SIP18 team selected – 4/11/18

SIP18 team selected

By Tim Loew, executive director, MassDiGI

Since 2012, applications to our annual Summer Innovation Program (SIP) have grown year over year in terms of quality, quantity, geographic reach, major, and diversity. This year we received applications from a record 305 undergraduate and graduate students representing an astounding 79 colleges and universities from around the world – making it our most competitive year yet.

Choosing only 25 as interns was very challenging. After many long hours of discussion, the committee selected a really talented group. This summer’s SIP18 team will be made up of interns from 17 institutions including Becker College, Berklee College of Music, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Colby College, Letterkenny Institute of Technology (Ireland), Mt. Holyoke College, New York University, Northeastern University, Pratt Institute, RISD, RIT, Swarthmore College, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley College and WPI.

SIP18 begins on May 15 and concludes on August 12.  Over those 12 weeks or so, with guidance from staff and industry mentors, SIP18 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.

As in prior years, SIP18 interns will receive housing courtesy of Becker College as well as a modest stipend. Most importantly they will all receive the greatest game development experience of their lives. Sure, it may be a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun – we can’t wait to get started.

UPDATE – In addition to the SIP18 interns, we’re also please to welcome 7 more to SIP18 Extension (SIP18X). These 7 come from CMU, Pratt, Hampshire College, RISD, RIT, University of Massachusetts Amherst and WPI.

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GAME LAUNCH: Jump to it with Leap A Head – 4/5/18

Jump to it with Leap A Head

Leap A Head, a free, fun, puzzle-platform game, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play. The mobile game was created during the 2017 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP) by students Abdealaziz Ben Yahia from WPI, Ryan Maloney from Northeastern, Tiffany Chiu from RISD, Kuan-Chi Chen from Mt. Holyoke, Ashley Hyre from Becker, Joseph Kane from LYIT (Ireland) and Lisa Jeong from Berklee College of Music.

Working over the summer, the team produced a beta/near-release version of the game – watch the trailer here. From there, we brought the game into our LiveStudio program at Becker during the fall ’17 and spring ’18 semesters. Through LiveStudio, more students across a range of disciplines, including business students, had roles in polishing the game and getting it ready to launch. For a roster of all the contributors to the game, check out the credit roll. You can download Leap A Head today for iOS and Android.

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Open for business – 3/26/18

Officials speak with students at NVCWith our New Ventures Center up and running, we’re now accepting applications for development teams interested in setting up in our space for limited time periods. Depending on your pitch and project, we expect to run renewable 30, 60 and 90 day cycles, depending on your pitch, project and progress. Of course, along with the space, successful applicants will receive advising and business assistance services as mutually agreed upon – all at no cost. So, if you have a great idea and just need a little space and support to get it off the ground, drop us a line at infoatmassdigidotorg with your deck and we’ll go from there!

 

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Fur takes grand prize in seventh annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest – 3/6/18

Fur takes grand prize in seventh annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest

Worcester, MA – March 6, 2018 – Fur by Grind Games won the Grand Prize in the seventh annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest this weekend.

Fur, a first person puzzler, where players save cute furballs then nurture and use them to explore and solve problems was created by Grind Games, a team made up of three Becker College students, Tung Vu, Matt Venezia and Jared Braun.

The game, which also won the College & University Beta Category, Best Business Model and Best Audio at the contest, edged entries from student teams representing other institutions such as Champlain College, WPI, Quinsigamond Community College, Northeastern University and Harvard University.  Fur will be released on PC later this year.

Fur game screenshot

“We are excited Fur won the Game Challenge,” said Vu, a junior in game design. “If you have a passion for making games then you really must attend this event. You learn so much not only from the judges but the other competitors, too.”

The MassDiGI Game Challenge helps indie and student game developers and entrepreneurs shape their ideas and products for launch. This year 31 teams from across the northeast competed in front of a packed house at the new $7.3 million Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the campus of Becker College in Worcester.

“MassDiGI’s focus on fostering new, business-focused talent is what the local game industry needs. They’re an important part of the regional games community,” said contest judge Oleg Brodskiy, a past Game Challenge competitor and COO of the Boston Festival of Indie Games. “Game Challenge alumni have opened their own studios, found jobs at larger studios, or landed in related careers.”

