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The 2011 UMBC Digital Entertainment Conference is going on right now in UMBC Lecture Hall V. As I type this, we’re listening to Greg Foertsch talk about being an Art Director at Firaxis. Still plenty more speakers to come before we wrap up at 5:00. It’s free and open for anyone who is interested to attend, so come on down!

BMoreMedia had a nice video piece on the game development programs at UMBC. Check it out!

Video Feature: Gaming at UMBC

I previously announced the 2011 UMBC Digital Entertainment Conference, but now have a schedule of speakers as well. Here is the full announcement!

The 2011 Digital Entertainment Conference is coming Saturday, April 30th to UMBC. Every year, the UMBC Game Developer’s Club invites speakers from the videogames industry to come in and share their knowledge and experience. This year, the conference is sponsored by Zynga, and will feature speakers from Zynga, Firaxis, Pure Bang, and Dream Rock Studios. The conference will be taking place in the Engineering Building, LH 5, starting at 10 am. The schedule of speakers is as follows:

10 am – Greg Foertsch, Project Art Director at Firaxis
11 am – Ed Zavada, Programmer at Dream Rock Studios
12 pm – Lunch Break
1 pm – Eric Jordan, Programmer at Firaxis
2 pm – Ben Walsh, CEO of Pure Bang Games
3 pm – Barry Caudill, Executive Producer at Firaxis
4 pm – Michelle Menard, Designer at Zynga

Admission is free and the conference is open to anyone, so come out and take advantage of this amazing opportunity!

Make plans to come to the 2011 UMBC Digital Entertainment Conference (DEC) on Saturday, April 30th, starting at 10am in UMBC Lecture Hall 5. This day long event is organized by the UMBC Game Developers Club, and sponsored this year by Zynga.

The DEC is open to anyone, and features speakers from Firaxis Games, Pure Bang, and Big Rock Studios. Whether you are a High School student, go to UMBC or another University, or are already working in a different industry, you are sure find interesting information about how the games industry works, how some current developers got started, and what they do. If you are a game developer, you are sure to find High School students, UMBC students and students from other Universities who are interested in jobs in the games industry.

Dan Klein led a group at UC Berkeley that won the Starcraft AI competition at the 2010 AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference. Now one of his students, Haomiao Huang, has written an excellent article on their AI on arstechnica. Check it out!

I don’t know how I missed this, but UMBC made the Princeton Review’s list of the top 50 undergraduate game design programs. Now I might split hairs and say that we really focus on game development more than design, much as there’s a distinction between being an actor and being a director, but I certainly won’t complain about making the list!

There’s a nice article in today’s Baltimore Sun business section on Zynga East and the Baltimore area’s inroads in social game development. Plus, I’m quoted about social games vs. PC and console games.

Throwing elections with an electronic voting machine is too easy these days. Does your voting machine run Pac Man? This one does, without even breaking the “tamper-proof” seals!

My game, Starry Eye, is on the App Store. It’s an arcade shooter, straight out of 1979. You play as the little blue guy with the tongue. Reviews wanted badly!

I’ve posted the entire project online at www.workly.com/starryeye/se10.zip

Thanks very much to Johnathan Moriarty, Eve Addison, Charles Lohr, Greg Aring, Fernando Lynch, Mary Lewis, Jenn Dahlke, and Bryan Eastlack for putting on a great show at the UMBC BetaScape table(s!) at ArtScape this weekend. I’m sure I forgot someone, please email me to let me know…

Brian Eastlack and Jenn Dahlke (both UMBC '10) demonstrating their game to Governor Martin O'Malley.

Brian Eastlack and Jenn Dahlke (both UMBC '10) demonstrating their game to Governor Martin O'Malley.

Congratulations to all on a show well-done!

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