Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Looking Back from Home

The portion of the EMC team that traveled to Saint Lucia this past week has returned to Vermont. Our tests went well on our game being created with PMC and sponsored by the UNFPA. When I returned it was wonderful to be back in the crisp, snowy air of Vermont.
However our team shall not soon forget Saint Lucia. If you weren't able to follow our activities there pleas visit our sister blog: . Tonight as a final gift before the new year, I would like to post images that our EMC students, Ray McCarthy-Bergeron and volunteer photographer Jim Reda shot in Saint Lucia. Without further adieu here are the pics.
All our group shots are by Jim.

Jaden. Photo by Mollie Coons.

Football is life. Photo by Ann DeMarle.

Life: cars, goats, bars, and the internet. Photo by Jim Reda.

Light at Piton. Photo by Ray McCarthy-Bergeron.

Careful he bites: Alex. Photo by Ray McCarthy-Bergeron.

Photo by Joel Pelletier.

Jim with EC currency. Photo by Ray McCarthy-Bergeron.

Joel and Alex strategize pre-pizza at Dominos. Photo by Ann DeMarle.

Steve Beaulieu pulls an all-nighter finalize code before the tests.
Photo by Ray McCarthy-Bergeron

Enjoying the game tests. Photo by Steven Beaulieu.

Sunset. Photo by Alison Seffels.

Alex joins the impromptu football match at Vieux Fort. Photo by Amanda Jones.

Food Q ad A testing by Alison. Photo by Ray McCarthy-Bergeron.

The state of affairs. Photo by Ann DeMarle.

Volcanic boulders in the Caribbean. Photo by Ann DeMarle.

Ray plays king of the mountain. Photo by Ann DeMarle.

Hey Mikey, they like it! Photo by Ann DeMarle.

I say hello. Mollie and Dan. Photo by Ann DeMarle.

We are all in it together, we are sleepless at JFK. Photo by Ann DeMarle

Steve, Joel and Amanda at the Line on the Bay. Photo by Ann DeMarle.

Sunset and boat. Photo by Ray McCarthy-Bergeron.

Gateway. Photo by Ray McCarthy-Bergeron.

Me by Ray McCarthy-Bergeron

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mad with Activity

The Emergent Media Center at Champlain College has been mad with activity this last month- as I know many of you may have been as well. Students are working hard towards finals and those on the UN project to end violence against women have also been insanely working to complete the rough cut version of Episode I by the first of the year! Monday morning at 5:30AM, 12 of the 38+ team flew to St. Lucia to test the episode with 4 school groups in St. Lucia – down by Venezuela. I’ve personally been winterizing my home, packing for 80 degree weather, trying to get some holiday shopping done, and preparing proposals to continue funding the project. YIKES – it is a wonder we are all still sane!

Follow our progress in St. Lucia on our other blog at:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crunch Time before Christmas

Excuse a bit of copy and paste from our other blog but part of it is so relevant here:
"In the game industry "crunch time" is the "critical period of time in which it is neccesary to work hard and fast" usually before a final milestone or shipping. Here's a link to a fun definition in Urban Dictionary, read the first one: "
That is where we are at at the EMC this week through the holidays - or holly daze in this case. Students and faculty are busy due to the end of semester usual - you know final classes, papers, projects, exams! All crunched in with travel plans and end of year events but here we have even more on top of all the normal.

So just a bit of the highlights: We are promised to deliver Episode I of our game designed to address violence against women suitable for testing by the end of this month. At the same time, it is finals and the holiday season here. Everything is in high gear. The art team has planned a mass render of the poses and animations to be completed by early next week (did I mention they are still producing the poses and animations), the narrative team is realigning the storyline to encompasses a revised and powerful dynamic based on a conversation with UNFPA this week, the programmers will be incorporating the rendered art into the episode and the UI and storyboard team are pushing to get those designs completed as well. The marketing team is meeting with pros from game companies (EA,A2M) and the awesome design firm JDK to complete their market plan. The testing team is getting us set to travel to St. Lucia THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS to test the complete (cross my fingers) Episode I. Twelve of us fly out on the 14th return the 20th (not on a sleigh with reindeers either...when will we complete our holiday shopping? ).

