Faculty Spotlight with Joe Shoopack (Game Development)

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We are less than two weeks from Global Game Jam 2018 and this year is gearing up to be one for the record books! For this month’s Faculty Spotlight we interviewed one of our Game Development instructors, Joe Shoopack, in honor of the upcoming Global Game Jam. Joe has a lot of passion for gaming and enjoys teaching the next generation of great game developers! Thank you to Joe Shoopack for giving us an awesome interview!!

If you’re interested in the Global Game Jam there’s still time to register!
Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the only Game Jam in San Diego for 2018!

  1. Joe, what was the first video game that you bought; why did you choose that one?

The first game bought for me was PONG for the home television system in 1975. The first console game I bought for myself was the Sega Genesis Mickey’s Castle of Illusion in 1990. It was a really creative platform featuring a level that flipped upside down and had some very cool looks to the levels.

  1. Name some of your top five favorite game releases in the past ten years. What makes a game noteworthy for you?

I would have to say, The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinity, and Cuphead are three standouts I’ve really enjoyed playing since they were released. I like to feel completely immersed in a world, and all three of those games accomplish that in different ways.

  1. Are there any upcoming game releases that you are looking forward to?

I’m waiting for the release of The Last of Us II.

  1. What retro game would you like to see brought back for a modern console?

Rather than seeing an old game brought back, I’m more excited to see the emergence of interest in creating 2D sprite and tile mapped games. It’s been referred to as the Hi-Bit Era: 16-bit style games utilizing the wide screen and higher resolution, like Owlboy from D-Pad Studio.

  1. What drew you to making Game Development and Design your career?

I loved art and arcade games, and when I graduated from Brigham Young University in 1985 with a degree in Illustration, game careers for artists were just starting to become a viable possibility, so I naturally gravitated to doing art for games.

  1. Can you share some of your experience in becoming a game developer and what you are currently doing in the field?

I first started working on Atari 7800 and Sega Genesis Games at Blue Sky Software in San Diego. These were small development teams, so you had the opportunity to do both art and level design as an artist.  I worked there for about 5 years and contributed to Jurassic Park, World Series Baseball, a Ren and Stimpy game, The Little Mermaid and a bunch of others. After that I started working at Sony and worked on Gameday ’99 (a football game for the PC). I then moved over to a spin off company of Sony, called Sony Online Entertainment.  At Sony Online I worked on some very fun Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games like Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest 2.  I then became a Development Director for Art and started working in a broader capacity with all the games and artists at the company on games like DC Universe Online, Planetside 2, H1Z1, etc. I left in 2016 to work on an independent project and to start an adjunct teaching career.

Joe Shoopack Game Development Faculty Quote Coleman University

  1. What brought you to Coleman University to teach?

I started a professional mentor program when I worked at Sony Online that partnered with a local college where I visited classes and advised on student projects and portfolio development.  I really enjoy interacting with students and helping them get started in the game industry, so I started teaching as an adjunct professor.

  1. Any advice for potential and current students looking to make Game Development a lifelong career?

My biggest piece of advice is: be willing to work on anything and be one of the people that volunteer to do whatever it takes to get a game done, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.

  1. What’s the gaming industry in San Diego like? Is it a growing industry?

It’s pretty stable; although some larger companies have come and gone over the last 20 years. Amazon just opened a San Diego Studio this past year and I’m sure they’ll be growing. Also there are a lot more small independent developers now, which means there will be more pathways to enter the field of Game Development.

  1. Are you involved in the Global Game Jam? Or planning to attend or create a team?

I will be attending Global Game Jam, most likely as a resource visiting and helping out different teams.

  1. Why are events like Global Game Jam important for Game Development students?

It gives you an opportunity to meet some really creative peers and mentors and it’s an excellent opportunity to test your creative and development skills against a tight deadline while having lots of fun!

  1. What are some hobbies, outside of gaming, that you enjoy in your spare time?

Whenever I go on a road trip I take photos of old “roadside America” attractions that have been abandoned or are off the beaten path.  I especially like finding dinosaur and prehistoric animal sculptures. (See attached.)

 

If you are interested in learning more about our Game Development program and the opportunities available for you here in San Diego, give us a call today at (858) 499-0202 and schedule a free tour! 

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How Do I Sign Up for the Global Game Jam 2018??

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We’ve already talked about the Global Game Jam on this blog; and the fact that this opportunity to compete in a global challenge with other gamers is one that can’t be missed. So now that we’ve peaked your interest, this blog will tell you what you should know about the #GGJ2018 and what to prepare for once you’ve signed up.

To start with, we want to tell you what your ticket purchase includes. The hosts of the Global Game Jam event at Coleman, the IGDA, have dedicated the funds from the event to providing food for the participants as well as other resources to help make this event as awesome as possible for all who attend! Starting Friday evening on January 26, 2018 participants will start arriving at the Coleman campus to set up their equipment and find spots to get settled in. You can bring in your own computers, laptops, and monitors to use for the weekend as well as any other special resources that you need to effectively code or design. Since the participants will be here from Friday night to Sunday afternoon Coleman University has not only provided campus space for this event, we will be making sure that there is a computer for everyone who registers. The point of this event is to mimic the conditions and stresses of game design and development so make sure that you come prepared to work hard, but we want you to be comfortable while doing it! So if you prefer to code in your bunny slippers, make sure to bring them along too.

