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New York Film Academy Game Design

Game Design Faculty

Faculty

Chris Swain

Chris Swain

Chair
A leader in the games industry for more than 20 years, Chris built the Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab at USC and was an adjunct, assistant, and research professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts from 1999 to 2012. He has led 20+ award-winning games and products for companies that include Disney, Microsoft, Sony, Acclaim, Activision, BBC, Discovery, Children's Television Workshop, and many others. Examples include the world's first massively multiplayer casual game, NetWits (Microsoft), the original Multiplayer Jeopardy! Online (Sony), the original Multiplayer Wheel of Fortune Online (Sony), and webRIOT (MTV). Chris speaks regularly about game innovation in the press and at events around the world. Publications include CNN, NPR, Forbes, NY Times, Wired, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, LA Times, others. Venues include Game Developer's Conference, MIT, Harvard, SIGGRAPH, University of Tokyo, Games for Change, DARPA, Columbia University, Sorbonne, City U of Hong Kong, many others.

Matt Plotecher

Matt Plotecher

Associate Chair
Matt Plotecher has been working with interactive media for over 15 years, and has been part of the NYC game industry since 2007. Working with clients including Microsoft, Nokia, Lionsgate, Konami, and the NFL, Matt has worked on all forms and genres of games: causal, core, Facebook, mobile, ARGs, and, of course, live-action chess-dodgeball. He has had several articles and opinion pieces about gaming and game culture published in websites such as gameindustry.biz and Develop Online, and has handled the duties of Lead Game Designer, Project Manager, Producer, Audio Design, Writer, Q&A, and Happiness Officer. In his spare time, Matt can be found tinkering with his own games, playing any and all games, laying it down on the basketball court, DMing his local gaming group, and helping little old ladies cross the street.

Jeremy Bernstein

Jeremy Bernstein

Instructor
Writer / Story Editor on TNT's Leverage, Writer / Producer on games for Talkie, inXile, ITVS. Writer for EA Visceral Games, Designer many companies including USC EA Game Innovation Lab, Snap TV, Alchemic Productions, and others. MFA in Screenwriting, USC; MA Biochemistry, Wesleyen, BA Biochemistry, Wesleyen

Naomi Clark

Naomi Clark

Instructor
Naomi Clark has been making games for over two decades, from building early online worlds as a teenager to working as a freelance game designer and creative director in New York City. She's helped design and build games for many different platforms and audiences, from early multiplayer web games (Sissyfight 2000) to web games and creativity tools for kids (LEGO World Builder, Gamestar Mechanic) and games for casual audiences and social networks (Miss Management, Dreamland, Trash Tycoon). She's taught courses on games at Parsons: the New School for Design and master classes at the NYU Game Center, blogged for many years about games and feminism, and is currently working on an experimental game with her independent game development group, the Brooklyn Game Ensemble.

Lara Fedoroff

Lara Fedoroff

Instructor
Lara is the founder of UX-radio, Inc. a podcast about IA, UX, and Design. The guest line-up includes well-known industry experts and the purpose of the show is to inspire, educate and share resources. With seven years of User Experience design and Information Architecture experience, Lara has a knack for balancing her business acumen with user-centered design. She is a holistic and strategic visionary, helping companies and users identify solutions for their pain points.

Her deep knowledge of business process and strategy balanced with her creative simplicity in visual and interaction design enable her to do the work she loves for clients like UCLA, Mitsuwa Japanese Grocery Store, Audio-Digest Foundation and Wilshire Axon.

Brian Fountain

Brian Fountain

Instructor
Brian Fountain is an award winning developer and game designer with more than a decade of experience in transmedia storytelling. He has designed experiences that span multiple platforms, including: mobile, web and live events. His outdoor game, ZOWN, recently debuted at the 2012 Come Out and Play Festival. He and three teammates won the first ever Story Hackathon held at Lincoln Center. He is a co-lyricist and co-composer of the musical Freak Dance which was selected as part of the 2011 Austin Film Festival's Comedy Vanguard Series. He is a co-founder of Prototype161, a transmedia gaming company twice-recognized for excellence by Indiecade. He is also a Senior Agent with the international comedy group Improv Everywhere.

Geoff Fowler

Geoff Fowler

Instructor
Geoffrey Fowler created his first online game in 1995 and has twenty years of experience as a professional digital artist and fifteen years of experience developing educational games across multiple platforms. Geoffrey held the title of Muppet Art Director at Sesame Workshop (Children¹s Television Workshop) where he was in charge of digital design and character branding for multiple global children¹s properties including Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Pinky Dinky Doo, and DragonTales. After a decade of service to Sesame Street, Geoffrey founded his own design company GreenPig Interactive Inc. whose clients include Viacom, Sesame Workshop, Barnes&Noble, Kodak, Basic Fun, This is Pop! (Adult Swim, A&E, History Channel, Bravo TV, Red Bull, VH1). Currently an instructor at NYFA and a consultant to the Advanced Cognitive Training Systems Group at Aptima, Inc. He received his BFA in Illustration from The School of Visual Arts in 1993.

