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Massachusetts Innovation Breakfast Friday, 20 November at 8:30am at the IBM Innovation Center in Waltham – Ronald Croen, CEO of Nuance, will be speaking November 19, 2009

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Massachusetts Innovation Breakfast kicks off this week with a Friday morning (8:30 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.) casual get-together at the IBM Innovation Center in Waltham.

There’s limited space so sign up now. (You must RSVP by the end of the business day Thursday to be part of the group.)

There will be a chance to look around the IBM Innovation Center, and there will be a special guest speaker, Ronald Croen, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Nuance Communications, who will be speaking on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2009 and Beyond: Massachusetts vs. Silicon Valley.

There is a Stereo mp3 audio transcription of this presentation, as well as the excellent question-and-answers session which followed, posted on this site below:

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2009 and Beyond: Massachusetts vs. Silicon Valley – Ronald A. Croen

There are some great videos of Ron Croen’s presentation available here.

The Video Game Orchestra at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center, Saturday, December 5th, 2009 7:00pm November 19, 2009

Posted by HubTechInsider in events, Gaming, Video Gaming Video Games.
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Video Game Orchestra Flyer

Video Game Orchestra Flyer

The Video Game Orchestra will perform their production “Awakening” at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center, Saturday, December 5th, 2009.

The doors will open at 7:00pm, and the performance will begin at 7:30pm.

136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

The Video Game Orchestra was Founded by Artistic Director and Arranger Shota Nakama, is Conducted by Musical Director Yohei Sato, and the performance on December 5th will feature Special Musical Guest Wataru Hokoyama, who created the music for video game titles “Afrika” and “Resident Evil 5”.

The Video Game Orchestra’s performance of “Awakening” on December 5th will feature music from smash hit video games Super Mario Brothers, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII, Silent Hill 2, Afrika, Chrono Cross, and many more!

Students, 18 and Under: $10 ($15 The Day of the event)

General Public: $15 ($20 The Day of the event)

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

More information is available online at www.vgo-online.org and the Video Game Orchestra’s Founder and Artistic Director is Shota Nakama, shotanakama@gmail.com

Waltham’s Skellig Pub hosts the Boston Postmortem Video Game Developers Meeting on Video Game AI Programming November 19, 2009

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Wednesday night in Waltham was the November monthly Boston Postmortem networking event, held at the Skellig Pub on Waltham’s Moody Street, next to the Charles River.

As regular readers of The Hub Tech Insider will doubtless already know, I attend this event regularly and blog about it on these pages. It is a super event I highly recommend. In addition, Boston Postmortem is one of my favorite Boston tech networking groups because the crowd is unpretentious, the topics are interesting and the presenters and presentations are well prepared and excellent, and you can sit at the bar in the huge back room where the event is held at the Skellig Pub on Moody Street in Waltham, and order bangers and mash or fish and chips or a bacon cheeseburger while you drink beers and schmooze.

The Boston Postmortem Networking Group is for Video Game Developers, Animators, Designers, Digital Artists of all kinds, and people interested in Video Games and Video Game Development. Admission is Free.

The talk on Wednesday was about Artificial intelligence (AI) programming in video games.

There was an august panel of subject matter experts who fielded questions from the audience:

Christian Baekkelund (moderator)
Christian Baekkelund has worked games-related jobs in the areas of design, programming, and QA, at Electronic Arts, for the British school system, briefly at Harmonix, and most recently at 38 Studios. Between various jobs, he attended MIT, studying computer science and Comparative Media Studies, focusing on games and AI. Christian has also spoken at the Game Developers Conference and written in the AI Programming Wisdom series of books about AI, learning methods, and game design.

John Abercrombie (panelist)
John Abercrombie was the AI Lead on BIOSHOCK and SWAT 4 and is now the Lead Programmer on 2K Boston’s unannounced title. He graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Computer Science in 2000, and has worked at Irrational Games / 2K Boston ever since.

Damián Isla (panelist)
Damián Isla has been working on and writing about game technology for almost a decade. Recently, he helped found Moonshot Games, a studio dedicated to the creation of downloadable games with triple-A production values and technology. Before Moonshot, Damián was AI and Gameplay engineering lead at Bungie Studios, where he was responsible for the AI for the mega-hit first-person shooters Halo 2 and Halo 3.

An expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence for Games, Damián has spoken on games, AI and character technology at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), at the AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference (AIIDE), and at Siggraph, and is a frequent speaker at the Game Developers Conference (GDC).

Before joining the industry, Damián earned a Masters Degree at the M.I.T. Media Lab, where he did research on learning and behavior for synthetic characters. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science, also from M.I.T.

Jeff Orkin (panelist)
Jeff Orkin is a PhD candidate in the Cognitive Machines Group at the MIT Media Lab. Jeff’s research focuses on Artificial Intelligence for characters that learn to communicate and collaborate by observing humans playing online multiplayer games.

Prior to enrolling at the Media Lab, Jeff developed several generations of AI systems in the game industry. As a Senior Engineer at Monolith Productions, Jeff focused on goal-oriented autonomous character behavior and planning, while developing AI systems for the award winning titles No One Lives Forever 2 and F.E.A.R.

Jeff is a Contributing Author and Section Editor of the AI Game Programming Wisdom book series, has presented at the Game Developer’s Conference, the AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment conference (AIIDE), and the Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Sytems (AAMAS) conference, and holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington and Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Tufts University with a minor in Studio Art.

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