Gaming Graduate Success Story!

Chris Lopes shares his road toward success, including his stop at New England Tech.

Chris Lopes, New England Tech Graduate

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.

Power Game Day a huge success

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.

During the mini-trade fair, students interacted with the speakers to gain additional information and to network. Several student teams exhibited games they had created and developed in their coursework, getting valuable feedback from the crowd of game testers.

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.

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Global Game Jam is set to return in 2015

For the Fourth year in a row, New England Institute of Technology is set to host Global Game Jam from January 23 to January 25, 2015!

Rhode Island Global Game Jam at New England Tech

For 48 hours teams from across the country and around the world will collaborate to fully conceptualize and develop a video game, from start to finish.

2014 Global Game Jam - Rhode Island - New England Tech

If you’re interested in participating in Game Jam at the New England Tech campus, you’re in luck. We’re currently accepting registrations. You do not need to be a New England Tech student, however you must be at least 18 years old. If you decide to participate at New England Tech you’ll have access to our cutting edge computer labs (11 PC labs and 3 Mac labs!) and facilities, as well as refreshments throughout the duration of the Game Jam.

Click here to register to participate at New England Tech!

R.I. company’s product line close to becoming reality

VIRTUAL REALITY: Nexperience, which just opened in the Warwick Mall, allows people to try and buy their new virtual reality software. Pictured from left to right is Sean Couepel, Aaron James, Tayla Manson, Jack Kayrouz and Alan Caprio. Photo from The Warwick Beacon – Kelcy Dolan

New England Tech is Game Development and Video Game Design students have enjoyed their time interning for Nexperience and have found it to be a very rewarding experience.  Today’s start up could be the next Apple and these students are getting an opportunity to contribute at the ground level.

From The Providence Journal:

Shoppers at Warwick Mall get to test virtual reality software produced by Nexperience

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.

 

RI gaming-industry dream alive

Great story in the Providence Business News highlighting the Gaming Industry in Rhode Island. It isn’t all about Curt Shilling and the failed 38 Studios. Hopefully these independent game developers will successfully blossom into a major players in the gaming world.  Effectively changing the local conversations surrounding the gaming business away from 38 Studios.

PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO A NEW GAME: Jacob Brennan created his real-time, multiplayer cooperative role-playing game “Casual Quest” in two weeks with little more than a hobbyist’s knowledge of game design and self-taught programming skills. Brennan counts himself among the small group of independent video game developers in Rhode Island.

From PBN story by Kaylen Auer:

“When 38 Studios joined the mix, it was incredibly exciting for everyone,” said David “DJ” Johnson, assistant professor in the New England Institute of Technology video game design program. “Wherever there’s a large studio, within a couple of years there are more studios. We wanted to make that possible. We wanted to facilitate the expansion of the craft in Providence.”

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.

2014 Chrysler Gaming Competition – A Great Success!

Pictured with the top four winning teams are Chrysler’s John Fox, Director, Dealer Training Shared Services; Kristin Bowler, Dodge and SRT Brand Training Manager; and Keith Yancy, Senior Manager, Creative Direction and Instructional Design from Chrysler Learning Academy. First Place: Kevin Pierre-Louis and Josue Melgar

First Place: Kevin Pierre-Louis and Josue Melgar; Pictured with the winning teams are
Chrysler’s John Fox, Director, Dealer Training
Shared Services; Kristin Bowler, Dodge and SRT
Brand Training Manager; and Keith Yancy, Senior
Manager, Creative Direction and Instructional Design
from Chrysler Learning Academy.

The results are in! The winners of the 2014 Chrysler Gaming Competition were announced on March 13th with faculty, staff, students and Chrysler executives on hand. Students in NEIT’s Associate in Science and Bachelor of Science Video Game Development and Design (VGDD) Technology program were challenged by the Chrysler Learning Academy to develop video game training prototypes for its sales team.

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.”

Second Place: Dylan Beck and Aaron Beck; Pictured with the winning teams are Chrysler’s John Fox, Director, Dealer Training Shared Services; Kristin Bowler, Dodge and SRT Brand Training Manager; and Keith Yancy, Senior Manager, Creative Direction and Instructional Design from Chrysler Learning Academy.

Second Place: Dylan Beck and Aaron Beck; Pictured with the winning teams are Chrysler’s John Fox, Director, Dealer Training Shared Services; Kristin Bowler, Dodge and SRT Brand Training Manager; and Keith Yancy, Senior Manager, Creative Direction and Instructional Design from Chrysler Learning Academy.

Third Place: Jeremy Simons and Kathryn Smith;  Pictured with the winning teams are Chrysler’s John Fox, Director, Dealer Training Shared Services; Kristin Bowler, Dodge and SRT Brand Training Manager; and Keith Yancy, Senior Manager, Creative Direction and Instructional Design from Chrysler Learning Academy.

