Previously we had an amazing panel called the DePaul Gaming Experience (DGE) and we wanted to share the highlights for those who missed it. DGE was a day-long event held at DePaul University in Chicago for creators/developers. This was here to help students/alumni feel motivated, get inspired, and learn lessons/ideas from real-world projects that alumni/faculty did at their time at DePaul University.
Thanks to the amazing committee, we had 8 industry speakers who all had a history with DePaul University as a whole. It was a miracle to get everyone in attendance at the same time, but after countless planning and execution the committee prevailed. Some of the panelists were former faculty, alumni, and even people in the industry! It was such a blessing getting so much wisdom from each individual.
Starting it off was the amazing Sarah Sexton, a software engineer at Microsoft whose focus areas include Mixed Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Recurrent Neural Networks, Game Dev, Mobile App Dev, and Web Dev. As Co-founder of the Voxelles: Chicago’s Women in Game Development, their group is committed to highlighting strengths and helping underrepresented demographics get involved in game development.
Luckily for everyone that made it, Sarah covered the hard facts of the game industry and the significance of understanding that. What stood out was the privilege English speakers have when it comes to being a developer in the world. If you look at the Best City’s for Game Development, you’ll notice a majority are all English speaking countries which brought up the question of where do we fit in? As students, people tend to forget about what’s around them. So You Want To Be A Game Designer was an amazing resource to help people reflect about the industry as a whole and how we fit into it. Not every developer is successful, but also trying to accommodate the English speaking demographic as well can be tough! This seemed relevant since Motivation for Indies is something Chicago needs every once in a while. Thanks to Sarah, she reminded people about how the game industry is tough, but there can always be Portfolio Advise and mentors (Like Rami Ismail) in order to get through it!
Throughout the day we had cool times to mingle and expand off each other’s ideas as well. We got the amazing opportunity to hear about the game industry’s history through Alex Seropian and Patrick Curry‘s fireside chat as well. These two were former faculty at DePaul University that overlooked large scaled game projects of 15 – 20 people. Crazy! Attendees were in awe to have such talented individuals share how they’ve impacted the game industry to this day. The chat talked about the struggles and highlights of doing startups and why “being a nice person” is crucial in staying in the game industry. Major shout out to them since these two flew out for our event!
A highlight from everyone of the event was Patrick Curry’s game design talk. He’s the former Technical Director at Unity and Co-Founder of VR Austin. Patrick is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for emerging technology, having previously started and sold web, mobile, video game, and cloud computing companies. Patrick is also bringing together these passions, technologies, and most importantly, awesome people at his new studio, FarBridge.
Right from the start this man inspired everyone in the room to challenge the limits of one’s creativity. From his special Fun-cano to Shark Fin Theory, it was an awesome time of insight and fun. People were even interested in turning his scrapped game ideas into a game jam as well! This was super important because students don’t really get brainstorming activities or opportunities in expanding the medium. Instead of the generic academic structure, people were fascinated in how Patrick’s ideology inspired people to make projects like Octodad.
Closing off the DGE Panel, we had an open playtest session of people’s games and a super cool open discussion with our alumni too. Each talked about their experiences running large game development teams at DePaul University and how it influenced them after graduating. Projects ranged from Devil’s Tuning Fork, Octodad, Mack vs Windows, to even Groovy Tuesday. Each were selected studio teams whose goal was to get into the Independent Games Festival (IGF). Some showcased while others didn’t, but there stories taught us the importance of teamwork and communication in any collaborative setting. The talk went overtime as well because of the amazing engagement between the audience and guest speakers. This was a beautiful way in ending the day. Hopefully there can be more opportunities like this in the future as well!
We encourage everyone to watch the videos on this post if you haven’t. Its worth every second! If you attended the event then thank you SO MUCH! If you didn’t then we look forward in seeing you in the future!