Lots of great stories in Rhode Island Creative magazine, it’s a must read for all types of creative thinkers!
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From 2000 to 2008. I was a Cryptologist in the U.S. Navy, specializing in Direction Finding. After nearly 8 years of honorable service, I opted to get out and go to school. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from New England Institute of Technology with a 3.2 GPA. My major was Game Development and Simulation Programming technology.
After graduation, I worked to stay afloat while I pursued my dream. After a handful of turn downs from various game companies in the vicinity of my hometown and over a year of working jobs I hated, I decided to take the leap and vastly expand my job search radius.
I applied to a number of places in Northern California and Washington State, and got the call from Bungie thanks in large part to some networking and luck, and eventually got my first gig in gaming.
I started out as a Progression Tester, ensuring the flow of the game was working as intended. Only recently, I seized an opportunity working in the Visual Development department. Now I have the pleasure of helping to capture some of Bungie’s greatest moments for the world to see.
TL; DR – Life is good here at Bungie making video content.
The Video Game Design Technology program held its 5th Annual NEIT Power Game Day on October 24th with a record audience in attendance. Students were treated to industry insights from speakers from Sonalysts Studios, Defective Studios, WGBH Digital, Dassault Systemes SIMULA, Muzzy Lane Studios, Fablevision, Disco Pixel, VT MAK DiGuy, and animator and NEIT adjunct instructor Pete Paquette.
Evening video game tournaments were sponsored by NEIT’s Game Developer’s Network Student Club. The event was a fundraiser with all proceeds going to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network as part of the national “Extra Life” gaming marathon fundraisers. Winners were crowned in three tournament games, Guitar Hero, Super Mario Brother’s Smash Mouth, and Injustice.
From the Warwick Beacon:
Roller coasters, space travel, ping-pong toss, and Rhode Island have a lot in common. The connection? Nexperience’s virtual reality programs.
Virtual reality is a computer-simulated experience that can visually transport an individual to another real or imagined world.
Nexperience, which opened in the Warwick Mall Aug. 1, allows individuals to try their virtual reality systems using the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head set. By placing the Oculus Rift over the eyes with headphones, individuals are exposed to a separate reality from the one around them. The software costs only $7 and can be bought at the Nexperience Kiosk closer to the Target side in the mall.
The programs Nexperience has created are a roller coaster, a drive through space, a walk through Providence and Waterfire. Nexperience also, with the help of motion sensors, has allowed for gaming capabilities with their software; thus, the experience goes beyond a visual experience; a computerized reality that can be interacted with.
Tayla Manson tried out the roller coaster ride software. Her head moved from side to side and at one point her hands even flew up into the air.
She said, “This is absolutely amazing. Everything you see and hear, it’s exactly like really being on a real roller coaster; it even feels like it.”
Aaron James, Kevin Murphy and Eric Hall partnered together to begin Nexperience. They reached out to game development and simulation programming majors at New England Institute of Technology (NETECH).
Fifteen students participated in a four-week “hackathon” where they worked ceaselessly to design and produce virtual reality software.
This is the software you can try and buy at their kiosk.
James explained that many of the NETECH students have become part-time employees for Nexperience. The mall kiosk is to help the students have a job where they can put into practice all of their education while also helping fund the next step in their lives.
James said, “We wanted entrepreneurial students. They have basically employed themselves. They took it upon themselves to test and showcase their hard work. We have really talented students in this state.”
After the 38 Studios debacle, James said it will be a long time before any gaming or tech company wants to come to Rhode Island.
James said, “We want to restore hope and faith in Rhode Island and its tech community.”
Virtual reality is still a relatively new technology, but in the past few years it has begun to grow rapidly.
James said, “We all wanted to jump on the rising tide of virtual reality before it explodes.”
Nexperience is working with different companies sharing its technology. They have had discussions with NASA, whose virtual reality program has only two developers compared to Nexperience’s eight.
Virtual reality has many real uses beyond fun experiences and gaming. The software can help train first responders for natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other instances without any danger. They can visually see, hear and assess a scene without the cost of hiring people and renting places to do the training.
There is hope that virtual reality will also be able to better assist scientists handling robots in space.
