Archive for the ‘Field Trips’ Category

Sailing Adventure in San Francisco Bay

Friday, May 3rd, 2013 posted by peilinl

SF Bay Sailing Spring 2013

On Friday, April 19th, 2013, ETC students in Silicon Valley campus went on a sailing adventure in the San Francisco Bay! Filled with excitement and curiosity, we headed to San Francisco downtown and gathered at Pier 40 to wait for the departure. We were lucky enough to have Captain Kirk to take us to a wonderful sailing tour around the San Francisco Bay, which is considered one of the best sailing venues in North America.

With the beautiful sunshine along with the breeze, we enjoyed a sailing cruise with stunning views of famous San Francisco landmarks, AT&T Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the splendid scenery of the San Francisco bay . We also saw the famous and adorable sea lions laying on the dock at Pier 39, where it was a lot of fun to see them making loud noises and sunbathing around. We had a small party on the yacht and enjoyed the scenery. During the cruise, we sometimes saw the sea lions floating and lifting their heads above the surface around the yacht.  While passing under the Golden Gate Bridge, we yelled as loud as possible to make ourselves echo. “Yah!” everyone shouted with excitement.

Captain Kirk also taught us how to sail by giving us hands-on lesson. He let us hold the helm to feel the boat and gave us sailing instructions. We had an excellent chance to become the helmsman and steer the boat! We had a wonderful and relaxing time for our 4-hour cruise in San Francisco Bay. We are glad to have Captain Kirk to bring us on a sailing adventure!

SF Bay Sailing Spring 2013

SF Bay Sailing Spring 2013

JP Lebreton and Double Fine

Thursday, April 4th, 2013 posted by Michael Lee

A few weeks ago everyone at ETC Silicon Valley campus had the pleasure of visiting Double Fine Productions in downtown San Francisco thanks to our gracious host and speaker, JP Lebreton. JP is a designer at Double Fine and has had a long career working in the games industry. We spent over an hour having the opportunity to sit down with JP and hear him speak about his career, his thoughts on working in the industry, and where it might be headed.

JP has spent 15 years in the games industry working at such esteemed studios like Irrational Games, 2K Marin, and now Double Fine. While his main role is as a designer, he is also a self-taught programmer and has experience coming from an art background graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

In his conversation with all the ETC SV students, he talked about how he got into the games industry after graduation starting off at Human Head Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. Starting off there he worked his way to Boston where he was a designer on Bioshock at Irrational Games. He then had the opportunity to come to the Bay area and help start up 2K Marin and create Bioshock 2. His most recent project was working with Ron Gilbert and Double Fine on The Cave and participating in Double Fine’s semi-annual game jam, Amnesia Fortnight where he headed up the project Spacebase DF-9.

While talking about his work experience, JP also elaborated on his current focus in games and design and how that’s shifted throughout his career. Double Fine as a studio has shifted towards smaller productions with an emphasis on being new and unique. JP shared his thoughts on the future of triple-A games development, the emergence of a viable independent route for game developers, and creating games and tools to encourage more diversity in game development.

Thanks to JP and Double Fine for the awesome opportunity to visit their studios and learn a lot about games and development.

Visit to Kabam, San Francisco

Thursday, February 28th, 2013 posted by xuxing114

On Feb 21, 2013, we had the precious chance to visit Kabam’s office in San Francisco City.  We signed the NDA form beforehand and everybody is pretty excited about the visit. This is the first time for ETC-SVer to visit Kabam.

Here is the general information of Kabam from their website:

Kabam is the #1 company offering free-to-play core games on mobile, online and on social networks. Kabam posted more than $180 million in gross revenue in 2012, a 70% increase over 2011. Kabam leads in diversity of platforms for its games, with revenue generated across mobile (both Android and iOS), online and on social networks.

