If there's one world to best summarize my past year, it would be 'casino'. From stepping into the first casino in Pittsburgh, to getting familiar and studying with all the major casinos in Las Vegas. From knowing nothing about the gambling industry, to winning the student award of Global Gaming Expo. Casinos have been the most frequent element appears in my past year, and impact me profoundly.
It all started back in January, me and 6 of my teammates got together to pitch a student project with new casino experience. After the first all-hands meeting, we went to the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. That was the first casino I went to in the US.
Soon, in February, the very same team has got approved to go to Las Vegas to study casino player behavior and preference. And what an eye opener! The sin city has leave me very deep impression with it's prosperity of gambling.
During the spring break, I went to Miami, FL and stepped on a cruise. It was an amazing experience! The cruise sailed 3 days in the Caribbean sea. The on-boat casino is not big but definitely added value to the trip(Tip: Coin dozer pays back when the wave is huge on sea and the floor is rolling).
Late in May, I have visited WMS Gaming in Chicago again, to present our semester-long project, and got my summer internship at WMS Gaming too! So I drove from Pittsburgh to Chicago and spent a great summer there. Check out the intern promo video below! I have a small hand in this.
The journey has not ended yet. During the summer I have heard G2E(http://www.globalgamingexpo.com/) and decided to try out by applying for their student development program. And it turns out I got selected to go to the conference for free! So I will be going to Vegas again this month and continue my casino adventure.
I went to GDC last week in San Francisco and it was great. I had a really packed week and gained so much information, network connection and inspiration.
The first two days were spent at AI summit. It amazes me that how AI systems are so embedded into every aspects of production pipeline like animation and design. On Wednesday I have spent a lot of time on the expo, and went to several talks about rendering tectonics. Thursday and Friday mornings I went to the talk presented by IO interactive about hitman AIs, and wraped up my week with a nice meal in Chinatown.
1. Go to more parties. Apparently GDC parties is a big thing of the GDC. Should have done more research on getting party invitations.
2. Round table is a really a good place to sit down and talk to professionals and to network. Definitely attend round tables more next year.
3. Putting all business cards in to raffles is pure stupid, especially when you have only carried 10 for the entire conference.
Going to the conference has already started to pay me off. I have made several new connections on LinkedIn. Also, inspired by Remi Lacoste's talk on Friday about creating an engaging camera experience, I have implemented a camera system in Unity to provide some of the features mentioned in the talk, including camera not colliding with the wall, pitch camera up and down according to the terrain, and took it to the 'Innovation with Impact' exhibition on CMU's graduate student appreciation week.
During the first two weeks of year of 2013, I went on the epic West Coast Trip with other 80 students from ETC. We've spent one week each in Los Angeles and San Francisco, visiting game studios, film companies, theme parks and having dinner with ETC alums.
I have visited 12 companies and 2 theme parks, including: RGH Themed Entertainment, Blizzard Entertainment, Red 5 Studios, the Walt Disney Company, Zynga, EA, Google, Silver Tree Media, IMVU, Universal Studios, etc. It was great to know what do they focus, how do they layout their office and what their company cultures are.
We get to talked to a lot of industry professionals, engineers and artists during these two weeks. Especially, on alumni dinner, alumnus introduced their job on a daily basis, others answered questions about how they got their job. It was a great place to network with people and having a lot of fun.
On Monday, December 10, team STEMPOWER had it's final presentation in the ETC. It's been a very busy semester. We have went through design, implementation, a lot of play-tests and a lot of iterations. Images below are taken when we play-test our game "Sleepy Busy Party" at Boyce Middle School in Upper St Clair, PA.
The project will be taken over by the 4th DARPA ENGAGE team at the ETC in coming Spring semester. Human-Computer Interaction Institute(HCII) will also follow up and provide support on online data collection and assessment.
SIGGRAPH took place in Los Angeles, California this week. Thanks for my department's sponsorship and the luckily winning GSA/Provost Conference Funds, I could attend my first SIGGRAPH.
During the five days, I have taken courses on OpenGL proramming, which highlighted the features of the new released 4.3 version. I have also taken a workshop on VFX for games, gives me hands-on experience on how to implement a prebaked destruction animation in CryEngine. The computer animation festival on tuesday night was also a feast for eyes.
On the exhibition, companies showed all kinds of new technologies including 3D printers/scaners, mo-cap systems, HMDs, and new tools for VFX. Most of them also provide onsite traning and demostration of their new products.
By the end of last mounth, I took the chance to see the 10th china digital entertainment expo, aka ChinaJoy, in Shanghai. This 4-day event has drawn great attention among players in China and globe.
After the exhibition, I also joined the networking party held at Shanghai art museum by IGDA local chaper. On the party, I associated with developers from various countries in asia.
During the Memorial Day weekend， I took a short trip to Washington, D.C. The city impressed me with her peace and beauty. Neat streets and grand buildings there are just wonderful. Museums with rich history are also a great feast.
In Smithsonian American Art Museum, exhibition “The Art of Video Games” explores the evolution of video games in the last 40 years. Sitting on the bench in hall, I felt like I have witnessed every milestone of video games.
On the wall, there's Jesse's words： Technology is a way to make new things possible.