Grad School (USC Games Program)

As of two months ago, I started attending the Viterbi School of Engineering at University of Southern California to get my M.S. for Computer Science (Game Development). Although it has only been a couple of months, I can already tell that this was the right decision.

For one, most of the professors are incredibly knowledgeable in game development. For example, my professor for Game Engine Development is currently a graphics engineer for Naughty Dog and has worked on titles such as The Last of Us Remaster and Uncharted 4. For the first class, he actually showed us some of the things that he personally implemented into the game, which was awesome. Furthermore, the TA for that class currently works at Treyarch. In the M.F.A. program, Richard Lemarchand teaches game design using the vast knowledge he accumulated as lead/co-lead designer on the first three Uncharted games and the rest of his extensive background in the field. Needless to say, the program is not short on talented professors.

Second, the program has you solve relevant issues in the industry without pulling punches. For example, instead of simplifying to 2D math and physics the Game Engine course has you working with a full 3D engine that you are expected to modify. In the graphics course, you learn about even the lowest level components such as how pixels are drawn while coloring in triangles. Thanks to the extensive depth of these courses, I feel as though I am far more prepared for job searching and interviews.

Overall, I have to say USC has been the right choice for me and I am extremely excited to get to continue to be a part of this community.

E3 Review

E3 was an incredible experience. Our booth had nonstop attention from both the media and fans. We finally also had our first two people beat the game! To celebrate we gave out some of Gonzalo’s artwork for the project.

However, as incredible as E3 was I did have some reservations. For one it was almost too busy, neither Gonzalo nor I ever really had the chance to leave the booth and explore the conference ourselves. This meant that we never had the opportunity to network with other developers or try out any of the demos. My only other second reservation was the inclusion of general fans this year; while it’s great to show off to fans there are already plenty of other conventions, such as PAX, which were made for that. It made us more swamped and distracted than we would have been otherwise.

For anyone else planning to go to the conference I have a few strong suggestions. First of all be sure to have any networking materials, such as business cards or your portfolio, prepared well ahead of time; it is incredibly time consuming and expensive to get them day of. Second, be sure to bring enough members of your team to the conference so that you can rotate out. This will keep people from getting too burned out and will also give you all time to actually enjoy the conference. Finally, have an elevator pitch prepared for your game; it makes getting people’s attention and interviews much easier.

Aside from my few complaints, it was an amazing experience that was well worth the flight from Japan.

Borders has been invited to E3!

Exceedingly exciting news! A little under a year after creating Borders, a game that has been reviewed by the Huffington Post, Washington Post, Univision, Telemundo, and many others, it has been invited to E3!!

For my those who have never heard of E3, it is arguably the most premier game expo in the world. I’ll be presenting Borders to the world alongside the biggest names in the industry.

I couldn’t be happier with my team; it’s been a really incredible journey. I can’t wait to work with them on more projects in the future! For now though, we’re going to tear it up at E3!

But unfortunately, funds are currently painfully tight and as such any help in getting myself to E3 would be greatly appreciated! If you’d like to help spread Border’s message and jump-start my career please check out my GoFundMe page:
My GoFundMe Page

First Time at ECGC

A couple of weeks ago I went to the East Coast Game Conference (ECGC) for the first time. Unlike my first developer-centric conference last year, IndieCade East, I was prepared. I had brought my business cards, résumés, and even a suit just in case.

The conference was an incredibly positive experience. I found that unlike some conventions, which often feel too busy to get to know other developers, ECGC was more relaxed. Even the developers from AAA studios, such as Insomniac Games and Epic Games, were incredibly accessible.

There were networking events after each day of the conference. They were quite successful as the free drinks drew many attendees. My only major complain is that the events officially sponsored by ECGC were so loud that it often hampered conversation. The post-conference Unreal meetup provided the quiet and friendly environment that I had hoped would be present at the other two events. Even so, I managed to meet plenty of people and make friends.

The panels offered were very insightful, well organized, and ran smoothly. The speakers were clearly comfortable in their field and had a lot of useful advice to offer. All around I would say they were well worth the time. The speakers were even gracious enough to stick around after their presentation to answer additional questions and for networking.

Overall, the conference was an incredibly positive experience. I am happy that I drove the 8-9 hours to get there.

Borders NowThis Article

Borders was recently featured by NowThis News! The video news article was created from an interview with the game’s artist Gonzalo Alvarez. During the interview, he discusses the inspiration for the game and the hardships faced by those attempting to cross the border.

The last time I checked the article was seen by ~300,000 people and had ~2,500 likes.

The full article can be seen on Facebook here:

Borders Mobile Port

Borders has officially been ported to mobile! Surprisingly it only took one evening! It is currently available on the Google Play Store for Android. We may release it on iOS if the response on Android is positive enough!

Get the game here!

Anyone that buys the paid-for version will receive special bonus content!

Proceeds go towards the traveling art installation found here.

PAX East Mama Hawk Showcase

This year was my first year attending PAX East as an exhibitor. I have to say the experience was incredible. Getting to meet so many other talented developers was simply incredible. On top of that, I got to wear a fun getup. While there, I helped Computerlunch, the company I’ve been working for as a developer for the last few months, to advertise their upcoming game Mama Hawk. It is best described as a game about motherly love and killing animals. It is set for release on Mother’s Day 2017 and is slated to feature a full mission system, online leaderboard, and arcade mode.

Check it out here