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Majors & Degrees

IDiG, Nanocon are bookends to gaming weekend

November 6, 2017

It’s all about games this weekend at Dakota State University, with a gaming workshop Nov. 9, and a gaming convention Nov. 10-12. All are free and open to the public. 

The seventh annual IDiG workshop, held at the Beacom Institute of Technology, starts the gaming weekend on Nov. 9.

“IDiG stands for ‘Integrated Design in Games,’” said Dr. Jeff Howard, associate professor of game development and design at Dakota State, so the workshop activities and guest industry speakers focus on how all the parts of game design fit together.

Each year’s theme focuses on one component of game design, and the 2017 theme is “Game Programming for Worldbuilding,” Howard said, driving home the importance of programming and the underlying programming of a game world.

Two of the guest speakers are experts at game programming, he stated. Isaac Karth is a technical artist and blogger on procedural generation; Jacob Garbe is a writer and new media artist working with procedural narrative and augmented reality.

The keynote speaker is Canadian game designer Denis Dyack, CCO of Quantum Entanglement Entertainment. He was formerly president of the company “Silicon Nights,” known for games such as the first “Legacy of Kain” and “Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.”

Dyack has been a guest at DSU in previous years, and "IDiG has been a great experience for me," he said.

"My last visit, I was able to explore and discuss leading-edge ideas about game creation. This year's focus on world-building will be no different, and I am looking forward to exchanging thought-provoking ideas how to create the best immersive worlds for game development."

For the students, IDiG “brings them knowledge of cutting-edge industry and academic experience,” Howard said, “so they learn about ideas and concepts that are key to the game design program but that are also pushing out on the frontiers of what can be done in game design and building worlds.”

The IDiG workshop sessions begin at 8 a.m. in the Beacom Institute of Technology; Garbe’s presentation is set for 3 p.m, Karth at 4 p.m. and Dyack at 5:30 p.m. A social will be held from 7-9 p.m. in the Beacom Collaboration Center.

This is a perfect kick-off to Nanocon, Howard said, moving the game design theme of IDiG to the game play focus of Nanocon. This is the 15th year for the annual game play convention; it begins at 5 p.m. on Nov. 10 at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse, and continues through Nov. 12 at 8 p.m.

A new feature this year is e-sports tournaments hosted by the local league. “That should be a real draw for a lot of people,” Howard said. There will also be hands-on demonstrations from the junior and senior project classes, and the opportunity to play table top and board games.