Happy Birthday! – 4/26/21

Ten years ago, on April 26, 2011, MassDigi was established and yesterday we celebrated that milestone with a little event at the Barrett Center to commemorate the occasion. They say time flies when you’re having fun and that’s certainly true in our case. For the last ten years we’ve had the great honor and pleasure of working with people of all kinds who all share a common passion – games.

We were very thankful that joining us at the celebration were some of the many folks who have been, and will continue to be, so instrumental to our growth, development and success. Becker College President Nancy Crimmin, Petricore Founder and CEO Ryan Canuel, Western New England University President Robert Johnson, WPI President Laurie Leshin, Congressman Jim McGovern, Lieut. Governor Karyn Polito, Mayor Joe Petty, City Manager Ed Augustus, UMassD Dean Lawrence Jenkens, Clark University President David Fithian, WPI Senior Emma Lowry, The Deep End Games Creative Director and CEO Bill Gardner, Beamable CEO Jon Radoff and Founder, Vivox CEO and Chairman Rob Seaver all took the time to share some kind words with the small audience.

Amongst all those kind words President Leshin made the first big announcement that MassDigi would be moving to WPI over this upcoming summer – exciting news! After a fantastic run at Becker, we’re thrilled to be joining WPI. We’ve had a great relationship with WPI since MassDigi was established a decade ago – folks from WPI have been with us since day one – and count ourselves lucky to have found our new home just across Highland Street.

Lt. Governor Polito made the second big announcement that our longtime friends at MassTech will be working with us to launch a $100,000 Game Prototype Matching Fund, the first of its kind in the country.

Below are some links to various stories about the move, the matching fund and the celebration.

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GAME LAUNCH: Choose your Digi Fighter – 4/26/21

Digi FightersCelebrate our 10th birthday with this action-packed arcade game featuring characters from past MassDigi games! Digi Fighters is available now on the Apple App Store and the Google Play.

The free mobile game was developed by Shattered Journal Games which is led by Jason Gertner, a LiveStudio and SIP19 alum. Ethan Reese, also a SIP19 alum, produced a medley soundtrack, too, which can you listen to here.

In addition to characters from our past games, Shattered Journal as well as our friends at Petricore, Hybrid Games and Snoozy Kazoo also contributed to the title.

Watch the trailer here and download Digi Fighters today!


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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes – 4/23/21

With our 10th birthday around the corner we thought it was a good time to make a couple of changes.

First, we’re moving away from MassDiGI and going to MassDigi. The reason is pretty obvious.

Second, the Patriots have won three Super Bowls and Tom Brady has won four since we updated our look. So, over the next few months – thanks to some talented Lesley students – you’ll see us start to roll out our new kit.

We have another big change coming but you’ll have to wait until April 26 to hear about that one!

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SIP21 team selected – 4/21/21

SIP21 team selected

By Timothy Loew, Executive Director

Since 2012, applications to our Summer Innovation Program (SIP) have grown year over year in terms of quality, geographic reach, major and diversity. This time around we received applications from 232 undergraduate and graduate students representing 83 colleges and universities from around the world making it one of our most competitive year ever.

SIP21Choosing only 25 as interns was very challenging. After many long hours of discussion, we selected a really talented group. This summer’s SIP21 team will be made up of interns from 15 institutions including Becker, Berklee, Brown, Cornell, NYU, Northeastern, Parsons, RISD, RIT, SVA, Swarthmore, Temple, Tufts, UMass Amherst and WPI.

SIP21 begins on May 18 and concludes on August 15. Over those 12 weeks or so, with guidance from staff and industry mentors, SIP21 teams will be responsible for all the work necessary to prepare a game for launch. Simply put, there is no internship program like it in the world.

Like last year, there’s still a pandemic on so some interns will stay remote while others will join us on campus at Becker for the last time. The world may be a bit messy right now but we are adjusting to create the best program and greatest experience ever – and we can’t wait to get started.

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GAME LAUNCH: Scratch your way to the top in CatThroat Kitchen – 4/16/21

CatThroat KitchenCatThroat Kitchen a free and super fun card game, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

An intense baking competition between Mother Nature’s finest! Use ingredient cards to match your pie to the theme of the challenge or sabotage your opponent by messing with their flavors. Whoever’s bake matches the challenge best when time is up and judging starts will earn Marshmallow’s approval and win delicious pie points!

The mobile game was created during the first-ever 2021 MassDigi Experience Program (XP) by Dan Robinson, Emi Jenkens-Drake, Casey Urso, Katherine Harrison, Jeb Atkinson, Andrew Agen, Hughe Vang and Demmy Mangusso.

In addition to the XP development team students in our Becker-based digital marketing lab helped to launch the game. You can watch the CatThroat Kitchen trailer here and download it today for iOS and Android.

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GAME LAUNCH: Chat it up in Ballroom Banter – 4/16/21

Ballroom BanterBallroom Banter, a free and super fun card game, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Work your way through the hierarchy of a high society masquerade ball. Gossip and discuss a path through various social circles, powering up your deck of social cards!

