PLANO, TX – (February 19, 2014) Guildhall faculty, students and alumni attended the 17th Annual D.I.C.E. Summit on February 4-6, 2014 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. While there, they attended talks, engaged in networking, and were on hand for the D.I.C.E. Awards show, which highlighted the best games from the past year.
Guildhall Director Gary Brubaker said one of the biggest highlights for him was the summit talks and the diverse, interesting topics selected by industry leaders.
“DICE is a great conference to gather with the video game development elite to network, share best practices and for the industry to honor the finest games of year,” Brubaker said. “It was wonderful to see one of our current students selected to receive a scholarship and one of our alumni accept an award for action game of the year.”
Andres Gonzales accepts Action Game of the Year Award for BioShock Infinite
Andres Gonzales, Cohort 5 alum and Lead Designer at Irrational Games, accepted the Action Game of the Year award at the 2014 D.I.C.E. Summit for BioShock Infinite. Andres became the lead combat designer on the game and had the honor of stepping in to accept the award on behalf of Ken Levine, creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games.
BioShock Infinite also won the award for "Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition" at D.I.C.E. Guildhall alumni James Selen and Rob Howard also worked on the game, and we congratulate each of them and the entire Irrational Games team on their success.
Watch Andres accept the award (Randy Pitchford starts intro at 1:20:00, and Andres accepts award at 1:22:00)
Chris Burris, C19 student, receives scholarship to attend D.I.C.E.
Cohort 19 student Chris Burris was selected to attend DICE as the inaugural recipient of the Intel/AIAS Scholarship. He received an all-expense-paid trip as Intel’s guest to the summit. The Guildhall, a long time research partner with Intel, was one of four game development programs in the U.S. selected for this scholarship.
The scholarship gave Burris special access to the event and the ability to network and gain a deeper understanding of the industry, which he said was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“D.I.C.E. is something I’ll be able to go to again eventually, but not like I did for this year’s summit,” he said. “I was a student game developer who had access to an event normally reserved for professionals with years of experience in the industry. I can’t thank Randi Rost and Intel enough for this opportunity. Also, I got a free tablet, so thank you Ben Kutcher from Intel for such an amazing gift.”
While at D.I.C.E., Burris went to summit talks, networked with industry professionals, and attended the D.I.C.E. Awards show. The overall theme of the talks was “The New Golden Age of Gaming”, which involved topics related to new ways to play, make, distribute and fund video games.
“I found the [talks] to be very inspiring, and I’m excited to see the future of the game industry and what role I’ll play in it,” he said. “Between the talks were networking events where I spoke with individuals from countless companies and organizations throughout the industry. They gave me an abundance of insight and advice and I‘m very grateful for their time.”
Scholarship recipients were paired with an industry professional, who served as their mentor throughout the summit. Burris’s mentor was Gene Semel, senior sound design manager at Sony Computer Entertainment.
“Gene gave me so many pointers on networking, seizing my dreams and just life in general,” Burris said. “I’m glad that I met him. I also want to thank the other mentors, and more specifically Don Daglow and Warren Spector, who were mentors for all the scholars. The scholar/mentor program that AIAS and Intel put together was a fantastic idea that I hope continues for a long time.”
Elizabeth Stringer, deputy director of academics for The Guildhall, said this opportunity has the ability to have long-lasting value for Burris.
“Selection to attend D.I.C.E. as a near graduate of The Guildhall provided [Chris] an extraordinary launch for a career in the video and computer game industry,” Stringer said. “D.I.C.E. mentoring, networking and exposure to luminaries was a transformative experience and a realization of years of pursuit.”
For him, the top highlight of the event was the chance to talk to so many industry professionals that he wound normally never get to meet.
“While studying game development in school, you hear about the industry and you read about the industry, but at D.I.C.E., I got to experience the industry. Not the development side of things, but the people behind the games,” he said. “I hope to maintain and strengthen the relationships I made going forward.”
Overall, he says D.I.C.E. was an exceptional opportunity and is valuable both to student scholars like himself who get the special opportunity to attend, as well as for industry professionals.
“The summit was inspiring and I was amazed at how approachable the attendees were,” he said. “I got to talk to so many great people. I think it’s important for industry professionals to be able to come together, share knowledge, celebrate their achievements, and discuss current and future trends. “
In addition, he believes the biggest thing that he took away from my experience was the importance of giving back.
“I hope that I have the chance to help young developers and students in the future, because I experienced first-hand the positive impact it can have,” he said. “Members of AIAS and Intel invited students to attend D.I.C.E. and gave them to opportunity to jump-start their careers. I’m incredibly grateful for that.”
About The Guildhall at SMU
The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is one of the premier graduate video game education programs in the nation. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. Since 2003, the program has graduated over 500 students, who now work at more than 150 video game studios around the world. SMU offers both a Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development degree and a Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design, production and software development. For more information, visit guildhall.smu.edu.
The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences® (AIAS) promotes and advances the worldwide interactive entertainment community, recognizes outstanding achievements in the interactive arts and sciences, and hosts the prestigious D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit and the annual D.I.C.E. Awards, bringing together the top video game designers and developers from around the world and business leaders from all major publishers to discuss the state of the industry, its trends and the future. AIAS also leads Into the Pixel, an exploration and celebration of the art of video games; and Indie Game Challenge, an initiative by the Academy, Gamestop and the Guildhall at the Southern Methodist University to support the independent games movement by providing aspiring game developers – professional and non-professional – to showcase their skills and have the opportunity to present their game to top publishers.