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Boston Post Mortem Video Game Developers meeting: December 8th at 7pm, The Skellig Pub in Waltham November 30, 2009

Posted by HubTechInsider in events, Gaming, Video Gaming Video Games.
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The Skellig Pub - Waltham

The Skellig Pub - Waltham



The December Boston Post Mortem Video Game Developers meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 8th at 7pm at The Skellig in Waltham. In addition to the usual year-in-review (or Post Mortem Post Mortem), it has been announced that IGDA (Independent Game Developers Association) Executive Director Joshua Caulfield will be the special guest speaker! He’ll be providing an update on the IGDA in general, what to expect for the coming year, and will be taking any IGDA-related questions attendees may have.

Logistics:
Tuesday, December 8th
7pm-10pm @ The Skellig, Waltham

So please show up with your best questions and comments about the IGDA or about the Boston Post Mortem. If you see me there, please come up and introduce yourself!

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

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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

Posted by HubTechInsider in events, Software, Video Gaming Video Games.
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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.

Zeemote, a Chelmsford, MA-based startup that developed a handheld game controller for use with games on mobile handsets, has closed its doors November 11, 2009

Posted by HubTechInsider in Ecommerce, Hardware, Telecommunications, Venture Capital, Video Gaming Video Games.
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Zeemote, a Chelmsford, MA-based startup that developed a handheld game controller for use with games on mobile handsets, has closed its doors and is putting its assets up for sale. Founded in 2005 by famed Boston-area entrepreneur Beth Marcus, the company worked with handset manufacturers Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, and RIM to make its Bluetooth-based device compatible with their phones. A partner from Waltham, MA -based Zeemote backer Commonwealth Capital Ventures confirmed the closure but offered no further details.

I was lucky enough to have met in person the CEO of Zeemote, Beth Marcus. Beth is a famed entrepreneur in the Boston area, and I met her at the time of her involvement with an Internet retailer named Glow Dog. Beth is active in the MIT Enterprise Forum and some 128 Networking and entrepreneurship circles, and after attending one of Beth’s talks on company valuation one early morning at the Newton Marriot in Newton, MA (a well-known and heavily traveled local hotspot for technology and software, hardware startups’ networking and professional group meetings in the area) Beth and I struck up a conversation, which was followed by Beth granting me a private tour of Glow Dog’s facility and retail store along Great Road in Bedford center and lunch at a local Japanese Restaurant.

Beth was generous with her time and expertise and the time she graciously spent with me that day not only provided me with several nearly priceless insights about my business plan and company (I was working on an ecommerce company at the time, TSN Corporation), but also provided a blueprint of how a successful entrepreneur should give back to the community. Beth Marcus is the real deal and I thank her heartily for her time and knowledge sharing.

Beth Marcus has been Founder and CEO of several successful startups, most notably EXOS, Inc., which was venture capital backed and sold to Microsoft in 1996. Since then she has been involved in 12 start-ups in a variety of fields as a founder, investor, or advisor. One of the companies Beth founded was called Glow Dog and was based on Great Road in Bedford. The company was an Internet retailer and sold pet products with a pet safety orientation both at retail and wholesale to many large pet-oriented retail chains both online and off. She has raised equity numerous times and has also done angel investments herself. Several of these ventures have been acquired by public companies.

Part-time between then and now, Beth has worked as a consultant providing patent strategy, litigation support, and other strategic technology-related consulting services. Beth is an acknowledged expert in the hand-device interface space and has been an expert for several of the major players in the industry in support of prior-patents litigations. That knowledge and the clear problems in using a cell phone keypad for anything but number entry led her to invention, filing of a patent application, and the founding of Zeemote, Inc.

Beth has SB and SM in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a PhD in Biomechanics from the Imperial College, London, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She has more than a dozen patents to her name and numerous publications and public speaking engagements. She has served on the faculty of MIT in the department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Marcus has been member of the Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum and the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee in Mechanical Engineering. She is also a current member of the Council for the Arts at MIT.

Zeemote JS1 Product Profile and Interview with Beth Marcus, CEO of Zeemote from Ablegamers

Zeemote Hands-On Review from Ubergizmo with Pictures of the Remote Unit for Cellular Telephones

Beth Marcus Profiled at Mass High Tech Magazine

Steve Meretzky Boston PostMortem Keynote Video from Jan 16th, 2008: ‘The Most Perfect Video Game’ + Interview from 1994 April 17, 2009

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Speech by Steve Meretzky at Boston Postmortem. Title of talk: The Most Perfect Video Game. Jan 16, 2008.

Interview with Steve Meretzky, 1994. Interactive Entertainment CD-ROM magazine (IE) conducted a video interview with Steve Meretzky during his Boffo Games years; presented on the CD as a series of short answering videos to clickable questions, this video reassembles them in a linear fashion. The original video was roughly 240 pixels across, hence the quality of the recording…

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