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VR/AR Story & Game Studio

for intermediate to advanced VR/AR creators and developers

March 25 – June 17, 2017

In partnership with the NYU Game Center, Media and Games Network (MAGNET)

Supported by Time Inc. and Oculus

Description  |  Schedule  |  Advisors  | Team  | FAQs

The VR/AR Story & Game Studio is an intensive 3-month program that enables intermediate-to-advanced VR/AR/MR creators to create new immersive formats for publication, exhibition or other form of distribution. Candidates with established skills in one of the game engines (e.g., Unity, Unreal Engine), 3D modeling/rigging/animation or 360 filmmaking are encouraged to apply.


“Discuss fast, build fast, fail fast, fix fast.” The purpose of a shotgun prototyping program is to provide experienced immersive media creators with the opportunity to hit the ground running. For media creators looking for VR/AR/MR-related training and workshops in specific skills, please see the Virtual Reality Lab.

In partnership with the NYU Game Center and supported by Time Inc. and Oculus, the Studio will take place from March 25, 2017 to June 17, 2017. Four-hour sessions will be held weekly on Saturdays from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

The Studio program will wrap with a public exhibition of VR/AR/MR projects.

The weekly schedule is as follows:

STAGE 1: Concept & Design (March 25, April 1, 8, 15)

  • The first session will introduce participants to VR demos and review published immersive formats. We will cover best practices in UI/UX, storytelling, game design and other considerations regarding the execution of a viable VR/AR concept.
  • Weeks 1-2: Participants will brainstorm and formulate VR/AR/MR concepts as well as form groups.
  • Weeks 3-4: The second half of Stage 1 will be spent on story or game design, UI/UX design, storyboards, etc. Participants will also nail down the concept art, style, tone, etc. of the VR/AR/MR piece.

STAGE 2: Building & Iteration (April 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20)

  • Weeks 5-10: The midsection of the program will focus on the building and iteration of the VR/AR/MR projects. Participants will be encouraged to break the envelope – that is, innovate on VR/AR/MR story or game design as well as execution.

STAGE 3: Optimizing & Testing (June 3, 10, 17)

  • Weeks 8-12: During the final few weeks of the Studio, participants will optimize their projects to ensure best performance and user experience. Participants will engage in user testing, garnering user feedback, revision and refinement.

Please note: the second and third stages bleed into each other. Concepts tend to evolve as participants work with the technology.

VR/AR Story & Game Studio advisors include Clara Fernandez-Vara, Ken Perlin and Matthew Weise.

The Studio team includes seasoned VR creators/developers J Dakota Powell (Director), Jackson Tam (Co-Director), Maxwell Foxman, Will Wurtzebach, Talal Choudhury, Angelique Anderson and Matthew Cornelius (Director of Motion Capture at NYIT).

Who: Intermediate to advanced VR/AR/MR creators/developers, media professionals and students with established skills in one of the game engines (e.g., Unity, Unreal Engine), 3D modeling/rigging/animation, 360 filmmaking, and other VR-related skill sets.


Dates: March 25, 2016 – June 17, 2017 (Saturdays)

Time: 1 PM to 5 PM.

Location: NYU Game Center, Media and Games Network (MAGNET)

2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201

Cost $250. Students 30% discount with proof of ID or university affiliation. Repeat VR Labbies also receive a 30% discount.

Space limited to 25-30 people.

Full scholarships available for NYU Game Center students as well as other students and media creators exhibiting financial need and exceptional ability/experience.

To apply, send mail with CV and portfolio (ex. link to webpage / reel) to: VRARStudio@timewavefestival.com.

Final deadline for applications: March 15, 2017.



SAT, March 251:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, April 11:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, April 81:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, April 151:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, April 221:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, April 291:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, May 61:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, May 131:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, May 201:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, June 31:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, June 101:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201
SAT, June 171:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.MAGNET, NYU 2 MetroTech Center, 8th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201

* Please note: Memorial Day weekend will be observed.