On other fronts,the Masie team from Learning 2009 is packaging up assets so that they can be distributed to and shared by the Masie Consortium, VT Archelogy Museum is wrapping up, and the Info Lit team is reconstructing assets into Unity for potential delivery via iPhone.

All the while Sarah, Ray, Lauren, Ken and myself are completing everything else that goes hand in glove with this - proposals, year-end financials, server issues, planning (more in another post), industry visits (Microsoft and 38Studios), hosting an event on campus about violence against women, and presenting to the Dwight Asset Management to thank them for their support of the UN project.

Oh and one cool thing to share, we are in this month's Southwest Air's inflight magazine Spirit. Here's a link to the article written by Jay Heinrichs:
I love this quote from it:
"’s as close to heaven as a geek or gamer can get: dozens of high-end workstations, a conference room with Play-Doh for 3-D doodling, a big flat screen with a couch for game playing, and a disco ball for impromptu dancing."
Now all we need is Jack Skellington, Sally and Jack's dog Zero to serenade us through crunch!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Congrats Learning 2009 team on a big success!

Lots more pictures and updates!

Check out the tweets!

Here's a refreshing gadget of our Twitter backchannel!  Lots of conference goers are tweeting their support... and we GREATLY appreciate it!

Drum role please, one hour to go...GO TEAM!!!

Well the students are still working and it is 8:00am. Some of us got a bit of sleep. The designers, Alison and Heather, got three hours of sleep. The artist, Mike, got four hours sleep. The programmers took shifts. Bryan got two hours sleep. Jeremy got an hour and a half.

As for Sarah and myself, we got three hours sleep and Ray I believe got one.

SO where are we. Well we may have the two apps - not totally completed. Scope was got back and there are some work arounds. But I'm not dissparing. Here's a video from late last night.

About 8 hours left...

Time is ticking down and our eye lids are getting heavier and heavier! It has been a very full and productive day!
This morning we had the wonderful opportunity to hear Captain "Sully" Sullenberger III ( the captain who safely landed the jet in the Hudson!). He epitomized the essence of who we wish our students could become—thoughtful, well-read, creative, skilled professionals—able to make the best decisions fluidly under extreme pressure. Here is one of his quotes "A smart person learns from his own experience, a wise person learns from others’ experience and the whole society benefits."
Yesterday Alison was able to be included in a private conversation with Malcolm Gladwell - and I was also able to meet him. A quote from his conversation with Elliott "Success the opportunity to engage in meaningful work."

Well working is what we are all up to. Sarah has been on top of our twitter posts and photo documentation. Ray and I gave our presentation on "Smart Design for Smart Apps on Smart Phones". We had a full room designing phone apps to instruct how to make coffee. Also today the students presented live how far they have come on their app and Pres. Finney was on stage fielding Elliott's questions about the experience.
Well it is 1:24am and Bryan and Jeremy are still coding the first app. Mike is finalizing the art for the second app. Heather is planning for tomorrow's presentation. The rest of us are up late keeping the team together. Various conference goers - now finished dancing to the Beatles cover band "Fab Faux" and a great DJ pass by and offer encouragement. The students will be on early this morning - hopefully with two complete apps - we shall see!

Monday, November 9, 2009

11:34 PM and they're still at it!

The evening is winding down for most of the conference goers at Learning 2009 but the Champlain team is still at work. Here's a video update from this evening around 7:00PM.

One hour to go to demoing first look at mobile app!

The students are working very fluidly on developing the first pass at their first mobile app to be presented at 4:00. This morning they presented their concept for the "Onboarding" app before the assembled 1300 Masie attendees. The audience responded to their youthful enthusiasm and their identification of the central framing concept. The students identified "story" as key both from the new hire sharing their skills, progress and future dream "position" and the corporation sharing the mission, structure, history, architecture, and culture.

The coders are working in concert, the designers are mapping out the detailed plans, and the artist is designing the icons and screen layout.

