Current Winners


gabrielaaveiro_imgGabriela Aveiro is an animator with a specialty in games, but first and foremost, she is a storyteller. Born and raised in Paraguay, she draws a lot of inspiration for her visual and written work from her culture’s folklore and oral traditions. Encouraging diversity and equity in design is one of her passions and has driven her to create Pytyvo Gaming, a group dedicated to showcasing creators and games from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Gabriela Aveiro believes that the inclusion and visibility of underrepresented cultures and people (as creators and within narrative) can lead to more interesting and compelling stories.

maxbirk_imgMax Birk is a PhD Student at the University of Saskatchewan. His research evolves around the psychological concept of the self, focusing on implications for player experience research and game design, e.g., modeling motivation and engagement. Max volunteers his time to decrease bias and anxiety around STEM education, reviews for multiple academic venues, and has consulted for several game companies. Working in psychophysiology, experimental psychology, games user research, and human-computer-interaction, Max has a variety of experience, all connected by his interest in games. With both academic and industrial experience, Max aims to connect both domains through games user research.

ijkebotman_imgIJke Botman is a Designer and Producer who studied Game Design and Production at NHTV Breda, The Netherlands. He adores games, his guitar, travel, production, team management, livestreaming, narrative and gameplay design, and finding ways to translate storytelling into gameplay. The past years have seen him studying in Australia, and completing an internship/graduation as a Producer on Horizon Zero Dawn at Guerrilla Games Amsterdam. He’s currently learning about leadership and management at the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy in Austin.

alexanderholzmann-ekholm_imgAlexander Holzmann Ekholm is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. Starting out as a journalist for the Swedish esports news site, Alexander has spent the past three years riding the esports wave at companies such as Activision Blizzard, Red Bull Media House and Rovio. As an intern he had his hands on social media marketing, community, esports, events, sponsorships, brand management and quality assurance. Excited for the opportunity to visit GDC, he is thrilled to make the most out of it.

annakolesnichenko_imgAnna Kolesnichenko is a second year Fulbright graduate student scholar from Russia, studying Human Computer Interaction at MSU and specializing in Game Design and Development. She worked in gaming studios in Russia and Europe for over five years in the areas of design and project management. Given her background in psychology and passion for video games, her focus is in creating usable and delightful online experiences. She has always been a proponent of multidisciplinary collaborations that lead to creative solutions to address complex design challenges. Anna Kolesnichenko thrives most when she works in a team who feels passionate about what they do and inspire each other on creating world-changing user experiences.

maidahlashani_imgMa’idah Nasrin Lashani is a third year law student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In furtherance of her study of video game law, Ma’idah works as a Legal Intern at Epic Games and as a Law Clerk at The Law Offices of Ryan P. Morrison, P.C.. Additionally, Ma’idah serves as Chair of the International Game Developers Association NC-Triangle Chapter. Prior to attending law school, Ma’idah worked as a Community Manager at The Escapist. Ma’idah’s hobbies include collecting Pokemon, infantilizing her Irish Wolfhound, and falling asleep on the couch.

juliettelemaitre_imgJuliette Lemaitre has obtained an MSc in computer science and she is now a PhD student at Université de Technologie de Compiègne and at MASA Group, in France. Her work consists in trying to make artificial intelligence design easier and to allow game designers to work on high-level behaviors by giving them intelligible and appropriate controls. As she likes good challenges, she has specialized in strategy games, like Civilization, that provide complex decision-making with multiple interdependent fields, making the design of the opponent behavior quite difficult to balance.

charlottemadelonvangrunsven_imgCharlotte Madelon is a student at the Utrecht School of Arts and studying the program Interactive Performance Design. She is a member of Women in Games NL and has given support lessons on her school in 3D modelling and Unity3D. She likes to call herself an artistic game developer and focuses on the development of expressive innovation through the medium games. In her design process she uses dramaturgy, a technique used in theatre, for the dramatic composition of interactive systems. Currently she is working on her graduation project Malm. A videogame about an anthropomorphic chest of drawers and aimed at the virtual reality market.

