Tech Valley Digital Gaming Hub

Level UpState Summer Program

The Level Upstate Summer Program is an intensive opportunity for game developers looking to commercialize their creative ideas. We combine the expertise of industry experts in our local region, our faculty and international presenters to fill knowledge gaps in your enterprise. You will pitch, prototype and playtest game ideas, and work on refining your products, understanding of the market, and business goals and strategies. We encourage applications from teams working in any area of games: indie games; VR or AR applications; serious games, educational games, and other simulations; AI or other technologies for games; analog and tabletop games; or other innovative concepts in games and related interactive forms.

Summer 2021 Information


Dates: June 14 to July 23, 2021

Applications for the Summer 2021 Program are open! 

Application Deadline: June 1, 2021

Level Upstate 2021 will be offered as a primarily online program. Some optional in-person components may be provided on the RPI campus or in Troy, based on the progression of university, state, and local public health guidance.

Level Upstate is open to students, companies, and teams residing in New York State or with significant business involvement in New York State. Participants can be at any stage – you may be at the early concept stage, or have a product in development, or you may have released games already.  We look for applicants with evidence of strong team dynamic and potential for success. Solo developer applications will also be considered. Individual applicants seeking to join a team will also be considered.

Teams receive:

  • $3500 stipend per team-member*
  • Access to industry-focused expert content
  • Mentors from RPI faculty and the local NY games community
  • Public Pitch Day event
  • Project file hosting

Note: Stipend amounts are based on a team size of 3, with full-time commitment. Stipend requests for larger team sizes, participants with part-time availability, or other unique situations will be determined on an individual basis.

Application Process


Applications may be submitted as text document (Word, PDF, Google Doc or OpenOffice document), presentation file (PowerPoint, Google Slides deck, Keynote presentation, or OpenOffice presentation) or a video pitch presentation (YouTube link or video file).  Feel free to use whichever format presents your team best!

Upload your application to:

In your application, address the following questions:

  • Company Name
  • Primary Contact
  • Company website and/or social media, if any
  • Company Description
    • What does your company do?  What is your primary product or service?
  • Who is your market or audience?
    • Is there a problem that your product provides a solution for?
    • Do you have an idea for a game, or an area of emphasis, that’s overlooked in the market?
  • Team Members
    • List all members of your team with contact information.
    • For each team member, indicate their role; if they are a current Rensselaer student; if they will be working full time or part time on Level Upstate; and if they are requesting stipend support.
  • Tell us about your company or team.
    • Help us get to know you. What makes you stand out?
    • Do you have prior successes working together?
    • A uniquely strong team dynamic?
    • Tell us about why you’re awesome!
  • What stage is your company at?
    • Are you just getting started?  Do you have a product already in progress?
    • Have you released games already and are hoping to expand?
    • Have you incorporated as a business or are in early-stage development?
  • Work Samples
    • Provide 1 or more samples of your work.  Show projects you have done together as a team if you have them, or projects your team members have done individually to show their prior experience.
  • What are your goals for participating in Level Upstate?
  • What do you plan to accomplish this summer?  What will “taking your company to the next level” mean for you?
  • What are your key needs?
    • Are there roles in your team you need to fill?
    • Technical expertise you need to gain?
    • Business plan development?
    • Design mentoring?  Other?



For more information, please email:

Ben Chang

Director, Rensselaer Center of Excellence in Digital Game Development



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2019 Showcase



Previous participants include:

List of companies who have been through the program