The Alumni Days 2010

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The Alumni Days is such a great tradition at GAME. At the end of the winter semester we invite former students and industry contacts to share insights and inspiration with us. This year saw two days of events.

Some of our invited alumni provided talks on topics of their expertise such as “effective tweaking of gameplay variables” and detailing the role of an art director. But then they all ganged up and arranged a panel discussion – talking about life in the Swedish game industry!

Leo Sandberg talked about his business and how he made himself a professional illustrator. Our “permanent guest lecturer” Carsten Orthband shared his wealth of experience; fifteen years as an international white label developer and from creating and running two successful studios. Bonnie Ruberg flew all the way from the University of California at Berkely, to enlighten us further on the topic of (sexual) representation in games.

She had a great lecture custom made for us, followed by an insanely insightful Q&A with our students. She followed it all up with a workshop where student teams produced game concepts and -designs on order, requiring attention to issues of representation in narrative, character design, mechanics, marketing, public relations and much more. Superb!

Our local incubator Science Park Gotland helped us complete the friday with their evening gathering exploring modern collaborative company structures. All in all it has been a great couple of days and we’d like to thank all our alumni, friends and guest lectures for taking their time and graciously helping out!

Invited alumni for 2010:
Staffan Persson (Avalanche, Lionhead, Avalanche)
Niklas Norin (Game Design, Avalanche),
Mats Andersson (Game Design, Avalanche),
Tobias Lundmark (Quality Assurance, Starbreeze),
Johannes Wadin (Level Design, Avalanche, Lionhead, Tapeduck)
David Hammarström (Art Director, B-Reel)
Mikael Karlsson (Programmerare, IP Solutions)

Alumni Days 2010

All details after the jump.

Thursday 2010-12-09

09:30 E22:
Commercialize your projects!Johan Zillén (Science Park Gotland)
Use your time in school to develop as an entrepreneur! Johan explains what the SPG Incubator can do for you and presents some of the current GAME-projects being housed and developed there.

We will be handing out tickets for the Christmas Party here. Don’t forget to sign up your significant other!

10:00 E22:
Warstories from the industryCarsten Orthbandt (Pixeltamer)
Carsten Orthbandt talks about founding and running Pixeltamer. Expect lots of war stories from our German supreme-developer, from his fifteen years in the international game industry.

11:00 E22:
About The ArtistLeo Sandberg (Fabpics)
Leo has made a living as a freelance illustrator for more than 20 years. This is an opportunity for the curious to see Leo Sandberg present himself and his freelance business Fabpics.

13:00 E22:
Re-Doing Sex and Gender in Games (Lecture)Bonnie Ruberg (sex- & game journalist)
Bonnie has written for Gamsutra, Wired, Joystiq, Terra Nova, The Village Voice, The Economis, Forbes and many, many more. Her lecture is an introduction to our medium’s poor understanding of gender, sex and sexuality. Expect lots of juicy examples. 🙂

15:00 B25-27
Re-Doing Sex and Gender in Games (Workshop)Bonnie Ruberg
Following the lecture identifying problematics, Bonnie will have student work in teams to come up with their own content: character design, storylines that include sexuality, sex mechanics.

Note: This workshop follows her lecture, so the start is +-45 minutes! Be there early if you’re not attending the lecture.

Friday 2010-12-10:

10:00 B51
Alumni Panel (GAME Alumni)
All invited alumni sit down to answer and discuss questions from the students. What did you do after graduation? How do I get your job? What’s a work day like for you? Open discussion, questions and answers.
Moderator: Johannes Wadin

Attending alumni:
Micke Karlsson (Developer, IP Solutions)
Staffan Persson (Level Designer; Avalanche, Lionhead)
Niklas Norin (Game Designer; Avalanche),
Mats Andersson (Game Designer; Avalanche),
Tobias Lundmark (Quality Assurance; Starbreeze),
Johannes Wadin (Level Designer; Avalanche, Lionhead, Tapeduck)
David Hammarström (Art Director, B-Reel)

13:00 E22
Practical Profiling & PerformanceMicke Karlsson (Developer, IP Solutions)
Micke Karlsson is a programmer and project lead at the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration. He’ll walk you through practical profiling and performance through cache optimizations and introduce the concepts of datadriven programming. You’ll need to install CodeAnalyst to participate in this lecture.

Note: Due to scheduling conflicts Micke had to cancel his lecture. You can still meet him at the Christmas party this evening though.

13:00 B51
The role of an Art DirectorDavid Hammarström (Art Director, B-Reel)
David has been an Art Director at B-Reel for more than five years and is responsible for a lot of their interactive productions. He’ll explain what an Art Director really does.

14:00 E22
Analysing GamesTobias Lundmark (Quality Assurance, Starbreeze)
Tobias shares his immense experience on how seemingly insignificant parameters can have very concrete effects on the gaming experience: camera controls, input latency, jump durations and lot more. Thoroughly researched and brimming with facts for designers and developers alike.

15:00 Strandgatan 1
The Networked Business Science Park Gotland
Two lectures and three speakers over at Science Park Gotland. This is about modern company values and how to run a business in a flexible way, where you band together for specific projects and short term needs. We recommend that you register on (“Web & IT bar Gotland”) and participate. You’ll get a chance to visit the Science Park’s locales and will make it back to the Christmas Party with time to spare.

19:00 GAME Motion Capture Studio
Christmas Party for GAME students, staff and alumni!
Bring currency and don’t forget your ticket!

Steven Ilous back for week-long CGA workshop!

Steven Ilous is back again to give our new generation of Computer Graphics & Animation students a character building week chock-full of production, labor and love!

If you haven’t clicked through to his site yet, here’s a rundown: Steven did special effects for the entire Matrix-trilogy, have worked with Dreamworks, was a senior animator for The Polar Express and won the 2009 MTV Breakthrough Video of the Year. Artwork, visual development, photography, video games, visual effects, motion capture, performance capture and directing – there is nothing this man doesn’t do. And do well. (pssst. turn up your speakers!)

Ernest Adams: The Secret of Eternal (Product) Life

As publishers are increasingly reluctant to take risks on new themes or genres, it has become necessary to build “franchises” – product lines that will last for several years. This lecture looks at how two franchises, Madden NFL Football and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, have managed to achieve their extraordinary market longevity, with examples from other products as well. I also talk about mythic themes and moral ambiguity as the hallmarks of great entertainment, and how we as developers should perceive our customers if we want to make products that last.

Prof. Ernest Adams has been in the game industry since 1989 and currently works as a free lance game designer, writer and teacher. He’s written four books in total and he has developed online, computer, and console games for everything from the IBM 360 mainframe to the Nintendo Wii. Ernest is also the founder and first chairman of the International Game Developers’ Association.

This talk is open- and highly recommended to all game students!

Time: Wednesday, December 1st, 13:00 – 17:00
Location: E22