On Tuesday night, the Viterbi School of Engineering hosted the Information Technology Program Game Industry Career Night in the Ronald Tutor Hall which featured a panel of gaming professionals with years of experience in the industry.Tom Sloper, video game designer and producer who has taught in the ITP department at USC for the past seven years, moderated the event. Panelists discussed a range of topics such as synthesizing creativity within programs and motivating yourself while creating large projects.Sloper started working for Activision in 1988 and has worked on projects for Atari and Sega, as well as doing freelance games for Xbox Live and Nintendo DS.David Dalzell works for Treyarch as the Principle Technical Artist. He began working at Activision 20 years ago and has worked on games such as Call of Duty. He worked in the corporate and publishing sectors of the company and now does game scripting.“My job right now has a bunch of artists, designers and animators who make content and my job is to make all the stuff fit on the plastic disc,” David said.Dalzell said he was always interested in doing art on the computer, but joining a large gaming company was a career he did not anticipate.“The adaptability part is important,” David said. “You have to be able to change jobs very quickly because you will do 20 or 30 different things.”Game designer Karen McMullen got an invitation to visit Ensemble Studios, which has produced games like Age of Empires and Halo, while interning for an architecture firm out of college. Inspired by the facility, she started learning 3D art and within three months, the studio’s executive producer had her build a game level that eventually launched into a massive campaign. She worked there for 10 years.“Architecture prepared me well for that career,” McMullen said. “When you get opportunities like that, grab them.”Currently, McMullen teaches at the Los Angeles film school and stressed the importance of the people you meet rather than each individual project.“The people you work with are gong to be more important than any project you work on,” McMullen said. “Beyond that, you have to love what you do.”Jeffrey Buchanan, who worked at the Department of Defense with technology such as the eight-inch gun system and weapon systems on standard ships, designed some of the first virtual fighter games and worked with Sega in Japan. He stressed the importance of staying committed to a project, which can often be exhausting and require hundreds of thousands of hours.“When you start a project, do your best to finish what you start,” Buchanan said. “Don’t burn bridges. Hang in there. Get the project done. Get that project on your resume and keep the friendships you make.”Bill Black began working in the music business and has worked on sound effects design and directing voiceovers. He worked on an exclusive contract with Activision from 1993 to 2001 and a company in Irvine that designed World of Warcraft.“My early experiences really helped me learn everything such as animation, programming, production and all the areas of art,” Black said. “I really learned end-to-end development.”Panelists gave their advice on balancing creativity, technical knowledge and connections.“When you get older, it’s more about experience than the technical skill,” Black said. “You get to a point where you have to manage that next generation; you’re more valuable; your wisdom, experience, knowledge and contacts in the industry are more important than you actually doing the job.”Dalzell described synthesizing creativity with the logistics of translating that onto a program.“The main task of making games is solving problems,” Dalzell said. “Lots of people start [making games] as artists with creative ideas … once you learn how to get things in the game and you make it less [sic] complicated.”McMullen said the industry has been incredibly self-motivating and rewarding for her.“I’ve found being more technical empowering,” McMullen said. “I ask myself, ‘How do I get this in the game?’ Well, I figure it out.”The panelists told attendants to anticipate the stress of a project’s “crunch time,” the time when a company deadline is fast approaching, and to expect some disastrous projects as well as immensely successful ones.“The difference between the nightmare project and a project that’s just hard is the success of a project,” David said. “When you’ve worked seven days a week and 20 hours a day and it doesn’t go anywhere, that’s pretty awful. When I worked on the last Call of Duty, it was completely worth it because people knew about it.”Buchanan advised students not to get discouraged by difficult or unsuccessful projects.“Sometimes you’ll work really hard on a project and just like anything in life, the pieces just might not all fit together,” Buchanan said. “You did your best; be proud of your work and know the work you put into it.”McMullen urged students to continually work on gaming projects throughout their careers, even if only for personal practice.“Never stop making games,” McMullen said. “You should always have games that you’re kicking around and showing people for fun.”The panel concluded with a Q&A where students had the opportunity to ask questions about gaming.“I want to get into the game industry, so it was useful to hear firsthand from professionals about their opinions on the industry and get their background about how they got involved,” said Zach Hyter, a senior majoring in natural sciences and minoring in video game design.Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the name of one panelist is Jeffrey Ken. His name is actually Jeffrey Buchanan. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.
Related Stories Syracuse football position battle to watch, No. 1: Backup quarterbackSyracuse football preseason storylines, No. 1: How Syracuse adapts to Dino Babers’ spread offenseSyracuse football position battle to watch, No. 2: Defensive endSyracuse football preseason player file No. 3: Antwan CordySyracuse football position battle to watch, No. 3: Michael Lasker vs. Cody Conway Published on August 5, 2016 at 9:55 am Contact Jon: email@example.com | @jmettus Syracuse football training camp opens Saturday. The Daily Orange beat writers, Chris Libonati, Jon Mettus and Matt Schneidman, analyzed the top 10 preseason storylines and top 10 position battle heading into camp. Here are the final three of 10 player files in the series. Check out dailyorange.com and follow along here to countdown to camp.Chris SlaytonPosition: Defensive tackleYear: Redshirt sophomoreHt.: 6-4Wt.: 296Chris Slayton is the only returning defensive tackle from 2015 — he was just one of two on the roster. So it’s no surprise that he’s in line to be the starter at that spot in the coming season.He’s made a name for himself as one of the strongest players on the team and showed vast improvement prior to training camp last year, according to former defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMORE PRESEASON PLAYER FILES:No. 3: Antwan CordyNo. 4: Dontae StricklandNo. 5: Zaire FranklinNo. 6: Steve Ishmael Slayton played in all 12 games during the 2015 campaign, starting five of them. He finished with 22 tackles (14 solo) and was fourth on the team with six tackles for loss.He was a standout during the spring football game with six tackles, three for loss, and a sack.Slayton is the only returning defensive lineman to record a sack last year and the Tampa 2 will require even more disruption created by Slayton and the defensive line. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+