EPXCON video game convention returns for fourth year

BY JORDAN RYDER | APRIL 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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Most video-game lovers have at some point pondered what it would be like to design one. Some of those people then decided to make that their goal. This weekend, gaming’s creatively inclined will have the opportunity to meet designers and animators associated with a long list of titles, listen to their stories and advice, and then ask them questions.    

The fourth-annual EPXCON will be held Saturday and April 26 at the University of Iowa Art Building West. The event is a convention on gaming and animation development with seven speakers from various game companies such as Telltales Games, Insomniac Games, Young Horses, independent developers, and Pixar will discuss design, from shading to 3D animation. 

The convention is planned and run by the UI student organization EPX Video Game and Animation Studio. The group invites students to learn and practice the components involved in designing and producing video games. 

Megan Mathews, a UI Information Technology Services IT consultant and the chief organizer of the convention, said she put careful thought into selecting speakers for the event, balancing representatives of well-known studios with independent developers. One example of this is Young Horses, the developer of Octodad: Deadliest Catch. 

“[The members] were students, too, just a few years ago, and then they got picked up by Sony,” Mathews said. 

The other highlight of the convention is the interactive play lounge, providing a chance for developers to showcase their projects and have them be play-tested by the public. It also allows for patrons to have one-on-one time the speakers. 

Ryan Holtkamp, the president of EPX, has seen both the convention and his organization expand greatly in the several years he has been a part of the group. He said is most proud of the increased opportunities EPX has brought students. 

“We make games, animations … and merging all these different types of media.” Holtkamp said.

EPXCON Weekend Schedule

Noon-12:50 p.m. Ty Johnson 
1-1:50 p.m. Devon Scott Tunkin
2-3 p.m. Interactive Play Lounge / Break
3-3:50 p.m. Harrison Pink
4-4:50 p.m. Chris Burrows
5-6 p.m. Interactive Play Lounge Mingle

April 26
Noon-12:50 p.m. Lisa Brown
1-1:50 p.m. Stephen Jennings
2-2:30 p.m. Break
2:30-3:20 p.m. Video Game Law (TBA)
3:30-4:20 p.m. Greg Wohlwend
4:30 p.m. Panel Q & A

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