“How to Find and Build a $100 Million Business” by Monty Sharma: January 22, 2023 – WPI Wintersession, Worcester, MA

There are likely a number of $100 million ideas around campuses just waiting to be uncovered. So, what do engineers and scientists need to know to have a huge impact and identify one? What do you need to understand about technology innovation in order to be successful? Identify the right kind of solution based on the state of technology and the structure of that sector. And, learn how to find the perfect customer to get things started.

Innovation Studio. 1-2p. Free and open to all. Please click here to register.

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“How to predict tech trends” by Monty Sharma: January 21, 2023 – WPI Wintersession, Worcester, MA

We live in a fast-paced world with new discoveries popping up in every field.  How do you develop a vision of what is coming next? How do you analyze new opportunities to determine if they are a game changer or a flash in the pan? In this workshop, you will learn a methodology to track and analyze what is happening in your field. By keeping your eye on this you can pick the best company to work for or see the chance to start a business.

Innovation Studio. 1-2p. Free and open to all. Please click here to register.

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Learning the ropes – 11/17/22

By Logan Cooper, NEIT ’22

Through RIDigi, I was given a chance to work with MassDigi in their studio program which has been a wonderful opportunity and an exceptional experience.

This studio, which is essentially an internship, is serving not only as a co-op for me at NEIT but also as a gateway from progressing from student life to work life in a more integrated way. From this I’ve come to learn both how personal workflow becomes when in an actual professional environment compared to school, the general structure of how a game project is organized, and new coding skills that I’ll be able to use for future projects.

Logan C.Though there were some bumpy spots early on for me, the program treats everyone with equal respect and fairness when working on various projects.  Once I got going, I joined a team – one of a few – to work on a mobile game called Cafe Cat in hope of adding new features and increasing player retention. Initially, this stunned me since I thought that everyone involved was going to be working on the same project. But, aftter joining the team we were given our specific roles for each of which we needed to both learn and perform over the course of the next twelve weeks.

I was assigned to the role of general programmer and more importantly to game dev analytics of which I only had a basic understanding at the time. Over the first week or so I spent most of my work hours learning there new programs to use and coding style, so I could perform at the same level as those who had originally worked on this project. The work environment being remote was also a change but a simple one at that since given we were able to create our own meeting times and additions for the project has personally allowed my group to flourish.

MassDigi and its producers understand that for people here they have personal, school, and other work lives outside of the internship and are accepting with open arms when something comes up. From my own group we have had a little bit of scheduling issues / personal issues which has resulting in people possibly missing meetings but being more self motivated than something like school work has allowed us for easy workarounds by rescheduling meetings or catching people up with the meeting notes we take each time after our Google meets.

The change from school to this work can be a little challenging early on requiring those participating to learn new programs or styles from existing methods they may already know but learning that these are the standard programs lets us learn once and use often for any project given to us by the industry thus preparing us for any work given. Our group and MassDigi as a whole has been using Dev-To-Dev for analytics for the game, Plastic for source control and group game development, and Ryver for communications with others in our work groups. Though something like Plastic is an extension to existing programs like Unity, learning these programs are both needed and beneficial.

Progress can be slow on development as people balance there lives but seeing the determination from my team members and MassDigi as a whole has lead to us already improving upon our Cafe Cat and pushing out changes to the public that has already seen a player increase of seventy people at the time of writing.

The skills I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, and the understanding of how an organization actually works in the game industry has really opened my eyes to the work I’ve produced. I would gladly recommend to all who have the ability to take the opportunity to apply for this studio program to both improve yourself as a game developer and as a team member.

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Making progress, moving forward – 11/9/22

By James Taubman, NEIT ’25

James TaubmanI consider myself fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work with MassDigi in their semester-based studio program. Through the help of RIDigi and the dedicated faculty at New England Institute of Technology I was given a path to further my journey to a career in the video game industry. The team from MassDigi is quite informed, offering a well-planned out remote program. This studio program, or internship really, has been challenging while also helping me progress and develop important career-related skills. Working remotely brings on its own obstacles, while introducing contemporary industry tools. This also helps create the ability to connect with other students of varying skills.

The program has a specific approach that feels as if I am working at a professional video game studio. Our team is tasked with helping build a mobile app/game for Android and Apple users. We look at one of MassDigi’s recently released games and using analytics, we work to improve on parts that need fine tuning. To start, we spent time introducing ourselves to and getting to know our team members. Following that is the onboarding process which makes sure everyone is ready to go before moving forward. Afterwards, the teams start breaking down goals and how they will be resolved. At this stage in the program, which is a couple weeks in, we are starting to be assigned tickets/tasks that will need to be resolved before new ones come in.

