As usual, Game will feature a great mix of speakers from top AAA and indie studios worldwide.

Animex Game is a packed two day programme of talks from world class games studios including an evening event for you to network with the creators of some of your favourite games.

Game started as a small one day event with around fifty places and has exploded into two days of talks from world class studios to audiences of nearly six hundred people spread across two venues.

Over the years we have managed to attract some of the biggest and brightest talents in the business and this year will be no exception.

Tickets often sell out long in advance of festival week, so make sure you get booked up as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. To see all of the presentations during Animex Game you will need an Animex Festival Pass or an Animex Game Pass.

The names of our speakers will be released as soon as we receive final confirmations. Keep an eye on our news pages and Twitter feed for exciting updates as they happen.

Schedule

OL1 Europa Building, Teesside University

Thursday 12 February
Time Talk/Event
8:30am Registration
9:50am Welcome
Gabrielle Kent Animex festival director, Teesside University
10:00am Rethinking game design for the post-gamer era
Peter Pashley Tech Director, ustwo Games
Ken Wong Lead Designer, Ustwo
When ustwo’s Monument Valley arrived on mobile last year, it was celebrated for its innovative visual and interaction design, topping charts and winning awards. But being short, linear and easy, was it even a game? Lead designer Ken Wong and tech director Peter Pashley talk about the conflict between gameplay and meaning and how resolving it leads to better design.
11:00am Ninja Pizza Girl: developing a game about bullying and self-esteem
Nicole Stark Independent Game Developer
Nicole talks about the challenges of developing games as a family and the evolution of Ninja Pizza Girl from a cute, funny platformer to a serious game about bullying and emotional resilience.
12:00pm Lunch
1:30pm Facial Animation: Bringing VFX Techniques to the World of Video Games
David Barton Senior Producer, Cubic Motion
Steven Caulkin Head of Research, Cubic Motion
Cubic Motion, courtesy of Dr Steven Caulkin (CTO) and David Barton (Senior Producer), will be delving into their proprietary facial animation technologies and pipeline to demonstrate how they deliver massive volumes of next-gen facial animation on projects like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Ryse: Son of Rome. They deliver such projects by utilising and adapting techniques that were primarily used in the VFX industry in areas such as performance capture, animation solving, and facial rigging.
2:30pm Break
3:00pm Standing out from the crowd
Alessandro Taini Art Director, Ninja Theory
Alessandro discusses how his work on Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC: Devil May Cry and the upcoming Hellblade, has made Ninja Theory games visually stand out from the crowd. He will show how Ninja Theory has approached creative challenges from different angles, to achieve something fresh new and unique.
4:00pm Re-creating sci-fi’s original iconic Alien
Gary Napper Game director, Supermassive Games
A look behind the systems, senses and design of the alien from The Creative Assembly’s evolution of horror game, Alien: Isolation. Gary explains how the team approached this daunting task, some of the things they learned and tricks to working with the alien.
5:00pm Festival close
7:30pm Players’ Lounge
Join the speakers and studios for networking in our award winning student HUB, and meet our special guest, Ms Kitty Powers!
Friday 13 February
Time Talk/Event
9:00am Registration
For unregistered attendees only
10:00am The making of Valve’s Free to Play documentary
Phil Co Level Designer, Valve
In 2011, Valve held the world’s first $1m video game tournament called The International. A small team of game developers originally went to film the event and make a short highlight video. Two years, hundreds of hours of footage, dozens of interviews, and thousands of travel miles later, Valve’s first feature length film was released. Phil takes us behind the scenes of the movie.
11:00am More than words can say: from adjective to character – creating heroes
Andrew Walsh Writer, Director
From words on a page to a walking, talking, player controlled character, what is the process of bringing a person out of your head and into a game? What is a character? How does giving a player control of them change what a character is from how they would be in a film? This interactive talk will examine where games developers start the process of bringing a character to life.
12:00pm Lunch
1:30pm Herding cats: an introduction to games production
Jennifer Clixby Senior Producer at Lionhead
Ever wondered what a producer actually does? This talk draws on real world examples of games production challenges and discusses how these can be tackled, while also giving an overview of project lifecycles and how having a good understanding of the development process can help everyone on a team be more effective, resulting in a game everyone can be proud to show to the world.
2:30pm Break
3:00pm "Make It More Yellow"
Wyeth Johnson Lead technical artist, Epic
With an industry full of varied skillsets, tight deadlines, large teams and a huge pile of different personalities, good feedback in all directions (up, down, and sideways) can make or break a project. We can take a look at some real examples of how to give art and design feedback specific to game development and game teams, how to communicate between disciplines, and if someday you want to be a manager or leader, how to not ruin everything. It’ll be fun!
4:00pm Broken Age: from concept to release
Nathan Stapley Lead artist, Double Fine
Lead artist Nathan discusses the development of Broken Age, from pre-ideas to release. Dealing with a record breaking Kickstarter campaign and changes in scale from initial budget, working with a team of painters to get a cohesive look, working on the game as it was being written, splitting it into two parts, new levels of transparency during development, and other adventurous things.
5:00pm Close

