MassDiGI interns shine at open house

MassDiGI interns shine at open house

Published on: August 23, 2019


Interns from the MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program show their games to guests at an open house held at Becker College earlier this month.

Interns from the Summer Innovation Program show their games to guests during the open house.

Becker College President Nancy P. Crimmin, left, checks out a game at the Summer Innovation Program Open House, held earlier this month at Becker’s Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the Worcester Campus.

Becker College President Nancy P. Crimmin, left, checks out a game at the MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program Open House, held earlier this month at Becker’s Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the Worcester Campus.

Students from across the country and around the world spent their summer at Becker College, taking part in the annual Mass DiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP). The 12-week long internship culminated in an open house at Becker’s Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the Worcester Campus.

“The open house was a huge success,” said Tim Loew, executive director of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), which runs the program. “We loved inviting folks to check out the great games our interns have been working on all summer.”

This year, more than 250 students, representing 66 colleges and universities from around the world, vied for one of 25 SIP internship positions – making it one of the most competitive years ever.

Over the course of the summer, those 25 interns learned about the entire video game production process, from design to product launch.

“Over those 12 weeks of the program, with guidance from staff and industry mentors, the SIP19 teams are responsible for all the work necessary to prepare a game for a commercial launch,” Loew said. “Simply put, there is no internship program like it in the world.”

Earlier this month, the interns in SIP, which included students from 17 different colleges and universities, showed off the fruits of their labors and talked about what the program has meant to them.

Dana Hsiao, a graduate of Wellesley College who is currently pursuing a Master’s in Engineering and Computer Science at Cornell University, said she found the experience to be “very fulfilling.”

“Being able to create something that is now being released is incredible,” she said. “This project started from nothing and now the final product is App Store ready.”

Sebastian Schindler, a Becker College student concentrating in game programming, said he found the Summer Innovation Program to be “life-changing.”

“The experience has helped me get out of my comfort zone and see the game industry as a whole through a different lens,” he said.

Becker College student Gavin Camlin, who is also concentrating in game programming, was one of several who said they were impressed by the new skills they learned, and improved on, over the course of the summer.

“We were able to share knowledge that you may not know otherwise,” he said. “My coding style has greatly improved.”

“There are so many great things about this program, but having the ability to be on a team has taught me how to be a better programmer,” Schindler agreed. “By being around some stronger coders, I can now create high-quality code.”

Visitors to the August open house were invited to play several games made by SIP interns before they are launched later this year. They included: Bloom Blast, Roller Riot, Merge Critters Unite!, Save the Flame, and one special SIPX project built in collaboration with Dejobaan Games.

“SIPX was created three years ago as an extension to SIP, and it was designed to help students gain valuable internship opportunities on third party, sponsored projects,” Loew said. “This year, in addition to our main SIP games, our SIPX team also showed off their work on a prototype for a new Dejobaan Games title.”

This summer’s interns came from Becker College, Berklee College of Music, Brown University, Cornell University, Emerson College, Lesley University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology (Ireland), Maine College of Art, MIT, Mt. Holyoke College, Northeastern University, RPI, RISD, RIT, School of Visual Arts, Wellesley College, and WPI.

The interns noted that interacting with different students from so many colleges who had so many different majors — all focused on a common goal — proved to be an unexpected highlight.

“It was such an incredible experience,” Camlin said. “The amount of community that was fostered — I have never lived in such a close-knit community.”