Archive for the ‘Elective Class’ Category

Stone Librande’s Game Design Class

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 posted by carl


Stone Librande ( is teaching his Game Design class for us again this semester. Six of our current students are taking the class as an elective, and three of our alums are spending their Saturdays with the group, too. The class is half lecture and learning, and half making and playing.

This photo was taken after the first class where everyone worked together to create a game played in rolling chairs around a conference room table. The final rules are on the white board after having been written, tested, changed and rewritten many times. Lots of fun and a bit tired from all the rolling.

Skype Meeting with Blue Sky Studios

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 posted by momojiao


Blue Sky Studios is an American computer animation film studio based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Founded in 1987 by the visual effects team behind Tron, it has been owned by 20th Century Fox since 1997. Using its in-house rendering software, the studio had worked on visual effects for commercials and films, before releasing in 2002 its first animated film, Ice Age, and completely dedicated to producing animated films. The studio has produced nine animated films, with Ice Ageand Rio being its most successful franchises.

We had a chance to have a skype  meeting with Blue Sky folks which is really great. There were three people who attended the meeting with us.They are Deb Stone,Michael Reed and Adam Burr.

Deb Stone,worked  in feature animation as a senior recruiter for Blue Sky Studios.Michael Reed is a Senior Research Associate at Blue Sky Animation Studios, where he works on geometric issues in modeling and rendering.Adam Burr is also a Senior Research Associate at Blue Sky Animation Studios, he he works in production as an effects and rigging artist.

We were really excited to get a chance to talk with them and ask questions. Producers,technical artist,modeler,animator,programmer and concept artist in ETC all attended this meeting.We asked a lot of questions about different roles in animation studios. They were really kind and willing to answer any questions we asked, all the students got the useful and inspiring answers from them. This meeting really helped a lot for us to know more about feature animation studios and their requirements.

Guest Speaker – Alex Kowalski

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 posted by rcano



Alex Kowalski, a game and UI designer at Electronic Arts was nice enough to stop by and spin us a tale of his experience working at EA, in particular The Sims 4. Alex is also an ETC alumnus and began by telling us how when he first started out at the ETC he didn’t know what he wanted to do; he just knew he wanted to be a game designer.

He thought it would be wise to first tell us what his job as a game designer entails. His main duties involve writing design docs, providing feature support, hooking and tuning, and actually playing the game. Providing feature support encompasses at least half his day. This process involves going over the design document with those involved line by line. During this time others in the room will try to poke holes in his design and talk about execution. In the end it creates a stronger design. Hooking and tuning is actually putting content in the game and balancing it out with the rest of the content. Finally playing the game to make sure the entire game flows correctly.

The other portion of his job is UI Design. His duties for UI design are wire framing, providing feature support, and again, playing the game.  Wire framing is creating the layout and flow of the UI buttons on the screen. He provides feature support by constantly talking to those involved in the execution of the UI and making sure he has accounted for any edge cases. Again, playing the game is important to make sure the UI is functional and has been executed correctly.

Alex finished off his presentation by answering question from the class. These questions ranged from what skills are needed as a designer to the difference between play testing in EA and in smaller groups. The class genuinely enjoyed his presentation and was glad to have him visit.

Visiting Crystal Dynamics

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 posted by dorothy

On November 7th, ETC-SV students visited Crystal Dynamics, which is a video game developer founded in 1992. Crystal Dynamic has grown rapidly and become the center of technology development for publisher Square Enix.


Crystal Dynamics is famous for Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain and Gex. The project they are working on currently is Tomb Raider, which explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor.


We were hosted by Lindsey McQueeney & HR Team. After a brief introduction, five of Crystal Dynamic’s employees gave us great lectures about their job and how they got the job. They were Phil Therien(Lead Combat Designer), Josh Bapst(Lead Environment Artist), Matt Gaston(Lead Player Programmer), John Stafford(Senior Narrative Designer) and Mike Oliver(Technical Art Director). All of the speakers provide us with useful information. Phil Therien’s story was fascinating, because lead combat designer position was new to us. Phil told us that he really wanted to work in game industry when he was in film industry. He applied a lot positions and tried to convince game companies that his experience in film company is valuable to game development. He encouraged us to follow our passion and choose the job we really like. Josh gave artists some suggestions about portfolio. He mentioned that small environment assets are as important as a whole environment in portfolio. Matt talked about the differences between game companies and IT companies for programmers. John explained how and why Lara’s characteristics changed with age. Mike talked about how technical artists work in Crystal Dynamics and emphasized the company is always open to good technical artists.

crystal dynamics

Crystal Dynamics also provided us with a lot gifts. Some of us were able to get free video game and concept art book by winning a raffle, which is pretty fun!

Crystal Dynamics is hiring! Job description link is below:

Visiting KABAM~!

Friday, October 11th, 2013 posted by Sangyun Han

Oct 11th, 2013. ETC-SV students visited Kabam, a fast growing social mobile gaming and interactive entertainment company, founded in 2006 in San Francisco. Klee and Jill hosted our visit today. We met CMU alumnae (Jeffrey, Romain, Vera and Xing) who are currently working at Kabam after they interned previously. We got Q/A sessions after Mr. Koh’s presentation as a brief introduction about Kabam’s history and its business. In addition, we had a wonderful free lunch which their employees are enjoying everyday in the great work environment. This in-person visit to Kabam’s office provided us with great insight into the workings of a gaming company and what is going on currently in the gaming industry, and this visit will be invaluable experience to us for the future career path.

Kabam! tour

In the lobby at Kabam

Kabam develops and publishes MMSGs (massively multiplayer social games). Kabam has been leading the industry with its business model “freemium” which is making free-to-play games for social networking services, its own web site, and other game sites.
Kabam is developing “real games” with gameplay mechanics akin to more traditional MMOs. Kabam’s hit title is “Kingdoms of Camelot,” one of the first successful strategy games on Facebook. Kabam’s games are available to play for free virtually anywhere gamers look for their mobile devices via the Apple Store, Google Play and on the Web such as Facebook, Yahoo, and other platforms. Kabam also publishes games by third party developers, including “Book of Heroes” and “Wartune.”
Kabam Publishing provides outside developers access to the same technology platform and marketing tools that Kabam’s in-house development teams use to bring wildly popular games to players worldwide. Recently, Kabam announced the $50 million WWDevFund to help eastern game developers bring their games to western markets.