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Cole and Moser lead trip to game development conference

IDM Students at Game Development Conference Students in the Interactive Design for Media program attended the nation's largest conference for pros in the gaming industry.

A group of WVU Reed College of Media students recently travelled to San Francisco for the Game Development Conference, the nation’s largest event for professionals in the game design industry.

The annual conference provides an opportunity for professionals, students and those interested in gaming-related careers to meet industry leaders, exchange ideas, and discuss the industry’s future.

Heather Cole, a teaching assistant professor in the College of Media, and Jeffrey Moser, an assistant professor in the College of Creative Arts, organized the trip for eight students in the Interactive Design for Media (IDM) program and two Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering students in the Computer Science program.

“The most valuable part for students is feeling a part of the professional community they are entering,” Cole said. “They get to see firsthand that game development and design are obtainable jobs that have a great, supportive community. There’s nothing more inspiring.”

Students attended lectures, panels and roundtable discussions on such topics as design, programming, business and marketing, production and team management, visual arts, game narrative, free-to-play, independent games, AR/VR, game audio, UX and game career development. They also had the opportunity to play video games and try product demos at a technology expo.

Brian Weers, an IDM student and the president of the WVU X-Reality Club, helped organize the trip, which was funded in part by the WVU Student Government Association, the College of Creative Arts and the College of Media.

“The best part of the conference was meeting a huge range of people from different walks of life,” Weers said. “I met professionals who work in Los Angeles on AAA games as well as fellow college students. Talking with professional game developers about stories, ideas and tips was just so incredible and invaluable.”

IDM student Catherine Cober used the conference as an opportunity to promote MonRiverGames, WVU’s game production studio. Cober’s experience with MonRiverGames was through her IDM capstone course, where students are required to pitch a game idea and create a rough prototype before designing and developing the game.

“Showcasing our game studio and networking with fellow game developers was my favorite part of the experience,” Cober said. “I gave out buttons for people to follow MonRiverGames on social media, and we wound up doubling our follower count, which was exciting.”

The IDM capstone course culminates with a public vote on the best game design, which is occurring now. Visit https://www.monrivergames.com/ to view and play game prototypes and cast your vote for best design, sound, writing and play by April 25. The winner will be announced on MonRiverGame’s social media channels on April 26. Follow them at @monrivergames on Facebook and Instagram.

Membership in the MonRiverGames studio is open to any WVU student, faculty or staff member passionate about game development. Email info@monrivergames.com or explore the studio’s website www.monrivergames.com for more information.