Third
Place: Jeremy Simons and Kathryn Smith; Pictured with the winning teams are
Chrysler’s John Fox, Director, Dealer Training
Shared Services; Kristin Bowler, Dodge and SRT
Brand Training Manager; and Keith Yancy, Senior
Manager, Creative Direction and Instructional Design
from Chrysler Learning Academy.

4thPlace

Fourth Place: Kelsey Emmett and Candon Needham; Pictured with the winning teams are
Chrysler’s John Fox, Director, Dealer Training
Shared Services; Kristin Bowler, Dodge and SRT
Brand Training Manager; and Keith Yancy, Senior
Manager, Creative Direction and Instructional Design
from Chrysler Learning Academy.

 

Once again – New England Tech named on prestigious Princeton Review list

NEW ENGLAND INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY NAMED ONE OF THE “TOP UNDERGRADUATE SCHOOLS TO STUDY VIDEO GAME DESIGN FOR 2014″ BY THE PRESTIGIOUS PRINCETON REVIEW

Undergrad-SealEAST GREENWICH, RI – Douglas H. Sherman, Senior Vice President and Provost at New England Institute of Technology, announced that the college has earned a prominent position on The Princeton Review’s just published-list saluting the best undergraduate schools to study video game design for 2014.   

Compiled by The Princeton Review, one of America’s best-known education services companies, New England Institute of Technology was named as one of the “Top 25 Undergraduate Schools to Study Game Design For 2014.” The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey it conducted in 2013 of 150 game design programs at institutions in the United States, Canada, and abroad.  A companion list of “Top 25 Graduate Schools to Study Game Design for 2014″ was also compiled.  The criteria used by The Princeton Review to make its selections included the school curriculum, faculty, facilities, and infrastructure, as well as career services, student scholarships, and financial aid. 

As Sherman stated, “We are thrilled to have earned this distinction from The Princeton Review.  Our gaming faculty works tirelessly with students enrolled in our Associate in Science and Bachelor of Science degree programs in Video Game Development and Design Technology.  Our hands-on approach to learning coupled with a dynamic curriculum plus exciting gaming events and workshops prepare our students for this competitive industry.”

Princeton Review Senior Vice President/Publisher Robert Franek explained, “It has long been our mission to help students find – and get into – the schools best for them.  For students aspiring to become game designers, we highly recommend New England Institute of Technology as one of the best institutions to study and to launch a career in this exciting field.  We also salute the faculty and staff at New England Tech and the other schools on our 2014 lists for their exceptional academic and professional contributions to their students and to the industry of game design.” 

The Princeton Review developed its “Top Schools to Study Video Game Design” project in 2009-2010 with assistance from a national advisory board that helped design the survey instrument and methodology. Board members include administrators and faculty from respected game design programs and professionals from some of the top gaming companies.  

The full report is accessible at www.princetonreview.com/game-design. 

Under the leadership of President Richard I. Gouse, New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit, technical college with an enrollment of approximately 3,000 students in over 40 associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.  Visit our website at www.neit.edu and follow news of the college on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Tumblr and the New England Tech blog.

Chrysler teams up with New England Tech

GameOn3 Fifteen competing teams, comprised of New England Institute of Technology students currently enrolled in the college’s Associate in Science or Bachelor of Science Video Game Development and Design Technology programs, have formed to compete in the 2014 Chrysler Gaming Competition.

Each team is developing a game prototype based on the Jeep Cherokee that Chrysler’s Learning Academy will incorporate in the development of a sales training game.

4b-Chrysler

To provide inspiration, enhance the creative process, and promote the competition, Chrysler made arrangements for a 2014 Jeep Cherokee to be displayed on campus during the launch of the competition.

The contest will conclude on Thursday, March 13, 2014, when Chrysler representatives, Keith Yancy, Senior Manager, Creative Direction and Instructional Design from Chrysler Learning Academy, Kristin Bowler, Dodge and SRT Brand Training Manager and John Fox, Director, Dealer Training Shared Services,  arrive on campus to announce the winners and award the prizes at a reception being held on the East Greenwich Campus from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in room S330.

The first prize is a $2,000 gift card per team; second prize is a $1,000 gift card per team; and the third and fourth place prizes are a $500 gift card per team.

If you would like to attend the ceremony, please contact Joan Segerson at ext. 3704 or by email jsegerson@neit.edu.

New England Tech hosts Global Game Jam 2014

New England Tech – featured on WJAR Channel 10!

The local news station WJAR was promoting New England Tech’s participating in Global Game Jam, a 48 hour video game design challenge.

2014 Rhode Island Global Game Jam

For the third year, New England Tech was an official host site of the challenge, which has over 400 host locations around the world.

Click The Video Above – Or Here To View The WJAR News Segment

Video Game Design Industry Overtakes Baseball

The video game design industry, once the pastime of teenage American boys, has experienced a huge shift in recent years. In fact according to ESPN, more Americans play video games than America’s traditional pastime – Baseball.

Check out the video below to learn more about how video games are shaping today’s culture, and then check out the New England Tech Game Design program to see how getting your video game design degree can be start creating games!