An interview with Sarah Elmaleh

The event from June 21 to June 23 was conceived by industry figures Rami Ismail, Sarah Elmaleh, and Myriame Lachapelle. Ukie caught up with Sarah Elmaleh after the event to find out how it went and to see what's instore for the future. 

Ukie: Hi Sarah, thanks for speaking to us! First, a very simple question; what is 

Sarah: is an online, live-streamed conference of talks on game development, given by game developers from across the globe, captioned and translated into 8 languages (Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, and English.)

Ukie: Wow! that sounds amazing, why did you decide to create it?

Sarah: There are deep logistic and linguistic barriers to the game development knowledge base and conversation as we know it, centered in English and English-speaking countries - though developers around the world are creating extraordinary games and can offer unique and valuable insights. It’s high time we were all able to see, hear and learn from each other.

Ukie: I see, so what makes it so unique? 

Sarah: is online and totally free, to remove entry and travel costs as a further barrier. The talks will also be saved as a public archive, in perpetuity, for free.

Ukie: Free AND accessible, this is incredibleYou had a great selection of speakers for the event – how did you and your advisory board recruit them and why do you think you were able to achieve such a range of experiences for the event?

Sarah: Our speakers came to us a number of different ways: many emailed us as soon as they saw the announcement, more submitted as we promoted the application, and finally some were already known to us as talented devs and speakers, and graciously accepted the invitation to be part of a bold new experiment. My co-founder and executive director Rami Ismail travels almost constantly meeting with developers and community leaders around the world, so he suggested folks. I’ve been attending and helping organize developer events for several years so I knew folks and asked around. And finally, in communities/languages where our networks were a little too thin, our generous and formidable language leads recommended people and did outreach. It was our goal to have location and gender-based diversity across talks, and to that end we intend to continue active research and outreach for the future.

Ukie: It's great to hear so many people wanted to get ivolved, it sounds like you really had the communities backing. What were your hopes for this first conference and do you think they were achieved?

Sarah: My personal main hope for the event was for it to happen at all! That was the big thing. No one had ever done anything quite like it before, and many people who do something similar had told us it wasn’t possible. So for it to have occurred, for the talks to air and be translated, for people to tune in and engage....for all that I’m proud and grateful. There were things that went awry and features that had to be cut at the very last minute, but as Rami likes to put it, it was an incredible beta. My hopes for next year are to achieve everything that didn’t quite make it in as originally planned, for everything to run smoothly, and to have bandwidth/Human Resources for a few extra things that will boost submissions, support and awareness. That’s probably more than I’ll get, but here’s hoping!

Ukie: Awesome. Where can people who want to find out more about the conference do so?

Sarah: People who want updates can sign up for the mailing list on the main website,, and follow us on twitter @gamedevworld (each by language as well. @gamedevworld_en for example.)

Ukie: Finally, how can people get involved in the next conference?

Sarah: To get involved in the conference, start by tuning your antenna to the updates by following us/signing up! We’ll be needing support, assistance and/or signal-boosting again in no time. Share your favorite talks when they go up and talk about them, volunteer to mod next year, plan to organize a viewing party and share photos and thoughts from your site...there will be more ways to help that will reveal themselves, I’m sure! And once we’ve gathered our wits again we’ll be eager to compile and review feedback, too!

To find out more about this event, head to the website here.