As I write two other outreaches are occurring. Pres. Finney is doing an excellent job on a panel about "Reskilling". He is being very candid about the strengths and weaknesses universities and colleges have at working with corporations. As he does so he is defining what the role of colleges are in a rapidly changing corporate environment - and how colleges can lead in developing both the individual and the opportunities for this changing landscape. "There is no cookbook for leadership."

The other outreach is also a conversation - one I cannot yet report on. Elliott Masie ask if one of the designers could particpate in a small private conversation with author Malcolm Gladwell! Student designer Alison Seffels was selected over Heather Conover - through winning in a gamer-inspired diplomatic style -rock-paper-scissor format.

Till later!

Elliott Masie Learning 2009

Ah its November and the Champlain College Emergent Media Center team is in Orlando again. This means that we are very fortunate to have been invited once again for an amazing live experiment at the Masie Learning 2009!

We are part of an incredible conference that includes Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point), Betsy Myers (COO of Pres. Obama's team), Julie Clow (Google), Laura Fitton (Twitter for Dummies), and our mentor John Abele (founder of Boston Scientific).

Our team this year consists of five: two game design students Heather Conover and Alison Seffels, two programmers Jeremy Burau and Bryan Hare, and one artist Mike Ackerman. Mike is working under extreme pressure as I write to get a graphic to the Masie team before the morning general session.

Also here with me are Ray McCarthy-Bergeron, Sarah Jerger and President Dave Finney. Sarah, Ray and my job is as the pit crew! We are not allowed to touch their keyboards or feed ideas. We can help frame ideas, field questions, interact with attendees, act as liaison to Elliott's team, and deliver food and beverages.

Last night the team was given their challenge. Here's the video from that:

Wish us good luck and you can follow us on Twitter @CClearns and EMC's Facebook as we move ahead. Less than 72 hours to complete.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Come do a little thing that’s powering BIG change!

is holding a fundraising

THIS WEEK! Wednesday – Friday, November 4-6
11 am – 2pm
IDX Atrium, outside the dining hall on Champlain College campus

Come do a little thing that’s powering BIG change!
(And get some holiday shopping done while you’re at it!)

Raffle ticket pricing:
Top-level prizes, tickets cost: $5 for 1 ticket or $20 for 5 tickets
Other prizes, tickets cost: $1 for 1 ticket or $5 for 10 tickets.

… And for $0.25, you can have a spin on our PRIZE WHEEL and win:
• Movie tickets
Pizza Putt Passes for laser tag, mini golf, and pizza
• Jazzman’s gift certificates
• Free raffle tickets

For pictures of prizes and more information, please visit our Facebook event.
Follow us on Twitter for updates!

Empowering Play is a project of the Emergent Media Center, with collaboration from Population Media Center and the United Nations Population Fund. This innovative project is aimed at preventing violence against women and girls. Violence against women and girls is a pervasive global problem, often deeply rooted in cultural stereotypes. More information on the project and the Emergent Media Center can be found at

Also, check out our newest video (10 minutes) on the status of the project.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

They did the MONSTER MASH!

Happy Halloween!!!!!!

Ghoulishly yours,
The EMC Staff: Ann, Ray, Sarah, Ken & Lauren

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Come geek out with us!

Come check us and lots of other creative/tech companies out at the Vermont 3.0 Innovation Jam on Monday!

Sheraton Burlington 10 am - 6pm, free admission!

We'll also be handing out information about 2 positions we are currently hiring for to work on the Empowering Play (UN) Project.
If you want to see what we've been up to lately, check out the latest "Stuck in Vermont" video blog by Seven Days' Eva Sollberger.  Wooohoo!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Come One, Come All!

It was a year ago that the EMC team moved into the Winooski Mill after returning from our research trip to South Africa for our UNFPA game project to end violence against women. A year ago that we bagan on our project with Dr. Peter Bingham on two concept games for children with Cystic Fibrosis! A year ago that we were working on the Google Earth Project to map the Champlain campus core - which eventually led to mapping downtown Burlington for the City of Burlington. In the past year we've worked with approximately 100+ students on a variety of projects.