camilamagrane_imgCamila Magrane is a multimedia artist originally from Caracas, Venezuela. She is a recent graduate of the University of Advancing Technology where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Game Programming. Before pursuing a degree in game development, Camila studied photography and film making which gave her a strong foundation in visual storytelling and design. She is also passionate about programming in education. Most recently she created a curriculum for teaching elementary school students programming and game development skills, which is currently being used in Venezuelan public schools. Her latest interests lie in VR development and multimedia storytelling.

louiseadelaidemckeown_imgLouise Adelaide is a Web 2.0 net trash multimedia artist, curator, illustrator, writer, game designer, and events organizer based in Dublin, Ireland. Her main areas of research involve gender, trauma and digital space. She has given anxious talks about technology and gender theory at events such as State of Play. She is the co-curator of all girl all the time net art group Bunny Collective. In the fleshrealm she works both curating and exhibiting art as well as performing live audio/visual shows. Currently she is studying a MSc in Creative Digital Media at Dublin Institute of Technology focusing on games.

ashleynicollette_imgAshley Nicollette is an activist and producer. She has worked on over 14 professionally published games including Saint’s Row: Gat Out of Hell. Ashley is now independent and was invited to demo her game about the lives of sexual assault survivors at the White House. As an activist, Ashley works as a STEM mentor for the Chicago Public Library; the curriculum she develops is implemented city-wide. She coordinates game jams and career initiatives for many Chicago nonprofits. Word counts are a necessary evil, but Ashley dreams of their abolition @netslumber. She’ll gladly make you boba tea and taiyaki if you ask!

andreamorales_imgAndrea Morales Coto is a design strategist with an interest in the social and economical systems that the gaming industry is a part of. Her passion lies in the intersection of play, technological access, and economics. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA degree in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons. Before coming to New York she worked as a marketer and transmedia creator for international brands and helped found the first interaction design graduate school in Central America. She wishes to apply design strategy in games to develop innovative services and business models.

andrewreid_imgAndrew Reid is a doctoral researcher of serious game applications. Having completed his undergraduate at Abertay University with a First-Class Honours in Game Design & Production Management, Andrew began his PhD at Glasgow Caledonian University in October 2015. His research explores the use of video games to engage players in social and political developments. Specifically, Andrew aims to uncover how video games can effectively inform the public on the social impact of micro-pollutants in waste-water treatment. Andrew’s other research interests include game-based learning, crowd motivation and social compliance in online communities, and the development of play theory.

alexripple_imgAlex Ripple is a 3rd year undergraduate student of Berklee College of Music where she studies Music Composition for Film, TV, and Games. After growing up with popular Nintendo games and constantly practicing video game music on her flute through middle school, she ultimately decided she wanted to compose music for games. Now, in between composing music and playing live instruments for independent game soundtracks, Alex tries to inspire others to make music for games through volunteer work both locally and online. On her downtime, Alex can be found playing video games, making jewelry, or watching Studio Ghibli films

philomenaschwab_imgPhilomena Schwab is a game design master student from Zurich, Switzerland. She greatly enjoys working on game-related projects, taking on roles from art to programming to marketing. Her second big passion, biology, becomes obvious when looking at her current project, Niche – a genetics survival game, which is a simulation/strategy game about population genetics. Recently she founded the indie collective, Playful Oasis, to spread the word about nature-related games. As a member of the gameZ and the Swiss Game Developers Association, Philomena is very active in organizing events and helping the local game scene grow.

seansimon_imgSean Simon is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He founded and chairs the IGDA Academic Chapter at MSOE. Having grown up in Minnesota, the long, cold winters inspired his passion for gaming at an early age. As an active member of the game development community, he enjoys participating in game jams with other developers and mentoring younger students. Sean spends his free time utilizing the knowledge gained in his engineering courses to build his game development skills. Upon graduation, Sean plans to pursue a career as a game programmer.

