Matthew Sederberg | Lehi Free Press
Utah is one of the birthplaces of computer graphics. Starting in 1968 with David Evans and Ivan Sutherland at the University of Utah, many leaders in the field hail from Utah, including Jim Clark (who started Silicon Graphics), Ed Catmull (who started Pixar), John Warnock (who founded Adobe), and Alan Ashton (who founded WordPerfect). BYU and the University of Utah have recently developed prestigious animation and video game design programs, generating a robust alum network at top global studios such as Dreamworks, Pixar, and Electronic Arts.
There is also a thriving computer graphics industry on the Wasatch Front, including companies such as Avalanche Software, Epic Games, Future House, Zygote, and Daz3D, along with numerous freelancers. One of these freelancers, Thomas Keene, has been working in the video game development industry since 2009 while completing his degree at BYU. After working out-of-state, he moved back to Utah in 2016. He was introduced to a local video game networking group that attracted around a hundred people monthly. This group created a rich environment for contract work, making connections, and supporting students until it shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. By late 2022, the networking group was still dormant, and Thomas realized it was his turn to lead. Consequently, he started a new group called the Timpanogos Game Dev Club.
Now, this group has several dozen attendees at its monthly meetings hosted at Lehi’s Kiln co-working space. At each meeting, someone will give a live demo about a part of the game development process, share tips and tricks, or show off their work. Independent developers bring laptops and invite attendees to test their latest games and give feedback. A local sponsoring company provides the pizza.
Draper resident Derrick Brown attended the latest meetup on January 30. Brown currently works as a cybersecurity programmer, but his passion is video games. Brown is looking to break into the industry when the opportunity presents itself. “I’ve been welcomed with open arms to this group,” he said. Attending the Lehi meetup helps him in his current job as he learns software practices used in gaming and is also opening doors for a new job.
All are welcome at the next monthly meetup of the Timpanogos Game Dev Club, to be held February 27, 2024, at 6 p.m. at the Kiln co-working space in Lehi. More information is available at https://www.meetup.com/timpanogos-game-dev-club/.