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Career Lounge

One of the most popular events at the East Coast Game Conference returns! We will host the Career Lounge and portfolio critique sessions in its own private room this year during both days of the conference. This is where professionals in the games industry will participate in open floor, informal, and collaborative session discussions on day-to-day operations in their prospective fields.

For the Critiques: Things will be a little different this year as our portfolio critique area will consist of small groups of 4 together to go through each persons "best" piece from your portfolio and the pros will critique it in front of the group. This way you can see each other's work and learn as you listen through each critique. The session will run for 30 minutes for each group.  This part of the Career Lounge was so popular we added in more great industry professionals to help evaluate and elevate your portfolio.

If you're interested in meeting with an industry professional for the portfolio critiques, there will be a sign up sheet in front of the career lounge room starting on April 7th, please look for the ECGC volunteer if you need help.

For the Roundtables: The setting is still very casual with bean bag chairs and cubes. The sessions will be at separate times from the critique sessions. The roundtable is a general discussion giving the opportunity for attendees to ask more questions, so you'll get a good understanding of the industry. They'll talk on how they got into the industry, tips & tricks, developing a marketable portfolio, and things not to do! 

The Career Lounge and critique session times, along with attendant professionals, are listed below. Check out who is coming to talk, and from which studios, underneath the schedule. We hope you can join us and meet industry artists from studios such as Insomniac Studios, Vicious Cycle and Red Storm Entertainment - A Ubisoft Studio!

Schedule: Critiques and Roundtables 2015

April 8th - Wednesday
9:00am - 6:45pm

Session 1 - Roundtable:
Daniel Way: Comic Book Writer @ Freelance (Wolverine/Deadpool)

Session 2 - Critique:
Eric Peterson - CEO/Art Director @ Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.

Session 3 - Critique:
Will Clay - Animation Director

12:30-2:00pm Lunch

2:00pm-3:00pm Keynote: Mike Laidlaw, Bioware, Dragon Age Creative Director

Session 4 - Roundtable:
Intro to Maya presentation
Paul Robbins - Senior Animator @ Insomniac Games

Session 5 - Critique:
Dave Schultz - Senior Environment Artist at Red Storm Entertainment

Session 5 - Roundtable:
Mike McClelland - Senior FX Artist @ Vicious Cycle, Inc.
Ryan Hoss - FX Artist @ Vicious Cycle Software, Inc. 


April 9th - Thursday
9am - 5pm

Session 1 - Critique:
Robert Simpson - Senior Artist @ Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.

Session 2 - Roundtable:
Nina Fricker @ Insomniac Games

Session 3 - Critique:
Matt Via - Artist @ Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.

12:30-2:00pm Lunch

Session 4 - Critique:
Steve Henricks - Senior Environment Artist @ Red Storm Entertainment

Session 5 - Critique:
Chris Devens - Environment Artist @ Insomniac Games

Session 6 - Critique:
Nick Georgopoulos - Senior Environment Artist @ Red Storm Entertainment


ECGC – Career Lounge Lead

Suzanne Tudman2Suzanne M. Tudman
Lead/Senior Artist - Specializes in Environment Art
Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.

Career Lounge Coordinator
East Coast Gaming Conference

Suzanne has 15+ years experience in the game industry focusing in environment art. She has been with Vicious Cycle as their Lead/Senior Artist for 4 years. Suzanne has shipped 6 games with Vicious and is currently working on 2 unannounced titles. In 2009, Suzanne decided to change up her 10 year career as an artist to focus on recruiting for the game industry. She joined the large recruiting firm Vaco as their Director of Design and Gaming, specializing in job placement and business development. Prior to recruiting, her passion has always lied as an artist. She was the Lead Environment Artist at Atomic Games and worked on the controversial game Six Days in Fallujah. Suzanne also worked for Red Storm Entertainment as a Senior Environment Artist for 7 years. She created environments on AAA titles such as the Ghost Recon series and Rainbow Six.



