Becker College students head to PAX East
Members of the college’s nationally-ranked video game design program join young developers for weekend exhibition
Becker College is PAXing a punch with its booth (#140) at PAX East this weekend, April 11-13, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Since 2010, talented young entrepreneurs have annually convened at PAX East to demonstrate the future of the gaming industry. Among those in attendance are a group of students and faculty from Becker’s nationally ranked video game design program who are on hand to show off their work. At the Becker booth, you can:
- Play Bümbardia, a mobile infinity run, reverse tower defense game developed by brothers Jonathan and Andrew Niemi (’14). The Niemis have been making video games since before starting their undergraduate studies at Becker College four years ago and are co-founders and employees of 80HD Games (Jonathan is the programmer and Andrew is the artist).
- Play A.E.G.I.S., a tabletop game where players build teams of five robots to competitively combat against each other. A.E.G.I.S was developed by Becker alumnus Breeze Grigas (’13) while he was a student.
- Watch Becker student Will Parker (’14) design characters in ZBrush on the Cintiq. These sculptures and character designs can be used in video games or film. Will was one of the top three artists in the running for “Boston Visual Artist of the Year” in 2013.
- Try Oculus Rift with Becker student Scott Tongue (’14), who will be demonstrating a serious game he helped create while at Becker, which allows individuals to experience a 3D virtual art museum tour using the new Oculus Rift virtual reality goggle system.
Tim Loew, executive director, and Monty Sharma, managing director, of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), and Dr. Paul Cotnoir, department chair of Becker’s game design program, were both invited to sit on panels at PAX East 2014.
Loew’s panel, “Game Devs: The Next Generation,” took place on Friday morning. Five college students (including Becker’s Mike Flood ‘14), all of whom were challenged to learn the art of making a game in eleven weeks at MassDiGI’s Summer Innovation Program, we on hand to discuss the process. The panelists described how they met their goals, overcame challenges and technical bugs, as well as how they worked as a team during the process. Monty Sharma, managing director of MassDiGI, was also part of the panel presentation.
Dr. Cotnoir will participate in a panel discussion focused on employment in the game design field on Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. The session, titled “What to do with your Game Design Degree: Employment at Social/Mobile/Indie studios,” will feature top academics and social/mobile/indie developers who will reflect on the virtues and difficulties of preparing students for a career in game design. In a market flooded with graduates holding game design degrees, these professors will advise on how to stand out in the crowd and all the do’s and don’ts beyond basic resume and portfolio tips.
Becker’s undergraduate video game design program has been top-ranked by The Princeton Review for five consecutive years, and is one of only two institutions in New England, and one of five nationally, to maintain this longstanding distinction. In 2011, Becker was designated by state officials as host of MassDiGI, a statewide center for academic cooperation, economic development, and job creation in the Massachusetts digital games cluster.