divijsood_imgDivij Sood is an undergraduate Computer Games Applications Development student at Abertay University, Dundee. Born in Delhi, India, he tried his hand at programming for the first time in high school before deciding to pursue studies in Games Development abroad – first in Singapore and now in Dundee. He grew up playing video games and always had a passion for creativity and design, through art, music and more. Working on solo and group Game projects has been one of the most rewarding experiences for him. He enjoys seeing innovation and creativity in games and hopes to bring the same to the industry.

nicolaasvanmeerten_imgNicolaas VanMeerten is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology program at the University of Minnesota. He is currently studying how people learn in complex multiplayer video game environments, such as League of Legends, where learning predominantly occurs as a result of social interactions. He is also the Co-founder and Director of Interactive Technology of GLITCH, a non-profit that promotes the exploration of video games as a career, culture, and creative practice.

GDC Europe

ProfileImage_NidaAhmadNida Ahmad is a final year Psychology student at the University of Warwick in the UK. Currently working in a part time role at Exient’s Leamington studio, she is focused on creatively applying player and game psychology, UX and research to games design. She’s play tested for FreeStyle Games and is now in charge of publicity, events and careers for the games design society on campus, alongside developing an initiative to get students of minority groups involved too. She has interests in Human Computer Interaction and emerging technologies as well as mentoring young people, climbing and producing large events.

ProfileImage_SanteriArpoSanteri Arpo is starting his third year as a producer student at the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences located in northern Finland. He founded his first company at the age of 17 and during that time he became interested in the games industry. At the university, he is the CEO of a co-op run by students that develops and publishes games for various platforms such as mobile, PC and PlayStation 4. He is also leading a 10-member team that is developing a game for the PlayStation 4 which is targeted to be released on January 5th 2017.

ProfileImage_AthanasiaBiriAthanasia (Cissy) Biri is a master’s student at Birmingham City University’s MSc Video Game Enterprise and Production programme. Her previous background is in computer science with some training in animation and 3D art. She also worked in the QA side of the industry on titles such as Kinect Sports Rivals and Quantum Break. As part of her final assessment, she is a part-time intern at Exient’s Leamington Spa studio where she works closely with the studio director to align the company’s production philosophy and put in place some best practices for producers across projects to follow as required.

ProfileImage_ToveBrantbergTove Brantberg has a B.Sc in Game Design and is currently a MA student in Game Design and Production at Aalto University, Finland. She is well versed in all sides of game production and enjoys everything from coding to creating art, and has a fondness for teaching as well. She has worked on educational games and won an award for one, has taught kids how to make games themselves, and recently found herself working as a VR programmer. She loves games that bring people together and is always advocating for more co-op and more board games.

ProfileImage_KyrieCaldwellKyrie E. H. Caldwell earned her B.A. in Art History and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will soon graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a master’s in Comparative Media Studies. Her master’s thesis analyzes how video game mechanics help construct game worlds, particularly through reinforcing problematic cultural assumptions and structures, such as gender roles. Kyrie has also published research on the parallels between religious practices and gameplay, gender and reflexivity in enjoying and studying games, and using video games in educational contexts. She currently works in the MIT Game Lab and The Education Arcade.

ProfileImage_WilliamGoddardWilliam Goddard is a game designer and researcher based in Melbourne, Australia, with a focus on co­located, mobile, and party games. He is interested in how these topics intersect, facilitating social play that extends beyond the game. He is currently a PhD student at RMIT University, where he is investigating this intersection through game design. As a distraction from day to day work, you will still find him collaborating on new ideas at game jams or fitting in far too many side projects.

ProfileImage_KristyKeatchKirsty Keatch is a Scottish game developer, creative programmer and sound designer based in Edinburgh. She’s interested in the role of mobile dynamic audio and the design of new mechanics for touch screen devices. She graduated with a First Class Honours in Music Technology BMus at Edinburgh University and is currently in her final semester of a Masters by research in Sound Design, developing a portfolio of games, that raided the toy box for inspiration, to present Katakata – a kinetic sound sculpture, Freq and Hedra – one touch games with a twist!

