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June 23, 2011
"I started making videogames in junior high because my parents would only buy me like one game a year, and I'd beat it by the end of January!"
ON CHOOSING CIA The selling factor for me was the quality of the work—it was a lot higher than at the other schools I looked at. Now that I’m here, the biggest thing for me is the total immersion of creativeness and art.
ON CIA STUDENTS I’ve always been around really good students. One person raises the bar and everyone else gets to top it the next week. Everyone pushes each other and you learn from your mistakes.
ON CIA FACULTY The faculty’s great. We’re all really close with Knut Hybinette, our gaming professor, because we’ve had so many classes with him all the way through. He knows how much we’ve grown and what our goals are. The level design class, probably my favorite class here, wasn’t part of the curriculum—he created it because we were interested in it.
ON LUCK I just won a scholarship to go to this year’s Game Developers Conference. You get a mentor who personally introduces you to everybody; you get studio tours; you’re profiled as one of the rising stars. It’s a huge deal—I was really lucky! But luck is planning for opportunities, being prepared for what may come.
ON TEAMWORK Games are made by dozens and dozens of people and no one has the ability to do all of those roles. It’s always a team effort. We’re all good friends and helping each other, even as we’re pushing each other.
ON THE PROJECT In fall 2009, the Institute’s digital arts department and Case Western Reserve University’s computer science department jointly offered a course in game development. Jim was part of a team of 13 artists, programmers, and sound designers who collaborated to develop an iPhone game called ChromaWaves.
We started out listing all the different criteria that we wanted the game to have. We wanted it to be pick-up-and-play; we wanted a really wide audience, not just gamers; we wanted short play sessions so you’d be rewarded fairly quickly. Electronic Arts did a critique at the end of the semester through a conference call, and they were impressed! They encouraged us to sell the game on iTunes, and now ChromaWaves is set for release in March.
Artists Matthew Barton, Andrew Kuhar, Jim Wiser, Anne Meier, Kurt Tacastacas, Cory Hughart Programmers Chris Jennewein, Felix Yuan, John Stetz, Poomipat Phusayangku, Matthew Briggs, Devon Jones Sound Designers Andrew Kuhar, Jesse Lee
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