Summer @ RIT

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Over the past summer, I had the pleasure of working on campus at RIT, at Magic Spells Studios, LLC. Through the experience, called “Magic Co-Up,” one of my friends and I extended a class project, ColorCoded, taking it to the next level. The end of the Co-Up marked one year in development, and we were happy to see how ColorCoded had grown.

I’ll save the post mortem for another time, as I’d like to focus on the experience of working at RIT over summer. While the campus was emptier, it still remained active, if you knew where to look, or paid attention to emails. The residence life staff stayed engaged with multiple events, activities, and yes, even free food. After all, there were tons of research opportunities, jobs, and even classes taking place during the term. While I had thought a summer on campus would mean rarely seeing people outside my coworkers, those fears were unfounded. The numbers may have been smaller, but RIT still felt like the school I’d known for three years.

Shifting between classes to work did throw me off a bit, as I’d had three years of muscle memory about working in classes and moving between buildings every few hours. Instead, we had a dedicated lab, and could even set our own hours in Magic. We were told in the early days that we had to be accountable for our work, and they wanted us to learn those skills of self-management. We were our own managers, with Magic providing pay and equipment access. I got antsy over the first week, as my mind kept asking when my next class was - I was at RIT after all. But I settled down, and my teammate and I found a groove, and kept busy. We produced over 150 extra levels, and received feedback from industry professionals brought in to help us improve our game. We even learned valuable lessons like how to make better use of prefabs in Unity, a mistake we won’t make again after manually editing all of our levels to fix a stubborn bug.

The time away from classes did mean, however, that I was freer to look at local groups. ROC Game Dev, a developer meetup, kept its monthly meetings in the Simone Center at RIT, and proved a great opportunity to meet new people while still on campus. Social meetups also remained constant with them, and I learned of a lot of new small coffee houses in Rochester. I was even able to show off work and get feedback from outside eyes, a resource I still make use of this semester. They’d been holding sessions at RIT for the last couple years, but the free space in the summer gave me a reason to go back and take advantage.

Working at RIT over the summer was definitely a different experience, but one I would gladly do again, and advise to other teams. It was cool to see the campus in a new light, and the opportunity to extend a project forward into alpha testing on Google Play and the App store was more than worth it.