A quick news update to let you know I will be speaking at Westwood College Anaheim campus on Saturday, July 11th, on the subject of "becoming a success in the games industry."
I will also be judging the Westwood College Annual 2D Game Development Competition. This is the third year that the competition has been held, and unlike previous years, it has now expanded to allow entries from students attending any of the Westwood campuses, anywhere in the US. Eventually, the two main movers and shakers that organise the game competition want to open it up to everyone, students of Westwood and other institutions too, but that takes time and coordination so keep an eye open for further developments and announcements in that area.
The competition is always fun to judge and each year the individual game submissions and the professionalism of the student teams just keeps getting better, raising the bar for the entries coming the year after.
With industry luminaries such as David Perry, Voldi Way and John Say also doing the judging and offering advice, I believe that the competition offers students a real opportunity to show off what they can do. I know that a number of the previous year’s students have been hired based on the strength of their work shown in this competition.
I will record my presentation, via SenseCam of course and upload it to this website once I have time to edit the audio and transcribe it.
The games being entered this year, which are visually stunning for student projects, given in no particular order, are:
- Produce Panic!
- Catch a Wav
- Wacky Workout
- Destination Earth
- You Call Yourself a Superhero?
- Spit Wad Assault
I think there are some very strong entries for the competition this year, with significant improvements in the use of the technology, graphics standards and game play.
The great aspect of the competition is that it is not static, Glennon Neubauer and Miguel Aranda of Westwood are intent on evolving the competition based on feedback from the students, the judges and other members of the development community. The competition this year is set up differently to last year’s, which was different to the year previous to that. This evolution of the rules and criteria and how the industry works with the students almost ensures that each year the games are going to get better. I would not be surprised that, in a few years, the entries begin to approach commercial quality casual releases.
Bear in mind, the students are doing all of the work themselves, with only guidance and feedback from staff of Westwood and any industry people acting as mentors to the teams. I think it is telling that the students are able to cohesively organise themselves sufficiently into producing these games at all. Having been involved with a few student projects in my time, I know what a nightmare it is to get people agreeable and motivated enough to even show up to a team meeting, let alone produce any usable work by any sort of deadline.