[IGDA Albany] Games Criticism for Everyone (August 2nd, 7:00 PM)

IGDA Albany has a professional talk every 1st Wednesday of the month. This month’s IGDA Albany speaker is Stephanie Jennings, and her talk will be about game criticism.

The talk will begin at 7pm, but feel free to arrive around 6 and stay until 9 if you’d like to mingle before and after.

Talk Details

What is games criticism? What does it do and what is it for? This talk will explore the purposes of games criticism and its importance for the design, reception, appreciation, and study of video games. For developers, games criticism can illuminate the complexities of (often unexpected) player experiences and of how players make sense of video game designs. Further, the talk will examine different approaches to games criticism—in particular, popular and academic—to ultimately argue that games criticism must be open and available to all.

About the Speaker

Stephanie Jennings is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her research focuses on feminist theory, play, horror films and video games, and histories of witch trials. She also occasionally dabbles in pedagogical theory and games-based learning.

Please RSVP using the links below:

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[IGDA Albany] Engaging Online Communities (July 5th, 7:00 PM)

IGDA Albany has a professional talk every 1st Wednesday of the month. This month’s IGDA Albany speaker is Tyler Nielson, and his talk will be about managing online communities.

The talk will begin at 7pm, but feel free to arrive around 6 and stay until 9 if you’d like to mingle before and after.

Talk Details

Having founded an unofficial community for Final Fantasy XIV over 7 years ago, it has become the cornerstone online community for the game and has seen over 120,000 unique visitors a day. In this presentation Tyler will discuss what it’s like to manage such a community, his role and how he acts as an intermediary between the players and the game dev team.

About the Speaker

Tyler Nielson is the founder of a cornerstone online community for a popular MMORPG, with over 7 years experience of managing this fan-centric community of 140,000 strong. He is a hobbyist MUD developer for well over a decade now and works in the professional field as a Security Analyst for healthcare in Saratoga Springs. Tyler has been working in the professional tech field for 12 years between web development, system administration and cyber security.

Please RSVP using the links below:

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[IGDA Albany] Designing VR Peripherals (May 3rd, 7:00 PM)

This month’s IGDA Albany speaker is Sebastian Sarbora, and his talk will be about designing VR peripherals.

The talk will begin at 7pm, but feel free to arrive around 6 and stay until 9 if you’d like to mingle before and after.

Talk Details

Ilium VR develops peripherals and controllers for VR games. Their first products have been gun controllers for VR shooters, as well as prototypes for a variety of other peripherals. The Vive Ecosystem has opened up the ability to make tracked peripherals, and this talk will describe some of the design choices that go into making a peripheral.

About the Speaker

Sebastian Sarbora is CEO of Ilium VR. With a background in hardware and software engineering, Sebastian co-founded Ilium VR with fellow RPI alumni in March 2014. He has led the company through multiple rounds of investment and product launches, and forged relationships with industry leaders such as Valve and Oculus.

Please RSVP using the links below:

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[IGDA Albany] Rapid Prototyping with PICO-8 (April 5th, 7:00pm)

This month’s IGDA Albany speaker is Brett Lajzer, and his talk is entitled “Rapid Prototyping with PICO-8.”

The talk will begin at 7pm, but feel free to arrive around 6 and stay until 9 if you’d like to mingle before and after.

Talk Details

PICO-8 is a “fantasy console” that evokes memories of BASIC and hardware from the NES era. This talk will give a quick introduction to the software and then take a quick tour through three different projects. There will be discussion of the interesting aspects of each project and the various points of friction between process and the tool for each project. Come learn about this fantastic tool and be inspired to start making awesome things with it!

About the Speaker

Brett has eight years of experience in the games industry and has shipped close to twenty titles on platforms ranging from the Nintendo DS to the PS4. He has experience with and enjoys working on low-level engine and graphics programming, with the occasional foray into gameplay. He currently works at Velan Studios and has previously worked at Vicarious Visions and 1st Playable Productions. Brett has a bachelors degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Please RSVP using the links below:

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[IGDA Albany] Tips & Tricks for AR Game Dev: Tools and Techniques

This month’s IGDA Albany speaker is Leander Hasty, and his talk is entitled “Tips & Tricks for AR Game Dev: Tools and Techniques.”

The talk will begin at 7pm, but feel free to arrive around 6 and stay until 9 if you’d like to mingle before and after.

Talk Details

1st Playable has developed a number of augmented-reality titles; we built The Hidden on DSi and shipped it on 3DS, we’ve shipped four Imagicard titles on multiple LeapFrog platforms, and most recently we’re in development on the Playscope project (http://www.playscope.org – iOS & Android).

