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Pax East 2011: IGDA 3 Days of Seminars (or So you want to work in the gaming industry?)

Posted by: Ben Berry at 2/22/2011 5:16 PM
One of the things everyone loves about PAX is that it isn't just a sales presentation by vendors, it's a community show for people who love games. And a lot of people, when asked would they like to learn more about working in the industry would drop their jaws and nod their heads excitedly. Following the excitement surrounding the IGDA panels in 2010 at PAX Prime, they've created a full slate of events for PAX East 11. Keynote speaker for these events will be Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer at Turbine. Turbine is located not far from Boston in Westwood MA, so it makes sense they'll have a presence at the event. 


PAX East to Include 3-day IGDA Program for Developers,

Gamers Looking to Get into the Industry

Turbine’s Fernando Paiz to Keynote IGDA Sessions on Saturday

LOS ANGELES – Feb. 22, 2011 -- The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) will boost PAX East’s schedule with three full days of sessions targeting both working developers and those interested in a career in the game industry.

Turbine Executive Producer Fernando Paiz will keynote the IGDA sessions. His talk, “The Game Monetization Revolution: Embracing new business models that are good for both players and developers” will kick off developer sessions on Saturday, March 12.

Breaking In! sessions -- for those interested in a career making games -- will take place both Friday and Sunday, March 11 and 13.

“After our first joint effort with PAX in 2010, IGDA members told us how much they liked attending development sessions while being able to enjoy PAX at the same time, so we decided to take things up to 11 and create a full program for PAX East,” Gordon Bellamy, executive director, IGDA, said. “Nothing will make us happier than to see each session filled with gamers ready to create the next Halo.”

Both organizations see the program as a great way to serve developers in the region as well as help enthusiasts learn more about the industry.

“PAX is really the only place where fans of gaming have the chance to meet with the people behind the worlds and characters they love so much,” Robert Khoo, Penny Arcade, said. “Everyone loved the ‘peek behind the curtain’ of game development that IGDA speakers brought last year so it was natural to expand their involvement.”

Paiz, a long-time veteran of the MMOG space, oversees Dungeons & Dragons Online™. Paiz joined Turbine in 2004 as Director of Game Technology. He has played a pivotal role on the performance and stability initiatives leading up to the launch of both Dungeons and Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online™.

Developer sessions for IGDA PAX East were coordinated by Mike Worth, founder, VGI Philly and North East Regional Director, IGDA.

Breaking In! sessions were organized by Jeannie Novak, vice president of IGDA-Los Angeles and lead author/series editor of the Game Development Essentials textbook series.

See the full schedule below for descriptions and speakers.

Full schedule of IGDA Sessions :

Room 208:

Friday, March 11 2011 -- Breaking In! Day One

10 – 10:50 a.m.

State of the Industry: What Are Your Career Options?

This panel will focus on the current state of the game industry and the many career paths available to those interested in breaking in. Topics include the growth and development of the industry; new roles, platforms, and genres; the distinction between developers and publishers; and how companies, teams, and projects are structured.

§ John Comes (Creative Director, Uber Entertainment)

§ Lindsey McQueeney (Corporate Recruiter, 38 Studios LLC/Big Huge Games)

§ Jim Rivers (Hiring Manager, Obsidian Entertainment)

§ Limor Schafman (President, KeystoneTech)

§ Mary-Margaret Walker (CEO & Founder, Mary-Margaret Network)

11 – 11:50 a.m.

Getting the Most Out of Game Education

Representatives from game development studios and degree programs at several colleges and universities will discuss what to look for in game education, curriculum structure, internship programs, special projects, software, and portfolio development.

§ Adam Chapman (President & COO, Poptank Studios)

§ Terrence Masson (Director of Creative Industries, Northeastern University)

§ Jim Rivers (Hiring Manager, Obsidian Entertainment)

12 – 12:50 p.m.

Making It Happen: The Search is on!

This panel focuses on how to position yourself and jumpstart your career through effective job search techniques, in-person networking, online communities, and social networking tools.

§ John Comes (Creative Director, Uber Entertainment)

§ Lindsey McQueeney (Corporate Recruiter, 38 Studios LLC/Big Huge Games)

§ Jim Rivers (Hiring Manager, Obsidian Entertainment)

§ Limor Schafman (President, KeystoneTech)

§ Mark Soderwall (Art Director & Visual Game Design Consultant)

§ Mary-Margaret Walker (CEO & Founder, Mary-Margaret Network)

1-1:50p.m. – LUNCH BREAK

2 - 2:50 p.m.

Starting Your Own Game Company

Founders of game development studios will share anecdotes and advice for budding entrepreneurs who would like to get started on the right path but don’t mind receiving a heavy dose of reality. Topics include company structure, team recruitment, project development, publisher relations, original vs. pre-existing IP, platform/genre focus, branding -- and whether or not to run a “virtual studio.”

