Monday, April 12, 2004

Big fun at RPI's Game Fest!

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

RPI logoGoing to events just kind of snowballs sometimes. I first noticed Kathleen Ruiz because her web page turned up in a list of university professors who were recommending Game Architecture and Design, the precursor to Rollings and Adams. Then I bumped into her at the Level Up conference in Utrecht, and she invited me to come visit Rensselaer Polytechnic. So in April I went to their Game Fest, an event held in honor of a new game program they're starting... and there, I got to meet Tim Stellmach (shown below), the designer of Thief, because we sat on a panel together.

I gave my lecture "Exploring the Fringes" (although for PR purposes it was renamed "Expanding the Boundaries"). This was followed by Katie Salen's lecture, which was topically similar to mine -- fortunately there wasn't much overlap, and she told us about some interesting stuff going on in machinima, among other things. After that there was a panel with me, Katie, and a couple of the guys from Vicarious Visions, a company formed by RPI grads. Afterwards we wandered around the student exhibition and looked at all the games they were working on. Some were essentially clones, but most of them were quite innovative.

The following day I gave a game design workshop with the help of Katherine Ruiz and Marc Destefano. It was huge, about 45 people, rivaling the one I did at Michigan State last year -- but that one drew people from all over the area, and this one was made up of RPI students and VV employees alone. Some fun ideas; the team that got the dream of being a cowboy actually started designing cow AI.

I really liked the people I met there, and I hope to be invited back someday.