David Fratto

David Fratto

Instructor
Executive Producer, BBC Worldwide; Sr. Director of Development, Scholastic Inc.; Director of Development, Vivendi Universal Games, Executive Producer, Knowledge Adventure; Education: Harvard University, BA.

Andrew Garrahan

Andrew Garrahan

Instructor
Andrew is a software engineer and game designer. He has led game projects for OMGPOP, Adult Swim, IBM, A&E, History Channel, Syfy, NBCUniversal, This Is Pop and many other companies.

Scott Gillies

Scott Gillies

Instructor
Creative Director, Fourth Wall Studios; Game Designer Disney Imagineering; Designer EA Pandemic, EA Maxis; MFA in Interactive Media, USC, BA, USC.

Bryan Jaycox

Bryan Jaycox

Instructor
Graduating from USC in 2010 with a M.F.A. in interactive media Bryan's experience has spanned multiple fields including design for mainstream gaming, serious games, virtual reality, wearable technology, and interactive fine arts. Bryan has been deeply involved in serious games for the past decade creating games and virtual reality simulations for the treatment of Post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans returning from Iraq, games for physical rehabilitation, and games spanning the educational sector teaching fields ranging from foreign language to neurology. In the mainstream gaming sector Bryan has worked on AAA titles for LucasArts and at Hollywood director Gore Verbinski's pioneer game studio Blind Wink games developing original IP for the Xbox console. Bryan also works in the physical design and engineering sector with his business The Build Shop. The Build Shop was founded by Bryan in November of 2011 with a desire to take specialized high tech fabrication tools needed for his own craft and make them available to the public at large at a rate everyday people can afford. This shop follows in the footsteps of the larger Maker Movement that has seen instances of shops, hackerspaces and makerspaces like this one sprouting up across the United States and abroad.

Thomas Lee

Thomas Lee

Instructor
Digital Media Executive and pioneer in F2P online game business and virtual economies, managing projects and people, with ability to coordinate across a diverse set of disciplines. Extensive background in international business cultures, game licensing, and game development. Passionate about technology, content, and “games as service” on connected devices.

Bryan Ma

Bryan Ma

Instructor
Bryan Ma is a designer and producer from California and New York. Since 2006, he has been an active part of the international game industry community as a developer, educator, and advocate. Previously Senior Game Designer for 2K Games’ Shanghai studio, he has worked on AAA, mobile, social, and independent games for international and Asian markets. His broader project focuses on investigations of global cultural intersections of games, technology, art, and emerging media. He writes about games and design, built an indie arcade cabinet, is a committee member of the Global Game Jam, and has curated experimental game exhibitions in New York and around the world.

John Mahoney

John Mahoney

Instructor
John Mahoney moved to Los Angeles to work for Disney feature Animation as a Visual Development Artist on such films as Atlantis, Treasure Planet and Emperors After working on ten Disney feature films John decided to pursue his passion as an independent film maker. Since then, John has produced over twenty short films and two independent features. He has directed numerous documentaries on such prominent people as Doug Chaing, designer of the new Star Wars films and Tyrus Wong, designer of Bambi. He taught such diverse classes as figure drawing, sculpture, film design, storyboards, stop motion animation, and character design in the United Stated as well as in Singapore and Taiwan. John has had several gallery exhibitions around the Los Angeles area, including a main show at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena.

David Mershon

David Mershon

Instructor
David has over ten years of experience working in the video game industry. He has held a variety of positions including artist, designer, and engineer. He was an artist in residence at the UCLA Game Lab. Companies: Artist, Rockstar Games; Artist, Sony Online Entertainment; Artist, Pandemic Studios. Education: Academy of Art University. BFA; University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, MFA.

Alvaro Olsen

Alvaro Olsen

Instructor
Al Olsen is a game designer, specifically, in games for learning. He has a multimedia development experience of over 10 years and his latest interests reside in "neuro-games", cognitive science and affective learning.

Joost Rietveld

Joost Rietveld

Instructor
Joost Rietveld is a doctoral candidate in strategy at Cass Business School (London) and a visiting scholar at NYU's Stern School of Business. Joost's research interests include competitive dynamics between complements in platform-based markets, and the impact of digital distribution on business model design in content-driven industries. Joost has a profound interest in the market for video games in which he was active as a consultant before entering academia. During his time as strategic manager at digital games developer Two Tribes, Joost helped setting up a digital publishing subsidiary and assisted in bringing to market successful games including Toki Tori (WiiWare, iOS) and a game based on the popular Ice Age movie (iOS). Recently, the UK trade association for interactive entertainment (Ukie) embarked on a research project with Joost investigating business model design for game producers in the setting of digital distribution. Joost's research has been published in a number of academic outlets including Research Policy, as well as in various trade publications including Gamasutra. Joost started teaching for NYFA in spring 2014. Come fall 2014 Joost will also be a part-time faculty at NYU's Game Center.

