Intel Sponsors Students and Indies at the 2016 D.I.C.E. Summit

At the recent 2016 D.I.C.E. Summit, Intel made huge contributions to help the game development industry with its initiatives to help students and indie developers. The D.I.C.E. Summit is the annual North American summit of the game industry, held February 16-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Intel was once again a sponsor of the event.

Intel partnered with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) for the third year in a row to provide outstanding students with registration, accommodations, and airfare to attend this premium industry event. More importantly, Intel and the AIAS worked with these student to help them connect to the industry through mentors and networking opportunities. The recipients Intel selected for 2016 were Haizhou “Lika” Liu (USC), Tara Mleynek (University of Utah), and Katie Wood (the Guildhall at SMU).

Lika Liu, Tara Mleynek, Katie Wood.
L-R: Lika Liu, Tara Mleynek, Katie Wood

This year the AIAS and Intel extended this scholarship activity for the first time to indie developers as well. For most indie developers, attending the D.I.C.E. Summit is a luxury they cannot afford. But this group of developers brings a risk-taking, creative, and energetic spirit to the industry. This year the AIAS and Intel decided it would be beneficial to bring representatives to D.I.C.E. from this segment of game developers. Intel picked five indie developers in recognition of their efforts to support PC games, Intel’s platforms and technology, and the game development industry in general. The recipients of this year’s DICE Intel Indie Scholarships were:

  • Tim Keenan, Misfits Attic – Speaker at the 2016 San Francisco Buzz Workshop
  • Ty Taylor, Quantum Astrophysics – Level Up 2015 winner with Tumblestone
  • Renee Gittins, Stumbling Cat – IGDA (International Game Developers Association) Seattle board member
  • Issam Khalil, Trouble Impact – 2016 Austin Buzz Workshop Developer Showcase winner with Color Thief
  • Yael Swerdlow, Maestro Interactive Games – Extensive background working with women’s empowerment organizations, tolerance groups, and Games for Change

Tim Keenan, Ty Taylor, Renee Gittins, Issam Khalil.
Tim Keenan, Ty Taylor, Renee Gittins, Issam Khalil. Not pictured: Yael Swerdlow

Ty Taylor had this to say about the experience of attending D.I.C.E.: “I went there for the networking and was able to make some great connections and chat in-person with industry folks that I already knew. I was able to have conversations and catch up with the big three console makers, which is particularly great. This was pretty unexpected. And fantastic. I'm really humbled, flattered, and appreciative, and I'll be sure to remind other indies of the awesomeness of Intel's developer program whenever I get the chance.”

Renee Gittins shared her experience in an extensive blog. She said, “D.I.C.E. was absolutely amazing, and it was great having the opportunity to attend and to connect with so many influential and successful people. Hannes is also just as kind and knowledgeable as you said he was! I had a wonderful time at D.I.C.E. and I am so thankful that Intel provided me with the opportunity to attend. Not only did I gain new knowledge from the talks, but I made connections with influential people in the game industry that will last me a lifetime. Not even a week later and I am already reaping the benefits of these new connections, and I believe that they will help ensure my success in the game industry. After attending D.I.C.E., I feel much more prepared for the launch of my game's crowdfunding campaign, and I feel like the knowledge I gained has already made me both a better developer and leader.”

Issam Khalil had a similar experience at D.I.C.E. “Going to D.I.C.E. offered the opportunity to network with influential people in our industry, and also allowed us to get their feedback about our design and business plan. The roundtables were the best way to meet new people, and I highly recommend them to anyone going to D.I.C.E. They are a frank discussion with people in the industry on different topics.”

Yael Swerdlow said, “Thank you again and to Intel for hosting me at D.I.C.E.!  I was very impressed with the panels, interviews, and speeches. I found Tommy Francois's presentation fascinating! D.I.C.E. is unique in its intimate vibe, where people are able to connect so easily.”

And finally, Tim Keenan had this to say: “Thanks again for the wonderful opportunity!! Being one of the few small indies at D.I.C.E., it's easy to assume that you'll start up a conversation and then be snubbed as soon as the person realizes you're not the most lucrative business contact in the room. On the contrary, I found a lot of the attendees were very receptive to chatting with me even after I revealed my indie card. I also really enjoyed the focus that D.I.C.E. placed on networking, which allowed attendees to interact and learn about how each of us could help or work with one other. This is what I find most valuable at summits/conferences, so the focus on it made my time there more productive.”

The Intel student scholars are just starting to find their way in the industry. But they found the experience invaluable as well. From Lika Liu, “I am honored to be sponsored as 2016 Intel Scholar to attend D.I.C.E. Two years ago I was in China, confused, doubting my nontraditional career choice and life. I came to U.S. for answers. Here at D.I.C.E., talking to people who are talented, kind, generous, and so passionate about games, I feel I'm home. I can't describe how grateful I am to be there, learning from my mentor, other scholars, and everyone at the conference. My professor Michael Zyda, who gave me this opportunity, told me how important it is to have a long-term plan in life. Don Daglow, every time I saw his smile, I feel warm and comfortable. My mentor, Connie Booth, the most inspiring woman I've ever met, and the best mentor anyone could ever have. Not only did she give me advice about the conference and career, but also shared her personal experience of balancing life and work. She took good care of me in Vegas, like family. And there are so many people in D.I.C.E. who have encouraged me in different ways. The more I spent time with them, the better I knew about myself and what person I want to become. I hope I could contribute to the future of the game industry in my way, here in US as well as in China.”

Tara Mleynek was similarly appreciative for this career-altering opportunity. “D.I.C.E. was a wonderful, eye-opening experience. The talks and roundtables were interesting and informative, and I loved being able to talk with industry professionals one-on-one. I also really loved having mentors that were available to answer our questions and show us the ropes. Thanks again. I look forward to staying in touch with the scholars, the mentors, and all the others that I met.”

Finally Katie Wood shared, “I had a wonderful time at D.I.C.E. and was very honored to attend alongside industry veterans. With the help of Don Daglow, my mentors, and the other scholars, I felt comfortable to explore and mingle. The fantastic panels and welcoming attendees proved insightful and rewarding. I am very grateful for this opportunity and would jump at the chance to experience it all over again!”

Intel would like to once again congratulate our 2016 D.I.C.E. scholars, both students and indie developers. We are excited to be able to support these deserving game developers and help them advance their careers in this exciting industry!

View from the D.I.C.E. awards after-party.
View from the D.I.C.E. awards after-party.

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