Since the MassDiGI Game Challenge began seven years ago, over 250 different teams from around New England and beyond have pitched games and taken home prizes valued at over $100,000. Top past winners include titles such as Salad Hunt, Intern Astronaut (VR), PWN, Catlateral Damage, Depression Quest, Wobbles and Starlot Derby.

The annual event is a showcase for the expanding game development cluster in the region. Over the event’s two days, dozens of game industry veterans served as mentors and judges.

As the Grand Prize, College & University Beta Category and Best Business Model winners, the Grind Games team won cash and other prizes valued at about $5,000.

“This year’s contest was the tighter than in any previous year,” said Monty Sharma, managing director of MassDiGI, “Every team was impressive in its own right. The creativity and skills on display improves every year as do the games.”

Keeper game screenshotOther top winners include Burlington, VT-based Micropup from Champlain College which won the People’s Choice Award for its game Keeper as well as the Serious Category.

“Winning the Serious Category and the People’s Choice Award exceeded our expectations in a big way,” said Alex Frey, Micropup’s team captain. “This is our first trip to the Game Challenge and the experience was incredible.”

Keeper is a 3D platformer with gardening mechanics and is focused around raising awareness for declining bee populations. Through an engaging narrative complete with wildlife friends, the game communicates actionable, real-world tactics to aid local pollinators.

Psychoactive Entertainment, another team made up of Becker College students, won the College & University Alpha Category with a game codenamed Project Boynton where you play as a punk witch and obliterate monsters, harvest their guts and use those guts to craft potions to obliterate more monsters.

Garden, an augmented reality (AR) gardening app, by Sunshine Committee won the Indie Category.

The Best Art award went to Fire Frame with Atlas Excel (Pratt Institute), Best Technical Dystrophic with Hexile (Harvard).

Runner-up awards went to:

Indie Category – Runner-up

  • ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy

Serious Category – Runner-up

  • Dystrophic with Hexile (Harvard)

College & University Alpha Category – Runner-up

  • Team RGB with Data Strain (QCC)

College & University Beta Category – Runner-up

  • Jinboz with The Palace of Monarch (WPI)

Best Art – Runner-up

  • Jinboz with The Palace of Monarch (WPI)

Best Business Model – Runner-up

  • ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy

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Read the full press release on Gamasutra here.

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2018 MassDiGI Game Challenge winners! – 3/3/18

2018 MassDiGI Game Challenge winners!

Best Art

Fire Frame with Atlas Excel – winner (Pratt)

Jinboz with The Palace of Monarch – runner-up

Best Design

No winner

Best Technical

Dystrophic with Hexile – winner (Harvard)

Best Business Model

Grind Games with Fur – winner (Becker)

ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy – runner-up

Best Audio

Grind Games with Fur – winner (Becker)

Serious Category

Micropup with Keeper – winner (Champlain)

Dystrophic with Hexile – runner-up (Harvard)

Indie Category

Sunshine Committee with Garden – winner

ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy – runner-up

College Alpha Category

Psychoactive Entertainment with Project Boynton – winner (Becker)

Team RGB with Data Strain – runner-up (QCC)

College Beta Category

Grind Games with Fur – winner (Becker)

Jinboz with The Palace of Monarch (WPI)

People’s Choice

Micropup with Keeper – winner

Grand Prize

Grind Games with Fur – winner

 

Stay posted for more information.

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2018 MassDiGI Game Challenge finalists announced – 3/3/18

2018 MassDiGI Game Challenge – Finalists

Indies

  • Sunshine Committee with Garden
  • ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy
  • Zen Dragon with Neon Bullet
  • Weeping Witch Studios with Ice and Bone

Serious

  • Micropup (Champlain) with Keeper
  • Dystrophic (Harvard) with Hexile
  • Obliti (WPI)

College – Beta

  • Grind Games (Becker) with Fur
  • Starflight Studios (Becker) with Defenders of Atlantis
  • Jinboz (WPI) with The Palace of Monarch

College – Alpha

  • Psychoactive Entertainment (Becker) with Project Boynton
  • Team RGB (QCC) with Data Strain
  • Skerter Industries (Becker) with Exploding Cube

++++

Honorable Mentions

  • Ill Teteka (Becker)
  • Disco Drop (Becker)

Stay tuned for more updates!

