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Game Developers Week 2018 is finally here! You’ll find professionals from the gaming industry in Donald Bren Hall, room 6011, Tuesday through Friday evening. So if you’re interested in learning more about life in the gaming industry, you won’t want to miss this series of talks.

Tuesday: Tim Ford and Jonathan Rucker
Tim Ford, a lead software engineer at Blizzard working on “Overwatch,” will open the series at 6 p.m. on May 22 by sharing his own experiences in becoming a gameplay engineer. Then, at 7 p.m., Jonathan Rucker, a software engine programmer at Blind Squirrel, will discuss topics related to concurrency, or threading.

Wednesday: Kevin Martens and Priscilla Landerer
The second night, May 23, starts at 6 p.m. with Kevin Martens, a lead designer at Blizzard. Martens, a principal designer on the “World of Warcraft” team, will cover production and team management on a smaller scale. Following Martens, at 7 p.m., is Priscilla Landerer, a character artist from High Moon Studios. Landerer, who is passionate about involving more women in the industry, will talk about how she got into the industry and will share tips on what makes a good portfolio.

Thursday: Nikki Crenshaw and Earl Baylon
UCI alumna Nikki Crenshaw takes the stage at 6 p.m. on May 24. The associate UX researcher from Blizzard, who received her Ph.D. from UCI’s Department of Informatics in 2017, will explain how user-first thinking can not only improve the user experience, but also push the boundaries of design and offer new insights into how players use your products. Then, at 7 p.m., Earl Baylon, a voice actor whose game work includes “Tomb Raider,” will talk about what it’s like to work with voice overs in games.

Friday: Brian MacIntosh and Jo “Fearless” Graylock
The final night, May 25, features another UCI alumnus, Brian MacIntosh, who worked on an indie title with Anteater Games called Camera Obscura. MacIntosh is now a programmer at Obsidian Entertainment, whose notable titles include the “Pillars of Eternity” series. Closing out the series at 7 p.m. will be Jo “Fearless” Graylock, a senior designer at Riot Games who has worked on titles such as “South Park: The Stick of Truth.” Graylock will review the unique challenges of working on a game like League of Legends, where fan input and experience can be a factor in how the team decides to move forward.

Video Game Development Club
RSVP to attend the talks and guarantee your free slice of pizza each night! The talks are free but parking is $2 per hour or $10 per day. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about game development or in finding out about other networking events, be sure to check out UCI’s Video Game Development Club (VGDC), which is hosting the series of talks.

— Shani Murray