§ Mike McShaffry (Executive Producer, Red Fly Studio)

§ Dave McCool (President & CEO, Muzzy Lane)

§ Andrew Walker (Co-Founder, Carbon Based, LLC)

Demonstrations

3 - 4:45 p.m.

Resumes That Rock

This is your chance to get a clear view of what works, and what doesn’t, in the realm of resumes. You will be exposed to the anatomy of a resume – with every section and line item explained and dissected. If you’d like your own resume to be “put on the table,” be sure to bring it to this session!

§ Beverly Garland (Career Development Specialist, Mary-Margaret Network)

§ Robin McShaffry (Vice President, Mary-Margaret Network)

§ Mary-Margaret Walker (CEO & Founder, Mary-Margaret Network)

5 - 6:45 p.m.

Portfolios & Demos That Rock

This is your chance to get a clear view of what works, and what doesn’t, for portfolios and demos. A team of industry experts will expose you to the anatomy of several demos and portfolios– with every element explained and dissected. If you’d like your own portfolio or demo to be “put on the table,” be sure to bring it to this session!

§ John Comes (Creative Director, Uber Entertainment)

§ Lindsey McQueeney (Corporate Recruiter, 38 Studios LLC/Big Huge Games)

§ Terrence Masson (Director of Creative Industries, Northeastern University)

§ Jim Rivers (Hiring Manager, Obsidian Entertainment)

§ Mark Soderwall (Art Director & Visual Game Design Consultant)

Saturday, March 12 2011 – IGDA Developer Summit

10 - 11 a.m.

Keynote: “The Game Monetization Revolution: Embracing new business models that are good for both players and developers”

Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer, Turbine

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

You Got the Touch, You Got the Power: Lecture

Over 30 years ago the game industry created controllers, it was a way to interact with objects on screen, but really it was just faking our fingers. Finally after all these years of faking “the finger”, we are finally getting to play games the way they were originally played, using touch. This session will focus on the growing casual market of touch screen games. It will cover designing and porting games to multiple touch screen devices, and the common rules and pitfalls that occur within this medium.

§ Grant Shonkwiler, Philadelphia IGDA head, Producer and Game Designer, Megatouch

Noon - 1 p.m. – LUNCH BREAK

2 - 3 p.m.

Everything I Know About Social Games I Learned From Call of Duty: Lecture

The games industry is evolving. Social Games, once a fringe games industry enclave, discussed under hushed tones in shadowy corners of interactive entertainment gatherings, has taken its place as an established game development discipline with nuances, best practices, and pillars all its own. That said, are "Triple-A" console games like Call of Duty so different from smash hit Social Games like FrontierVille and Mafia Wars? Is it possible that Call of Duty conned us into believing it was just another shooter, when it was actually a groundbreaking foray into the burgeoning Social Games space? This session examines the core compulsion loops, long-term feedback mechanics, and economy/itemization strategies of games like Call of Duty, and explores the parallels between the console shooter market’s biggest blockbuster and the industry’s newest untamed frontier.

§ Coray Seifert, IGDA Board Member, Senior Designer, Arkadium

3 - 4:30 p.m.

Growing Your Market: Panel

All the data suggests vast untapped markets exist-- people who do play games, or might play games, but who certainly aren't playing *your* games. Our panel of industry professionals will discuss strategies they've employed for increasing market penetration of their products.

§ Kate Edwards, Principal Consultant & Founder, Englobe Inc.

§ N'Gai Croal, Consultant | Writer | Columnist, Hit Detection, LLC

§ Alex Horn, Writer, Big Huge Games/38 Studios

§ Tobi Saulnier, CEO & Founder, 1st Playable Productions

5 - 6 p.m.

Creating Compelling Worlds for Original IP: Panel

Starting from scratch to create a believable, compelling world that gets players excited about your otherwise unknown project is a massive, difficult and potentially extremely rewarding task. Team KAOS will converge on the IGDA PAX East Game Development Summit (replace with actual name) to discuss the unique challenges, opportunities and pitfalls of creating entire worlds from a single spark of inspiration.

§ AAA Panel, THQ Kaos Core Development Team

§ Coray Seifer, Senior Designer, Arkadium

§ Jason Bennett, Concept Artist, 4mm Entertainment

§ Matthew Harwood, Audio Director, Kaos Studios, THQ

§ CJ Kershner, Writer, Kaos Studios, THQ

§ JT Petty, Narrative Director, Creo Ludus Entertainment

Sunday, March 13, 2011 – Breaking In!  Day Two

Roundtables

Role-specific roundtables will consist of top game artists, designers, community managers, and marketing professionals. Each roundtable will be structured into four sections focusing on roles/responsibilities, personal history, career paths, and hot topics/issues.