Ken Perlin

Ken Perlin

Ken Perlin is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University and directs the NYU Games For Learning Institute. He is a participating faculty member in the NYU Media and Games Network (MAGNET). Perlin was also founding director of the Media Research Laboratory and director of the NYU Center for Advanced Technology. His research interests include graphics, animation, augmented and mixed reality, user interfaces, science education and multimedia. He received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television, as well as the 2008 ACM/SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, the TrapCode award for achievement in computer graphics research, the NYC Mayor’s award for excellence in Science and Technology and the Sokol award for outstanding Science faculty at NYU, and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Perlin received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University, and a B.A. in theoretical mathematics from Harvard University.

Clara Fernandez-Vara


Clara Fernandez-Vara

Clara Fernández-Vara is a game scholar, designer and writer. She is an Associate Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center. Her area of expertise is narrative in games and how it can integrate with game design, focusing on adventure games. She is particularly interested in applying methods from textual analysis and performance studies to the study of video games and transmedia artifacts. Clara’s videogame work is grounded in the humanities, informed by her background in literature, film and theatre. Before joining the NYU Game Center, Clara was a a researcher and game developer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She holds a Ph.D. in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. Clara has presented her work at various international academic and industry conferences, such as DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association), and Foundations of Digital Games and the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC). She has worked both in games for research as well as in the commercial sphere. Her first book, “Introduction to Game Analysis” has been published by Routledge.

Matthew Weise

Matthew WeiseMatthew Weise is a new media producer, designer, and writer. For 5 years he was the Director of Game Design at MIT’s GAMBIT Game Lab, where he produced the award-nominated WWI immersive experience, The Snowfield. Since he has collaborated with Disney and Harmonix on an interactive reboot of the animated classic Fantasia and with Warner Bros. on a transmedia prequel to the science fiction film Transcendence. He holds a Masters from MIT in Comparative Media.


J Dakota Powell

J Dakota Powell


Director, VR/AR Story & Game Studio

Producing Artistic Director J Dakota Powell gathered the American theatre to respond in 911 in Brave New World on Broadway. Plays include: Bliss Moon, The Impostor, Savage Light, Blackwater, Harry Black. Harry Black was produced in the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s New Works Series. Blackwater was selected for the National Playwrights Conference, O’Neill Theatre Center and by John Guare for the Lincoln Center Reading Series. The Impostor was twice nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and received an Honourable Mention for the Jane Chambers Playwrighting Award. Powell has been produced by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Philadephia Theater Company’s New Works Series, Circle Repertory Theatre Lab, the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Duke University’s New Works Series; she has been commissioned by South Coast Repertory Theatre, Talking Wall Pictures, PBS Great Performances. Powell is a winner of the Writers Guild of America, East screenwriting fellowship (NYC) and won the Scriptapalooza (LA) competition. Graduate of Yale, ITP/NYU and the Ensemble Studio Theater (NYC) 2-year program in acting, writing and directing.

Jackson Tam

Jackson Tam


Co-Director, VR/AR Story & Game Studio

Jackson Tam is a VR developer and  also works as the senior manager of an innovation lab. His background is in game design, toy design, and architecture. He has designed the hardware and software of 100+ toys for Marvel, Disney, Hasbro, and Mattel brands. He was a finalist in MIT’s Reality Virtually hackathon in 2016.

Talal Choudury

Talal Choudury


After graduating with a Biology degree from Brooklyn College, Talal attended Medical School and was all set to become a doctor. There was just one problem. His dream was to be a developer. So he went back to school for Computer Science at General Assembly. For his thesis project, he created an in-browser 3D video game. And it’s no surprise that he goes to Comic Con every year, builds electronics for fun, and created a visor that shoots red lasers out of the eyes like the X-men Cyclops. He brings a huge dose of creativity and enthusiasm to each project he touches.