Today and tomorrow we're inviting every reader in the Burlington vicinity to see all the wonderful work at the Art Hop! Champlain College is co-sponsoring it this year. So not only can you view the digital products of the EMC but also student and faculty art work. Here's the details:
Reception: Friday, September 11th, 5:30–8pm Art, entertainment, food and beverages will be provided tonight only! We are also open on Saturday, September 12th, 10-5.
Where: Champlain Valley Millworks, 16 Kilburn Street.

For a bit more press, you can see or hear about the Art Hop and more at these digital locations:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shhh! We're Working Here!

Shhhh! Its been busily quiet here at the EMC this afternoon. Ray and Ken are out, Lauren's not here today either, leaving just Sarah and myself behind the "glass".
There have been about 15 students silently, thoughtfully working away. It's a funny thing —I'm so fond of each one of them. I can recognize their hopes, their anxieties, their passions, and most importantly their spirits and bright shining intelligence.
I am remembering those likewise who worked so diligently and played so hard here. I was first prompted by a college meeting about our grads and their employment out of EMC.
To note is that to date we’ve worked with roughly 130 students since start-up (2 years). This summer we had a full house with approximately 30 students working on 6 projects all summer long. This Fall many of those projects will end but we have a number of others that will continue.
So here's our grads:
  • Kate Baxter, ’09 Software Engineering, is a Junior Programmer at 2K Boston and recently returned from doing a “sea-mester” abroad sailing the Caribbean for 40 days in a program focused on leadership, communication and experiential education. Kate began with the original IBM project, joined the second IBM project, and then our UN team. She was also a Governor's Institue of Vermont in Information Technology (GIV IT)resident advisor.
  • Emily Benton, '09 Game Art & Animation is working freelance on art for Disney. Emily was the artist on the original Masie Learning 2007 conference and then the MPI: Meet Different conference. She was also a GIV IT resident advisor.
  • Dan Bergeron, ’09 Marketing, is working as an Account Manager at 800response. Dan was on our UN project as a market researcher and first identified soccer as the unifying cultural theme!
  • Corey Cunha, ’09 Software Engineering, is working as a Developer at EF Educational Tours in Boston. Corey programmed on our CIMIT and Cystic Fibrosis projects.
  • Casey Hopkins, ’09 E-Business, is a SEO Analyst at . Casey was on our UN project as a researcher traveling with us to South Africa.
  • Wes Knee, ’09 Game Art & Animation, is interning as a 3D Infographiste at Mistic Software in Montreal working on art for Nintendo DS games. Wes was on almost everything to include America's Army, Info Lit, CIMIT, the various Masie, CIMIT and MPI conferences, and the UN project to include presenting at MIGS last year on the UN project - that's where his current employer saw him first. He was also a GIV IT resident advisor.
  • Lauren Nishikawa, '09 Game Design, both ourselves and Amanda Crispel (Hoozinga) scooped her up. She's the Junior Creative Director for our Empowering Play (UN) Project. Lauren just was on EVERYTHING and was the first recipient of our EMC Interstellar Award. She was also a GIV IT resident advisor.
  • Iain Bissett, ’08 Game Design, is working at 3DVIA in Boston and has a great blog documenting his professional life: Iain was our writer/designer on the first IBM interactive project.
  • Renee Gillett, ’08 Game Design is an interactive designer at the Museum of Science in Boston – creating games for the museum’s exhibits. Renee participated in many demonstrations - to include the original Game Change Summit in Kingbridge where she first met her future employers.
  • Tim Hamel, ’08 Game Design and 3D Art & Animation, is working as a Level Designer at Vicarious Visions and has worked on the Transformers games among others. Tim worked on various projects to include the original IBM interactive and was first leader of our student chapter of the IGDA.
  • Nick Malatuma, '08 Game Art & Animation, is working as an artist at the EMC on our UN project to End Violence Against Women. That's him below with some of his incredible artwork!
So here's to our students - past and present. They have built the EMC right along with us. They are our bright future!