9 Things Good about Orlando's Game & Interactive Media Community in 2017.

They say if you are not a part of the solution you are a part of the problem. Central Florida's game community continued to get involved and spread the passion throughout 2017. I know 2018 will be no different. Below is a small example of the activities, organizations and companies that are leading the charge forward. If I missed anyone please feel free to add to the comments or drop me a note. I look forward to working along side you all in the new year and as always, I am standing by to provide some elbow grease should you need it. 

  • This Is Orlando Podcast 10 Episodes –We now have 10 episodes available with many more to come. The information our guests provide is the key to managing your career, finding your first job opportunity and getting involved in our community. Our goal is simple, first we want to teach and provide the tools needed for people to better manage their job search and career. Many will tell you that you need to network but few will offer any advice on how to network. Hopefully we are able to take the fear out of networking and provide the tools to help you get involved and confidently move forward.  Second, to showcase organizations and opportunities among the vast tech communities right here in Orlando. There are a million ways to get involved and create opportunities for yourself and others. It all starts with you. I want to also take a moment to thanks my friends and colleagues that took the time to sit down and offer their expertise. Much love, respect and thanks to Tom Todia and Carlos Ivan for all the audio help and passion in helping me publish.
  • Orlando being Named top city for gamers and game developers – A lot of incredible press but we still have issues trying to get the industry to take us seriously. What do we need to do to capitalize on all of the passion and commitment of the dev. scene here in Orlando?http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/technology/os-cfb-tech-video-game-rankings-20170616-story.html
  • Orlando Game Space – The OGS moved its location and went from 3K square feet to 10K. Although the construction of the facility is still underway many have already taken advantage of this awesome space on Lake Eola to set up shop. Facilities include a full kitchen, lounge area, VR facilities and an opportunity to network and collaborate with the local game development community. It’s a veritable one stop shop for anyone involved with the game dev community whether you are make games or need to hire those that do. 
  • Doghead Simulations – I am really proud of my friends at Doghead Simulations for the launch of their studio at Full Sail University as well as the launch of their incredible remote VR conferencing software Rumi. I have watched them work tirelessly over the past two years and the buzz on this project is through the roof. Be sure to check out their web site for more details.
  • Global Game Jam – Not one but two groups take place each January for the annual Global Game Jam festivities. Hosted by The Orlando Game Space and Full Sail University, each location saw over 125 participants last year and contributed to multiple projects in gaming, AR and VR. We expect even more for the 2018 GGJ which happens the weekend of January 26-28.
  • Indienomicon 4 Years – They meet every first Thursday of the Month at the Melrose Center downtown and provide the voice of our Independent Game Developers community. Each month new games are highlighted and tested and it provides a major source for networking and getting involved.
  • Local University Game Dev. Programs – Central Florida is poised to become the AAA Farm Club of Game Development and Recruiters nationally are starting to pay attention. Game Development programs in Programming, Art, Project Management, User Experience and much more are being offered at Full Sail University, The Dave School, FEIA, UCF and Florida Polytechnic as well as a plethora of boot and tech camps being offered to kids of all ages. These graduates are not only finding jobs across the country but many are staying locally and offering their services to the local Gaming, Simulation and Medical Industries. Companies no longer have to look outside of Central Florida for their Tech projects. Steamroller Studios, Chromosapians, CG Solutions Group, MVRK and Brand VR are leading the way with published projects both locally and nationally including work for AAA Studios, The NHL, NFL and NASA.
  • Otronicon – Orlando iX – If you are interested in gaming or game development these are the two events that you need to attend each year. Not only do they provide the showcase for Central Florida’s game projects but also give you an opportunity to meet with developers and network with companies that are making the community thrive. In addition to the expo there is a series of lectures and presentations that educate and involve. Last year’s conferences featured presentations from the likes of Microsoft, HTV Vive and panels on everything from the future of AR/VR to lessons on how to attract funding for your project. If you are looking for opportunity there is no better place to be.
  • IGDA Student Chapter Meetings – Christina Kadinger has been holding IGDA Student Chapter meetings each month at Full Sail University for the past 8 years. These meetings are open to all Students from all schools and it is my hope that all students will take advantage of the networking and educational opportunities. It’s amazing to see the see the ideas and collaborations that come out of these monthly meet ups.