October 1, 2018 Student Spotlight: Corey Jeffers
Corey Jeffers
Corey Jeffers

 

1. Tell us about your career journey so far. What kind of work do you do? Tell us about yourself before you took the course.

I’m a graduate from Ithaca College. Back in 2011 I was a finalist in the Microsoft imaginecup where my teammates, Marc Howard, Evan Marinaro and Ashley Alicea, and I worked on an HTML5 based web game called “Embryonic”. After representing  the US in that category, I went on to work as a web developer at a gaming company in NYC called Tylted Inc focusing on web and mobile games. I got a taste of working as a professional game developer and met a lot of great friends and mentors that I still keep in touch with to this day, including  Rick Felice, Heather Arbiter, Bonny Baez, Scott Crockett and Dan Martinelli. Since then my path has taken me to front end web development positions across the industries of Journalism and Finance. During that time I never stopped my love of game development and every year since 2009 I’ve attended the Global Game Jam and most of the games I had the pleasure of programming for ended up being built with JavaScript and HTML.

2. What Playcrafting course(s) did you take? How did the Playcrafting course(s) you took fit into your journey? Why’d you take the course?

In 2017 I was fortunate enough to not only attend the Game Developers conference but to also join the Train Jam cross country game development initiative. I worked with a developer named Elio Feliciano who attended Ithaca college as well. We didn’t know each other well then but after that trip we became good friends. The project we spent 52 hours working on was a rhythm based puzzle game called John Henry Hammertime. Elio exposed me to using Unity for the first time on a game jam project. I ended up defaulting to animations and art for this project but I told myself enough is enough and after getting back to NYC I would take some courses to finally master a tool I had been avoiding for so long. So I signed up for the 8 week Learn Unity course and never looked back.

3. What was your experience in the course(s)? What were your favorite parts? What did you make? What did you learn?

The course was everything I could have ever asked for. The instructor, Kevin Harper was a funny, knowledgeable, professional game developer who took the time to answer your questions in and outside of class. It was a collaborative environment and having that support from  our fellow classmates in the Slack channel was clutch. I’m a person who learns best being immersed in a learning environment and being hands on with projects. Seeing all the projects my classmates were building kept me on my toes and made me want to learn more.

4. Have you been an active member in the Playcrafting community since? Come to events? Show at events? Still work with or communicate with your instructors or fellow students? Tell us all about it!

I have been very active in the Playcrafting community. I’ve gone to many of the open events like Spring Play as well as most of the game jams co-hosted with Microsoft. I attended the first Play NYC and funny enough you may have run into me at the booth of my former instructor, Kevin. He had a talk to attend and needed someone to take over the both for Paulo’s wings, his VR title, so I volunteered myself to help run his booth while he gave his talk. Everytime I attend a NYC game event I manage to always run into someone from the course. We still keep in touch through the slack channel to hear about other gaming events going on in NYC.

5. What have you been working on since the course(s) finished? We want to know all about what you’ve been making since!  

Since the course has ended I continued to work on the final project I made in the class. I added more unique enemies and fleshed out the overall story better. I took a brief break away from the alpha build to try my hand at the Universal Game Design Competition by Unity and gathered together some friends who had no experience making games and walked away with a beautiful submission for our project. Although we didn’t make it to the next round we walked away with something polished that we were proud of. Went to the largest Global Game Jam site in the US and the team I worked with ended up creating an awesome little audio puzzle game called “Fleeborkin!”. When we watched the theme of waves being announced I instinctively grabbed the Audio Engineer friend that I had made minutes prior, haha. Shout out to Blake Balick-Shreiber, Ryan Giglio, Kira Boettcher and Steven Xia!

 

6. Tell us about the game you’re currently making or most recently released. What’s it called?

Now that the competition is over I’m back to working on the game Incubate. It’s a passion project and a spiritual successor to the game my friends and I worked on years ago for the Microsoft Imaginecup. It’s an action game where you control a nanobot that is trying to defend a little alien fetus as it goes through its development in the womb. The twist from the original concept is that as some of the key vital organs are formed, it’s easier to defend against the encroaching pathogens but as the fetus develops and expands inside the womb those vital organs are harder to defend because it’s more spread out.  

I got the blessings from my teammates to work on this solo. Our plan when we wanted this game was to reach as many people as possible for people learn more about maternal healthcare. In the spirit of that plan, I made a couple trips to the Department of Health to pick up some pamphlets about various diseases and factors that can complicate a healthy delivery. Going forward I want to reach out to the folks at Planned Parenthood for further advice and information. The bacteria infecting the game world have real world counterparts and my goal is to do my best to show the varied ways they can be brought in while also being fun challenging game mechanic.  The story involves two extraterrestrial scientists who develop this technology for people with autoimmune diseases like them. Neither of them could have foreseen them having to use this innovative technology on themselves.

You can follow Corey on his game development journey through his website and Twitter.