Roguelike Celebration

2023 Speakers

Aaron A. Reed
Aaron is a writer and game designer focused on helping gamemakers and players tell stories together. He is a multi-time IndieCade and IGF finalist and has spoken about digital storytelling at venues from GaymerX to GDC.

Aron Pietroń

Aron is co-founder of Eremite Games and producer of a roguelite city builder Against the Storm. Working on Dying Light 2 and Dying Light: Bad Blood taught him how to create scalable products which benefited the Early Access growth of Against the Storm.

When not making games, he's playing with his puppies - Hektor and Pierożek ("Dumpling"). He's relentlessly trying to convince his teammate Michał that Gothic is a better game than Morrowind.

David Brevik
David Brevik is a 32-year veteran game developer best known for being President of Blizzard North, and for creating the groundbreaking game Diablo and its sequel Diablo II. His lengthy career includes creating Hellgate: London, Marvel Heroes, It Lurks Below and many other titles.

Brianna McHorse
Brianna McHorse is an engineering manager and ML engineer with expertise in generative models and natural language processing. She leads the team that is currently building the systems, AI and otherwise, behind Hidden Door’s co-creative narrative game platform, where the challenges range from structuring expressive words to determining the meaning of death. She has a whole PhD about why horses evolved a single toe.

Chris Foster
Chris Foster is the Game Director of Hidden Door. Prior to Hidden Door he was Design Director at Harmonix Music Systems, Lead Designer at Turbine Games, and "Designer, Writer, and Programmer of Last Resort" for Fire Hose Games. Among his many projects from those times, he was the Design Lead for The Beatles: Rock Band, Project Lead for Green Day: Rock Band, and Lead Content Designer for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Chris has taught game design at Northeastern University, and spoken on game development at numerous conferences. He recently released an indie game made with his son Ian, titled Loose Nozzles. Chris was Hidden Door’s infection vector for Vampire Survivors, and he plays too much Powerwash Simulator.

Adam Caflisch, known online as Crashtroid, is a self taught composer for video games. Located in BC, Canada, he works on Peglin, a peggle inspired roguelike. He has over 25 game jams under his belt, and 3 soundtracks in steam releases. Passionate about video games more than anything, he strives to share as much as he can about music for games.

Dustin Freeman

Dustin is a Canadian who lives in NYC. His background is in building novel input techniques for creative, embodied expression. His PhD work was on gestural control (via Kinect) of real-time holograms during improvised theatre. Later, he worked on telepresence LARP platforms, and as a research scientist for neuromotor input at Meta.

Now, he is doing a sabbatical on various topics.

Elliot Trinidad
Elliot Trinidad is a Los Angeles designer, writer, and multi-disciplined production guy who loves flavorful systems, unpopular anime, and learning about new things. Most recently a Community Designer on Blaseball, he co-managed the live game's highly active & highly creative online community from 2020-2023. Even more recently, Elliot ruined his Dwarf Fortress citadel by getting too ambitious with lava.

Eric Billingsley
I'm an indie developer based in Ottawa, Canada. I've always loved making games and started as a kid with tools like Klik & Play. Since entering the industry, I've worked on titles like TUNIC and Cuphead, and released my own commercial titles Spring Falls and Star-Twine. I also help run monthly show & tell meetups with local group Dirty Rectangles. Lately I've been making small games for the PICO-8, including the roguelike Into Ruins.

Everest Pipkin
Everest Pipkin is a game developer, writer, and artist from central Texas who lives and works on a sheep farm in southern New Mexico. Their work both in the studio and in the garden follows themes of ecology, tool making, and collective care during collapse. When not at the computer in the heat of the day, you can find them in the hills spending time with their neighbors— both human and non-human.

Florence Smith Nicholls
Florence Smith Nicholls (they/them) is a PhD researcher in Game AI at Queen Mary University of London. In a previous life they worked as a field archaeologist and heritage consultant. They are a freelance game writer and narrative designer, having worked as a Story Tech for the indie studio Die Gute Fabrik. They are particularly interested in creative approaches to games preservation, inspired by a placement at the British Library.

Jasper Cole
Jasper is a lifelong gamer and programmer. in 2022 he released Backpack Hero with the other members of Team Backpack.

Jeff Olson
I began computer programming in college back in the DOS days, and immediately fell in love with Rogue after receiving it on a free 5 ¼” floppy disk in the postal mail. During graduate school, I began tinkering with a post-apocalyptic game similar in feel to Rogue, and developed it slowly while working on my physics PhD at Cornell University. With the help of play testers and encouragement from friends, I finally completed and released Alphaman in the 1990s. A recent resurgence in interest in Alphaman, with the source QuickBasic/QuickC source code posted on GitHub by Jamie Bainbridge, and a 2-part retrospective published by John Harris, as well as subsequent feedback from many people saying that Alphaman got them into roguelike games, has motivated me to put together this talk.

Jesse Collet
I'm a french software developer who worked in France, California and Switzerland for companies like Sun MicroSystems & Cisco. I got hooked on computer games starting with 8bits micro computers and never stopped. I got extremely lucky and hooked up with a few other passionate people to work on NetHack.

Jonathan Lessard
Game designer, researcher and professor; long-time independent game developer. Now focused on research-creation in the field of # simulations and emergent narratives.

Josh Galecki
Josh Galecki is a solo game dev based in Cleveland. He fell in love with roguelikes after playing Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup fifteen years ago, and loves the emergent narratives created by the genre. Previous releases include Moondrop (a nonviolent farming roguelite), Within a Dead City, and Dwarven Depths.

