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Join the Game Jam

April 24, 2017

Award-winning, London-based independent game developer and international man of mystery, Robin Baumgarten, will arrive at Westphal in the first week of May for a busy schedule of visiting classes, leading a weekend-long student game jam workshop, and delivering a public presentation. Since 2011, Baumgarten has run his own independent mobile game development studio focused on innovative multiplayer and AI-based games, and has branched out into experimental hardware prototypes. His work has been featured in top industry media outlets including Verge, Gizmodo, the Guardian, and Rock Paper Shotgun. He's been showcased at dozens of events worldwide where he has walked away with such awards as an A MAZE Berlin 2015's WTF?! Award and Audience Award for his Line Wobbler; Develop Conference Brighton Game Jam's Most Original Idea in 2014; and Royal Society's Best Game (Public Choice) in 2013. He holds degrees in mathematics and computer science, with a master's degree in advanced computing from Imperial College London. His PhD research involves machine learning and clustering to adapt computer games automatically.

While Baumgarten is on campus, he'll be hosting the Playful Interfaces to Smart Spaces: Escape Room Game Jam, a weekend long event that gathers creatives, programmers, game developers and writers to plan, design, and create with a top-secret mission in mind to complete. At the jumpstart meeting on Friday, May 5, the topic will be introduced (hint: it has to do with Drexel's Smart House mission). Come Saturday morning, students from across Drexel University will apply their combined skillsets in teams including our Digital Media and Product Design students, with interdisciplinary additions from the Colleges of Computing & Informatics, Engineering, and more. Participants will utilize provided materials including Arduino boards, RGB LEDs, a variety of sensors, buttons, switches, game engines, and soldering – and tech support will be on hand to help participants push their known boundaries.

On Monday, join the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Philadelphia's Chapter for their inaugural meeting in the URBN Annex, where you'll have the opportunity to meet with local and regional game developers. IGDA will then turn over the floor to Baumgarten, who will give a public lecture highlighting the game jam results and covering his independent work with observations on the gaming communities he has visited around the world. Immediately following Baumgarten's talk, audience members will head over to the Smart House for the Escape Room challenge, that will feature the results created by the game jam participants and encourages the public to interact with these mysterious and yet-to-be-created devices. Playful Interfaces to Smart Spaces events are sponsored by Westphal’s Rankin Artist-in-Residence program, with additional funding from the ExCITe Center’s Smart Initiatives Seed Fund. Registration for the game jam is open to Drexel students. The IGDA meeting, Baumgarten’s lecture, and the Smart House Escape Room Experience are free and open to the public. 


Game Jam: Fri., May 5-Sun. May 7 // Drexel Smart House, URBN Labs & Fabrication Facilities // Drexel Students Register Here

IGDA Meeting: Mon., May 8 // 5:15-6:30PM // URBN Annex Screening Room // Free & open to the public

Lecture: Mon., May 8 // 6:30-7:30PM // URBN Annex Screening Room // Free & open to the public

Escape Room Experience: Mon., May 8 // 7:30-9:30PM // Drexel Smart House // Free & open to the public