There is also opportunity for virtual reality to soar in tourism. Travelers could explore their destinations and hotels before booking or leaving for their trip.
Virtual reality is just beginning to reach a consumer level and both James and his team believe virtual reality is about to take off.
James said, “We wanted to get into this business before it explodes hitting the consumer market. We could be the leading programmers.”
Nexperience is on the cusp of virtual reality technology and is sharing it with Rhode Island. They are looking to expand their business as well as their technology.
Nexperience is looking for help in expanding, the main reason they began selling their software, but they are also looking for donations.
For more information on Nexperience or to donate to their cause, visit their kiosk in the Warwick Mall or their Kickstarter fundraiser page on their website at www.Nexperience.technology. They also have a Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube channel.
From The Providence Journal:
By BARBARA POLICHETTI JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
WARWICK — The Warwick Mall carousel, tried and true with its poised steeds, had its fair share of riders Sunday as a gray day drew people indoors.
But some bypassed the merry-go-round and found a very different kind of ride when they stopped at a new kiosk in the mall that showcases the virtual reality software of a new Rhode Island-based company that hopes to make a name for itself.
Nexperience opened its kiosk — or “tech pod” — a couple of days ago to give people a chance to try out the virtual reality experiences it is creating.
People were invited to have a seat, pop on a special mask and headphones and then hop on a stomach-lurching roller-coaster ride through prehistoric terrain or take a more relaxing option and glide past the planets.
“Whoa!,” was the most frequently uttered exclamation as people grabbed the edge of their seats as they gazed into the electronic goggles that had them believing that they were being hurled about on a wild roller-coaster ride.
“Oh my goodness, it was so life-like,” said Staci Kolb, of East Greenwich, after she had watched her 11-year-old son, Christopher, laugh his way through the ride.”
“I felt like I had to hold onto the chair,” said Kolb, who also tried out the virtual ride.
“It was really like being on a roller coaster,” said Christopher, who then asked his mom if they could buy one.
Soon, but not yet.
Aaron James, one of three Rhode Islanders who recently launched Nexperience, said that the company hopes to have its virtual reality products for sale soon and predicts that they will be “hot items” come Christmas.
The company creates the visuals and the software that is teamed up with a special headset created by another company, Oculus.
James said that although Nexperience is new, its goals are big and potential product line limitless.
Virtual reality games are a first option because fun is a great way to introduce people to the technology, said Kevin Murphy of East Greenwich, who along with James and Eric Hall is a founding member of the company.
He was at the mall Sunday watching his 7-year-old daughter, Mary Grace, giggle as she “rode” the volcanic roller coaster over and over.
“It’s just like watching her play with blocks or a ball for the first time,” he said. “There is that sense of awe.”
James and Murphy said that beyond games, they have other plans for the technology. The virtual reality experience has many uses in education, they said, and also in job training.
Sensors put on participants can track how they respond to different scenarios, James said, noting that he thinks that Nexperience is capable of developing effective training software for firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other “first responders.”
The company currently has work space at the Hatch Entrepreneurial Center in Providence and is staffed by five employees, who are augmented by more than a dozen interns from the New England Institute of Technology.
James said that the company is seeking corporate sponsors and plans to launch an Internet fundraising drive shortly.
“From education to entertainment, there really are an infinite number of possibilities,” Murphy said.
Johnson was among the earliest members of the Rhode Island chapter of the International Game Developers Association. Founded in 2011 by Geraldo Perez, the Ocean State group looked to advance the games industry in the state and create a social-gathering place where 38 Studios employees who relocated to Providence from out-of-state could meet with other gaming enthusiasts – and recruit people like Perez to work for the company.
“None of us believe that another company would [relocate to the city], nor do we believe the citizens of Rhode Island would be able to have the stomach for that,” he said. “The game industry really took a black eye, so every game company is [perceived as] some kind of flim-flam artist. … I’m reserved about mentioning that I’m in the game-development industry because it will lead to a conversation about 38 Studios.”
Despite the fallout, Johnson does expect to see a “serious game company” emerge from within the state in the next year.
Kevin Murphy, Eric Hall and Aaron James have set out to build that company in downtown Providence. Their joint business venture, Nexperience, bills itself as a cutting-edge, game-development company focused on designing virtual-reality experiences for the Oculus Rift headset.
