Game Developers Lecture at McDonough

By Billy Ludt

Members of the Youngstown Game Developers delivered a lecture at the McDonough Museum of Art on Tuesday night.

Kendra Corpier, Bill Jones and Andrew Pavlic from the Youngstown Game Developers told brief retellings of their experiences leading up to their involvement with independent video games.

Michael Crist, interim dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communication, introduced the lecture. Crist said that the college is thinking about starting an undergraduate program geared toward game development, giving students the opportunity to have a head start in the industry.

“I walked over here today because I wanted to see what the interest is like,” Crist said. “I walked in here, and I was excited to see that there were people here that are interested in it. I’m here to say that the College of Creative Arts and Communications and Youngstown State University hope to be involved in the not-too-distant future.”

Crist went on to say that, though the process will be a long one, having a video game development program at YSU would be worth it.

The Youngstown Game Developers formed last year in October. The group gathers regularly to network and discuss the trade with local developers.

“Our goal is to basically just help one another,” Corpier said. “It’s to network with each other, help each other, be successful. Whether or not you’re indie — doesn’t matter. You can come in working for EA. We will happily accept you.”

One person or small teams create indie games. Projects are generally paid out of pocket by the creators or from crowdfunding services.

Corpier is the owner and operator of Eimear Studios and Eim-Games and works at Minuteman Press as their senior graphic designer. She previously worked at THQ as a tester on the racing game, “Juiced.” After leaving THQ, Corpier worked as a media designer at Univision Television Network in Phoenix.

While on the job, she interviewed some of the people working at Hello Games, the British video game developers who are currently working on the highly anticipated title, “No Man’s Sky.” After that interview, Corpier knew what she wanted to do with her life.

Jones previously worked with Wither Studios in Pittsburgh. The studio developed “Crowman and Wolfboy,” an iOS game funded through Kickstarter. Jones, along with Wither, showed the game at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East.

He has participated in two Global Game jams, which are conferences where developers band together to create games in a short span of time, usually one to three days.

An audience member asked Jones what students should be doing to get into game development.

“Your best bet is just to build games,” Jones said.

Pavlic works in digital art and content creation. He does freelance work, creating 3D modeling for organizations such as SpeechPathology. Aside from his professional work, Pavlic has created models for games and taught at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

Last year’s North American Conference on Video Game Music at the McDonough was the first conference of its kind in the United States, and the second in the world. The Youngstown Game Developers are planning a 48-hour game jam at the McDonough on April 1 to 3 in 2016.