montreal

              Anne Gibeault

              Creative Lead @ Epsilon Games

              Rachèl Bazelais

              Front End Developer

              Louis-Nicolas Dozois

              Creative Lead @ NorthernBytes Software

                JON KEON

                Partner @ Karman Interactive

                Brian Fetter

                Co-Founder @ Steel Crate Games

                Xavier Sythe

                Founder & Producer @ Diamond Age Media

                Derek Ledoux

                Co-Founder @ Dirty Rectangles

                Travis Martin

                Game & Level Designer @ Snowed In Studios Inc.

                Victor Mosquera

                Concept artist @ Ubisoft Toronto

                Jefferson Allen

                VP of Studio Operations @ Mercury Filmworks

                  Adrian Salamunovic

                  Co-Founder @ CanvasPop

                  Frederick Rambaud

                  Art Director @ Gearbox Studio Québec

                  Rachelle Reyes

                  Character Design @ Disney

                    Pejman Mirza-Babaei

                    Director @ UXR Lab

                    Chris Lefebvre

                    Ads @ Tapdaq, Publishing @ Double Jump

                    Abe Taraky

                    Lead concept artist @ Amazon Game Studios

                    Lateef Martin

                    Founder & Creative Director @ Miscellaneum Studios

                    Tali Goldstein

                    CEO & Producer @ Casa Rara Studios

                    Nick Eypert

                    UX Director @ Reflector Entertainment Ltd.

                      Simon Paquette

                      CEO & Creative Director @ Reptoid Games Inc.

                        Past Speakers

                        Meet Some of Our Previous

                        JASON DELLA ROCCA

                        Co-founder @ Execution Labs

                        ISABELLE TREMBLAY

                        Head of HR @ Square Enix

                        JASON RENAUD

                        CEO @ Trois Pixel

                        ASTRID ROSEMARIN

                        Community Developer @ Execution Labs

                        Conference Schedule

                        9:00-10:00 AM
                        Developing a UX mindset on Fortnite

                        While there is no recipe for crafting successful video games, there are specific ingredients that we can rely on and a specific process that can guide developers along the way. The ingredients come from our understanding of the human brain. The process comes from the scientific approach and "design thinking". Considering them both allows developers to adopt a user experience (UX) mindset for their project, empowering them to accomplish their goals faster and more efficiently. Former director of UX at Epic Games explains in this talk how such UX strategy was developed on Fortnite and how the team implemented it.

                        Ceila Hodent, Freelance Game UX Consultant

                        Creative direction is even harder as an indie. You're a small team, pushing the frontier of games, on a smaller budget. How do you keep your team not only on-target but motivated? How do you evaluate your own effectiveness as a creative director? Everyone has their own style and strengths -- let's find yours! This session will explore Kitfox's experiments (successful and otherwise) in creative direction, in terms of theory and practice as executed in her studio over the past 5 years.

                        Tanya X. Short, Creative Director @ Kitfox Games

                        Setting your game dev work culture is a conscious leadership action, and key to team success. Learn how to use your authentic leadership “brand” to set a work culture you can believe in.

                        Geoff Ellenor, Game Director @ WB Games Montreal

                        Anne Gibeault started creating the Primus Vita universe in 2008. Now, 10 years later, she's at the head of Epsilon Games, developing an episodic first-person adventure and a comic book series, based on the Primus Vita universe. From writing to managing, working, and learning how to let go of the most intimate aspects of creation, Anne Gibeault will talk about why it is important to build a business around an entire universe, and what impact we can have on our direct team, our players - and the world.

                        Anne Gibeault, Creative Lead & Founder @ Epsilon Games

                        From Game Jam to Glory: The Ultimate Chicken Horse Story" is a (mostly) business-focused talk about the story of UCH, from its inception to its critical success on Steam. Throughout the story, many lessons were learned, and I will talk about these lessons which touch on topics such as management, handling relationships, hustle, design, community, and more.

                        Richard Atlast, CEO & Game Designer @ Clever Endeavour

                        Are you creating a new innovative product, process or service to grow your business or start a new one? Maybe you are adapting technology or finding a new way to grow your business, increase revenues, find new markets, increase market share or add more employees. Maybe you’ve heard about different Government of Canada programs but don’t have the time to work out all the details.