Daniel way2Daniel Way
Comic Book Writer

Daniel Way is a comic book writer, known for his work with Marvel including Deadpool, Thunderbolts, Wolverine, Dark Wolverine, Venom, Ghost Rider and Hit-Monkey. He has worked as the writer on the Deadpool video game created by High Moon Studios.




Nick Georgopoulos2Nick Georgopoulos
Senior Environment Artist
Red Storm Entertainment 

Nick received a degree in Computer Animation from The Academy Education Center out of Minneapolis, MN. He had a career in graphic design and video production before he made the move into the game industry as a UI artist at Atomic Games working on Six Days in Fallujah. Nick is currently a Senior Environment Artist at Redstorm Entertainment/Ubisoft Studios where in recent years he has worked on various multiplayer titles such as Ghost Recon Future Soldier and Far Cry 4. He is currently working on Tom Clancy’s The Division.



Steve Henricks2Steve Henricks

Senior Environment Artist
Red Storm Entertainment

Steve Henricks is currently employed as a Senior Environment Artist at Red Storm Entertainment, a division of Ubisoft. While exploring his passion, Steve earned several scholarships to Carnegie Mellon’s pre-college art program in Pittsburgh, where he was formally introduced to computer graphics. After many years of civil design and 3D CAD work, Steve returned to school and earned a Bachelor's in Game Art and Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Steve began working at Red Storm in 2008 and has created art for the multi-player and campaign portions of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Far Cry 4. Steve's current focus is environment and vehicle art for Tom Clancy’s The Division.



 Mike McClelland2Mike McClelland

Senior Artist - Specializes in FX, Shaders, Maxscript Tools
Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.

Mike McClelland is a Senior Artist with eighteen years of 3D experience.  With fourteen shipped titles under his belt, he has worked for such publishers as MicroProse, Acclaim, Sierra Online, Midway, Bioware, and Namco.  Over the years, Mike has worked his way across most of the art disciplines in the games industry, and is currently an FX Artist for Vicious Cycle Software in Morrisville, North Carolina. 

When not writing about himself in the third-person, Mike enjoys trail-running, martial arts, playing guitar and spending time with his family.



Chris DevensChris Devens
Environment Artist
Insomniac Games

Chris Devens is an Environment Artist at Insomniac Games (Durham Studio).  He has 4 years of experience creating high end environments on games such as Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus and Sunset Overdrive. Chris is currently working on the next Ratchet and Clank title.  Prior to Insomniac Games, Chris worked at Epic Games as an contract artist on Fortnite. Before breaking into the industry as an artist, Chris worked on several other titles in QA for Epic Games.



 Ryan Hoss2Ryan Hoss
Artist - Specializes in FX

Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.

Ryan Hoss is an FX Artist at Vicious Cycle Software. After joining the company in 2011, he has contributed to seven shipped titles, including Ben 10: Omniverse, Madagascar 3: The Video Game, and Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 1 & 2. He has also contributed to projects at Vicious Cycle  in other roles such as environment art and design. He holds a M.S. and B.S. in Digital Media from East Tennessee State University.



Matt Via2Matt Via
Artist - Specializes in Environments
Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.

Matt Via has been working at Vicious Cycle Software for the last two years.  During his time there, Matt has had the opportunity to work on multiple titles including Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 1 & 2 and two unannounced projects.  He began his career working as a Contract Artist for Hitpoint Studios in Amherst, MA.  He graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2008 with a B.S. in Digital Media, originally planning to enter the film industry as an animator.  He later returned to ETSU to get an M.S. in Technology and shifted his attention to creating game environments, focusing his graduate research on environmental storytelling.



Eric SmallEric Peterson

Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.

Eric is the President and CEO of the company and has been in the game industry since 1996.  Along with his industry experience Eric also brings his academic training as an artist with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland. Prior to co-founding Vicious Cycle, he was an Art Director at MicroProse. Eric strives to assist and encourage all of the imaginative employees at Vicious Cycle to create their best work. Eric is also responsible for business development, day-to-day operations, and serves as the company liaison to publishers, licensors, contractors and vendors.



