12:30 – 1:15PM DESIGNING THE WORLD: AN INSIDE LOOK INTO THE DESIGN OF VIDEO GAMES (ROOM 109)
Level design, writing, programming, art… these are the building blocks for designing the various worlds of video games. Hear from Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion, MMORPG.com), Nick Covington (N-Fusion), John Spatola (Lake Effect Applications), and Carissa Isolano (N-Fusion) as they divulge their secrets and best practices for creative design in the games industry. Our special guests will also discuss just how many opportunities there are for you to become a level designer in games yourself!
All his life John has excelled in both art and technology. After attending Syracuse University for his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Computer Science, he completed Lockheed Martin’s Leadership Development Program. He also attained a Masters in Systems Engineering from Cornell University.
In 2009, using his solid engineering background and experience as an avid gamer, he created Stickbo, a side scrolling stick figure shooter. Released in January, 2010, it was number one on iTunes overall free list two times. The follow up, StickBo: Zombies was released for Halloween that same year. With the success of the series, he founded Lake Effect Applications, a company specializing in mobile video games.
As CEO, Lead Designer, and Lead Software Engineer, John started to build TriggerFist, a modern third person shooter targeted towards core gamers. Released in August 2012, it is widely regarded as one of the best shooters on the iTunes App Store. It has over 16 million downloads and has held rankings in the Top 200 for over two and half years.
Lake Effect Applications represents one of the last few strongholds in the mobile gaming marketplace — an independent, self-sustaining game studio that values quality above all else. John and his team are currently working on an unannounced action game.
Carissa Isolano has been working in the Video Game Industry for 8 years. She attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for Video Game Art and Design, and began working as a 3D Artist on Wii titles. In 2011 she worked as the sole artist on her first mobile game with N-Fusion Interactive, Airmail. Airmail received many awards, most notably Best Visual Experience by Unity Technologies, and was featured by Apple as Editors Choice. Carissa took up the role of Art Director as well as Lead Artist on Deus Ex: The Fall as one of her next titles. DX:TF is regarded as one of the best graphical achievements on mobile for its time. As Art Director at N-Fusion, Carissa both manages the team and creates a lot of the artwork used in N-Fusion’s titles. With a strong understanding of both the artistic and technical sides of game development, it enables her to create strategies to tackle the toughest hardware and timeline restrictions.
Nick Covington is a seven-year multidisciplinary game developer whose work has encompassed multiple large franchises such as the Hunger Games, Mission Impossible, and Guitar Hero. Nick has contributed to mobile games which have won multiple Webbies and has had projects featured at Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier Story Lab. Nick focuses his energies on tool development, real-time graphics, and perfecting his favorite stir-fry recipe. He currently works on building large real-time worlds for mobile and PC platforms at N-Fusion Interactive in New Jersey.
Genese Davis is an American author, host, columnist, and media personality. She is the author of The Holder’s Dominion, a next-generation thriller heralded as a breakthrough novel by Publishers Weekly. Her writing expertise expands across various genres including thriller, fantasy, gamer-lit, and new adult, as well as screenplay, playwriting, and video game lore. Davis is an in-demand host, speaker, and moderator for TV, radio, web-series, conventions, academic fairs, publishing workshops, and literary and entertainment expos. Davis is a featured columnist at MMORPG.com, and she is the founder of The Gamer In You. She was awarded the iGR Woman of the Year for her outstanding efforts in debunking stereotypes and for bringing the video game industry the first new adult, gaming-thriller, The Holder’s Dominion.
Davis is a thought-leader in video game culture and its social development. Through her passion for the art community, she demonstrates how team-based video games like MMORPGs affect our lives and the new place video games have in fiction and other forms of media.