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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Crafter Con is our very own game design convention. Its focus is on education to make you a better game designer. It features a track of seminars and workshops with industry experts. As well as a play testing room where you can work out some kinks with other designers 1 on 1.

Schedule

Time Title Presenter
8am Registration opens
9am Intro to vectors with Inkscape and Illustrator Adeheid Zimmerman
11am Building a mathematical model for your game JT Smith
Noon Lunch break
1pm Writing a comprehensible rule book Dustin Oakley
3pm How games are sold at FLGS Bryan Winter
4pm A crash course in graphic design for game designers Patrick McNeil
5pm Component Studio Unleashed JT Smith
6pm Dinner break
7:30pm Insider tips about publishers from Atlas Games Travis Winter
8pm Sound advice for improving your audio Jeff King
9pm The Official Game Crafter Podcast: Live Jeff and JT

During the main schedule, there will also be a separate room open and set up for play testing. So if you are not interested in one of the seminars or workshops you always have something to do. This room will remain open until midnight.

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Session Descriptions

This is the list of sessions available at CrafterCon 2017.

Intro to vectors with Inkscape and Illustrator

Vectors allow you to achieve amazing things you can only dream of while pushing pixels in Photoshop. Adelheid will help you get started learning vector editing using Illustrator ($25/mo subscription) and Inkscape (free). If everybody does well in the first part of the seminar, then Adelheid will lead the class through creating custom punch outs using their newfound skills.

Each participant is expected to have a computer with Illustrator or Inkscape preinstalled on it before this session. You can still sit in the session without a computer, but you'll be paired up with another attendee who has a computer so you may not get the most out of the workshop without one.

Adelheid Zimmerman is an expert with vector editing software having worked professionally in graphic design for over 10 years, and currently works at Panda Game Manufacturing as a Graphic Designer and QA Specialist.

Building a mathematical model for your game

A mathematical model isn't as scary as it sounds, and it can be one of the best ways to ensure you have a balanced game. It's also a great way to set starting values for all the components of your game. JT will lead you through a few models he's created, and do a hands-on exercise walking you through the steps of creating a mathematical model for a hypothetical game. He'll also show an advanced model that he turned into a program that ran over 40 million battle simulations to tune the weapons in one of his upcoming games.

You do not need a computer for this session, but if you have one you will be able to use it. Those without computers will be able to complete the exercises using pen and paper, which will be provided.

JT Smith is the creator of The Game Crafter and the designer of The Captain is Dead.

Writing a comprehensible rule book

The best rulebooks seamlessly lead players through their first game and also serve as a reference months later when the game is played again. The worst make people tear their hair out and ultimately chuck the game in the bin. In this seminar you will learn what it takes to write the best rules; rules that not only will pass a TGC Sanity Test but will even have your players thanking you. Checklists and hands-on exercises will supplement and reinforce the presented information. To get the most out of this session, bring a rulebook you're working on.

As a sanity tester for The Game Crafter, Dustin Oakley has critiqued over 100 rulebooks. He also writes a series for The Indie Game Report and does freelance consulting. He has a master's degree in special education and greatly enjoys teaching.

How games are sold at FLGS

What should go on the box? What themes do well and what doesn’t? What’s a good length of play or number of players to sell at your store? Should you write your own rule book? What do retailers expect from Kickstarted games? All these questions and more will be answered.

Bryan Winter is the owner of the friendly local game store I'm Board, one of the most popular games stores in the midwest.

A crash course in graphic design for game designers

This crash course in graphic design focuses on the fundamental principles of good graphic design and how to apply those in the world of game design. The core focus is on key principles that every designer uses and practical tips for applying them. Leave armed with easy strategies and methods for improving your designs. And cultivate your eye for design and the ability to effectively critique it. This sessions is packed with real life examples, both good and bad, to help you process and understanding these principles.

Patrick McNeil is a former Interactive Design professor, author of 6 books on web design and currently works as a UX Architect/Researcher.

Component Studio Unleashed

This session will show you how to get the most out of Component Studio from the guy who invented it.

You do not need a computer for this session, but if you have one you will be able to use it to try out the ideas shown. Those without computers will be able to take notes or just watch.

JT Smith is the creator of The Game Crafter and the designer of The Captain is Dead.

Insider tips about publishers from Atlas Games

You'll hear about how games are picked up by publishers, what they are looking for, and the kinds of deals you can expect. You'll also have plenty of opportunity to get your questions answered in this Q&A session.

Travis Winter is an inventory manager and convention organizer at Atlas Games.

Sound advice for improving your audio

Whether it's a How To Play video, your Kickstarter video, or a podcast; you want to get your message out there and be heard. But even in a visual medium like videos poor audio is consistently pointed to as the reason people will stop listening to your message.

Jeff will give you some tips on improving your audio without having to break the bank. He'll cover the different types of microphones, how to improve your recording environment, and some tricks in two digital audio workstations (DAW): Audacity (free) and Reaper (inexpensive), and the differences between the two.

Jeff will also cover improving your script reading and the requested topic of creating a podcast. He'll end the session with a Q&A wrap up.

Jeff King is a podcast producer and editor for several podcasts, including The Game Crafter Official Podcast and works as a professional voiceover talent.

The Official Game Crafter Podcast: Live

JT & Jeff will record an episode of The Official Game Crafter Podcast with a live studio audience, for only the second time in over 150 episodes. It will be an interactive experience, so be sure to come join in with the audience.