Funded by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR), the Center of Excellence in Digital Game Development at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute aims to bring together higher education, industry, and community partners in order to foster the growth of the digital gaming ecosystem in New York State’s Capital Region and Tech Valley.

Since its inception, the Center has been led by the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Program at RPI. It consequently serves to connect students and faculty with for-profit and non-profit business partners, in addition to providing mentorship and training for digital gaming startups; facilitating educational outreach opportunities amongst the local community; and offering opportunities for broader public engagement in the form of lectures, exhibitions, and technical workshops. We also work with the Centers of Excellence at the MAGIC Center at Rochester Institute of Technology and the NYU Game Center at New York University to support the development of the digital gaming sector across the State of New York.

In terms of ongoing programs, the Center of Excellence at RPI is home to the Level Upstate Mentorship Program, a yearlong intensive games incubator; GameFest, an annual student games showcase and research symposium; and Ripcord, a joint blog-and-podcast series for popular games-related discourse.

Other semi-regular events take the form of game jams and hackathons, STEM and STEAM educational programs, and exhibitions at trade shows and conferences like the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, CA. Meanwhile, the Center and its associated faculty advance research in a variety of games-related fields, including Game AI, virtual reality, serious game design, wargaming, historical simulations, and the connections between visualization, perception, and cognition.

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