Mr. Forrest Kitlas, Senior Technical Recruiter, and ETC alumni Mrs.Jill Hu, Software Engineer Lead, hosted the event. Forrest welcomed us and made a passionate presentation about the history of the company, the product line, internal game production and the rapid growth of the company. We had a pretty informative QA session as well, leaving us all extremely excited about the great company, culture and passion of Kabam.

Later, Kevin Chou, the CEO of Kabam, gave a short presentation and offered a chance for conversation. He has an amazingly clean and organized way of thinking. He has great confidence and understanding of Kabam’s products and business model.

After the talk, Kabam provided lunch, Kabam shirts, pens, and other fun swag and we took a picture with the Kabam “bomb logo” statue located in the reception area. Reflecting on the event, people seemed even more interested in working for Kabam and agreed that Kabam provides great potential for future employees. Thank you, Kabam. It was a wonderful visit.

Disney Interactive Media Group

Sunday, November 18th, 2012 posted by psoriano


On November 15th, the ETC-SV Students had the opportunity to visit Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG) in Palo Alto. As a part of the Disney Family of companies, DIMG is responsible for creating immersive, connected, interactive experiences across various media platforms. Artist and engineers work together to deliver top of the line experiences for fans of all ages. DIMG has five product groups that together strive to deliver Disney content to fans all over the world: Disney Interactive Studios, Playdom, Disney Online, Disney Online Studios, and Disney Mobile.

ETC-SV Disney Interactive Media Group Tour

This was a chance to learn more about this lesser known department within the Disney Family of Companies. In particular, students visited Playdom and Disney Mobile. After touring around the facilities (which included free food, friendly staff, and themed work spaces), the students had the chance to sit in on a discussion with some ETC alumni now currently working at Disney. This was a great opportunity to learn firsthand about what it takes to succeed at Disney and the type of talent they look for. We asked many questions: Does your work at DIMG ever overlap with work done in the park? What is the best thing about working at DIMG? What skills from the ETC have helped you succeed the most in your current position? Students were excited to be a part of a great discussion and to have their questions answered. As well, Students learned about the history of Playdom and its origins as a young startup created by Stanford University Grads, the history of various games, and how they are created. Overall, DIMG was a fun place to visit where its artist and engineers strive to create that top of the line magic that Disney is known for!

Game Changers Mark Cerny and Rich Hilleman at Computer History Museum

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 posted by nbastida

On November 7, our elective class took us to the Computer History Museum to watch a conversation between Mark Cerny and Rich Hilleman.

They started the conversation talking about Mark’s current project, which is a secret. Mark explained that after a long period of working at a high level position in game design, on multiple projects, he is happy to now work on only one project in much more detail.

When Rich asked Mike about the Cerny Method, he replied, ¨I waited 20 years until I thought I had something to tell to the industry¨. This method, according to Mark, was created in collaboration with Michael John, in order to help the industry regain sight of the consumers. The games were becoming too hard to play!

Part of the method consists of letting game designers see how a consumer plays the game. The method also tries to improve the design documentation. It establishing rules for example, the first design document for the game should be five pages long.

Rich and Mark talked about Mark’s role as president and producer at Universal Interactive Studios, where he helped Insomniac and Naughty Dog with their first productions.

They continued to review Mark’s career. Mark started very early, joining Atari when he was only seventeen.  He created his first major success, Marble Madness. He left Atari and worked for Sega both in Japan and the USA, on Sonic the Hedgehog titles.

As a child, Mark was a Dungeons and Dragons player. He dreamt of creating a 20 hour-long 3D dungeon crawling RPG. Seventeen years later, he was extremely pleased to play Final Fantasy VII.

Mark advises newcomers to the industry, to try different roles. He considers that having the capacity to change roles makes a game developer career more rich and fun.

Rich asked Mark what he thought about meaningful games, remarking how at the early days of this industry the concept was non-existent. Mark thinking about serious games, referenced Pace Maker a game that started as an ETC student project which lead Rich Hilleman to mention ETC as a great program and us ETC students in the audience to applaud the reference.