Join us for a tour through some of the AR requirements and constraints, see some of the approaches we took to address these challenges and reduce development risk, and learn a bit about resources and techniques you might use if you’re getting started with image processing.

About the Speaker

Leander Hasty has 13 years in the game industry and has helped ship more than 50 titles. He is experienced in cross-platform engine development, tools, and infrastructure, and is passionate about software engineering best practices, automation, analysis, and debugging. Prior to joining 1st Playable he honed his skills with Taldren Entertainment and at the Electronic Arts Los Angeles studio. Leander has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Please RSVP using the links below:

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[IGDA Albany] Kill the Overseer! Playing the Rebel Slave in Videogames

This month we’re in for a real treat — Empac is hosting Sarah Juliet Lauro where she will be giving demonstrations until 9pm, with her talk begining at 7pm.

We will meet at The RPI Union’s Pub around 6pm to discuss chapter updates and will then make our way to EMPAC for the 7pm presentation. Hope you can make it!

Talk Details

In a video game demo and talk, Sarah Juliet Lauro will discuss how resistance to slavery is represented in video and computer games. Lauro will profile many games that feature this narrative and will demo an art game being developed by students at the University of Southern California called Thralled, which focuses on a runaway slave in Brazil.

During the day leading up to her evening talk, Lauro will demo chapter one of Thralled in Evelyn’s Café on EMPAC’s 5th floor. This chapter features the playable character Isaura, who attempts to flee slavery through the rainforest with her infant in her arms. On her journey, Isaura encounters many obstacles as she is pursued by a ghostly specter. Lauro will then expand on this storyline in her talk Kill the Overseer! Playing the Rebel Slave in Videogames, which will consider race, empathy, and power dynamics between players and characters in game-based digital commemorations of slave revolt.

About the Speaker

Sarah Juliet Lauro is Assistant Professor of Hemispheric Literatures in the Department of English and Writing at the University of Tampa, where she teaches courses on literature and film. Lauro’s areas of expertise are postcolonial literature, especially of the Caribbean, American literature, and cinema. She is author of The Transatlantic Zombie: Slavery, Rebellion, and Living Death (Rutgers University Press, 2015), and many articles, including A Zombie Manifesto: The Non-Human Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism (boundary2, Spring 2008). Her second monograph addresses commemorations of slave revolt in various media, including monuments, books, films, and videogames.

Please RSVP using the links below:

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Lesson Night: Mega Microtalks! (January 18)

For the next TVGS Lesson Night, our presenter will be… all of you! As a change of pace from our usual format, we will be hosting a series of 5-10 minute “microtalks” from a variety of different speakers.

If you’re interested in presenting a short talk, please sign up using this form. Your talk could be a mini-lesson related to game development, a personal story about some hard-won bit of wisdom you’ve acquired from a recent project, a rave review of your favorite game, or even just a goofy bit of performance art. Just make sure to keep it short and sweet!

Here is a list of the microtalks that have been submitted so far:

“Flash Forward: Cross-Platform Game Development with Haxe & OpenFL” by Jamey Stevenson – A brief introduction to Haxe & OpenFL, how they relate to Flash, why they’re cool and why you should use them.

“Resources for Visual Novel creators” by Frederika Edgington-Giordano – Frederika will be discussing the resources that she has found and used for creating Visual Novels. These resources could be useful for creating other types of games.

“How to come up with an innovative game idea: game jam edition” by Taro Omiya – Winner of Ludum Dare 37’s Innovation category, Taro Omiya will provide his method of coming up with innovative game ideas during game jams. Check out this short talk for some flash of inspiration!

“Using Simple Spreadsheet Techniques to Help Balance Your Game” by Jamey Stevenson – Jamey has done a fair amount of economy design and balancing using spreadsheet tools like Excel. He will provide a whirlwind tour of the techniques he uses to keep a game economy organized and ensure that it is easy to maintain and update.

“How to buy PC components for a custom build!” by Alana O’Hair – Do you want to learn how to build a PC, but don’t know where to start? This introduction to custom PC’s will cover Alana’s techniques for building the best system for your needs and budget.

“Elegant Chaos: Setting up a Alt-Control booth” by John Ceceri III – From Alt.Ctrl.GDC alum John Ceceri III, you’ll be hearing a brief discussion of the dos and don’t for setting up a non-standard controller game!

“Composition – a brief intro” by Jason Harlow – What makes good composition? How can I improve my art and photography? How can I look at the world and see things differently?

“Simple Hex Maps and You” by Patrick Totaro – Patrick will talk about a hex tile system he created in Unity. He will quickly discuss pathfinding and coordinate systems.

Please RSVP using the links below:

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