Christian Erali

Game Designer

After graduating Ithaca College with my Undergraduate degree in history, I began to look for potential careers where I might apply it or the skills I had gained. Having first been exposed to game design and creation at Ithaca College thanks to Dungeons and Dragons, and no longer interested in pursuing a teaching career in the public sector, I first looked to colleges and opportunities that would let me design games for a living. Champlain College's Fine Arts in Emergent Media Masters program seemed like the best place to start and two short years later I had learned many things. The first was that I enjoyed several aspects of game design. Narrative, Systems, Level Design, but I think at the core, I fell in love with the idea of just helping others refine projects and help create the best ideas possible. The second important lesson was simple, I now had an idea of exactly how much I still had to learn.

After graduating Champlain, I quickly applied to the Southern Methodist University Guildhall's Masters Program, specifically Level Design. Throughout the following two years, I pushed myself as a student and as a designer to help my team create the best products we could. After graduating, I earned a short summer internship at Trendy Entertainment. While there I helped them to finally release Dungeon Defenders II, assisted in the reworking of the shards system, and helped to design, implement, and release the Adept Hero.

After the internship ended I became an independent contract for a few months before getting a call from Marty Newcomb of Triseum. Within a few short hours, I was sent over a design test and three weeks later, I received my first true job in the gaming industry, helping Triseum to make educational games. Within my first two months there we released two projects. The first was Arte Hemut, which was a combination digital deckbuilder and boardgame that taught players about the art, history, and culture of Ancient Eygpt. The second was Arte Lumiere, an old-school adventure game centered around french impressionism.

Things were going great and we were even beginning work on a sequel to one of our better known games when the news came. January 3rd 2019, six months after getting my first job in the gaming industry, I experienced the other half of the gaming industry, getting laid off. And while I am still looking for my next gaming opportunity, I continue to wake up each morning, challenging myself to try or learn something new.

Sessions

In recent years, many adventure games have relied on simple, one direction hallways to get players from point A to point B. While these climbing, running, or walking sections are great for teaching players the controls, giving players breaks between intense combat, or interesting uses in climbing puzzles and the like, many gamers have voiced their distaste of these vertical hallways. This panel focuses on creating a forum or rudimentary brainstorming session to generate ideas about how to improve or reuse these hallways in unique and interesting ways.