Angelique Anderson

Angelique Anderson

Angelique E. Anderson is Founder/ Creative Director of LIQUE Story Studio, Inc., an early stage start-up to develop creative content and children’s picture-book apps, utilizing Virtual-Reality(VR/AR)platforms for mobile devices. Her career has spanned from working with the Time Warner team developing interactive web content, being nominated twice for Rockefeller Foundation Grant and a Smithsonian Laureate for interactive VR projects. Her work is archived at the Smithsonian Institute, National Museum for Women in the Arts, and is included in the CLARA Database of Women Artists. Angelique has exhibited in Paris, New York, and Washington, D.C. Her work is published in the Leonardo, the ISEA catalogue and adorns the covers of Avalon Publisher – Thomas Bouregy books.

Matthew Cornelius

Matthew Cornelius

Matthew Cornelius has worked professionally in the field of 3D computer animation for the past 16 years. He is currently a faculty member with a research fellowship at Pratt Institute and the Director of Art Media Technology at New York Institute of Technology, and directs the Motion Capture Studio at NYIT.  He is among the leading motion capture experts in the field.

The education repertoire of Mr. Cornelius includes life drawing, sculpture, classical graphic design, and 3D animation, obtained from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Parsons School of Design, and VancouverFilmSchool.

The professional career of Mr. Cornelius begins with notable achievements in the games industry, starting with two AAA published titles.  He came across the Motion Capture technology while working with motions captured by House of Moves in Los Angeles, capturing more than 1,000 motions over the course of 6 weeks for NHL2K for the Sega Dreamcast.  This experience led Cornelius to a studio in the U.K. with the prominent Vicon Motion Capture system, which he shortly became responsible for running.  Upon honing his skills with running the motion capture system as well as rigging & animating with the resulting data, he worked to contribute to the foundation of the company NaturalMotion.  His role at NaturalMotion included R&D, NM character design, UI design, corporate training & support for major film & video game companies, and presenting the Endorphin software at international conferences & conventions including SIGGRAPH, GDC, and E3.  During his tenure at NM, Cornelius was the Technical Artist and Product Specialist for NaturalMotion endorphin.

Mr. Cornelius possesses a Master of Science in Computer Animation from Bournemouth University, a professional Certificate in 3-D Animation from the Vancouver Film School (1997) in Canada, and two professional Certificates from Autodesk Instructors program for 3DS Max, Maya.

Maxwell Foxman

Maxwell Foxman

Maxwell Foxman is a PhD candidate in Communications at Columbia’s Journalism School, where he is studying the Virtual Reality development community in New York City. A majority of Foxman’s research has surrounded the intersections of games and play in non-game situations, including social media, politics and journalism. Before starting his PhD, Foxman received a Master’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University and was a secondary school teacher at the Rockland Country Day School, where he co-founded and coordinated an Independent Studies program.

Will Wurtzebach

Will Wurtzebach

Will Wurtzebach is a jack of all trades when it comes to software. His career in IT has included development, business consulting, enterprise sales, and management. He has provided custom and packaged solutions for customers small and massive from New York to Kathmandu.


  1. What kind of program is it?
  2. What equipment will I have access to?
  3. How do I join a team?
  4. Do we get API decks to work with?

1. What kind of program is it?

In contrast to the Virtual Reality Lab, the Studio is not a training program. In the Studio, you will learn by building prototypes and collaborating with seasoned media creators and developers.

2. What equipment do I have access to?

We expect most Studio participants to bring their own gear. However, the Studio does have 3 VR-ready laptops, 2 Oculus Rifts & Touch controllers, 2 Oculus DK2s, 2 HTC Vives, 7 Gear VR and Leap Motion VR dev kits. We provide generous access to the gear, stitching software and other sound/video editing tools.

3. How do I join a team?

We encourage you to form a team and/or formulate an immersive concept before applying. However, teams will be formed from the get-go.

4. Do we get API decks to work with?

Currently, we have the Leap Motion API deck to distribute.

If you have other questions, shoot us a mail at: VRARStudio@timewavefestival.com.