On September 18, 2010 about 30 game enthusiasts gathered in the Dragon’s Den at Cogswell College to share stories and reconnect with friends old and new. With it’s 10th president recently elected, the Cogswell Game Development Club celebrated it’s decade long existence by inviting back all of the past presidents for a panel. The newly elected president, Cogswell student Nick Lindberg, moderated. During the event, many questions were asked and many stories told. Here are some of the highlights:
Question: What happened during each presidency and how it differ from the previous president?
Answer: The first 3 presidents (Ash Monif, Greg Reisdorf and Steve Foot) tried to make larger games, either mods or with writing their own game engine. During Austin Ivansmith’s presidency, he tried recreating an existing game. For the next two years (presidents Danny Johnson and Jeremy Welch), smaller games were concentrated on – particularly by using Game Maker and similar applications. Tobiah Marks’ presidency was more one of creating an environment that helped small teams of people create their own game ideas. The next two years after (presidents Josh Cogswell and Brody Brooks) went back to more game creation using Game Maker and the like. Currently the club is trying to get back to somewhat like how it was in the beginning.
Question: What mistakes were made and what were the lessons learned?
Answer: The presidents took turns making suggestions which included: bribe people with pizza, keep the scope small, display what you’re working on and show it off at school events, do what you can and keep researching what you don’t know.
The presidents offered their observations about how the interaction with the rest of the school changed over the course of time – both staff and faculty (i.e. game classes) – during their presidencies. Most of the earlier presidents were met with skepticism about the value of the club and concern that it would interfere with what teachers were trying to teach whereas later presidents received more support from the school in the way of resources including a room for the club and an understanding that the club reinforced what students learned in the classroom.
The presidents also discussed how the club helped them get into the game industry, which was mostly by having a portfolio and knowing how to work well on a team. Currently the presidents are employed as follows:
Ash Monif – Subatomic Studios
Greg Reisdorf – Sledgehammer Games
Steve Foot – WayForward Technologies
Austin Ivansmith – WayForward Technologies
Danny Johnson -Gaijin Games
Jeremy Welch – Maxis
Tobiah Marks – Yobonja
Josh Cogswell – Rhythm & Hues
Brody Brooks – student at Cogswell
Nick Lindberg – student at Cogswell
See all of the photos at http://www.cogswellalumni.com/10yearsgameclub
-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement