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Popular gaming convention and game design workshop invades Dakota State’s campus

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Whether you’re an avid fan of live action role playing, collectible card games, board games and tabletop role playing or just play the occasional video game on your home console, the world of gaming probably makes up a part of your week. Video gaming revenue globally continues to climb and is expected to hit over $82 billion in 2017 according to DFC Intelligence. Many students and faculty at Dakota State University, including the large and successful Computer Game Design Major, immerse themselves deeper than the average consumer, finding out how to build a better game and what really makes these games, whether it’s video or tabletop, popular.

Part of this greater understanding involves learning and gaming with others, including some of the top developers in the industry. Nanocon, a free gaming convention organized by the DSU Gaming Club, will mark its twelfth year providing a high-quality gaming experience for all of its attendees. Running Nov. 7 through Nov. 9, Nanocon will also feature the fourth annual Workshop on Integrated Design in Games or IDiG.

IDiG is about integrated design, basically, how all elements of a game (including mechanics, story, technology, art and audio) come together to create a thematically unified experience. This year’s theme is Game Audio, which includes any use of sound to reinforce the overall experience of a game.

"With our focus on game audio this year, we're excited to explore one of the most emotionally expressive aspects of game design and development, which has the potential to evoke powerful moods and to help build immersive worlds,“ stated Dr. Jeff Howard, assistant professor of game development and design.

Keynote speakers for IDiG this year include various nationally acclaimed game development experts including Darren Korb, the audio director of Supergiant Games, creators of experimental, independent role-playing games Bastion and Transistor. Korb’s talk, titled “Keeping the Beat: Collaboration in Game Development,” focuses on small studio development practices, the nature of their collaborative process and the “craftocracy” that guides their efforts.

Mathew Weise, independent narrative designer formerly of Harmonix, rounds out the keynote roster with his talk via Skype. While at Harmonix, Weise worked on the popular game Fantasia: Music Evolved. He will speak about narrativizing audio-based mechanics (i.e. giving a narrative purpose and meaning to sound-centric ways of interacting with a game world.)

Other speakers will discuss various approaches to audio in games, both conceptually and hands-on. DSU professors Jeff Howard, Nathan Edwards, Dan Mortenson and Sandra Champion will present in their expertise area along with others from outside institutions including Beloit College and the University of Chicago.

Nanocon runs from 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7 until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9 at Dakota Prairie Playhouse in Madison, S.D. The IDiG workshop will be held during those times as well. Both events are free and open to the public. For more info, log on to www.nanocon.us or email jeffrey.howard@dsu.edu