Game Demo Day 2013 Program

newposterGame Demo Day is the first annual showcase of all of the games that NU students have made. It will consist of a demo session where students can play each other’s games and members of the larger university community can play them too. Students will have the chance to present their game for a panel of industry and academic judges, who will give awards. The goal is to bring together and celebrate our diverse community of students who are interested in making games. All NU students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend the event. People from industry are also very much welcome to interact with our students. Please register if you plan to attend.

The event is made possible by the College of Computer and Information Science and the College of Arts, Media and Design and is organized by the Playable Innovative Technologies (PLAIT) research group with support from the Center for the Arts.

The Game Demo Day was originally planned for Friday April 19th but due to the lockdown of Boston the event had to be rescheduled. Because of the rescheduling the original program had to be adapted.


  • 6:00 pm: Welcome
  • 6:00 – 7:00 pm: “Bucket List of 21st Century Games” Panel
  • 7:00 – 9:00 pm: Mingle, Eat, and Play
  • 9:00 – 9:30 pm: Capstone Postmortems
  • 9:30 – 10:00 pm: Award Ceremony

The Demo Games


Students of Foundations of Game Design

We invited students to submit any playable digital or non-digital game of any genre, ranging from satirical board games to augmented reality games. You can read about the submitted games here and play these games during the “Mingle, Eat, and Play” session of the event. As an attendee you will get a vote on what game should be awarded the Public Choice Award. To guide you through all of the games students from the Foundations of Game Design class developed a metagame that connects the submitted games and the people attending the event. If you complete the booklet that comes with the game, you may win a prize too!

Wall of New Game Ideas


Wall of New Game Ideas

The event is not only an opportunity to demo games, we also want this to be a starting ground for possible new game projects. With and around the “Wall of New Game Ideas” students can network to find collaborators for new projects. Put post its on the wall or simply chat with students and start brainstorming. Who knows you might be demoing your game next year and win an award! And who knows you get in touch with somebody from industry for a co-op or another opportunity.

“Bucketlist of 21st Century Games” Panel

An interesting mix of game experts will come together to discuss with each other and the audience what games we should still develop in this 21st century. At the end of this session we should have come up with a bucket list of at least ten games. The discussion will be moderated by Mark Sivak. These are our panelists:


Clara Fernández-Vara. Clara is currently a Visiting Scholar at the TropeTank, a research and development lab under Comparative Media Studies at MIT. Her work concentrates on adventure games, as well as the integration of stories in simulated environments. She is particularly interested in cross-media artifacts from the standpoint of textual analysis and performance. Clara holds a Ph.D. in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology (2009). She earned a BA in English Studies by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (2000), and was awarded a fellowship from the La Caixa Foundation to pursue a Masters in Comparative Media Studies from MIT (2004).

damianDamián Isla. Damián has been working on and writing about game technology for over 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. A leading 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.

ScottScott Macmillan. Scott Macmillan is a 11-year veteran of game development, all of it here in Boston.  During that time, he’s done everything from production and product management to code and design at his own indie studio, Macguffin Games.  Scott helped found the Boston Indies community, and co-founded the annual GameLoop game dev unConference.  Currently, Scott is a Product Manager for mobile games at GSN.

profile-orangehair-224x300Gillian Smith. I am an assistant professor in the PLAIT research lab at Northeastern University, jointly appointed between the College of Computer and Information Science and the College of Arts, Media, and Design. I recently received my PhD in Computer Science from UC Santa Cruz, where I studied with Jim Whitehead and Michael Mateas in the Center for Games and Playable Media. My dissertation is titled Expressive Design Tools: Procedural Content Generation for Game Designers. My research focuses on building procedural content generators that can be controlled by human designers, and thus enable new design experiences. A summary of my research projects is on my projects page. I am also interested in games for education, and issues surrounding women in technology and games. My full CV is available here. I am a co-founder and Technical Director of Play Crafts, a company devoted to building tools to help the crafting community design, create, and share their ideas. In my copious free time I am an avid crafter–I love quilting and embroidery, and am getting started with watercolor painting and zentangling.

Capstone Postmortems

The first students majoring in game design will be graduating at Northeastern this May. These students have been involved in two game capstone projects: Teleforce and Time Sink. Both teams will give a postmortem presentation about their experiences.

teslaTeleforce. Teleforce is a first person shooter/puzzle game that is currently being developed by a team of Seniors for the Game Design Capstone. æThe game takes place in a futuristic world, where Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison race to find the elixir of everlasting life. You play as Edison’s robot Stanley, searching through Tesla’s labyrinth to uncover his research regarding the mythical substance. After exposure to the elixir, Stanley gains sentience and the ability to wield electric power, used to navigate the labyrinth. æThe player navigates the in-game world wielding the Teleforce gun, which can manipulate electricity and control robots. æPlayers are tasked to use these unique abilities to solve puzzles, move from place to place, and uncover the truth of the elixir.

TSPromoTime Sink. “We are a group of Northeastern seniors working on a year long “”capstone”” project. Our group is comprised of four programmers and one artist. For the project, we have to come up with a game concept and implement it all the way to a playable demo. æIn addition, we are conducting user testing in order to facilitate a productive iterative process. The game we are working on is called Time Sink. It is a 2D shooter with a strong emphasis on puzzle and platforming elements. The main draw from a gameplay perspective is that there will be time manipulation mechanics. From a narrative perspective, the game revolves around the concept of time travel. As a by-product of creating this game, we will also be releasing an open source version of the engine we have written.”

Award Ceremony

A group of judges – a mix of industry and faculty experts – will take a look at the various games during the event and decide what student teams should be awarded for their efforts. Two awards are handed out: Best Overall Game and Most Innovative Game. The judges are:

  • Tod Bouris: Principal Software Engineer, Research & Advanced Development at Games Show Network
  • Alessandro Canossa: Associate Professor at Northeastern University (CAMD)
  • Kevin Dill: Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University (CAMD) and software engineer at Lockheed Martin
  • Damián Isla: Founder of Moonshot Games
  • Scott Macmillan: Product manager for mobile games at Games Show Network
  • Anthony Mauricia: Skill Games Product Manager at Games Show Network
  • Magy Seif El-Nasr: Associate Professor at Northeastern University (CCIS/CAMD), Director of the Game Design Program
  • Mark Sivak: Academic Specialist in Interactive Media (CAMD)
  • Gillian Smith: Assistant Professor at Northeastern University (CCIS/CAMD)
  • Brian Sullivan: Visiting Artist at Northeastern University (CAMD)
  • Frank Tino: Chief Technology Officer at Games Show Network


For more information or questions, please contact the PLAIT Research Lab at