What if you don’t have any team members lined up when you register? Well that is certainly no problem. Once the theme for the challenge is announced on Friday night, participants will then have the opportunity to discuss their ideas with others, and teams will form based on which projects participants want to join. The proposed projects will not all be videogame based because board games, card games, and any other styles of game are all welcome submissions. Since the submissions don’t have to be a videogame, participants who do not have coding experience are not excluded from being a part of this event. A passion for gaming and creating fun projects is the only requirement needed! The fun comes from the thrill of joining a team and bringing a great game to life in only three days.

Once teams have finished their projects, they will be submitted to the Global Game Jam site and published. Visitors to the site can still see games from previous years and even play some of them as well! For a game developer or designer, this can be a great addition to any resume and will add invaluable experience to help put you ahead. Being able to perfect your teamwork and problem solving skills while also creating a game from scratch is something that many recruiters look for in a potential hire. Why not put the Global Game Jam onto your resume this year?

If your family or friends are interested in seeing the event and coming by to show support, they are more than welcome! There will be visiting hours for friends and family, however, since time is limited and teams will have to work around the clock, visitors will not be able to stay overnight. We will also have special guests from radio station FM 94.9 on our campus live streaming and getting involved with participants. Hamby from the Casual Gamers podcast will be on our campus broadcasting from his Twitch channel, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on that! Head over to the official Eventbrite page for more information and the link to register as a participant: http://bit.ly/GGJ18Coleman. See you there! #GGJ2018

Turn your passion for gaming, coding, or design into a degree and a lifelong career! With a degree in Game Design from Coleman University, along with all the first-hand professional game development experience of our instructors, our graduates have the knowledge and the connections to build a solid career in game development and design. Call us today to schedule a tour and learn more about our programs at (858) 499-0202! Turn your “Dreams into Reality” now, classes start January 8, 2018!

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Global Game Jam is Coming to Coleman! #GGJ2018

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       It seems like only yesterday that we had a big group of game developers and creative designers on our campus for the Global Game Jam. Yet that was almost a year ago! Once again Coleman University will be hosting the Global Game Jam and we are calling all programmers, coders, designers, and game enthusiasts to participate! So what is the #GGJ, how much experience do you need to attend, and how can you get involved?
The GGJ is a weekend long coding and development event that happens a few times per year and challenges the skills and creativity of participants. Starting on Friday evening, the secret theme for that challenge is revealed and teams are formed with only the rest of the weekend to complete their projects. Groups can take the theme and create a video game, card game, or even a board game using the theme as a guide. Last year the theme was “waves” so teams had to incorporate that idea in some way into their project (think of ocean waves, sound waves, air waves, wavy hair, waving hands, the possibilities are endless!). Coding and developing overnight and into the early morning hours, teams have only a limited amount of time to create a tangible product. However these teams are not just working against the clock here in San Diego; teams from all over the world will be going through the same challenge! From India to Africa, England, Mexico, China, Australia, and many more countries; teams from around the world will be participating together. Last year the teams participating at Coleman University published some amazing games to this challenge. If you visit the Global Game Jam website and search under San Diego, you will see all of the submitted games from previous events over the past years. With fun names such as Chore Wizard, Cowabunga, and Elon Musk Goes to Space, you can see the high level of creativity that goes into these games. You can even play some of them! Studios like to see game developers who have proven their skills outside of the classroom, and having a game published on the Global Game Jam site is a great way to show off your talent.
Our event in January with the GGJ will be one to remember. Bring your sleeping bag, favorite pillow, snacks, and comfortable clothes to code in, and meet new friends who are just as passionate about gaming and game development as you are. The entry fee for earlybird tickets is $25, (all tickets purchased will include a meal) and you can begin registering this month. Visit their Eventbrite website for registration and get your discounted ticket before they are sold out! After you register you will have to also register for the event on the Global Game Jam website, or create an account. Participants will also be asked to sign a permission waiver to have photos or video taken of their teams working over the weekend. If you do not want to have your photos included in Game Jam promotional material, please speak with an IGDA representative when you arrive at the event. We look forward to seeing all of the new and returning participants who will be at the Global Game Jam this year! There may even be some special guests making an appearance that weekend to show support for the game developers…so you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity!

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Global Game Jam® Returns to Coleman University

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Developers and gaming enthusiasts around the world will be participating in this weekend long design/development marathon, from January 20 through the 22nd 2017, and Coleman University will be the only location in San Diego that will be hosting it!  Participants are challenged with creating a working video game  throughout the weekend that follows a theme that will not be revealed until the first day of the event.

Working around the clock and in teams, participants will have to collaborate and simultaneously develop various elements of a game. As if this wasn’t challenging enough, each team is competing with groups in and outside of the U.S. who are working towards the same goal. Though it seems like a difficult challenge, this event is not meant to divide teams. In fact, it is meant to unite teams and create a more connected and collaborative game development community.

The Global Game Jam (GGJ) website says it best:  “The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. It is all condensed into a 48 hour development cycle. The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.” The GGJ will also be broadcast on Twitch so you can follow the action from your mobile device or gaming console.

Coleman has opened this event to any developer, or game enthusiast that wants to participate; that includes graphic designers who are experienced in character design and developing, and software developers who have worked with game coding. The entry fee is $10 and participants must register by January 19th to be eligible to join. The campus will be open for the entire event, and participants will be sleeping and working here at Coleman to finish the challenge.

Last year, we had an impressive number of participants, not just our own students, but many talented developers from around San Diego who wanted to join in as well. Coleman University is the ONLY location in San Diego that will be hosting the GGJ so you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to meet and work with other game developers in San Diego.

You can visit www.globalgamejam.org or Eventbrite to register, get more information about the challenge, clips and links for past game submissions, an FAQ page, and much more! We hope to see you there!

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