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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When it comes to innovation, MassDiGI is a Game Changer – 10/20/17

Tim Loew, Monty Sharma and Nancy Crimmin with Game Changer award

In a world where innovation and disruption reign, MassDIGI is a key player. That was underscored today by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce when it presented MassDiGI and executive director Tim Loew with a Game Changer Award.

“MassDiGI has played a major role in the growth of the digital gaming sector in the region and continues to shape the economic landscape of Worcester and Central Massachusetts in a positive and significant way,” said Tim Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce president.  “The Chamber is pleased to recognize MassDiGI for their game changing contribution to the region.”

The award, presented during the Chamber’s annual Game Changers Business Conference and Expo in Worcester’s Mechanics Hall, recognizes the most innovative companies, colleges and start-ups that are transforming and supporting the region’s economy. This year’s theme was the innovation economy and start-ups.

MassDiGI’s Executive Director Tim Loew and Managing Director Monty Sharma were on hand to receive the award.

“We are really proud of the work we do with the many students that we engage with across institutions in the region, the start-ups that we work with, and the communities”, said Tim Loew, MassDiGI’s executive director. “We feel really lucky to have been able to do this in Worcester, and at Becker.”

Also present at this morning’s event was Becker president and MassDiGI advisory board chair Nancy P. Crimmin, Alan Ritacco, dean of the school Design and Technology, and students from MassDiGI’s Live Studio course.

Tim Mammen of IPG Photonics and Shahbaz Soofi of WooRides also received Game Changer awards.

Read more about the award in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette here.

*The original version of this post can be found on becker.edu.

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New England collegiate esports survey – 9/21/17

New England collegiate esports survey

By Tim Loew, executive director, MassDiGI

Over the past year we’ve fielded more and more inquiries about the current state of collegiate esports in Massachusetts and across New England. Though we have some limited information, we thought it’d be a good idea to put out a survey to gain a little better insight into esports on campuses in the region. A link to the survey can be found here (or pasted below).

Please feel free to share the survey with colleagues or friends as you see fit. General results will be aggregated and shared later in the year.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScVrvMh5TyI0TdOA-O7zmeEqKmrkwga2xNhnuJcnyK6DeMb2g/viewform.

 

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Conformity vs. experience in the game development process – 8/4/17

Conformity vs. experience in the game development process

By Abdelaziz Ben Yahia, WPI ’18, Fulbright

Game design is heavily dependent on players’ feedback. A team of game developers is pretty tied to their own ideas and creations. Often, developers won’t conform to the rest and will not miss a chance to debate if something doesn’t go along with their beliefs or way of thinking.

However, we will make edits if 1 in 3 testers don’t like our product, even though it does hurt to see your hard work not liked but everyone that tried it.

Now imagine if a tester with 5 + years of experience, gives you negative feedback that contradicts with all the information you collected from all the other players.

Well, what you do, is apply the tips and tricks of the experienced tester.

Playtesting Leap A Head

They are the one that created so many games, tested hundreds for other developers and faced tough challenges doing so. Their advice is trustworthy and worth the risk.

After going through all these steps, you feel that you are totally in a state of “cognitive dissonance” with inconsistent thoughts.

But you should rest assured, if you listen to Bill Gardner from The Deep End Games talk. You must remember “You are going to be wrong … and it’s okay!” The man is the creative director on Perception!

Writing guidelines for our next fellows of MassDigi’s Live Studio is a responsibility.

They will learn from our mistakes and pass on the legacy. Our team’s game Leap A Head is the fruit of 3 months of hard work and teamwork too! Every member contributed with their skills and excellent mindset and we believe the MassDigi’s next generation will make the product even better.

Ultimately, I would say that feedback gave us that confidence and feeling of having people saying Go ahead we got your back! it helped us aim all our effort in the right path, as I once heard a producer from Harmonix say “velocity doesn’t mean closure,” since then, every game or project proved it again .

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Making fun – 7/27/17

Making fun

By Ellen Chen, RIT ’18

“When you start the production process, you should be ready to throw everything away and start fresh,” Walt Yarbrough, SIP’s producer, told us as we we worked towards the end of pre-production sometime in early June. Over the first few weeks of SIP, we interns worked as quickly as we could to come up with the core designs for our games and create a working prototype. My team – Emmanuel Mallea and Tung Thanh Vu from Becker College, Dean Faulkner from LYIT (in Ireland), Jenny Sun from RISD, Emily Ramirez from MIT, Lisa Jeong from Berklee, and me – went through a very tense and stressful production. Our game, Little Grimm, is a cute and spooky take on Snake. However, it went through many iterations and design changes before we settled on its current iteration. Although we kept its core concept as a Snake game, many ideas were thrown out in the process, and it wasn’t easy as one might think.

One of the early prototypes of Little Grimm

Looking back, we have deviated greatly from our original ideas. Our game originally would’ve been a Snake game with a colorful twist. The snake would’ve had a multicolored body, and the player would be able to pass over a part of their tail if its color matches the head’s. We all thought it was a great idea and everyone made exciting concepts and prototypes, but none of us could really decide on what was more appealing. We had so many game mechanics flying around that it was hard not to add new ideas into the half-finished prototype. A few of them were almost hard to let go, even though they were impossible to implement and we didn’t have much time.

It wasn’t until we began playtesting that we realize the real issue: our game wasn’t fun. The feedback we received pointed out the flaws in the gameplay and the mechanics and how boring and confusing they respectively were to the playtesters. We were so caught up with our conflicting ideas that we’d ignored the importance of making our game fun. After Monty Sharma, SIP’s manager director, told us to stop adding more content and focus on what we had now, we got together to sort out everything. Using the feedback from playtesters and other interns, we threw out mechanics and ideas that were too confusing or vague or were sitting on the backburner for a long time. We discussed every issue that was holding us back from getting work done and how to resolve them. We then immediately focused on improving and changing what we didn’t threw out from the game. We were then finally able to produce a working prototype (just in time for production!).

Gameplay of Little Grimm

Once we were greenlit for production, we axed everything without difficulty and rebuilt the game in a much clearer direction. Once again, we ran into the same issue of falling in love with new mechanics, but this time we focused more on making fun instead of making content. We made changes to our current mechanics and improved gameplay based on feedback from more playtesting. We also held team meetings more frequently, making it easier to talk about which mechanic or idea to keep or cut out. As a result, we were able to work faster and more productively than we were in pre-production. With 2 weeks left, we’ve come a long way from where we started 2 months ago.

The entire project has been a stressful and bumpy ride, but there was much to get out of it. For instance, not every idea will make it into the game, and getting too attached to them or trying to cram them in at the last minute will cause more conflicts than progress. Teamwork is very important in the game design process, and conflicts of interests can erupt and break it apart if left unchecked. Furthermore, I can’t stress enough how very helpful playtesting can be; it helps give insight on what you’re doing wrong and what needs fixing and, most importantly, if the game is fun. Last but not least, be sure to have fun with your work! It’ll definitely help you and your team go a long way with game design.

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