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GAME LAUNCH: Batter up! Becker Derby hits the stores – 2/28/18

Batter up! Becker Derby hits the stores

Becker Derby

Baseball and softball fans can now take on Becker’s mascot, Hank the Hawk, and his tricky pitches in an attempt to swing their way to stardom in the newly launched video game, Becker Derby.  The mobile game features Hank as the pitcher challenging players in their quest to hit as many home runs as possible before striking out. The app, produced by Worcester, MA-based studio Maximum Crash which was founded by Becker alumnus Rejon Taylor-Foster ’17, is now live and free to download for Android and iOS users.

“We wanted to find a way to offer students and fans a true baseball and softball experience that could bring them closer to the teams,” said Matt Tittle, Becker’s Assistant Athletic Director for Communications.  “Now, instead of waiting for Spring, our fans can experience the excitement of Becker baseball and softball year-round.”

The full game experience pits players against Hank’s gravity bent pitches, crowds of SEEGull agents, and a dark dimensional force only known as the Void. With some advice from @regalSeagull194, players may stand a chance against the Void’s retro-dimensional universes filled with failed experiments and trapped invaders.

Becker Derby is a collaboration between Maximum Crash studios, the Becker College Athletics Department and the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) at Becker.

The Becker baseball team starts its season on Saturday, March 3rd at the New England Baseball Complex against Newbury College at 11:00 a.m.  Becker softball starts on March 11th against UMass Boston at 4:30 p.m.

For additional images and videos of Becker Derby, please click here.

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NVC opening – 2/1/18

MassDiGI New VEntures Center imageFor MassDiGI, not only did January usher in a new year, it ushered in a new era as our New Ventures Center (NVC) opened. As a part of Becker College’s impressive new $7.3 million Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the NVC will give us the opportunity to provide business assistance services to an even greater number of students and startups from campuses and communities across the region with the ultimate goal of seeing more Massachusetts-made games in the marketplace.

In addition, the NVC will serve as a home to select a Company-in-Residence and Faculty-in-Residence. To that extent, we’re very pleased to have Petricore Inc. joining us as our  inaugural Company-in-Residence along with Asst. Prof. Robert Biggert from Assumption College as our inaugural Faculty-in-Residence.

The Barrett Center is also home to Becker’s Yunus Social Business Centre, an AR/VR lab, an esports space, a lecture hall,  a digital gallery, studios, team rooms, faculty offices and MassDiGI’s administrative office.

Generous support for the Barrett Center as well as the NVC came from many foundations and individuals as well from grants provided by the US Dept. of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) and MassDevelopment.

Check out the coverage of the opening semester here: Worcester Telegram, Worcester Business Journal and Worcester News Tonight/NECN.

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Save these dates – 12/14/17

With the New Year just around the corner it’s time to share some important upcoming dates:

  • SIP application period opens 1/2/18 and closes 3/21/18
  • Game Challenge – 3/2/18 and 3/3/18 (competitor registration opens – 12/21/17)
  • Made In MA at GDC – 3/20/18 (RSVP opens 1/26/18)
  • SIP Decision Day – 3/30/18
  • Made In MA at PAX East – 4/5/18 (RSVP opens 2/8/18)
  • SIP Begins – 5/15/18

Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

 

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Grant gives MassDiGI New Ventures Center a boost – 10/26/17

On October 26, 2017, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded MassDiGI  a $35,000 grant toward the development of our New Ventures Center.

Alan Ritacco and Paul Cotnoir of Becker accept the award on behalf of MassDiGI.

The NVC will serve as an on-campus business assistance center for interactive media, game development, business and technology students from Becker and other higher education institutions across Massachusetts. Through active mentorship with game industry leaders and faculty experts, the NVC will bring students together and provide access to the educational programming, technical assistance, and business development support needed to learn, incubate, and launch products in the global digital marketplace.

The Collaborative Workspace Program awards, a MassDevelopment initiative, seek to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, while spurring job creation at the local level. This is the second award MassDiGI has received from the program.

Read more about the award in MassDevelopment’s press release here and in the Worcester Business Journal here, Patch.com here and Worcester Sun here.

*The original version of this post is located at becker.edu.

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