Encouraging words

Last week I took part in an “open mic” discussion at a show aimed generally at “indie” game and application development. I was grateful for the organizer to grant me the time, which I used to give an outline of the Game Lab from the past year. You can read my slides here, and I’ll link the video when it’s made available.

It was a good turnout for a Tuesday night, about 25 people in attendance, including all five teams of speakers. Of special note was Lili Qiu of Hauoli, an application that aims to use the acoustical powers of mobile devices — speakers and microphones, that is — to simulate or even replicate aspects of AR/VR using low-frequency audio. She got a great response from the audience and is very eager to share the Hauoli SDK with anyone interested in developing for it.

I got some unexpected praise on the way out from one of the speakers. He said he was a recent move to Austin from Arizona, pursuing a job at a game studio here, but had yet to plug in to the local game-dev community too terribly much.

He told me that his first reaction to me when I started speaking was (as I’ve found) fairly typical of many pro game devs — “oh great, another school.” He related how he’d once been on a panel discussion in Phoenix where he’d been the only non-academic asked the question about whether a degree was important for game development.

He made the panel seem awkward, because he was a little less than enthusiastic about the importance of academic degrees for game development. But, he added, his attitude about me changed as I kept talking, and explained that the Game Lab is a finishing school and job accelerator for those who already had proven skill in game development — in other words, that they might have everything they need for a job in game development, except the job.

That sounded better to him than just another degree program for game development.

I said we aim to please.

Quick notes:

  1. ADL’s 2nd Annual Game Jam for Austin will start at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 3, continuing through Sunday, Nov. 4, and will take place at the HOFT Institute offices at 2400 Pearl St. Sign up here if you want to take part, including more information!

  2. Portfolio Posse returns Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. Bring your portfolio and a device to run it on, and your resume, and get 15 minutes one on one with a reviewer. Sign up here to participate as a reviewee.

John Henderson