Noah Sasso

Noah Sasso

Instructor
Noah Sasso is a game designer with a background in music production and sound design. His work has appeared in the LA Times, Pitchfork Media, Polygon, Kotaku, Real Tokyo, Vice Magazine, XLR8R and more.

Joe Shochet

Joe Shochet

Instructor
Joe Shochet has been developing award-winning interactive experiences for 20 years. He has a passion for designing and programming world-class games across many platforms and audiences. Previously he was Vice President of Creative at Rebel Entertainment, a division of IAC, focused on social and mobile games. Their first product was Dungeon Rampage, an award-winning, and highly rated online game played by over 12 million people worldwide. Prior to joining IAC, Joe led game development at Hangout.net, a small startup building one of the first 3D games on Facebook. His career started in 1996 at Walt Disney Imagineering R&D building virtual reality attractions for the theme parks and designing ride concepts and interactive technologies. After transitioning to Creative Director at Disney Internet Group, Joe was a lead designer and developer of several virtual worlds including the popular Toontown Online, one of the first 3D virtual worlds for children. Joe has a Computer Science degree from the University of Virginia, where his research focused on virtual reality, user interface design, and teaching programming to novices using Alice3D.

Neal Sinno

Neal Sinno

Instructor
Neal Sinno brings 15 years experience in market opportunity assessment, product development, and sales management. Prior to joining Arkadium, Neal was Vice President of Business Development at Game Trust. There he managed key relationships with partners to develop network, channel, search and advertising opportunities, and was a member of the executive team responsible for the company's acquisition by Real Networks. Prior to his role at Game Trust, Neal worked at Mellon Financial Corp, where he was the Director of E‐Commerce Product Development. Within his role there, he led a global team of developers, designers and actuaries to create state of the art web‐based financial applications. A seasoned sales and e‐business product specialist, Neal has also held key leadership roles at The New York Times and Lucent Technologies. Neal sits on the board of advisors for the Casual Games Association and frequently speaks at key industry events.

Emily Treat

Emily Treat

Instructor
Emily has an extensive background as a producer and designer of educational games. Working as a Senior Producer, Emily is extending her expertise to oversee social impact game projects at the Games for Change Lab. As a designer-producer, she works closely with impact partners, designers, developers, and other team members to produce and advise on high quality games that meet the high standards and mission of Games for Change. Emily began her career at Leapfrog where she worked on a range of e-learning platforms and products for children and teens. Since then, she has worked as coordinator of the Scratch software and online community at the MIT Media Lab, produced learning games for 360KID, and worked in Kaplan Inc’s international office in London as lead designer and producer of an expansive online virtual world for language learning. Emily graduated from Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center in 2006 and earned her BA in Fine Arts and Cultural History, also at Carnegie Mellon.

Greg Trefry

Greg Trefry

Instructor
Greg Trefry has wide array of experience designing games—everything from web-based MMOs to hit casual games to alternate reality games. He co-founded the game design studio Gigantic Mechanic to explore the bounds of game design through mobile games that interact with the real-world. He serves as director of the Come Out & Play Festival, a festival of street games in New York City. Greg also teaches at New York University and recently wrote the book, Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in All of Us.

Colin Windmuller

Colin Windmuller

Instructor
Colin Windmuller is a graduate of USC's Interactive Media & Games Division. He has been an instructor at New York Film Academy for a year, teaching in the Animation and Game Design departments. Before that, he has worked as a User Experience Designer and a freelance Visual Effects artist. Growing up in a digital age, he has a particular fascination with analog technology and maintains an impressive vinyl collection. His idea of art is creating whimsy through math.

Richard Wyckoff

Richard Wyckoff

Instructor
Richard Wyckoff is CEO and co-founder of Reverge Labs, LLC and Reverge Studios, Inc. Since the videogame industry's breakout success in the mid 1990s, Richard has been a videogame designer and manager at industry leaders such as Electronic Arts/Pandemic Studios, Vivendi Universal, and Dreamworks Interactive. He has been a guiding force on critically-acclaimed titles such as THQ's Full Spectrum Warrior and Looking Glass Technologies' Flight Unlimited, and collaborated with creative luminaries such as Steven Spielberg and Warren Spector. Richard led Reverge Labs to ship cult hit 2D fighting game Skullgirls in 2012.

Ed Zobrist

Ed Zobrist

Instructor
Entrepreneur, General Manager, consumer marketing executive, game designer/producer. Successful experience in the video game, social network game and toy industry on both a local and global basis. 20+ years of experience at increasingly senior levels in marketing and general management, founder of two game development companies, advisor to numerous entertainment focused companies. Involved with hit products totaling >$2B in sales such as Fast & Furious Facebook game (producer/designer), The Simpsons Hit ‘n Run video game (marketing), Who Wants to be a Millionaire pc game (marketing), TipTop downloadable web game from PopCap (producer/designer) and He-Man: Masters of the Universe toys (marketing, episode writer). Companies: General Manager, RockYou; President, Sierra Online; SVP Global Marketing, Vivendi Universal Games; Founder, Zono Games; Sr. Marketing Director, Mattel. Education: Columbia University, BA, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, MBA.

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