For MassDiGI, 2016 is already shaping up to be one of our most action-packed years yet. In addition to our annual programs, events and activities around the Game Challenge, GDC, PAX East and SIP*, we have a stack of special projects in the pipeline along with a couple of games to launch. Phew!
That said, we’d like your help in spreading the word regarding a final push on our MA game industry survey. If you’d be so kind as to share it across your channels be it social media, email etc. and ask folks to fill it out, we’d be very grateful. The survey itself takes just a minute or two and the aggregated (and anonymized) data we get from it is very helpful to us when working with government etc. This link goes directly to it: www.massdigi.org/survey.
This year, the survey is a collaborative effort that we are doing with UMass Boston and the UMass Donahue Institute through Prof. Pacey Foster. Once the quantitative piece is complete Prof. Foster and UMass graduate student Brad Bleidt also plan on doing a few interviews with some community leaders and developers. We are already looking forward to sharing the results with everyone in late April or early May.
Lastly, we’re working with the folks at the SHiP iT! Game Jam in Montreal. If you or anyone you know might be interesting in jamming on a ship in the St. Lawrence in late May. Drop us a line. We have made arrangements with the organizers regarding tickets (including, potentially discounted spots for students). Should be an amazing time. Check out their video below.
Hibachi Hero, a free, fun and fast-paced first person food shooter released today on the App Store, came from the imaginations of talented MassDiGI SIP interns Sai Timmermann from IUPUI, Melissa Chiu from RIT, Chris Bruno from Becker College, Mackenzie Denker from Northeastern, Uyen Uong from RPI, Rejon Taylor-Foster from Becker and Alex Ripple from Berklee who all teamed up to bring the game to life.
Working together this past summer, the team, using Unity, produced a great game (watch the trailer here) which caught the eye of our New York City-based game publisher partner, Thumbspire. From there, in coordination with Thumbspire, we brought Hibachi Hero into our LiveCode Studio program at Becker during the fall 2015 semester. Through LiveCode, more students from Becker as well as other schools had roles in the further development of the game and getting it ready to ship.
This fall, the LiveCode launch team, a group of students from across a range disciplines, put the final touches on Hibachi Hero and it is now available to download for iOS (coming soon for Android on Google Play – stay tuned).
It has been a busy semester for the launch team which pushed out Limbs (Google Play, App Store), a SIP14 and LiveCode 14/15 & 15/16 title, in October and, working with Thumbspire, launched Midnight Terrors (Google Play, App Store), also a SIP14 and LiveCode 14/15 & 15/16 title, which hit the stores earlier this month.
Note: Read other launch stories from the Worcester Telegram here, AdWeek’s SocialTimes here, The Patriot Ledger here and MassLive here.
It is hard to believe that 2016 will mark our fifth time hosting the Game Challenge. Time flies. Over the years we have seen some amazing game concepts and titles near-release from a range of indies and students of all sorts. Take a look back in our Game Challenge archives and check them all out. We are proud to have had folks participate from far away places and right next door. And, sponsors, mentors, speakers, volunteers and judges have helped make it all happen. Thanks again to everyone involved, we sure couldn’t do it without your support – especially, Microsoft New England for providing such great space each year.
That said, we expect this year to be better than ever. Though no substantial changes have been made, we have tweaked a few things which will be noticeable to veteran competitors at the event. With only 40 slots available, team registration will go fast so if you’re an indie, college or high school team, sign up sooner rather than later. See you on February 27 and 27!
Don’t let the bedbugs bite: Midnight Terrors hits stores
By Tim Loew, executive director, MassDiGI
Midnight Terrors, a free, fun and challenging tower defense game released today on the App Store and Google Play, came from the imagination of Joe Lajoie in May 2014. At that time, Joe, a Becker College student (now alumnus), was an intern in our annual MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP). After successfully pitching his idea about a boy named Casey and his toys to the rest of SIP, he along with talented students Renzo Heredia from Berklee, Loren Sherman from MIT, Ning Xie from Mt. Holyoke, Benji Smith from Northeastern and Aromie Kim from Tufts teamed up to make the game a reality.
Working together over that summer, the team, using Unity, produced a high-quality game (watch the terrific trailer here) which, during a demo at Boston TechJam, caught the attention of New York City-based game publisher Thumbspire. From there, partnering with Thumbspire, we brought Midnight Terrors into our LiveCode Studio program at Becker during the 14/15 academic year. Through LiveCode, many more students from Becker as well as RISD, Hampshire and WPI had roles in the further development of the game, winning awards and polishing it to the point where it was tested in international markets.
This fall, the 15/16 LiveCode launch team, a group of students from across a range disciplines, put the final touches on Midnight Terrors and it is now available to download for iOS and Android.
It has been a busy semester for the launch team which pushed out Limbs (Google Play, App Store), another SIP14 and LiveCode 14/15 & 15/16 title, in October and, working with Thumbspire, has Hibachi Hero, a SIP15 and LiveCode 15/16 title, slated to hit the stores on December 17.
Update: Click here to read the Worcester Telegram’s December 8 story on the Midnight Terrors launch.
“Amid the unstoppable growth of the multibillion-dollar gaming industry around the world, the state government of Massachusetts joined forces with schools and businesses to establish the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) four years ago.” Read the full story at GMI Post here.