                        We can help!
                        Concierge is a single access point to funding, expertise, facilities, and global opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking to grow through innovation. The only service of its kind in Canada, it offers free, one-on-one assistance from expert advisors who provide customized guidance in selecting the most relevant programs and services to help you grow your business.

                        What we offer
                        - A team of Innovation Advisors located across Canada with extensive networks, expertise and industry knowledge ready to guide you through your innovation journey.
                        - A single point of access to information on available innovation programs and services, including funding.
                        - Customized guidance in selecting the most relevant resources that best meet your needs.
                        - Direct referrals to our network of partner programs and services.

                        Mark Allice, Innovation Advisor @ NRC-IRAP | PARI-CNRC | Government of Canada

                        Grab a coffee, network, or go check out the Expo!

                        How to rock indie life!

                        Peter McLaren, Creative Director @ Massive Damage, Kezia Adamo, Programmer @ Studio MDHR; Mike Mood, CEO @ TheMeatly Games; Kim Pasquin, General Manager @ Nvizzio; Moderated by Sax Carr @ Geek & Sundry


                        Jefferson Allen, VP of Studio Operations @ Mercury Filmworks
                        10:00 AM - 10:40 AM
                        Cuphead - The Creative Process and 2D Animation

                        Get Behind the Scenes of ­Cuphead – the gloriously fiendish indie run-and-gunner game inspired by classic Rubber hose cartoons of the 1930s. Hotly anticipated, and blowing up since launching on PC and Xbox One, Cuphead was painstakingly created using techniques of the 1930s era: traditional hand drawn animation, watercolor backgrounds, and original jazz recordings.

                        Tina Nawrocki, 2D Animator @ Cuphead

                        Level design can be hard - especially when you're staring at a blank page. I'll share some of the techniques I use to find starting points.

                        Travis Martin, Game & Lead Designer @ Snowed In Studios

                        This talk covers a combination of techniques used to generate game architecture in full 3D. These techniques are centered around using spatial grammars to divide up space in a meaningful way, providing a highly configurable system capable of generating entire levels using a small set of simple meshes.

                        Evan Hahn, Co-Founder, Senior Software Engineer @ Snowed In Studios

                        In today's landscape of free-to-play it's never been more important to keep growing your game beyond its release with rich, meaningful content updates, but what kind of technical challenges does that introduce? How can you reconcile a cohesive code base with an ever-growing feature set? And how can you effectively stabilise your builds when there's always work in progress? Join me as I present Digital Extreme's tried and tested approach to continuous iteration within our flagship title Warframe

                        Jim Leedham, Programmer @ Digital Extremes

                        Want to learn how to get your apps or games covered by main stream media such as Techcrunch, The Verge, Mashable, Buzzfeed, New York Times and more? Adrian will walk you through the process he's used to get his companies top tier media exposure for FREE and without wasting money on a PR agency. Get ready to take notes, this session will be focused on delivering you takeaways you can start using right away.

                        Adrian Salamunovic, Co-Founder @ CanvasPop

                        The panelists from varied creative fields in the games industry will be asked to share real-life tools and mindsets that help them get in the flow of creativity, and also tips to unlock ourselves when we feel stuck or out of "ideas". The panel will be supported by presentation material sharing references to creative processes and best practices. Takeaways: - Pointers to tools and processes to be and stay creative. - Real-life tips of creative people. - and the answer to: should my desk be a mess or clean to be a real creative?

                        Brent George, Animation Director @ Eidos; Nick Eypert, UX Director @ Reflector Entertainment Ltd; Ken Hall, CEO @ 2Dogs Games; Tina Nawrocki, 2D Animator @ Cuphead; Guillaime Charrin, Lead Art @ Ludia; Jason Renaud CEO @ Trois Pixel

                        I will discuss the specific design decisions that were required given the state of VR as it existed when we started on the project, point out some of the alternatives if we hadn't been focused on VR, discuss some of the challenges we faced trying to add in motion control support to a game that wasn't designed for them and talk about some of the design constraints with current VR tech and how this will likely change in the near future.

                        Brian Fetter, Co-Founder @ Steel Crate Games

                        Jillian Mood, CEO @ Mood Foundation; Ian Durant, People Operations Leader @ You.i TV; Jane Maguire, Lead Engineering Recruiter @ Shopify; Lidi Giroux
                        9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
                        A Beginners Guide to Video Game Neural Networks - Located in Boardroom 209

                        Neural Networks have the potential completely change the way that artificial intelligence in games work. At the same time, they can seem very confusing and potential unintelligible. This workshop is meant to introduce people to the Neural Network, how they learn, and arm them with the ability to expand on this knowledge to use them in their own games. Note: basic programming knowledge required.