The mobile game was created during the first-ever 2021 MassDigi Experience Program (XP) by Becca Malcolm, Bret Halkyard, Glenn Morris, Casey Urso, Toto Lin, Annie Higgins and Andrew Beaulieu.

In addition to the XP development team students in our Becker-based digital marketing lab helped to launch the game. You can watch the Ballroom Banter trailer here and download it today for iOS and Android.

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GAME LAUNCH: Reach for the stars in Street Shuffle – 4/15/21

Street ShuffleStreet Shuffle, a free and super fun card game, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Play as a group of Dunkopolis street performers trying to out-battle anyone standing in their way to stardom! Level up, gain popularity and face your biggest foes!

The mobile game was created during the first-ever 2021 MassDigi Experience Program (XP) by Sarah Applebaum, Dain Woods, Theodore Scontras, Miranda Juncos, Megan McLaughlin, Qihuan Aixinjueluo and Casey Urso.

In addition to the XP development team students in our Becker-based digital marketing lab helped to launch the game. You can watch the Street Shuffle trailer here and download it today for iOS and Android.

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The unyielding dream idea and the reality of game design – 4/15/21

The unyielding dream idea and the reality of game design

By Theodore Scontras

Working on a team is an eternal debate I’ve toiled over many times, worrying that by bringing other people onto a game, would have me sacrifice my creative visions. In practice though, the opposite is true. Not only did I greatly over-estimate the worth of my solo ideas, but greatly undervalue the importance of having different people workshop the same concept. I think my greatest fear was that in communicating an idea to someone else was the possibility that it might be misconstrued, and ending up with something in the end that did reflect my original vision.

Team PieThat being said, that’s not really what happens in game design, while a central focus or vision is possible, it is just not realistic to have a thorough idea of what every nook and cranny of a game will look like before a line of code has been written. And that’s where the importance of a team comes in. Around every corner of designing our game when new problems came up, we explored each unique idea that anyone had. Back in my days of solo-devving I think I would have just tried out “what made the most sense to me,” which in retrospect pales in comparison to the variety of solutions that other devs on a team could come up with. While it’s important not to compare yourself to others, the lens in which others view life through makes for a great way to pass ideas through and see them in a completely new way.

There is a saying in game development that goes something like “anything will take twice or three times as long to finish as you think” it is not elegant but it is very true. My first game I expected to be done in a month, and took three, and then my second game in 2020 I expected to take about 3 months and would take the entire year, and even with that time there were so many underdeveloped concepts, with my team at MassDigi XP, in a little under 100 days we have made a game that I could not have made with 5 years of time alone.

 I think the allure of game development, and most creative endeavors is that you, as a creator, will make something in your own vision. And while that can be true, and we could be here all day talking about the financial difficulties of that, it may be important to start teaching incoming devs about the benefit and reward of helping a cause that is greater than the self.

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UI from the perspective of a 3D artist – 4/12/21

UI from the perspective of a 3D artist

By Emi Jenkens-Drake

Team CustardI came into the MassDigi Experience Program (XP) as a 3D artist, but after managing director Monty Sharma assigned me the ‘Lead Artist’ role on Team Custard my job quickly expanded past 3D. One of my new responsibilities was the UI of the game in Unity, something I knew absolutely nothing about. As someone who went to a design school I did have a lot of the fundamental design principles under my belt so it wasn’t a huge shock. But what I didn’t expect was how much I enjoyed doing the UI design.

After the initial phase of learning how to implement everything correctly it was a blast to do. I think moving between 3D and 2D is really valuable and helps with assessing a game. How does this box work with the 3D space we are looking at? What’s the shape language like? Et cetera.

I really enjoyed it and I am looking to do more of it in the future. I think I would not have learned about UI or how much I enjoy it if not for XP. I think it forces people to try out different things in a good way. I would advise anyone taking part in any MassDigi program in the future to get out of your comfort zone because you never know who you might find.

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Building bridges – 3/31/21

Building Bridges

By Glenn Morris

Hard realities set in after graduating college, and 2020 was a year of reality setting in on multiple levels. For game careers in particular, there’s an awkward transition between the academic approach to game design and development, and the insight gained through practical experience. A graduate picks up quickly on the two being fundamentally different, but these things can exist in concert, rather than conflict. MassDigi XP is an opportunity to bridge those two worlds, and whether it’s there, or some program akin to it, spending some time on that bridge is essential before crossing it.

For me, it was also about getting back on the horse. Those wild adjustments between college and career were coupled with quite a few other personal ones, and though I will never regret my time at Northeastern University, which was beneficial, I did feel trapped. I saw myself stuck in a career choice that I wasn’t ready for, having been prepared for something that doesn’t exist outside the walls of academe, and also trapped in my passion for research and broad understanding, despite my need for practical skills becoming more immediate.

Through MassDigi XP, I’ve been able to spend time on that bridge between two worlds, instead of trying to jump the wide crevasse between them, instead of rejecting whatever lies on the other side. It’s proven to be one of the better choices I’ve made, and I recommend we build more bridges like it.

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