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The IMGD Masterclass is more than a lecture—it’s a chance to make something under the tutelage of an industry professional. The masterclasses are free, not-for-credit classes with industry professionals. We take only 10 students on a first come, first served basis with preference given to grads then upperclassmen. Most masterclasses take place over two nights. They are a chance for students to try their hand at some aspect of the industry and receive one-on-one critique with an expert in their field.

Past Masterclasses

  • Adaptation in Game Design: Stealing FTW

    From historical battles to beloved fantasy settings, adaptation runs through the heart of the video games industry. And not superficially either. In this master class, try your hand at adaptation and learn how adaptation can serve as the vital thread binding the different aspects of a game into a singular and potent experience. While storytelling will certainly be a focus, be prepared to consider the concept of adaptation more broadly: as historical recreation, as simulation, and in terms of abstract design theory.

    Ben Schneider is an eighteen-year veteran of the games industry who has worked on strategy games (Empire Earth and Dawn of War) and role-playing games (Titan Quest and Lord of the Rings Online, among others). But he is actually a multi-classed book and game nerd, and loves almost nothing as much as talking about how storytelling relates to games, and games relate to storytelling.

  • New Games the Old Fashioned Way

    Make a Game Boy Advance game in a week! Learn how archaic hardware, goofy game ideas, and outdated tropes can help you to create a novel and surprising game instead of just another Unity puzzle platformer. Participants will come away with a love/hate relationship with assembly language, an appreciation for the work of their elders (who are we kidding here?!), and a quirky demo game for the original Game Boy.

    Greg Kinneman, IMGD/CS 2010, is a network engineer and game developer working in Boston. He has shipped AAA titles with Tencent Boston, Obsidian Entertainment, and Harmonix Music Systems. He has organized the BFIG Game Jam, spoken regularly at the Game Loop unconference, and was awarded Runner Up Online Game in the MassDiGI challenge. He listens to The Secret of Psalm 46 at least once per year and is easily bribed with quality vegetarian food.

  • Storytelling and Games: From the Beginning of Time to the Far Future

    Video games represent the latest step in the human tradition of storytelling. From our primitive ancestors to the present day, we will explore the media and methods our species has used to communicate information and how all these forms are brought together in modern games. Followed by a faster-than-light game jam for the inaugural issue of Galactic Explorer Magazine.

    C.J. Kershner is the head of Polyhedron Productions, an independent studio and narrative consultancy. By the time you read this, he will have (hopefully) finished work on a point-and-click adventure produced and set in the Middle East. Previously, he was nominated for a WGA Award for a game about stabbing people in Victorian London, wrote part of a game where players shot endangered animals in the Himalayas for a fashion show, and wrote another game in which the United States was conquered by North Korea. He likes to hike, drink, and collect books. He hates social media.

  • This Game Runs Like Crap! Profiling and Analysis of a Graphics Application

    Graphics heavy applications (games, mostly) are hungry creatures. They tend to eat up whatever memory, power, CPU & GPU time you throw at them and still want more. The brute force approach to improving performance is to buy better hardware, but what if you're a broke college student and stuck with the system you have for the near future or perhaps you're a developer who cares about the broke college student? This class aims to give you an introduction to the typical approach and types of tools used to profile and improve graphics application performance.

    Chris Cenotti is a software developer at AMD working primarily on graphics drivers for Windows.  His professional experience has been focused on embedded devices and other applications that interact with hardware, including medical devices, hand held games and graphics cards. He graduated from WPI in 2002/2003 with bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Theater. He's also an avid gamer and is contemplating going pro in Rocket League.