SGDA brings student gamers together

By Dominick Batchi

The Southern California Student Game Developers Alliance hosted their first-ever gaming summit.

The Game Design and Development Club at Cal Poly Pomona, led by fourth-year computer science student Kyle Turchik, constructed an alliance group with surrounding public universities located throughout California to build a community of people passionate about the gaming industry.

“We wanted to create a club that instilled the CPP philosophy of ‘Learn by Doing’ through something that we are extremely passionate about,” said Turchik.

He continued with explaining that “it’s not just a club where people gather for the purpose of seeing one another, but to network and work with each other on practicing our disciplines in game making.”

The SGDA, which created the event, was formed as a way of connecting to other universities who feel the same way.

Some of the schools represented included UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine.

Saturday’s summit began with an opening ceremony, greeting those who traveled near and far to attend the conference, followed by an informal introduction to the organizing team and committee chairs for putting on an event that brought people together for a day of networking and fun.

Khai Nguyen, a recent computer gaming science graduate from UCI, was in attendance.

“I heard of the summit through my game design club on campus and thought I would attend to hear from game industry professionals and attend a workshop,” said Nguyen.

Some of the students in attendance came to become more knowledgeable about the field they hope to be working in one day.

“I wanted to get involved in computer gaming science to create experiences for people to enjoy; I wanted to provide escapism,” said Nguyen, who was waiting for the end of opening ceremony.

He noted that he was also here to enjoy some of the many speakers from popular gaming companies, such as Blizzard Entertainment and Riot Games, who were there to give presentations on their careers.

The gaming showcase provided everyone with the opportunity to share their product with other students and creators.

Students were then able to play the games and give feedback.

“A lot of people overlook just how much work goes into a video game,” said John Canalita, a third-year computer science student at CPP.

Canalita was a video game player growing up until his hobby led him to creating his own video games.

As one of the volunteers who helped set up the summit, he believes that this community of game content creators “gives students the opportunity to learn and network with other people in the gaming industry.”

One of the most popular speakers at the summit was Andrew Robinson, senior animation writer for Blizzard Entertainment.

Robinson spoke to students about his career, which began in Hollywood as a script reader, development executive and talent manager.

His passion for science fiction and writing, however, led him to writing for animation shows.

Students roared in applause and awe when he told them his past work on animation included shows such as Dragon Tales and Young Justice.

Robinson now writes short stories, cinematics and comics for Blizzard Entertainment, with work such as the online multiplayer first-person shooter game, “Overwatch.”

The Game Design and Development Club’s mission and goal for this summit was to inspire people to pursue the things that they are passionate about.

In addition, the club hopes to erase the stigma that the gaming industry isn’t a legitimate career field or that it’s too hard to get into.

Turchik said, “I hope to be the person that leads others to find that thing that they have a passion and gift for.”

Students played games at the SDGA summit

Dominick Batchi / The Poly Post

Students played games at the SDGA summit

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