ProfileImage_FarahKhalafFarah Khalaf is a game developer from Auckland, New Zealand. Currently finishing off her Digital Design degree at Auckland University of Technology, Farah is strongly passionate about game art, community building, and event management. As part of the NZGDA board, Farah has been involved with various projects including organising indie game booths at cons, game developer meetups, and currently co-organising NZGDC16. She is also passionate about teaching, and has taught game design at an all-girls school, as well as multiple workshops at Auckland Libraries. In April 2016, Farah was listed as one of MCV’s 100 Most Influential Women in Games in the Pacific.

Tokyo Game Show

Rei Katayama is a junior in Ritsumeikan University of Film and New media. He is studying game development and he’s planning a live performance with game mechanics. He is also interested in media art and was the chair of the media art club at the university. Rei has a part-time job in “Life is Tech!” as a teacher of media art and lectures on how to create media art to junior high and high school students. He likes street dancing too and founded a dance club at the university. This dance club has about 100 members so far. Since he is interested in games, animation, dance, and live events, he wants to design an event where we can get the feedback in real time. This is the reason, he really wants to learn about VR and AR technology.

Sebastian Rangger is a 3D­artist and game designer based in Austria. He earned his B.A. in Arts and Design at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences. This is also where he is currently getting his master’s degree in computer animation. The thesis for his bachelor’s degree explored how 3D­animation influenced the history of Japanese anime. He is now working on a thesis that concentrates on early prototyping for games. Sebastian was involved in various game projects during the last few years. This experience allowed him to study game creation first­hand and from many different perspectives.

Taichi Arou is a freshman at the University of Electro-Communications and is in the information and technology department. He is studying game programing. He started game programming during his first year of high school and he developed a 2D game in C language. Now he develops VR devices while also continuing to program games. He has the most experience programming in C, but he also has programmed with C++, C# and java script. He is currently focusing on C++.

Taiki Matsuio is a junior at Sensyu University of Network and in the information department. He is studying media information, focusing on game industry trends, business models, and history. He is also researching game design and studying how the design of popular games contributes to their success. For graduation next year, he really wants to write a paper and do research about game design. Taiki aspires to be a game designer that creates games which are highly successful in the market.

Stephanie Lee is a concept artist based in Perth, Australia and has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She earned a scholarship to study concept design and illustration at the CG Spectrum and will graduate at the end of 2016. Stephanie has a passion for creating art for games and would one day like to help create games that will be enjoyed by millions of people.

Zeyad Fahad Saad Kurdi, or Zeyad Kurd for short, is a Saudi Arabian second-year student at the Tokyo University of Technology in Japan. Zeyad hopes to grow the video game market in the Middle East. He is studying programming, but he already has prior experience with computer science and system management while working for Oracle Database. A lot of his friends and colleagues were surprised that Zeyad choose to go to Japan for college since he is fluent in English. However, he did study Japanese for two years, which helped him enroll as a student at the Tokyo University of Technology to study video game development. In the future, he wants to open his own game company or studio in the Middle East.

Ayano Yoshida is a junior at Tokyo Polytechnic University and is in the game department. She’s learning 3DCG and UI graphic design. She aspires to become a game developer. She belongs to a seminar about game planning, where she is studying game design and game development tools. She is developing VR games and 3D action games with team members at the university. She enjoys talking with people and she likes to create fun experiences while doing her part-time jobs in service industry. Additionally, she likes to participate in many new events to expand her perspective and worldview. Ayano likes virtual worlds which provide a relaxing atmosphere.

Joanna Liu is a second-year computer science (with a focus on games)/cinematic arts major at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, U.S. At Netease Games, she had an internship as a game designer and worked on various independent games projects as an interactive designer, concept artist, and 3D modeler. She also worked as a UI/UX designer on mobile applications and function-based technologies that explore the functionality of creative design and how it could have stronger influence and effects on its audience. Born in Sydney, she was first raised in Guang Zhou, China and moved back to Sydney to finish secondary education. She then moved to Los Angeles, where she decided to pursue a computer science major and cinematic arts minor, which allows her to combine programming with game development and design. She is interested in how extremely emotional and subtle feelings and messages can be delivered by design decisions in not just traditional forms of games and movies, but various other forms of media too.

