Members of the DigiPen Institute of Technology community always make a strong showing at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and 2017 is no exception. In addition to current students who are presenting their work, this year’s conference features more than a dozen DigiPen staff, faculty, and alumni presenting their expertise on everything from fan sites to the finer points of geometry in Halo 5: Guardians.
Some other intriguing highlights include a presentation by DigiPen graduate and Respawn Entertainment designer Chin Xiang Chong on the unique “Rodeo” gameplay mechanic in Titanfall and Titanfall 2, as well as a nearly all-DigiPen panel on how to build the perfect game industry resume.
Here’s a quick look at all the DigiPen-associated speakers and panelists, including the programs they’re involved in:
Mojan Ahmadi, Coordinator of Career Services, DigiPen
Zach Aikman (BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, 2008), Technical Director at 17-BIT
- Panelist, PCG Shotgun: 6 Techniques for Leveraging AI in Content Generation
- Panelist, Crackpot AI Devs: Unproven Game AI Techniques that Might Possibly Work
Brittany Aubert (BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, 2009), Technical Producer at City State Entertainment
Mark Barrett (BFA in Digital Art and Animation, 2008), Lead Artist at PopCap
Chin Xiang Chong (MS in Computer Science, 2012), Designer at Respawn Entertainment
Jeremy Ernst (AAA in Computer Animation, 2006), Lead Technical Animator at Epic Games
Sarah Grissom (BFA in Digital Art and Animation, 2010), Principal VFX Artist at FXVille
- Panelist, Visual Effects Bootcamp: Rapid Talks
Zabir Hoque (BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, 2010), Senior Software Engineer at Epic Games
- Co-Presenter, Geometry Caching Optimizations
Molly Jameson (BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, 2007), Software Engineer at Anki
- Co-Presenter, Cozmo: Animation Pipeline for a Physical Robot
Bryanna Lindsey (BFA in Digital Art and Animation, 2011), Senior VFX Artist at Volition
- Panelist, Art Directing VFX for Stylized Games
Alexandra Lucas (BA in Game Design)
Sonia Michaels, Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Social Sciences, DigiPen
Christin Overton, Senior Lecturer in Game Software Design and Production, DigiPen
- Panelist, Care and Feeding of Wild Fansites
Edward Pereira (BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, 2009), Programmer at Naughty Dog
- Co-Presenter, Multiplayer Roundtable Day 1: Synchronizing Game State
- Co-Presenter, Multiplayer Roundtable Day 2: Server Architecture
- Co-Presenter, Multiplayer Roundtable Day 3: The Ecosystem
- Speaker, The Science of Off-Roading: ‘Uncharted 4’s’ 4×4
Steve Rabin, Principal Lecturer in Computer Science, DigiPen
Aviva Schecterson (BA in Game Design, 2016), Game Editor at Lone Shark Games
Rachel Thompson, Assistant Director of Career and Alumni Services, DigiPen
Also at this week’s conference, a group of students — Taylor Riviera, CJ Jackson, and Grey Davenport — will be presenting their game Sand Garden at alt.ctrl.GDC, a special exhibition dedicated to games with alternative controllers. In Sand Garden, players mold and shape a pile of Kinetic Sand, and their motions are captured to create the optimal habitat for a group of island villagers in the game world. Riviera, the lead designer on the project, also participated last week in Train Jam, a pre-GDC game jam that took place on a train en route from Chicago to San Francisco.
Last but not least, six DigiPen students placed in the GDC Student Narrative Analysis competition this year, with John C. Myres taking Platinum for his analysis of Inside. Those winners received passes to the conference, as well as the opportunity to present their analysis on the conference floor during the GDC Game Narrative Summit.