Jed Merrill, Producer/Game Designer

Week 5

February 10 and 12, 2015.

From the syllabus:  “Finish prototype and pitch. Industry panel on Feb 12 in the evening. Pitches.”

Tuesday is a whirlwind, as we prepare our industry panel pitch and prototype, and the hard work continues until Thursday. Eric and I work on a one sheet for the panel that almost doesn’t get printed due to printer errors and a long queue of other teams trying to do the same thing.

Several of us have either colds or are getting over the flu, so Eric and I agree to present for the team. At the last minute, we decide to have everyone on the team stand with us. We want Ahmad to talk about neural networks and other technical aspects of the simulation/game. Eric shares a prototype compilation video he puts together in After Effects, and I talk about my meeting with POST, the Police Standards and Training operation located on the campus of Salt Lake Community College, which oversees all nine Utah police academies. Their support is critical to our project, and they tell me they want to implement our solution in all nine academies if it is up to standard. I think that makes an impression on the panel.

After a brief question and answer period, I speak one-on-one with various industry panel members including Donald Mustard, co-founder of Chair, the studio behind Infinity Blade. I tell him I read and enjoyed the Brandon Sanderson novel adaptations of Infinity Blade last month. I also ask about Apple’s presentation standards when he presents at one of their conferences, and he says he and other developers are often locked in a room for a week beforehand, practicing, preparing improved spec versions of their products, and for the practical purpose of preventing last minute leaks of the specs of Apple’s latest hardware, which he sometimes gets to try even before their VP’s. Some of those invited to speak are cut before they present, but he has never been, and has even turned down speaking opportunities when they did not align with the current goals of his company. Chair is working on a secret project at the moment, but will continue to support iOS. He says Epic Games bought Chair a few years ago because Chair’s games help them sell a lot of Unreal engines.

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