All fourteen contestants think they have what it takes to win the championship, but there can only be one winner
Unfinished High-Five at DreamHack Denver 2017 – Photo Credit: Adela Sznajder
A competition in two rounds. In the first round (behind closed doors), our fourteen contestants will present their games while being critiqued by our panel of judges. They’ll pitch for twelve minutes, hear questions, and then dive into a mentoring session with the judges.
They’ll receive expert feedback on how to get investors and publishers interested in their work. Some of these indie developers have already released a game, but some are students. It’s one heck of a spectrum, but they’re all looking for funding and tips on how to get it.
Our judges will deliberate and choose just five of the pitches to come back. In the second round, the five contestants will pitch again but this time in front of a live audience on the Indie Stage.
They’ll be streamed live AND they’ll be competing for $2.5k! Join us to find out what it’s like to pitch or just to support our lovely indie devs.
Erich Thomas, Co-Founder, Pharoah’s Conclave – Moderator
A native Atlantan, Erich is a Math Educator who has always had a passion for everything fantasy, science fiction, technology, and gaming for as long as he could remember. From Intelevision to Sega to PlayStation to XBOX, WII, PC, and beyond, Erich has sought to immerse himself into all of these platforms and the virtual worlds they uncover. As co-founder of Pharaoh’s Conclave (PCX), Erich works to bring together a more diverse group of individuals to showcase their talents and passion for eSports. PCX’s mission is to support gamers, hardware/software designers, casters, and others in the eSports community as they move from eSports pub to eSports pro.
Leah Knighton, CCO, Ker-Chunk – Judge
Leah is the CCO of Ker-Chunk Games and leads art production and creative universes for original IPs and client work. Leah was the character designer and animator for PrinceNapped, a puzzle game to rescue a prince which Apple featured under “New Games We Love” and “Great on iPhone X”. She also created the art for Rainbow Tree Stickers for imessages to normalize the representation of LGBTQIA families. She excels at creating unique stories expressed through character animation and understanding the challenges of creating new ideas for already established brands.
Jonathan Weinberger, Founder, GameDevHQ – Judge
Jonathan Weinberger is the founder of GameDevHQ, a community dedicated to the success of indie game developers. Jonathan created “The Ultimate Guide” series, in partnership with Unity Technologies. The series teaches people how to start developing games with Unity and C#. Jonathan works closely with Unity, continuing to create courses that feature the latest innovations from Unity and across tech. Jonathan is a self-taught software engineer who has developed games and applications for Adult Swim, Coca-Cola, AT&T, and the casino industry. His passion lies with helping developers reach their goals, which is what inspired him to create GameDevHQ, a platform that allows developers to collaborate, maintain a portfolio, blog about their experiences, and have access to game-ready assets.
Alan Wilson, Vice President, Tripwire Interactive – Judge
Alan has worked in Oil, Defense and Finance sectors over a 30-year “serious” career, before moving over to the games industry. Alan has also been a military historian, mixing that with game design over the same period. This led to the “Red Orchestra” mod in 2003. When the team won the MSU contest, Alan supported the creation of Tripwire Interactive LLC along with the other key players in the original team. Alan worked on the design, budgeting and planning of the development of “Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45”, as well as focussing on raising the required funding for the company to develop the game completely independently.
Wade McMann, Sr. Game Producer/Publisher, Cartoon Network – Judge
Family members used to ask young Wade, “Do you think you’re just going to play games every waking moment the rest of your life and make a living?” Of course the answer was always a simple, “Yes, I do.”
That belief has led Wade to build a career in the gaming industry that spans nearly 20 years. Wade continues to be an avid gamer and is pursuing his love of animation and games producing games for Cartoon Network & leading a small production group putting games out on every platform. Prior to that he put in 3 years of contract production/PM work with MS @ 343 and Turn 10 working on the Halo and Forza Motorsport franchises. Additionally, Wade enjoyed over 3 successful years with Big Fish Games where he published mobile iOS games and also managed the 3rd party mobile production team.
Stephen Johnston, Founder and CTO, PubWise and Launch Media Network – Judge
Stephen F. Johnston, Jr. is the Founder and CTO of PubWise and Launch Media Network. Stephen has more than 25 years experience in internet application development and before founding his own companies worked on products for Massachusetts General Hospital, Cox Communications, Land America and others. PubWise provides data analytics and digital advertising yield optimization for internet publishers by processing billions of data points monthly to provide actionable insights and machine learning derived optimization recommendations. Stephen founded Launch Media Network in 2006 to create Gamer Launch, a hosting platform for gaming communities that has more than 5 million users to date. In 2012 Launch Media Network launched GameSkinny.com which provides gaming news and information to more than 3 million monthly visitors.
Justin Burnham, Developer Relations Director, Good Shepherd Entertainment – Judge