Game design and development student excited about future of the industry

Student Spotlight
Peter O’Neal, fourth-year game design and development student

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Derrick Hunt

Fourth-year game design and development student Peter O’Neal attended Game Developers Conference 2015.

Peter O’Neal, a fourth-year game design and development student, was one of the many RIT Tigers who travelled to San Francisco last week to attend Game Developers Conference 2015. The Utica, N.Y., native is also a co-founder of the RIT chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity and an active competitor in intramural sports. After graduation, O’Neal will be joining SapientNitro as a mobile developer.

Question: What brought you to RIT?
Answer: Two major factors drew me to RIT: the strength of the game design and development major and the sports programs. It was also nice that RIT wasn’t too far from home.

Q: Why did you choose to major in game design and development?
A: At the time, I wanted to go into something computer-related. There aren’t many colleges that offer app design and development, but RIT’s game design and development program does. It’s really neat because you can choose your own path in the major to specialize in whatever aspect of the industry you find the most interesting. I also enjoy playing video games, so it was a perfect fit.

Q: What is the Game Developers Conference?
A: GDC is where the world’s game developers come together to collaborate. Literally thousands of people head to San Francisco to show off the latest and greatest things in the gaming industry, including upcoming games and technology.

Q: Did you have any goals for the conference?
A: Luckily I already have a job lined up after graduation, so I was focused on enjoying the experience and learning more about the gaming industry and where its going.

Q: What was the most interesting thing you saw at GDC this year?
A: The heavy emphasis that companies are placing on virtual reality technology was fascinating to see. It’s some really exciting, groundbreaking stuff — there’s all kinds of virtual reality technology that will be coming out in the next few years and it’s going to totally change the gaming industry. As a developer, I would love to work with virtual reality in the future.

Q: What are looking forward to most about graduation?
A: Honestly, never having to do another homework assignment will be amazing. But beyond that, it’s going to be really cool to develop things that will actually be released commercially.

Q: Do you have any advice for other students?
A: If you’re a game design and development student, you absolutely must attend at least one GDC because it’s such a great opportunity. Also, try out as many of the courses available in the major as you can. There are so many unique courses that you won’t find anywhere else and exploring the major will help you find your niche.

Derrick Hunt compiles “Student Spotlights” for University News. Contact him at with suggestions.