MassDiGI Games Challenge 2016

 

 

Some students write papers, and some students start companies. 5CollDH Undergraduate Fellow and Hampshire College Student Isaiah Mann’s project, GlowLime Games, is an initiative to promote game development in the Five Colleges through a non-profit development studio run by students, with student conceived projects, and showcasing the interdisciplinary skills of student game developers. This is Isaiah’s second post of three. You can click though to read the first and third installments, or read an interview with Isaiah by Jeffrey Moro.


 

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On February 26th and 27th, GlowLime Games attended The MassDiGI Games Challenge. MassDiGI (The Massachusetts Digital InstItute of Games) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting game development and entrepreneurship in New England. The Games Challenge is an annual pitch event they host focused on video games.

GlowLime Games, sponsored by the Hampshire College Tech Entrepreneurship Fund brought 13 student developers, including myself as Producer of Lex The Wizard and Executive Director of GlowLime. In total, or developers represented four different original games in the prototype phase of development. These games only entered pre-production a month before they pitched for Games Challenge at Microsoft’s NERD (New England Research and Development) Center to a panel of experienced industry developers.

Games Challenge was a very informative experience. We met a wealth of industry professionals, heard them speak about their experiences in the games industry, and got detailed feedback on the games. The Games Challenge prioritized monetization. It framed games as a business and design as a means to drive profit. It also demonstrated the variety of ways a game can be used to generate revenue. We saw games using premium models, subscription models, and ad-based models. A key component of successful pitches was a thorough business model.

Pitching our games allowed us to think critically about their progress and direction. It lead us to think of how we should move forward and what production choices brought the game to its current state. The feedback was often hard to hear, but this was our first instance of showcasing the games in the wild. Getting over that initial lurch of showing creative projects to an audience consistently makes them easier to share. It was also very inspirational seeing the progress and innovation of other games. Too often game development occurs in a bubble, it’s an invaluable experience to break out and see we’re part of a grander community.

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Isaiah is a Division II student at Hampshire College and a 2015-2016 Undergraduate Fellow with 5CollDH. http://isaiahmann.com/