Hall studied the evolution of the Oculus technology – and the market potential for a company in the virtual-reality arena – for two years before bringing his business idea to Murphy, a fellow Rhode Island attorney and one of the co-founders of Hatch Entrepreneurial Center in Providence. James, a serial entrepreneur who came together with Murphy and Hall to launch the venture a few months ago, said Nexperience plans to piggyback on the momentum that Facebook’s recent $2 billion acquisition of Oculus will drive for virtual-reality development.
To read the entire article visit: R.I. gaming-industry dream alive – Providence Business News.
Gamers are pretty desensitized to blood and guts — after all, you can only blow off so many zombie heads or impale so many bandits before you just aren’t squeamish anymore. However, it’s one thing to have blood and random goo splatter everywhere, but it’s quite another to see actual organs taken out of people’s bodies and examined up close. Enter Surgeon Simulator, the game that lets you tear open a very unlucky patient and completely obliterate his vital organs with drills, hammers and other implements of destruction.
Surgeon Simulator has been around for a while now as a PC game and an iOS app but now it’s coming to your living room TV with a new port for the PlayStation 4. On the official PlayStation blog, developer Bossa Studios explains the challenges that the company faced in bringing its controls for the game over to the PS4‘s DualShock4 controllers.
“The first and most obvious step to take was to map hand movement and hand rotation to the left and right thumb sticks, as this is what players tend to expect on a console game,” the studio explains. “The finger controls were less obvious. We had a lot of ideas which turned out to be a bit too clumsy even for Surgeon Simulator. In the end we decided to lose the one-button-per-finger design used on the PC and instead condense it down into just two of the shoulder buttons.”
The Penny Arcade Expo known as PAX was the setting on April 11-13, 2014, for 90,000 gaming enthusiasts in search of the latest and greatest in gaming technology. PAX East, one of five international tradeshows, was held in Boston with NEIT faculty and students making their debut at this event as they showcased what was deemed as the hit of the show, the Virtusphere.
This show-stopping 10-foot hollow sphere gave all who stepped inside the ultimate virtual gaming experience. The Virtusphere rotates in any direction based on the user’s motion while he/she is wearing a head mounted display known as the Oculus Rift. Sensors collect and send data to a computer in real time and the user’s movement is replicated within the virtual environment. Not only is the Virtusphere a gamer’s delight, the sphere may be programmed for applications that include military, counter-terrorism, police, and firefighter training in a safe environment. Many industry experts agree that virtual reality is the future of gaming.
The game utilized in the Virtusphere was created by New England Tech gaming students Naveed Sameja and Harold Ramsay III with guidance from Assistant Professor David “DJ” Johnson. The concept of the game called “A Ghostly Night” was to catch the light-orbs with outstretched hands. Because of its popularity, a lottery was developed with more than 300 show attendees winning the chance to experience the Virtusphere first-hand.
New England Tech was the only Rhode Island college represented at PAX East, and with the overwhelming response of this year’s exhibit, gaming faculty and students are already talking about next year’s show.
If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs, including Game Development and Simulation Programming or Video Game Design.
Contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu
Sang Frais from Nerds with Passports speaks to High School Admissions Representative, Kaila Nicolia about New England Tech’s Game Development and Simulation Programming Technology and Video Game Design degree programs at PAX East 2014.
Plus Sang gives her thoughts on the New England Tech student created virtual reality she had the opportunity to experience in the Virtusphere at PAX East.
If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs, including Game Development and Simulation Programming and Video Game Design, please call Admissions at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu.
You can follow Nerds with Passports on Twitter @NerdsWPassports.
Each of the nine teams consisted of two students who demonstrated their expertise in the development of training game prototypes for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Chrysler will incorporate the winning prototype(s) into training games for its sales team. This is the first time since the 2009 merger with FIAT that Chrysler has partnered with a college for gaming purposes.
Bill Culbertson, Assistant Professor, VGDD program stated, “This was an incredible opportunity for our students. It provided them with their first real-world game development experience. It is our hope that this competition is just the beginning of a long relationship with Chrysler.”
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