Kim Dasom is a Korean student who studies Japanese language in Japan. She will be studying programming at vocational school dedicated to video games next year. Kim has previously studied to be an interpreter for Korean and Japanese in Korea. Since she is interested in game development, she has translated scripts for indie games. This has inspired her to pursue her passion for games, which she is doing now.


daitaYusuke Daita is a junior who is majoring in systems engineering at Wakayama University and belongs design information department. He wants to become and artist in games industry. He likes character creation in video games and he is interested in character design, 2D animation, and effect design. Currently, he studies information technology and design within his department, and he studies graphic design and basic programming in workshops. He also develops games as part of the “CUREI game development project”, which is the game development club at Wakayama University. He is in charge of character design, GUI design, 2D graphic, and character animation.

kudoNiki Kudo is a positive and whimsical sophomore who is enrolled in planning and scenario course at the Digital Arts Sendai vocational school. He wants to become a game designer. Niki is also learning programming (mostly Unity) and Desk Top Music. He loves “Solatorobo: Red the Hunter” on the Nintendo DS.

kawaharaKouya Kawahara is a student who is majoring in tourism at Wakayama University. He wants “to develop games which have the spirit of adventure” and he is actively pursuing his goal of becoming a game designer. Although he is studying liberal arts right now, he has developed games as a member of the university’s game development club. He deisres to become an open-minded game designer, so he is excited about attending CEDEC, where he can learn about the latest trends in the games industry.

kurodaKairu Kuroda is a junior who is majoring in design at Tokyo Polytechnic University and is a part of the game department. He studies computer graphics and game design, where he is studying 2D illustration, 3D modeling using Maya, and character animation. He is also a member of the game design laboratory where he researches games under the guidance of Professor Masanobu Endo. He is also interested in programming and writing scripts for a game engine that can allow him to develop games by himself. His goal is to study every subject which has a relation to games, because he wants to be a multi-faceted developer who can contribute in everything involving the creation of games.

takishitaYuuko Takishita is a senior who is majoring in information technology at Tsukuba University. She is especially interested in game design, game system and character design in video games. She has experience with computer illustration designing posters and logos with Adobe Illustrator. Currently, she wants to get an internship with an illustration tool vendor. At the university, she is studying character animation in 3DCG. She is interested in applying experiences outside of the realm of games and applying it to games. She hopes that society will embrace gamification more in how it shares information and culture in future.

nakajimaKeita Nakajima is a junior who is majoring in engineering at Yamanashi University and is part of the science and engineering department. He studies computer science, focusing on networks, Linux servers, and related technology. He wants to become a game programmer. He is especially interested in developing tools which can be used for game development and developing game engines. He also belongs to a game development club and participates as a programmer. He has developed and published PC games with C++. He recently has become interested in virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

fujimakiKohei Fujimaki is a senior at Nihon Kogakuin Hachioji vocational school and is a part of the game development department. He develops games with Unity, Unreal Engine, and Direct X. He is interested in Shader programming, GPGPU technology, and game engine frameworks. Kohei loves game development and does 3D modeling and game programming in his spare time. It is his dream to become a game programmer who develops games with enriching gameplay experiences for players.

nishihamaTakashi Nishihama is a senior who is majoring in system engineering at Wakayama University and is a part of the information design department. He is studying basic programming, computer graphics, and graphic design. Takashi is also a part of the “Curie game development project”, a game development club at Wakayama University. He participates as an artist in the club, specializing in 3D modeling, background art design, VFX design, and GUI design. In the future, he wants to be an engineer who develops computer graphic technology for the games industry.

leeDongShin Lee is a programmer from Seoul, Korea. He is interested in graphics, online games, mobile games, and VR. Currently, he is a MS student at Yonsei University and he has a BS in computer science from the same school. As a programmer, he likes to make websites, bots, as well as games. Recently, he made a simple VR game that introduces the VR experience to people unfamiliar with it. He loves to play games and is eager to make games with new ideas.