term: spring | date: 1st march, 2021

Announcing the release of LoFi Hip Hop Worlds To Study In: chill 3D worlds full of unique study spots with Lofi Hip Hop music and ASMR sounds. You can explore them to relax while you take a break from studying. When it’s time to study again, you can set a timer and put these worlds in the background. To help you focus, they will continue to provide relaxing sounds and beats with no ads.

This project was designed and developed by Israel Jones and Matthew Hamilton, students at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and Rossier School of Education, in Richard Lemarchand’s MFA class. Sound design is by Kaley Markes at the Berklee School of Music. Music curation is by Israel Jones and Noah Brown from Berklee.

The design is based on research about player experiences with mindfulness in Walden, A Game and the Headspace app. Matthew collaborated on this research with Tracy Fullerton from the USC Game Innovation Lab and Betsy DiSalvo from Georgia Tech. Findings will be presented at HCI International ’21.

Congratulations, Israel and Matthew on the release! Be sure to download your copy from itch.io.

The deadline to apply for SCA General Scholarships is Tuesday, March 2nd. Several other scholarship and grant applications are also due on March 2nd. Do not miss out on an opportunity to submit your work for consideration. See the Festivals section for more information on what is due.

On March 2nd, Summer Courses will open for registration. Please note: CTIN 202 Foundations of Game Development is an offering through the SCA Summer Programs office​, and is available for High School students only. If you have a High Schooler in your life who would like to begin their game design journey, please let them know!

Last Week

It is our absolute pleasure to congratulate Abby Sherlock, IMGD MFA and co-designer of the award winning Heirloom, for being a recipient of the 2021 Activision/Blizzard King Aspiring Womxn* in Games Scholarship.

This scholarship provides attendance, alongside Activision/Blizzard, to the Game Developers Conference. She will also receive exclusive networking access, not to mention learning and development opportunities accompanied by technology equipment to bolster her study experiences.

Well done, Abby!

Wednesday, March 3rd, 7:00PM – 9:00PM

Game Tasting is a weekly event featuring curated tabletop games (in Tabletop Simulator) with USC Games students and faculty. Come, have fun, and learn a new tabletop game every week!

This week we’re going to play Lovecraft Letter, a card management game of small hands and cosmic horrors. If you’re familiar with the 2012 hit Love Letter, you will recognize the basic gameplay here: on your turn, you pick between just two cards and play its effects, while trying to prevent other players from guessing your remaining card. This newer variant adds a sanity mechanic which creates another layer of complexity that makes the game much more interesting. Join us Wednesday at 7:00 PM PST for a glimpse at eldritch forbidden knowledge with 2017’s Lovecraft Letter.

*Students & Faculty, look out for more information in our USC Games Weekly Access Guide

Thursday, March 4th, 7:00PM – 8:00PM

Marshall Entertainment Association welcomes Lori H. Schwartz (Founder/CEO, Storytech), John D. Canning (Ex. Prod., Digital Domain), Robert Nashak (COO, Survios), Paul O’Brien (CEO, Mediatech Ventures), and Erin Reilly (Chief Strategy Officer, Infinity Festival Hollywood) to their Gaming, Virtual Reality, and Futuristic Media panel.

The panel hopes to delve further into the big picture ideas regarding the space of new media. The intertwined world of technology and entertainment has transformed the way we consume content. Observing the landscape today, especially post the COVID pandemic and how it has reshaped media consumption, where do we see the future of technology-based media? From its current developments to its potential evolution, the discussion will aim to look further into the industry and how it shapes us.

MEA works to bring students closer to professionals in the industry. The panel will be open to questions from the audience and will also encourage questions regarding career development as well.


Friday, March 8th, 6:30PM – 8:30PM

In honor of Women’s History Month, TEA@USC is proud to present Women Leading the Way in Themed Entertainment featuring a variety of industry leaders! This panel will cover various fields in the industry and seeks to spotlight generally unheard voices. We would be extremely grateful if you could promote the panel to students in any way possible.

Join us in conversation with Doris Hardoon, Elisabete Erlandson, Jennifer Kwoon, and Paige Woodward Scheier – four women leading the way in themed entertainment.

Register HERE

Wednesday, March 3rd, 7:00PM – 9:30PM

CTIN-463 is proud to welcome Amir Rao of Supergiant Games (Hades, Transistor, Bastion) for a special fireside chat! Having started as a designer on Command & Conquer at EA, Amir departed to form Supergiant in 2009, embarking on a quest to bring incredible games to the world. As Studio Director, Amir handles production and does a good amount of design and tuning for Supergiant – come pick his mind with us Wednesday at 7pm PST!

*Students & Faculty, look out for more information in our USC Games Weekly Access Guide

Friday, March 5th, 2:00PM – 3:00PM

We want to help you get jobs! Join our Diversity and Inclusion faculty Gordon Bellamy for a casual chat regarding career development, what you’d like to see in the program, and how USC Games can best support your interests. This will help us diversify the companies we bring in and how to support you better, regardless of where you are in your college and job search journey. This week’s chat will be for undergrad Seniors, with next week’s for MFA 3rd years! You do not have to be a USC Games major to attend. For zoom information, email gooi@usc.edu.

We also want to best support your interests! Help us help you by giving us your thoughts. We’ll also be having meetings with each class throughout the semester to further the conversation and inform how we can provide you exactly what you need.

*Students & Faculty, look out for more information in our USC Games Weekly Access Guide