10 – 10:50 a.m.

Game Art & Design Roundtable

§ John Comes (Creative Director, Uber Entertainment)

§ Terrence Masson (Director of Creative Industries, Northeastern University)

§ Mark Soderwall (Art Director & Visual Game Design Consultant)

§ Bert Snow (VP of Design & Content, Muzzy Lane)

§ Anne Toole (Writer & Narrative Designer)

11 – 11:50 a.m.

Game Marketing & Community Management Roundtable

§ Arne Meyer (Senior Manager of Marketing Communications, Naughty Dog)

§ Chris Parsons (Product Manager, Muzzy Lane)

§ James Stevenson (Senior Community/Marketing Manager, Insomniac Games)

§ Allison Thresher (Community Moderator, Harmonix Music Systems)

12 – 12:50 p.m.

One of Us

Are people surprised to learn that you're a gamer? Do the clerks at the Local Generic Game Retailer ignore you when you shop? If they do talk to you, do they assume you're shopping for something with more pink on the box? Or worse, ask you if you're buying a game for your son or boyfriend? Gamers who do not fit the stereotypical image of the hardcore gamer often feel left out in the cold. Our panel of game writers and hardcore gamers discuss the obstacles to acceptance they've faced and their strategies for coping with them.

§ Mark Barlet (President & CEO, The AbleGamers Foundation, Inc.)

§ Regina Buenaobra (Community Manager, ArenaNet)

§ David Edison (Writer, GayGamer.net)

§ Alex Horn (Writer, Big Huge Games/38 Studios) – Moderator

§ Alexandra Raymond, Writer (The Borderhouse Blog)

1 – 1:50 p.m. - LUNCH BREAK

2 – 2:50 p.m.

Ten Games You Need to Play: The Digital Game Canon

This panel takes inspiration from the challenge of preserving game history and gets right to the key question: What is the canon of digital game history? What games should be first on the list for preservation? What games should game researchers and designers study? In other words, what games do you really need to play? Our panel mixes game designers, researchers, and journalists -- all players, too -- to answer this question. Expect to hear an appeal or two about the need to solve the problem of long-term preservation of these games as part of our cultural heritage . . . before they disappear forever.

§ Jon Gibson (Founder, I am 8-bit)

§ Christopher Grant (Editor-in-Chief, joystiq.com)

§ Henry Lowood (Curator/Professor, Stanford University)

§ Chris Melissinos (Curator, Smithsonian’s Art of Video Games Exhibition)

Interactive Sessions

Participation space will be limited; a signup sheet will be available for those who wish to participate. Non-participants will be able to observe sessions.

3 - 4:45 p.m

Game Design Jam

This jam involves a series of quick contests where 5-10 participants must create game designs based on descriptions that are provided to them at the beginning of each round. Audience will get to observe each contest in action; judges score each project in real time.

§ John Comes (Creative Director, Uber Entertainment)

§ Bert Snow (VP of Design & Content, Muzzy Lane)

§ Anne Toole (Writer & Narrative Designer)

5 - 6:45 p.m.

Game Art Jam

This jam involves a series of quick contests where 5-10 participants must create game art based on descriptions that are given to them at the beginning of each round. Audience will get to observe each contest in action; judges score each project in real time.

§ Adam Chapman (President & COO, Poptank Studios)

§ Terrence Masson (Director of Creative Industries, Northeastern University)

§ Mark Soderwall (Art Director & Visual Game Design Consultant)

IGDA Sessions in Room 209

The Reckoning IGDA Lounge, sponsored by 38 Studios, will be a meeting place for IGDA members to hold small meetings and discussions about how to elevate the craft of game development during PAX. Check in with the desk about using the space.

Formal sessions:

Saturday, 1 - 2:45 p.m.

Mock Job Interviews

Game professionals and studio recruiters will conduct mock interviews with participants who are interested in honing their interviewing skills.

Lindsey McQueeney (Corporate Recruiter, 38 Studios LLC/Big Huge Games)
Jim Rivers (Hiring Manager, Obsidian Entertainment)
Limor Schafman (President, KeystoneTech)
Mary-Margaret Walker (CEO & Founder, Mary-Margaret Network)
Sunday 10 – 11 a.m.

Writers Special Interest Group MeetUp

Members of the IGDA Writers SIG and other industry writers interested in joining IGDA or the SIG are invited to this meeting for general discussion. Information about Writers SIG business from GDC will be presented for discussion or elaboration.

Sunday, 11 a.m. – noon.

"21st Century Game Hubs: the State of the Northeast Video Game Development Industry".

The Northeast game industry has never been as robust as it is now. Join the Northeast IGDA chapter leaders in a roundtable discussion of the state of northeast industry, possible new business models and partnerships to develop, and network with your fellow game industry professionals!