GameFest 2016 : April 29 + 30, EMPAC @ RPI


Friday April 29

Algorave 0x0F

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Tech Valley Center of Gravity

Local live coding and performance talent with a variety of sound & visual software and hardware. Featuring:

Leying Hu

Kelly Michael Fox

Jeremy Stewart

Ryan Ross Smith

Obi-Wan Codenobi

Rob Hamilton

Kurt Werner



Saturday April 30

Student Game Design Showcase and Competition

EMPAC 7th floor Lobby, Studio 1, Studio 2, and Evelyn’s Cafe
noon – 3:00 PM

Checkout the Participants page


Break & MicroTalks

Evelyn’s Cafe
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Sam Kasura
Why Gamers Actually Don’t Want Change

Dom Cristaldi and Julius Lee
Animation Technology in Shotgun Gladiators

Bryce Miller and Jacob Schatz
Talking Atlas Live: Magic Lessons

David Koloski
Designing UI Systems

Julius Lee
Mocap Today: Report from GDC

Jacob Schatz
Mediums Well Done: Knowing Your Online Audience


Keynote 1: Ruth West

EMPAC Theater
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Art + Science + Data = Immersion

We face a crisis of representation. Whether generated by terrestrial observatories, automated genomic sequencing, social media, high-resolution sub-cellular imaging, surveillance video, financial transactions, or the emerging “quantified self” movement “big data,” is here to stay. The richness of these massive repositories is such that we can generate an enormous amount of interpretations to address human concerns spanning the personal to the global over an equally wide range of domains. Yet the abstraction of nature and culture into vast data present challenges for the articulation and representation of linkages between the invisible and the visible – the immaterial scale of digital artifacts and the physical scales and dynamic states they represent. In this context the narratives framing data creation and representation circumscribe what we can see and know, and how we see and know. How do we see and know beyond what our instruments, algorithms, representational schemas and training guide us to see and know? How do we look for what we don’t know we’re looking for when we can only examine at most a fraction of the available data? In this talk I’ll discuss some work interrogating these challenges within cross-disciplinary art-science collaborations to create novel ways of seeing and new ways of knowing leading to innovative types of engagement, insight, and cultural forms through hybrid research that blurs boundaries between disciplines in purposeful and productive ways.

Ruth West is an artist and researcher. Her work envisions a future in which art + science integration opens new portals of imagination, creative expression, invention, knowledge, and communication across cultures. Bridging high-dimensional data and metadata, information visualization and sonification, virtual and augmented reality, 3D fabrication, and social and mobile participatory media with domains such as urban ecology, neuroscience, genomics, astronomy and digital remix culture, she explores avenues for achieving works with multiple entry points that can exist concurrently as aesthetic experiences, artistic practice or cultural interventions and serve as the basis for artistically-impelled scientific inquiry and tools. Ruth directs the xREZ Art + Science Lab and is an associate professor at the University of North Texas cross-appointed in the College of Visual Art and Design, College of Information, College of Engineering, and College of Arts and Sciences. She has authored over 75+ peer-reviewed, publications and conference presentations. Ruth’s work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, FILE Festival Sao Paulo, ACM SIGGRAPH, WIRED Magazine’s NextFest, National Academy of Sciences Keck Futures Initiative, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, UCLA Fowler Museum, IEEE Visualization, SPIE/IS&T ERVR, MIT Press Leonardo Journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, NPR’s The Connection, NY Times, Genome News Network, AMINIMA and Artweek.

Keynote 2: Theresa Duringer

EMPAC Theater
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Game Design for VR Pioneers Using Lessons Learned from Web 1.0

Remember Geocities?  You might not, but the web used to be a funny place.  There was a lot of gimmicky clutter.  There were blink tags and spinning animations and the scrolling marquees everywhere.  It was pretty cringey.  Well, that’s where we’re at in VR.  The point of a lot of that Geocities cruft was to draw your attention to a feature on the website, but eventually standardization reduced the need for these gimmicky attraction techniques.  Once the login button was established in the upper right, developers could calm down on the eye catching effects, users just knew to look there. In VR we don’t have that standardization, and we’re seeing a lot of similar gimmicks.  This isn’t bad; it’s part of a necessary adolescent stage in this emerging field.  Eventually, guestbooks became comments, became Facebook and Reddit.  Under construction gifs, became beta tags, became move fast and break things, became ‘thats just how the internet works.’  The messy pool of techniques we’re generating now will give rise to the standards that will allow for cleaner design.  Join this talk to find out how to reduce clutter and hone in on elegant design using lessons learned from 1.0 technologies.


Theresa Duringer is the CEO of Temple Gates Games, maker of the multi-award winning VR game Bazaar.   After working on several AAA titles including Sim City, Spore, and the Sims, she set off on a wild indie adventure and co-created Cannon Brawl.  This artillery RTS gained traction on PC and is in development for Xbox and Playstation.  Her focus is now in VR, and her debut title, Bazaar has launched on Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.  With an educational background in neuroscience and a decade of experience in game development, her work has been standout in employing optical illusions to achieve elegant UI in VR.




Award Ceremony

EMPAC Theater
6:00 PM