Name: John Garcia
Worked on for: 12 months
Experience: I was recommended to reach out to Doris by a fellow colleague and classmate during my last year of my Masters in DePaul. Upon meeting Doris and attending the first game development meeting, every week was a fun and rewarding experience that validates the pursuit of a creative profession. Throughout the year working on 2D and 3D assets for Soteria, I had the great fortune of meeting new friends who were talented artists and programmers. While I still had my capstone class, as well as a day job to give my energy to, I made time to give maximum effort for the team. Though it was still technically work, being in a team of like minded, fun people renewed my energy levels on a weekly basis. Doris made sure we stayed on task and focused, but not at the sacrifice of enjoying the experience. This was definitely one of the highlights of my experience at DePaul, as the knowledge and friends I’ve made are sure to benefit me throughout my developing career as a professional animator and artist.
Name: Kathryn Grant
Project: Cities Mentor
Worked on for: 3 months
Experience: Students and faculty affiliated with Play 4 Change spent a series of Wednesdays at a Chicago Public School in Englewood in order to share their knowledge and teach children how to create a game that would illustrate some of the children’s own experiences. As luck would have it, the children who asked to be in the program turned out to be those the school administrators and teachers find the most challenging in the entire school. But, these children became deeply engaged in this learning opportunity and had fun in the process.
Name: William Guenette
Projects: For the Records: Into Darkness, Perfection
Worked on for: 1 Year
Experience: The Play for Change project “For the Records” gave me a chance to create something for more than just entertainment. It allowed me to try and push my boundaries of what I can accomplish with games. I became more educated on the struggles that come with trying to understand and communicate one’s mental health, as well as, how strong a game can be when it delivers well on a single person’s experience in our society. For the Records gave me insight into the struggles faced and successes possible when working across disciplines. I was introduced to invaluable people who I would never have learned from otherwise. Thanks to For the Records I design with more understanding of how the game will affect players. I now can lead teams with more trust and better communication. I am also able to better communicate my team’s ideas to the outside world. Play for Change showed me a side of Game Design I may never have enjoyed otherwise, and I am grateful for that.
Name: AJ Klopfenstein
Worked on for: 5 months
Experience: Through this project I learned a lot about development on a larger-scale team. Previously, all my experience has been in teams of less than 8 people, and Soteria’s development was a nice change of pace from that. It was certainly interesting to deal with changing design requirements and to adapt to the various changes in the code base, but I am glad I had the opportunity to work with the team. I really enjoyed the design challenge of creating levels that were intriguing for both video-game players and those who have little gaming experience, while avoiding any frustrating difficulty spikes.
Name: Diana Kogan
Worked on for: 1 year
Experience: Working with Play 4 Change has enabled me to grow as an artist and an individual. I’ve been able to finesse my skills with design while learning time management and organization. The Soteria art team was able to come together to create cohesive art effortlessly. All of the knowledge I’ve acquired along the way will definitely enable me to unlock the next level of development.
Name: Pierce McBride
Project: Into Darkness
Worked on for: 3 Months
Experience: I found working on a project like Into Darkness an expansive learning experience. The opportunity allowed me to expose myself to a different approach to games and the process of creating them. Into Darkness was a small game which focused on a few mechanics with metaphorical value and created an empathetic understanding of anxiety. It had a unique goal, but it took a great deal of thought to design what mechanics and what systems would help the player reach that empathetic understanding of anxiety. Being a part of the process showed me how many iterations and how much examination must be put into a game like Into Darkness to succeed. This process of focus and examination helped me in many trying times during my work in the industry.
Name: Jim Niemiec
Worked on for: 11 months
Experience:This experience has given me great insight into the many different ways to handle a team based project. Due to the fact that many projects this close to school are not paid, it tends to be difficult to hold someone accountable for their actions or lack thereof. There are many times when things are out of your control and you just have to roll with what you are dealt. Through Soteria I learned different ways to help the team and keep morale going. Working with such talented people creates a sense of pride and that helps people want to work together.