                        Nathan Pringle

                        Do you have daily standups but no other scrum meetings? Are you doing scrum but don’t have a product owner or scrum master? Are you a team lead who’s just been made the scrum master? Did you just google ‘what is a product owner or scrum master’ right now? Maybe you’re just curious about what scrum is and how you can implement it for your team or studio? In some agile circles there’s a term called scrumbut to define when a team ‘does scrum but …’. I prefer to call it FrankenScrum. Either way, if you’re new to scrum, or are struggling with how to implement it successfully this is the workshop for you!

                        This half-day scrum workshop is full of activities to encourage teamwork and collaboration. Each activity builds upon the previous activities, reinforcing important information in an interactive way. We’ll learn the better practices and things to avoid when implementing scrum for you team.

                        By the end of the workshop you should have a thorough understanding of the Scrum Roles, Meetings, and how a feature makes its way from the Product Backlog, through a Sprint, and out as a potentially shippable product increment. You should leave with enough knowledge to start or reboot scrum for your team and be on your way to agile success.

                        Be prepared for an afternoon of fun-filled collaboration and learning with your peers.

                        Sherri Flemings, Founder @ Webble Interactive Inc.
                        12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
                        Located in Room 106H

                        All attendees are welcome to the Connect Cafe!! An amazing hiring event to meet and greet studios hiring right now!! (Shopify, You.I TV, WB, East Side Games, TheMeatly Games & more!!)

                        Brought to you by NewFound Recruiting
                        9:00 AM -10:00 AM
                        Who do you know?

                        There's a saying that "It's not what you know, it's who you know". Over the course of TheMeatly Games and Karman Interactive's history, that's become abundantly clear. Both companies started out just focusing on their craft and caring about the work. And while the quality was high and the passion was there, it was the honest and genuine relationships they made along the way that truly launched their success. Mike and Jon will walk through their origin story and talk about how both good and bad relationships have shaped them. From first time job seekers to existing business owners, who you know is crucial.

                        Mike Mood, Co-Founder & CEO @ TheMeatly Games; Jon Keon, Partner @ Karman Interactive

                        Live streaming, lore and other ways to build your brand with community.

                        Erika Ishii, Host / Producer @ Geek & Sundry; Sax Carr, Producer / Writer / Social Media @ Geek & Sundry

                        Exploring intersections between developing for web interfaces and video game.

                        Rachèl Bazelais, Front End Developer @ Formerly AOL

                        Formal UX evaluation sessions are becoming more integrated into game development cycles. However, conducting these sessions is not always feasible or affordable for smaller independent game studios, as they often require specialised equipment and expertise. In this talk, I provide guidelines for how small studios with low budgets can benefit from playtesting their games. Using recent, real-world examples, I discuss the approaches, methods and equipment used to build an effective playtesting setup to help game developers optimize the player experience for their titles.

                        Pejman Mirza - Babaei, Director @ UXR Lab

                        From the moment someone learns about your game, 'til they play it for the last time, every moment matters. Learn how to take advantage of every moment, and see marketing in a whole new light.

                        Xavier Sythe, Game Producer at Diamond Age Media

                        In this long-take anecdote I'll go in detail about a specific moment that resonated with me in my years teaching Game Development. It stemmed from a single question from one of my students, "How do I build an elevator?". What emerged from that problem is something I'll never forget. This is a story of creative problem solving, imposter syndrome and perseverance when the road ahead is thick with fog.

                        Derek Ledoux, Co-Founder & Organizer & Mobile Educator @ Dirty Rectangles & Shopify

                        The gaming industry is a treacherous and stormy ocean full of things trying to sink your animation ship and eat your crew. Having navigated these waters for over 10 years now as an animator and director, I’d like to offer some tips and insights to help aid you in your own production voyages. Although this talk originates from an animation perspective, I’ve made sure there is useful information for everyone, so all be welcome in this here talk. Yarrrr!

