Tech Valley Game Space – Making Games and a Difference in the Troy Community

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Video gaming has become an ever-changing frontier with new advances to engage users. It’s become a means to engage with virtual worlds and augmented reality games such as Pokémon Go.  With all the possibilities and the ever-expanding platforms, it’s easy to feel intimidated when you want to engage in the creative process yourself. Fortunately, Tech Valley Game Space is here to help. 

A game presentation during TVGS’ Lift-Off session last year

Tech Valley Game Space, aka TVGS, is a non-profit located in Troy, NY whose mission is to encourage and enable everyone in the Capital Region to make games. Started in October 2014, TVGS is now coming up on its five year anniversary and is the oldest operating co-working space in Troy. Headed by co-founders Jamey Stevenson and Taro Omiya, TVGS has grown from humble beginnings into a space that offers something incredibly unique to the community. 

The game space prides itself on being welcoming to anyone in the community who wishes to learn how to make games. Video game and board game creators are welcome to work there and benefit from the collaborative atmosphere.  Since there are game makers of varying skill levels, everyone is able to learn from one another and hone their craft. “We’re all working collectively to create a more diverse, approachable and thriving game making community,” Jamey Stevenson said when asked what some of the goals of TVGS are.

TVGS offers classes for free. Whereas you can walk-in to the classes, it is encouraged that you sign up in advance if you plan to attend. One of their popular classes is their Beginner Game Design glass which convenes on Saturdays from 11 – 12:30. This class is an intro to game making that utilizes an easily accessible program and is a class that is appropriate for all ages.  Another class that is popular is the “XR Orbit” which meets from 1-2:30 on the third Saturday of the month. This focuses on Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). All of these will utilize various tech equipment that TVGS has available. TVGS also offers other “orbits”. Orbits are a series of mentorship events with an expert to lead the session. They’re drop-in programs that allow you to come to one or to many.  All of these orbits are organized by Frederika Edgington-Giordano, the mentorship coordinator. For more information about the different orbit classes offered, visit here.

Frederika Edgington-Giordano mentors local community members during Beginner Game Night

TVGS is also an active participant in Troy Night Out where they host an Interactive Showcase. This presents an opportunity for local game makers to showcase their work and for others to play the games. Even those who have a work in progress that they’d like play-tested can participate. This is held in the Arts Center every last Friday of the month in downtown Troy.

You can also become a paying member of TVGS which has added perks. TVGS has a variety of recently purchased equipment that will be available to members to use. This equipment includes items needed to make virtual reality games, mobile phone games, equipment to conduct live streams, midi keyboards for digital music composers, and Wacom tablets and iPads with Apple pencils for digital drawing.  The cost of membership is $50. 

TVGS participates in many exciting events year-round. One upcoming event is “Lift Off!” This is the second year of a program in which TVGS plans to make an annual tradition. They focus on a section of the community that is under-represented in the world of game-making. This year, they will be working with people of color for a 6 week mentorship program for first-time game-makers.  Another upcoming event is Ludum Dare, which is next happening on October 4th. This is a challenge to make a game in 72 hours based around a mystery theme that isn’t announced until the start of the event.

Co-founder Taro Omiya, as seen in the fantastic sweater, demos games at a local game showcase.

TVGS is always open to new members. If you’re interested in finding out more, stop in for a class or for the Interactive Showcase. Or, you can follow them on social media. 

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