Special Guests

Harry Nesbitt

Harry is the lead artist and programmer from Team Alto, a collaboration with Toronto-based studio, Snowman. He is best known for the critically acclaimed Alto’s Adventure and recent Apple Design Award winner, Alto’s Odyssey.

We’re delighted to have him over from the UK to share with us his game dev odyssey.

Harry Nesbitt portrait

Caitlin Goodale

Caitlin is a User Experience Designer at King in Malmö, Sweden. A self-titled design dilettante, she makes games delightful to play through interaction design, user research and, yes, shiny buttons. Having worked on everything from Paint3D and Hololens at Microsoft, to Minecraft’s console editions, she is passionate about accessibility and making games everyone loves to play.

Outside of work she’s an avid rock climber, yogi and Antiques Roadshow enthusiast.

Caitlin Goodale portrait

David Gaider

David is a game design veteran, having started his career in 1999 working on BioWare's "Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn" as a narrative designer. His later credits include Neverwinter Nights (2002), Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003), and more recently the Dragon Age series (the last being Dragon Age: Inquisition in 2014) where he acted as world designer and Lead Writer. He left BioWare in 2015 to become Creative Director at Beamdog, which he recently left this year to pursue a personal (and unannounced) gaming project.

David Gaider portrait

Mike Blackney

Mike is the creator of Dead Static Drive, an indie horror game that's in development. He worked a little on Demruth's amazing Antichamber and prior to that worked as a coder and tech artist on a bunch of sports games and flight sims. He is a bigger fan of Kurt Russell than you are.

Mike Blackney portrait

Brian Schwab

After spending more than 20 years as a gameplay and AI programmer in the game industry, Brian Schwab joined a little Florida company who's mission was not so little: to fundamentally change how humans use and interact with their computers. So, while in his past he shipped everything from a "simple" Sega Genesis jrpg to the international blockbuster Hearthstone at Blizzard, he now runs the Interaction Lab, a systems research group within Magic Leap. In addition to using crazy new hardware to explore interactions from low level to hugely complex, his team also helps bring compelling experience to the forefront of the Magic Leap engineering efforts. Throughout this, his mission has never changed: to find fun, interactive experiences and share them with the world.

Brian Schwab portrait

Gabriella Lowgren

Gabriella is a passionate Communications Manager who works at Infinity+2. She believes in building strong, safe communities and giving players the best experience possible in and out of game. On the side she likes to create indie games that promote empathy and understanding for mental health issues.

Gabriella Lowgren portrait

Seth Groom (ENDESGA)

Seth (ENDESGA) is an independent game developer from the outskirts of Christchurch. He's been making his dream game completely solo for as long as he remembers, and spends his spare time obsessing over alien languages and geometric designs.

Seth Groom (ENDESGA) portrait

Sav Ferguson

Sav Ferguson is a Melbourne based games developer, with a flair for LGBTQIA+ work. A queer transgender man, his work is both deeply emotional and very grounded in reality. He primarily produces, writes, and designs, but also works as a games journalist at Checkpointgaming.net, and is a gentle programmer. A longtime activist, Sav makes it his mission to bring more trans, non-binary and gender diverse people to greater visibility in the games industry. He has won two awards and been nominated for a third for his game That Boy is A Monstr."

Sav Ferguson portrait

Jack Knobel

Jack Knobel is a Mid-Level Gameplay Programmer at Puny Human working on Bards Tale 4 for inXile Entertainment. Previously he lived the life of an indie dev as the Lead Programmer at Pine Fire Studios. There his time was spent working on a first person multiplayer ninja game call Kieru and on non-serious game contract work. Outside of day to day work Jack is the Unreal Engine Event Organiser for Canberra, foodie and lover of the snow.

Jack Knobel portrait
NZGDC18 would not be possible without our amazing sponsors: Pik Pok, Creative NZ, NZ On Air, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development, CheckPoint, IGDA Foundation, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, NZGDA, Unreal Engine, Chromacon, XBox, Perforce, Renegade PR, IGEA, HP, Dinosaur Polo Club, MSI, Hudson Gavin Martin, Playtech, Autodesk, Unity, Internet NZ, Staples VR, Dean Hall, University of Canterbury