Paul Robbins PhotoPaul Robbins
Senior Animator
Insomniac Games

Paul earned a BFA in Digital Art/Design from Henderson State University and went on to receive a BS in Computer Animation from Full Sail where he graduated Valedictorian.  He has worked at Activision's Raven Software on Wolfenstein and Singularity and is currently Senior Animator at Insomniac Games working on the latest Ratchet & Clank Adventure.   His business card says “likes to move it move it.”



David Schultz lowres2Dave Schultz
Senior Environment Artist
Red Storm Entertainment

I first learned digital art in 2004 as an Intern at a small studio in Asheville, NC. I struggled to find work as Freelance Commercial Artist, and I had to reevaluate what I wanted to do. I have always loved video games and the thought of creating worlds, so at that point, I decided to commit myself to learning how to become an Environment Artist in the Video Game Industry. I have now been in this industry for seven years: first with Vicious Cycle Software, then at Funcom, and I am now at Red Storm Entertainment. I have worked on a broad range of titles such as: E at Lead , E arth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon , Ben 10 Omniverse , The Secret World , and I am currently working on The Division.



Robert Simpson3Robert Simpson
Senior Artist - Specializes in Environments
Vicious Cycle Software, Inc

Robert Simpson is a Senior Artist at Vicious Cycle Software with over eight years of experience. He is currently working on two unannounced titles. Robert has worked with multiple studios in the Triangle area including Atomic Games, Red Storm Entertainment and Icarus Studios. Past titles include: Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 1 & 2, Turbo: Super Stunt Squad, Ben 10: Omniverse, Madagascar 3: The Video Game, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Fallen Earth, Scrabble Journey, Breach & Escape from Frankenstein’s Castle.



Nina Fricker2Nina Fricker

Technical Animation/Animation Lead
Insomniac Games

Nina Fricker is the Technical Animation and Animation Lead at the North Carolina studio of Insomniac Games. By trade she is a Technical Animator who specializes in character rigging and scripting. Over the past 6 years she has worked on the Ratchet & Clank franchise where she has had the opportunity to work with a ridiculously talented team. Prior to Insomniac she worked at Turbine Games for just shy of 7 years where she grew from a fresh-out-of-school rigger to the Lead Technical Artist working on titles such as Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online.


Will ECGC 2Will Clay

Animation Director | Motion Capture Director | VFX Supe | Commercials | Feature Film | AAA & Mobile Games

William Clay is an artist residing in Raleigh, North Carolina.  A passionate artist at heart with a technical curiosity, he found his way into computer sciences and graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Computer Science concentration.  He then pursued his passion of art in the digital arena and holds certificates in Graphic Design, Animation and Advanced Animation.  William has twenty one years of experience working as an industry professional across the Broadcast, Feature Film, and Game Industries with a focus in character development, character animation, motion capture and VFX.  His production experiences over the years fueled his pursuit of knowledge and craft while creating an awareness of the importance to give back through conferences, user groups and teaching.  He teaches within production facility training centers to peers, within 3D art programs to aspiring artists and as a presenter within the public school system to future artists and developers.

William’s passion for creature development, animation and visual effects work has afforded him the opportunity to work alongside top shelf talent for industry leaders bringing characters to life on box office properties including Star Wars, HULK, Terminator, Harry Potter, Mummy Returns, Hidalgo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Men in Black, and Barnyard.  Broadcast commercial spots covered the world of major branding and products including Pepsi, Disney, Sony, Visa, GE, Braun, SNL, Gillette, Fisher-Price, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, Cheetos, Huggies, Oral-B, Footlocker, Adidas, and Puma.  Gaming properties including, Wild Wild West, Drachen Zor, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell, Far Cry, and the recently released Breach & Clear: Deadline.  Presently, William is consulting as an Animation Director on multiple Broadcast campaigns and a Motion Capture Director for two game titles and a motion ride.  In his free time William chases waves and surfs, skateboards and explores the Triangle's best pavement, brews craft beer, supports the craft beer industry, and grows hops, peppers and spices.  Most importantly, he enjoys spending time with friends and family.