OL7 Europa Building, Teesside University

Thursday 12 February
Time Talk/Event
8:30am Registration
For unregistered attendees only
9:50am Welcome
Satish Shewhorak Co-host, Animex Game
10:00am The making of Valve’s Free to Play documentary
Phil Co Level Designer, Valve
In 2011, Valve held the world’s first $1m video game tournament called The International. A small team of game developers originally went to film the event and make a short highlight video. Two years, hundreds of hours of footage, dozens of interviews, and thousands of travel miles later, Valve’s first feature length film was released. Phil takes us behind the scenes of the movie.
11:00am More than words can say: from adjective to character – creating heroes
Andrew Walsh Writer, Director
From words on a page to a walking, talking, player controlled character, what is the process of bringing a person out of your head and into a game? What is a character? How does giving a player control of them change what a character is from how they would be in a film? This interactive talk will examine where games developers start the process of bringing a character to life.
12:00pm Lunch
1:30pm Herding cats: an introduction to games production
Jennifer Clixby Senior Producer at Lionhead
Ever wondered what a producer actually does? This talk draws on real world examples of games production challenges and discusses how these can be tackled, while also giving an overview of project lifecycles and how having a good understanding of the development process can help everyone on a team be more effective, resulting in a game everyone can be proud to show to the world.
2:30pm Break
3:00pm "Make It More Yellow"
Wyeth Johnson Lead technical artist, Epic
With an industry full of varied skillsets, tight deadlines, large teams and a huge pile of different personalities, good feedback in all directions (up, down, and sideways) can make or break a project. We can take a look at some real examples of how to give art and design feedback specific to game development and game teams, how to communicate between disciplines, and if someday you want to be a manager or leader, how to not ruin everything. It’ll be fun!
4:00pm Broken Age: from concept to release
Nathan Stapley Lead artist, Double Fine
Lead artist Nathan discusses the development of Broken Age, from pre-ideas to release. Dealing with a record breaking Kickstarter campaign and changes in scale from initial budget, working with a team of painters to get a cohesive look, working on the game as it was being written, splitting it into two parts, new levels of transparency during development, and other adventurous things.
5:00pm Close
7:30pm Players’ Lounge
Join the speakers and studios for networking in our award winning student HUB, and meet our special guest, Ms Kitty Powers!
Friday 13 February
Time Talk/Event
9:00am Registration
For unregistered attendees only
10:00am Rethinking game design for the post-gamer era
Peter Pashley Tech Director, ustwo Games
Ken Wong Lead Designer, Ustwo
When ustwo’s Monument Valley arrived on mobile last year, it was celebrated for its innovative visual and interaction design, topping charts and winning awards. But being short, linear and easy, was it even a game? Lead designer Ken Wong and tech director Peter Pashley talk about the conflict between gameplay and meaning and how resolving it leads to better design.
11:00am Ninja Pizza Girl: developing a game about bullying and self-esteem
Nicole Stark Independent Game Developer
Nicole talks about the challenges of developing games as a family and the evolution of Ninja Pizza Girl from a cute, funny platformer to a serious game about bullying and emotional resilience.
12:00pm Lunch
1:30pm Facial Animation: Bringing VFX Techniques to the World of Video Games
David Barton Senior Producer, Cubic Motion
Steven Caulkin Head of Research, Cubic Motion
Cubic Motion, courtesy of Dr Steven Caulkin (CTO) and David Barton (Senior Producer), will be delving into their proprietary facial animation technologies and pipeline to demonstrate how they deliver massive volumes of next-gen facial animation on projects like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Ryse: Son of Rome. They deliver such projects by utilising and adapting techniques that were primarily used in the VFX industry in areas such as performance capture, animation solving, and facial rigging.
2:30pm Break
3:00pm Standing out from the crowd
Alessandro Taini Art Director, Ninja Theory
Alessandro discusses how his work on Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC: Devil May Cry and the upcoming Hellblade, has made Ninja Theory games visually stand out from the crowd. He will show how Ninja Theory has approached creative challenges from different angles, to achieve something fresh new and unique.
4:00pm Re-creating sci-fi’s original iconic Alien
Gary Napper Game director, Supermassive Games
A look behind the systems, senses and design of the alien from The Creative Assembly’s evolution of horror game, Alien: Isolation. Gary explains how the team approached this daunting task, some of the things they learned and tricks to working with the alien.
5:00pm Festival close

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