A four-year quest to compete in the Electronic Entertainment Expo is complete as a team of Ferris State University Digital Animation and Game Design students and alumni will depart for Los Angeles on Friday, June 8 prior to the exposition that next week.
DAGD Program Coordinator David Baker credited DAGD student Brandt Howard, of Wayland, for his determination to see Ferris represented at the exposition, which is expected to draw an audience of 70,000 to the Los Angeles Convention Center, June 12-14. Releases of downloadable gaming content, virtual reality media and previews of upcoming games are highlights on the E3 schedule.
“With no disrespect intended to Ferris’ hockey team making the NCAA Frozen Four final, several years ago, or the men’s basketball team reaching the Elite Eight, this season, to claim the Division II national championship, this visit to E3 and the competition is a very significant achievement,” Baker said. “More than 400 schools submitted to be part of the College Game Competition, and we are one of only six finalists. Gaming industry leaders, like Nintendo and Sega, have a very significant presence at E3. So, we are very excited to have a team taking part in the competition.”
The schools who are competing with Ferris include Eastern Kentucky University, located in Richmond, Kentucky; George Mason University, of Fairfax, Virginia; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, based in Troy, New York; and Brigham Young University, located in Provo, Utah.
Seven Ferris DAGD students and recent graduates will be joined by sound design specialist Tyler Burke, of Shelbyville, Mich., who is working in the core game team with Howard, Lloyd Nguyen and Paul Chamberlain, of Three Rivers. Nguyen recently earned his Bachelor of Applied Science in DAGD. The group’s creation for this event is RAD, short for Radical.
“By earning a spot in the competition, I believe this will motivate Brandt, Paul, Tyler and myself to push ourselves to make RAD a full game,” Nguyen said. “The exposition is also a great way to help our team get recognized by the industry and, at a minimum, we can put this experience in our resume.”
Chamberlain, who also recently earned his DAGD degree, said their trip to California will include visits to leading game manufacturers such as Disney and Sony, which should give him an important perspective on the gaming industry.
“I’m still kind of awestruck by the whole situation,” Chamberlain said. “Never before had I thought that a project I’d work on would make it to a competition, at E3. Honestly, just being nominated as a finalist and going to E3 makes me feel like we’ve already won. Getting the grand prize would just be icing on the cake.”
Baker said the Expo’s organizers allow the schools in the Collegiate Game Competition to bring a support team. Tyler Baldwin, of Brighton; Rachel Hughey of Kalamazoo; Kenton Reynolds, of Grand Rapids; and Mike Sayegh, of Miller Falls, New York, will experience E3 first hand, while they exhibit Ferris’ entry in the game competition, from their booth in the convention center for the three days of this event.
“You can meet up with leaders from Microsoft, at an event like E3, which is an incredible opportunity,” Baker said. “Having a team in the Collegiate Game Competition Finals could be a catalyst for the DAGD program’s advance into the top 10 schools nationally, for game design.”
Baker is attending the exposition with these students and alumni. On Saturday, June
9, they will tour the Los Angeles basin, to acclimate their group with the headquarters
for leading game manufacturers. Monday, June 10 will provide the Ferris group an opportunity
to visit Disney’s animation studios, with E3 activities beginning Tuesday, June 11.
PHOTO CAPTION: “Rad Goes to Hollywood” is the fanciful description of Ferris State University’s first involvement in the Collegiate Game Competition, an exclusive competition that is part of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which begins Tuesday, June 12 in Los Angeles, California.