These days, it seems like everyone plays video games, whether it’s on a phone or with a virtual reality visor strapped to their face.
However, making those games remains as challenging as ever, as technology skyrockets and projects expand in scope and complexity. Luckily, would-be game designers and battle-hardened veterans alike can get their questions answered at the LSU Video Game Symposium on Friday, one half of this year’s two-weekend-long Red Stick International Festival.
“The 2016 LSU Video Game Symposium is a series of panels, group discussions and presentations with industry professionals such as the creators of ‘Halo,’ ‘FIFA,’ ‘Star Wars X-Wing’ and ‘Guild Wars 2,’ ” said Red Stick organizer Randy Dannenberg.
To Dannenberg, Red Stick is more than just a festival. It’s an important economic development tool for Baton’s Rouge’s small but growing video game scene.
“If you look at Austin, (Texas), 30 years ago, it was very much like Baton Rouge is today,” Dannenberg said. “Our goal with the Red Stick International Festival is to grow into a mini SXSW type of festival and help our burgeoning tech sector, much like SXSW helped to grow Austin’s tech industry.”
To be the best, one must learn from the best — so, the Symposium offers presentations from industry professionals on topics such as art, engineering, building a work ethic, learning lessons from making a bad game and the current role of programmers.
“Guild Wars 2” sound designer and Foley artist Drew Cady tackles the challenges of sound design in virtual reality and augmented reality films in his presentation on Friday. Cady will explain the logistics of a multi-engine project that mixes live-action and CGI footage.
“You have to get that stuff figured out so that you can focus on your art. Otherwise, you’ll waste time,” Cady said. “It was important to me to shed some light on that, and hopefully, save other people’s sanity and time.”
Cady explained his process for crafting strange and visceral sounds required to make the fantastical world, weapons and creatures of “Guild Wars” come alive.
“We had one boss that was kind of a spirit dragon with nine tongues and no bottom jaw,” Cady said. “He’s just a disgusting guy. So to come up with sounds, I actually made a practical Foley, a giant four-foot bellows. Which is kind of absurd, but that’s what you do in my line of work. … I made a PVC trap and filled it with Jell-O to get this slopping of phlegm with the wind, and then we did some gutturals on top of that. … It’s disgusting but perfect.”
Whether you want to learn how to make noises like that or manage a remote team or nail an interview, this year’s Red Stick and LSU Video Game Symposium has the answers. And all events are free and open to the public.
“If you are considering a career in the video game industry, it’s a must-see event,” Dannenberg said.
For more info on the festival, go to redstickfestival.org.