Key Speakers and Features to Look Forward to at 2021’s Online GDOC

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By Tan Montana on September 20th, 2021

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 The 6th annual Game Devs of Color Expo is upon us in nearly a week! That will be September 23–27th. That means it’s time for fans and developers alike to gather, listen, connect, and learn. GDOC has been an event that’s not just a tool for marginalized creators in the larger industry but a place for fans of games to learn a bit more about the process and the people behind them. Of course, it’s the people and creators behind these games that drive them forward, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the events and speakers to look forward to.

As a quick disclaimer, there isn’t nearly enough time to talk about every event and game in the expos timeline but rather the ones I thought to feature in this article. So I highly recommend that you go here to look at the full schedule and have a look for yourself.

Featured Events and Speakers to Watch

GDOC is for the creators and especially the folk who face the pressures of creating in spaces that do not support them. In the face of the bitter side of the industry that many still refuse to look at or acknowledge, GDOC Expo is an event to inspire and advise through those spaces. The speakers are industry workers and successes sharing their stories to better help new creators navigate these same storms. But, even beyond that side of things, it’s a wonderful event to see new games on the horizon.

Design Goodwill: Establishing trust in your game’s opening minutes

Friday, September 24, 2021

As designers, we want players to engage with our games, and this requires a level of trust and vulnerability between the developers and the player. If we fail to do this and our games stumble at a certain point in the play session, players might not give us the benefit of the doubt; They’ll simply churn out. Trust & goodwill go beyond merely creating a hook for our players and is about telling players that it’s safe to engage. In this talk, Sherveen Uduwana explores how different games build trust, as well as sharing insights from his past projects, such as We Are the Caretakers or Midautumn.

I also had the pleasure of sitting down to speak with Sheervan about upcoming Rogue-like Midautumn. The full interview is here.

The End of Crunch

Friday, September 24, 2021 

How many times have you heard “we gotta crunch?” Muse en Lystrala’s talk “The End of Crunch will help you – and your managers – understand why this phrase is so dangerous, and how we can work towards never having to hear it again.

10 Lessons from 10 Years in Game Development

Saturday, September 25,

This talk will cover 10 crucial game development lessons learned over 10 years working at Iron Galaxy Studios as a Software Engineer. After shipping over 10 titles in those 10 years, the lessons shared in this talk are applicable to everyone regardless of experience in the industry, and cover various topics such as communication, career growth, self-care, and mentoring.

The Tea of Starting My Own Games Studio

Sunday, September 26,

Listen to the highs and lows of Aubrey’s journey, quitting her job in AAA games to start her own games studio. Recount with her as she describes the bumpy road to making her first pancake and all the ways it went horribly wrong. Revel in the beautiful successes and discover the surprising insights that formed along the way. Learn all the little things the guides and research gloss over and all the ways this path is a bit different for folks of color. And hopefully you can pick up a few tips and tricks to make the path easier for you.

Even beyond the featured events presented in this article, there are many exciting topics and formative creators featured. This isn’t even scratching the surface of the games that will be shown off. If you haven’t attended GDOC Expo before, 2021 is the year to do it, online and safe while still connecting with the community. Regardless of whether you’re just coming to look at the new games or gather inspiration for your own work, I hope to see you there, in the chat, of course.

Tan is a Tabletop RPG writer with a deep love for give-'em-a-chance indie games and music made on a ten-year-old laptop in Audacity. They drink their seltzer warm.

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