Five graduating game design and animation students will plug their laptops into the Atlantic Technology Centre this summer to pursue a dream of driving their video game idea from concept to market-ready prototype.
The graduates are the first team selected for the GameGarage, an initiative of the Interactive Media Alliance (IMA), the PEI-based interactive media industry association, with support from Telefilm Canada and PEI Business Development.
Participants were chosen from a national competition that invited graduating new media students and recent graduates to submit original game concepts, or submit their resumes for a chance to work on someone else’s concept.
The winning submission was from a team of game design and animation graduates from the New Brunswick Community College – Miramichi Campus:
· Réal Cloutier, St. Louis, NB – Programmer
· Neil Power, Riverview, NB – Programmer
· Nicholas McKinnon, Glace Bay, NS – Designer/Producer
· Tim Murray, St. George, NB – Artist
· Curtis Rioux, Plaster Rock, NB – Artist
After only a few weeks in the Charlottetown incubator, team programmer Neil Power has already got a taste for how professional game developers work.
“We had a brainstorming session on our prototype with some of the local gaming company pros and, man, they meant business,” said the 19-year old Riverview, NB native.
“They got right into the meat of our game concept, looking at it from the end-user’s perspective because that’s who’s going to buy it eventually. Our game has already evolved a couple of times since we crossed the bridge. We’re way more serious about it now.”
IMA President John Eden said the GameGarage was created to support and develop both the Atlantic-region’s video game talent and industry. Eden is also Director of Business Development for Sculpin QA, a video game testing and quality assurance studio in Charlottetown.
“There is a solid and growing cluster of video game companies based in Charlottetown that needs a steady stream of talent and ideas to fuel its success and growth, just like any business. The GameGarage seeks Canada’s top video game program graduates and gives them the necessary tools and expert advice to build a marketable game prototype,” he said.
Under the guidance of mentors from PEI’s video game companies, the graduates have four months to build a prototype, and one year to find game-development companies or publishers to purchase their prototype, or finance its full development. The graduates’ video game will be showcased at the Telefilm Canada GameGarage gala on September 30, 2008.
Eden added, “While the goal of the four-month incubation period is to get the game prototype ready to be pitched for sale, if the grads would rather start their own company to complete and market their game, then we’d all welcome them to set up shop in our growing game sector here on PEI.”
As for career options, Power added that another GameGarage benefit will be working with leaders from PEI-based new media companies – leaders who could end up offering the graduates employment.
“GameGarage will allow graduates to develop new products while showcasing skills gained through post-secondary education,” said Richard Brown, PEI’s Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning. “The continued growth and success of the video game development industry depends on highly skilled employees capable of meeting industry needs. The GameGarage will become an important component in developing Prince Edward Island’s interactive media sector.”
With the financial assistance of Telefilm Canada and PEI Business Development, the IMA will provide participants with the necessary office space, hardware and software required to build their game. The project runs from June 1 to September 30, 2008 at the Atlantic Technology Center in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
The IMA is an alliance of video game and other interactive media companies based in Prince Edward Island with a mandate to develop and support the new media and video game industry.
Telefilm Canada is a federal cultural agency dedicated to developing and promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry. Telefilm provides financial support to the private sector to create distinctively Canadian productions that appeal to domestic and international audiences. The Corporation also administers the funding programs of the Canadian Television Fund.