Jurie Horneman
Jurie Horneman has been making games since 1991, starting with programming role-playing games in 68K assembly with the 16-bit demoscene legends at Thalion Software. He was the co-designer and main programmer of the cult CRPG Albion. His area of expertise is the interaction of game design, AI, and storytelling, and he has spoken and written on procedural content generation, narrative design, and game AI. Most recently he helped ship Watch Dogs: Legion. He lives in Toronto, waiting for the dark mode fad to blow over.

I'm a retired (except for NetHack) systems programmer who has worked with everything from a 6800 based SBC to a Cray (when that was a very big machine) and written in everything from machine language to SQL, but I'm most happy in C and Perl. The answers are "42" and "vi".


Kes, is a writer and librarian-in-training. She specializes in pulling ancient information from the bowels of both virtual and physical spaces, and is always on the lookout for stories.

Kes fell in love with roguelikes as a child by playing NetHack. She proceeded to ascend, write her own fork, ascend several more times, then embarrass herself on stream in an incident involving polymorph traps. In her spare time she has coded several of her own roguelikes, and hopes one day to be up to the task of releasing one of them.

Leigh Alexander
Leigh Alexander is a writer and narrative designer focused on generative story systems, digital society and the future. She won the 2019 award for Best Writing in a Video Game from the Writers Guild of Great Britain for Reigns: Her Majesty, and her speculative fiction has been published in Slate and the Verge. She is currently designing games about intimacy and relationships, and consults with teams of all sizes on narrative design. Her work often draws her ten years as a journalist and critic on games and virtual worlds, and she frequently speaks about storytelling in design, online culture and arts in technology. More of her projects are at

Linas Gabrielaitis
I'm starting a PhD at the intersection of game studies and literature, where I will be exploring geological perspectives within game mechanics. I think rivers are like text, I don't understand what stone is, I want to work on the invention of geotraumatics.

Luis Díaz "Ludipe" (he/him) works as Head of Fellowship at Astra Games, a philanthropic organization funding cerebral games. The Fellowship program offers grants and mentorship to promising designers so they can focus on their personal projects. In his spare time, Luis also makes lots of small free games.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum, a 12-year (so far) project focused on the procedural generation of challenging puzzles, cryptic riddles, and obscure mysteries within an extensive and intricate visually and culturally detailed world (think Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode meets The Outer Wilds or La-Mulana). Version 0.11, in which the world becomes finally (!) detailed enough to now actually begin adding in these procedurally-generated riddles, is due out in 2024.

Alongside his roguelike work he completed a PhD many years ago and, after various postdocs, is now an Assistant Professor of games research at the University of Sydney.

Michał Ogłoziński
Michał co-founded Eremite Games and is the lead developer and designer of Against the Storm - a roguelite city builder. He puts his past experience working on live-service games into practice by releasing new Against the Storm content updates every two weeks.

Mike Cook
Mike is an AI researcher and game designer based in London, UK. He works as a Senior Lecturer at King's College London where he researches how AI can model and support game design processes, and he makes weird games and digital art using generative processes and creative AI. In the past he founded PROCJAM and developers game-designing AI like ANGELINA and Puck. He has never beaten a roguelike, but he has thought really hard about what it would feel like.

Nat Alison
I'm a freelance software developer who makes weird math apps. I also enjoy solving and constructing variant sudoku puzzles.

Nic Junius
I am an independent game developer and PhD Candidate in Computational Media at UC Santa Cruz developing digital acting systems for game characters. My background as a playwright led me to draw heavily from my experience as a part of theatrical productions, especially acting practices, to build systems to enable players and NPCs to perform and interpret scenes together.

Nic Tringali
Nic Tringali is a game designer at Bithell Games' Lunar Division label. They are most known for The Banished Vault, John Wick Hex, and Sun Dogs, and have a particular interest in science fiction, tabletop and analog designs, and rich interactions between players and game systems. They reside in Chicago.

Patrick Kemp
Patrick is a game designer living in Seattle. He's worked in games for 17 years, and the last 11 of those were as a game designer at Spry Fox. His tech tree started with Klik & Play, BASIC on the TI-83, and ActionScript. Pre-parenthood, he was an avid game jammer and side project noodler alongside his day job work. Cooking games are his favorite kind of games to make.

Paul Hembree
Paul Hembree is a composer, programmer, and educator exploring techniques for procedural music generation. Working with his brother as the duo Platypus Games, he did cave generation and music for the roguelite Rite of Tephra, and previously he composed music for Loren Schmidt and Kia Labeija’s Goodnight Traffic City. Currently Paul works at BandLab as a developer on symbolic music generation. Website:

Ray studies math and computer science. When not dreaming about Caves of Qud, they might be found playing it instead.

Scott Burger

Head of engineering analytics at Qualtrics, data scientist, and author of ""Intro to Machine Learning with R"" published by O'Reilly Media.

I host a new Roguelike podcast at and have built numerous open source data analytics tools on GitHub for parsing steam data related to roguelike games.

Stav Hinenzon
Stav Hinenzon is a game designer and developer based in Redmond, WA. He is currently working as a technical game designer at Sony Interactive Entertainment on an unannounced title. His previous work includes Forza Street, The Last of Us Part I (PS5), and Sunshine Shuffle.

Tom Francis
Designer/writer/coder of Gunpoint, Heat Signature and Tactical Breach Wizards

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