This program has been challenging so far, without being overly exhausting. They keep in mind students have outside schedules and school assignments, but make sure to have it use a good part of your free time. I am working mostly with the development team while also helping with sound effects, since I have background in audio.  For development, we are first looking at how to improve the code scripts for analytics to make sure it is reporting accurate information. The analytics will help us figure out where balancing and fine tuning needs to occur to facilitate a more engaging gameplay experience. After that we are fine tuning smaller pieces like collision issues, health damage, and new obstacles.

The tools we are using are industry standard and are set up in a way where students must figure out certain aspects of it on our own. We are using DevToDev for our analytics information but must set up a lot of how it functions ourselves. We are also using Ryver for communication, as this position is remote, and Ryver is just like any other form of remote business-oriented communication tool. We are also using Miro for tickets and task building, where the team will reference it for any important information. Since this is a more independent style of video game creation the main engine we are using is Unity, with the IDE and Modeling software being up to the individual student.

This program has also provided a great space for networking. As we are communicating with students of all different experiences, skill levels and schools. Most of the students on my team are from different colleges in the New England area. All the students are amazing at either art, coding, or music. They are all open to working together and creating easy communication with each other. This also opens the door for a lot of future opportunities, as the skills I am learning here apply to many jobs within the game industry, as well as the tech industry more broadly.

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SIPBLOG: There and back – 8/15/22

Hello, it’s Brendan Horack again

SIP22SIP22 ended 10 days ago and I have had some time to process all  the fantastic and chaotic events of the past few months. I had the privilege of taking part in this program with a unique perspective. It was amazing to be able to watch the teams work, learn, and see the ideas they had grow and change. That being said, I also saw the teams make mistakes and work through frustration. Fortunately, we were mostly able to stave off Covid-related issues.

The cliché is that every year SIP games get better. It’s true. No disrespect to the teams of past years. Every game that comes out of this program is stellar, but even this year’s teams will have to learn to understand that next year will probably be even just a little better. During the ideation phase, I sat in with every team at different points, and for the most part, I could tell which ideas they were really passionate about very early. They would continue to come up with other concepts, but there was just something missing. One team, not going to point fingers here, briefly ran with an idea that ultimately was not what I thought they would, and they ended up changing concepts and it worked out really well for them. 

Farewell lunchSeeing so many of my coworkers break out of their shells and grow in a social manner was one of my favorite things to watch this summer. I have a lot of fun networking and talking to new people with new and different perspectives and ideas in this industry. I mean, I’m 22 years old and still in college. I can learn something from anyone I meet. We had so many great opportunities for everyone in our program to meet and learn from SIP alumni, industry professionals and veterans, and some folks that fall into both categories. Our event with Modulate at WPI Seaport was probably the best networking event MassDigi has done for SIP. 

Finally, critiques. Wrangling scope is something that even professionals deal with. Some teams ran into issues wrangling their scope, but I believe this is something that can only be taught through experience. Many professionals also deal with crunch. Crunch is not inevitable but is typically a symptom of scope creep among other issues. I can’t blame them. Everyone had big dreams for their games and 11 weeks to make them come true. These teams did amazing work and made some really important mistakes that they learned a lot from. 

Personally, I had the pleasure of speaking with and scheduling a lot of guests and events. There were so many great people and I wish I could thank them all here. However, there were also hiccups and struggles with communication along the way. But I learned a lot about communicating and planning events. In fact, I almost messed up the timing with our friends at Elm Park Community School. But with some extra effort, we made it work. All my mistakes helped me grow when it comes to managing under stress (which I needed). Throughout the summer I even began to work on documentation to make scheduling speakers a simpler process regarding those we feel are essential to bring in. I also had the privilege of connecting with some higher up marketing professionals that help me personally when it came to planning the campaigns for the fall. I have a LOT of plans. I have ideas for where, globally speaking, to market the games, and ideas to make our 2023 PAX East booth more engaging. You’ll just have to keep an eye on us to see what happens. 

B. HorackI can’t wait to see how well these games do with some advertising support behind them. To everyone I worked with this summer: Thank you so much for making this experience great. Programmers, artists, designers, composer. Everyone. You are all so talented. 

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