A game-changing jam opens ‘Wild Pockets’ at CMU

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Sim Ops Studios, the Web-based 3-D game company started by former Carnegie
Mellon University students, kicks off a coast-to-coast tour of its online video game
platform Wild Pockets this month with a Pittsburgh game jam. 

This is the first of a series of jams that Sim Ops Studios plans to organize in U.S.
cities, and, for Pittsburgh, it is believed to be the second such promoted event, a type of creative
carnival that is wildly popular among game developers. CMU’s Entertainment
Technology Center
will be the host. Participation is free with registration. 

The 24-hour jam will run from noon Saturday, October 18, to noon on October
19. The beta trial of Wild Pockets’ unique platform, winner this year of a coveted ETC
DemoGod Award, is expected to attract game developers from CMU, the
University of Pittsburgh, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and other colleges and
universities, as well as independent gamers. Using Wild Pockets’ innovative, social-
network-style of online game creation and distribution, teams of three to five developers will
compete to create games in the retro casual or puzzle genres, well known for such
popular video amusements as Tetris and Bejeweled.

The event will introduce developers to Sim Ops Studios’ innovative online game
development network, which is designed to shift the paradigm of current approaches
that rely on licensed software and marketing by individual developers. While providing
a toolset to use through free client accounts at its website, Wild Pockets also offers
developers access to a growing community of game enthusiasts across the Internet. 
Developers can post games—as well as other Wild Pockets creations suitable for
communication and marketing—on any site that will accept them.
 
The online community of users provides a Web-wide rating system and online
market for games and game products. Wild Pockets creates distribution channels to
high traffic sites for top performing games. Through sale of digital goods, such as
behavior simulations and character accessories, and branded advertising within games,
individual game developers will be able to collect income, while Sim Ops Studios tolls a
percentage of revenues, according to Shanna Tellerman, company founder and CEO.

Why Wild Pockets? “We want the name to make people feel they are engaged in
something new, edgy, and uncharted—wild,” she says. “We also want users to feel like
the content is personal and unique, something they can fit into their pockets.”
      
After each jam, three top teams, determined by a panel of industry experts, will
advance in the progressive competition to the next city in the search for the national
winning team. Beyond Pittsburgh later this year and next, other locations on the current
planning list include Washington, D.C., Austin, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Plans call
for opening Wild Pockets to all users next spring after the jam series.
      
Sim Ops Studios received business development assistance and seed funding
locally through the Idea Foundry and Innovation Works. Currently it operates with
angel investments. The company employs eight people in Pittsburgh, where it plans to
maintain product development and system operations. Tellerman, a CMU graduate,
will build partnerships for the enterprise from San Francisco, where the company plans to
locate business development and marketing operations.
        
The Entertainment Technology Center is located at the Pittsburgh Technology
Center
. Register at www.wildpockets.com.

Source: Sim Ops Studios
Writer: Joseph Plummer

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