With the gaming industry by far overtaking the movie industry, there seems to be no other medium with more impact and influence on modern culture, economy, even aesthetics. That’s why swissnex San Francisco is dedicating an entire event series to the subject of gaming.
As part of this ongoing series, we invite you to the opening reception of the Swiss Game Design exhibition, which highlights the technological and creative potential of game design in Switzerland and provides visitors with insights into both the artistic and technical aspects of game creation. Discover the diversity and creativity of game design and test out some of the latest releases.
Christian Lorenz Scheurer and Ru Weerasuriya, two of Switzerland’s pioneering game designers, moved to the United States to work on computer games such as Lord of the Rings, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Spore, and others. Both share their stories at the opening reception and explore the intersection of art and gaming.
Florian Faller, developer of the award-winning independent game Feist and a lecturer in the game design course at Zurich University of the Arts, talks about game culture from the perspective of independent games and game design education. Pierre-Alain Hug, of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, talks about the gaming landscape in Switzerland and explains why the Council sees gaming as a new art form and took up the two-year GameCulture program.
Game industry consultant Jason Della Rocca, former executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), discusses business trends and how to develop a growing game industry, as in the case of Canada.
The Swiss Game Design exhibition in San Francisco, realized by the House of Electronic Arts Basel, is made possible by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and the US-wide program ThinkSwiss-Brainstorm the Future. As a leading country in science, research, and technology, Switzerland is working with its American counterparts to address key global topics such as sustainability to better understand trends and arrive at solutions.
The opening reception is co-sponsered by swissnex San Francisco and the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco.
6:30 pm doors open
7:00 pm presentations and q-n-a
8:30 pm exhibition viewing, reception, and networking
10:00 pm doors close
Jason Della Rocca
Jason Della Rocca is a game industry consultant who works with game studios and organizations all over the world. For nearly nine years, he served as the executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and was honored for his industry-building efforts with the inaugural Ambassador Award at the Game Developers Conference. In 2009, he was named to Game Developer Magazine‘s “The Game Developer 50,” a list that profiles 50 of the most important contributors to the state of the game industry. As a sought-after expert on the game industry, Rocca has lectured at conferences and universities worldwide.
Florian Faller is a lecturer and researcher at the Zurich University of the Arts in the field of game design with a focus on visual design and game culture. His work as a game designer includes major game titles like Simon the Sorcerer IV, Chaos Happens, serious game projects like Gabarello, and independent games such as Feist. Faller studied German language and literature at the University of Basel and game design at the Zurich University of the Arts. He lived in Berlin for several years and worked in different fields of creative media (audiovisual communications, video postproduction, visuals for DJs, music production, etc.) and is a co-founder of Interdisco, an Internet label for electronic music.
Pierre-Alain Hug is Head of Desk West in the Programs’ department of Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, and is responsible for initiatives in Europe and North America. Pro Helvetia launched its GameCulture program in 2010 to draw attention to the social, economic, and aesthetic aspects of computer games and to explore the characteristics of the genre as a new art form. Hug has worked independently as a manager for eleven years in various fields. He was a consultant for the International Olympic Committee and several other international sports and political organizations. In the cultural field, he was the director of the International Comics Festival in Sierre and Lausanne, and he is currently a board member of the Cully Jazz Festival.
Christian Lorenz Scheurer
Christian Lorenz Scheurer has worked on some of the most innovative movies, games, and commercials of the past decade. His range of projects reaches from architectural design for movies such as The Fifth Element to concept art for The Matrix and Titanic. He was involved in the visual definition of video games such as EA’s Spore, Mistwalker’s Lost Odyssey, and Square’s Final Fantasy IX. He is currently a visual consultant to industry leaders such as Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy), David Perry (The Matrix), and Will Wright (Sims and Spore). He has published two training DVDs on how to create matte paintings and high-end conceptual art, and he released his first book ENTROPIA – its CG feature film is in the works. He also teaches at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, offering classes on visual storytelling and mentoring senior projects.
As Co-founder and Vice President of Ready At Dawn Studios, Weerasuriya leads the company’s business and creative development. He was instrumental in bringing Okami to the Wii and in the creation of titles such as Daxtor, God of War: Chains of Olympus, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta, and has won multiple Game of the Year awards including the Academy Achievement Award, Game Developer’s Choice Award, as well as a VGA award.
He has over 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry and started his career with industry-renowned developer Blizzard Entertainment. Initially working on Starcraft, he then led the cinematic art direction for Warcraft III, Starcraft: Ghost and World of Warcraft, and helped the Blizzard Film Department win numerous awards and accolades over the years. He was named one of the top 100 developers in the world in both 2008 and 2009, and for the last few years has served as a judge for the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Achievement Awards and as a member of the Visual Arts Advisory Board for the Game Developers Conference. A native of Sri Lanka who grew up in Switzerland, he studied at the Art Center College of Design in Switzerland and in Pasadena, California, and holds a bachelor’s degree in transportation design. He has lived and worked in Southern California since 1996.
Photo: Myleen Hollero