                        Brent George, Animation Director @ Eidos

                        Rebecca Johnson, Co-Founder @ Colony VR; Keith Makse, Senior Product Project Manager @ Red Meat Games; Martin Bradstreet, CEO & Creative Director @ Martov Co; Vicky Ferguson, Programming Team Lead @ Ubisoft Montreal
                        10:10 AM - 10:40 AM
                        Lessons from Suzy Cube

                        A distillation of a number of the blog posts I've written over 3 years of working solo on Suzy Cube from my blog posts of the same name. Interspersed with anecdotes on my experience doing all this while living through the socio-economic turmoil in Venezuela.

                        Louis-Nicolas Dozois, Creative Lead @ NorthernBytes Software

                        Corina Diaz, Digital Marketing Strategist @ Lightning Rod Games; Jillian Mood, CEO @ Mood Foundation; Cole Hagedorn, Community Manager @ Mood Foundation

                        What is a Top Ad Strategy? How are Top Grossing Studios and Indies Innovating the Balance between User Experience & Revenue in Mobile F2P? Join Chris Lefebvre, VP @ Tapdaq, Publisher @ DoubleJump, CEO @ Petty Vindictive Games, and Judge @ Big Indie Pitch & Indie Prize, as he showcases the year's best in-app ad implementations. Also, memes.

                        Chris Lefebre, VP of Business Development @ Tapdaq

                        Osama Dorias, Senior Game Designer at Warner Bros Montreal; Kim Swift, Design Director at EA Motive Studios; Jillian Mood, CEO at Mood Foundation; Jason Nuyens, President at Breakfall; Jamie Petten, President and Executive Director at Kanata North Business Association; Rachel Bazelais, Engineer

                        This is the story of how an animator and a programmer started a game company, raised money, designed an original game, did their own PR and marketing, self published and, most importantly, shipped the game on time. This talk will include a brief post-mortem of the game "Fossil Hunters" that addresses key challenges for a small team on their first game, and some advice from a 6 year old on overcoming the fear of failure.

                        Simon Paquette, Co-Founder @ Reptoid Games

                        Competitive games need to be built from the ground up. This includes thinking about your community, low level programming, and constant balancing and refinement of the game. In this talk we'll take a critical look at what makes competitive games unique, and how you can make yours as holistic as possible.

                        Ben Pavelsky, Business Development @ Hyroglyphik Games

                        Speaking from a unique perspective of leading design across digital brand advertising for clients (at Fuel) and long term game/app development as part of internal teams (at Funzio and Mind Candy). Some insights on how each industry can learn from the other.

                        Ram Kanda, Partner & Head of Design @ Karman Interactive
                        10:10 AM - 11:40 AM
                        Directing Art: An Unexpected Journey

                        Dan Vargas, Art Director @ Ubisoft Quebec

                        Fred Rambaud, Art Director @ Gearbox Studios

                        Adam Duff, Concept Artist @ Lucidpixul
                        9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
                        UX and Cognitive Science Overview

                        User experience (UX) and cognitive science are becoming trendy in the games industry, but how can these disciplines help a team develop and improve their product? UX and cognitive science combined are at the service of the intended design, and can provide very concrete and easy-to-use tips to anticipate and solve problems, sometimes even before the playtesting phase.
                        This short 3-hour Masterclass proposes an overview of how the human brain works in terms of perception, attention, and memory (critical elements for UX) as well as an introduction to a UX framework to use cognitive science, psychological knowledge, and UX guidelines. The goal of this Masterclass is to introduce participants to the tools that can significantly improve the experience of the game they are developing for their target audience. This Masterclass will offer numerous examples, from video games and beyond, to illustrate each point.

                        This Masterclass has about 3 hours of content total between 2 main parts.

                        Part 1 - Introduction to cognitive science and psychology. To understand how the brain works and more specifically, how it learns, we will look into the capabilities and limitations of human perception, attention, and memory, using multiple examples taken from video games and beyond.

                        Part 2 - Focuses more specifically on the User Experience (UX) framework you can apply when developing your game, and how it relates to the brain's capabilities and limitations. We will break down UX into ‘usability’ and ‘engage-ability’ and detail the important principles within these 2 components that can make, in the end, a great difference for your player and how s/he will experience your game (for the better!). It will cover how to successfully onboard players (i.e. first time user experience over, roughly, the first minutes to an hour of play) as well as how to keep players engaged over time.

                        This Masterclass will deliver the most benefit to game designers, artists, gameplay programmers, and junior UX practitioners, however, anyone can benefit from knowing more about the brain and about user experience.

                        Celia Hodent, Game UX Expert

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