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Jeannie Novak
Works at Novy Unlimited
Attended USC
Lives in Santa Monica, CA
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Jeannie Novak

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It was nice to meet and reconnect with colleagues last week at the UCLA/CRESST Conference – focusing on making games and technology work for learning, assessment and instruction (a topic very close to my heart).

Themes included constructionist vs. instructionist learning – “making games” vs. “playing games” to learn (+Yasmin Kafai), an approach that I was fortunate enough to explore in detail through a project I consulted for at USC's Information Sciences Institute: PedGames (run by +Jihie Kim and +Erin Shaw). A little more on PedGames in my +Gamasutra blog:

 http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JeannieNovak/20130307/188090/Playing_to_Learn_Tales_from_the_Trenches.php

We also talked about having active, aware learners – rather than creating games that hide the learning process in a “stealthy” or covert way (which could put a negative slant on learning rather than empowering the learner to take ownership of the process). This is in contrast to a lot of theories that have been around for a few decades – possibly part of the backlash that occurred in response to the subpar “edutainment” games that were much more about overt learning than having fun. We’ve learned a lot since then!

Finally, there was some discussion on teaching as a form of learning – where students take charge of finding out what they don’t know, and share their new knowledge (or assumptions) with others. We’ve seen a dramatic rise in YouTube tutorials created by “non-professionals” – contributing to what I’ve referred to as “the age of the amateur” (in the most positive, original sense of the word: “a person who does something for the love of it”). This in conjunction with of a method of teaching shared by Salman Khan and others, including +Pete Markiewicz (where educators who don’t have “all the answers” go find them through research and then share them with their students), a form of collaborative (dare I say “crowdsourced”) form of education is taking hold.
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Jeannie Novak

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Congratulations to +Paul Barclay and the rest of the Dragon Foundry team on their successful +Kickstarter campaign for +NovaBlitzGame :) All of us at +novy unlimited had a blast working on the project!
 
Congratulations to Dragon Foundry on getting real-time TCG +NovaBlitzGame funded on +Kickstarter -- and meeting one of the campaign's stretch goals! Next stop:   #PaxPrime  +Indie MEGABOOTH!
Dragon Foundry is raising funds for Nova Blitz TCG - Real Time Digital Trading Card Game on Kickstarter! An innovative new TCG. Games are quick, with simultaneous real-time play, and combat that rewards intelligence and bluffing.
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Looking forward to hanging out at the +E3 expo next week! If you're going and want to meet up, please contact me -- and we'll try to set something up on Wednesday or Thursday. +Luis Levy and I will probably grab a "meeting table" at Compass Cafe in the LA Convention Center like we did last year -- and then sprint through the show floors. Hope to see you there :)
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Congratulations to Phuong Vu and the +HikerGames team for getting greenlit by +Steam in one day! The studio's scary Metroidvania-style platformer,  _ToyQuest_, turns Toy Story on its head :) Excellent preview by Sean Flint of IndieGames.com!
 
Metroidvania features combined with platforming mechanics and a distinct visual style allowed +HikerGames _ToyQuest_ to be GREENLIT IN ONE DAY! It also caught the attention of IndieGames.com's Sean Flint: "Combining classic platforming with a modern aesthetic ensures that the game will have a nice retro flow while maintaining the visual quality we have come to expect in today's industry."
IndieGames.com is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games ...
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Jeannie Novak

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+Snowforged Entertainment's Aleskey Grigoryev gives an in-depth look at what makes Starfall Tactics one of the most immersive space games of our generation in his interview with +PCGamesN's +Jeremy Peel: "We want players to stay for the long haul. Our plan is to provide an immersive experience that is very different than a 100% session-based game." Congratulations to the indie team at Snowforged (based in Siberia) for pushing the envelope on the RTS genre using UE4 :)
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Congratulations to +Snowforged Entertainment on exceeding $8,000 during the first week of the Starfall Tactics +Kickstarter campaign! +Angry Joe  recently endorsed (and backed) the project -- and Sean Flint of +Load The Game had some great things to say: "Seeing a new contender in the space RTS genre not only excited me, but felt like it was filling a void in the genre that has been there for some time now."
 
"Seeing a new contender in the space RTS genre not only excited me, but felt like it was filling a void in the genre that has been there for some time now." - Sean Flint (+Load The Game) on +Snowforged Entertainment's  #kickstarter  for their next-gen space RTS Starfall Tactics.
https://youtu.be/nc7vZeBrT6I "Create a custom space fleet, lead it into battle and fight for...
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Jeannie Novak

Discussion  - 
 
In another featured +Gamasutra installment from +Freehold Games, +Jason Grinblat gives an overview of how Sproggiwood fared during the first two weeks of its mobile launch. Since then, the game has been featured on the App Store four times -- and it is doing quite well at a solid premium ($9.99). Indie developers seem to be moving toward a premium revenue model -- a trend worth watching!
Hi, it's @ptychomancer from Freehold Games. So we released an indie game on mobile for $9.99. Sproggi schemes. Yikes. On May 28th, our story-driven roguelike, Sproggiwood, came out for iOS and Android. (It's been available on Steam and Humble Store for eight months.) In my last blog post, ...
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Excited about the continued success of +novy unlimited client, +Freehold Games! _Sproggiwood_ has now been featured on the App Store four times -- and the mobile version is doing quite well at a solid premium. This is a game that even I can't put down. Congratulations, +Brian Bucklew and +Jason Grinblat! Here's another insightful featured installment from Jason's +Gamasutra  blog :)
 
Sproggiwood has been critically acclaimed and earned several awards since its mobile launch in May of this year, but did its $9.99 price tag negatively impact sales? +Freehold Games' Jason Grinblat shares his insights about the mobile launch of the adorable roguelike on +Gamasutra. The results might surprise you! 
Hi, it's @ptychomancer from Freehold Games. So we released an indie game on mobile for $9.99. Sproggi schemes. Yikes. On May 28th, our story-driven roguelike, Sproggiwood, came out for iOS and Android. (It's been available on Steam and Humble Store for eight months.) In my last blog post, ...
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+Freehold Games' Jason Grinblat delivers a fantastic postmortem of the whimsical roguelike, Sproggiwood, in a post that was recently featured on the home page of +Gamasutra. Jason shares how the vision of a game can evolve with time: "As development progressed, two truths became apparent. First, we couldn't integrate the town and dungeon mechanics in a meaningful way. Each system was tangled up in its own complexity, and any bridge between the two was tenuous. Essentially, we were building two games on top of each other."
[Warning: The author, @ptychomancer, draws unabashed comparisons between his experiences developing Sproggiwood and the journey of guardian spirit Sproggi, the eponymous character in his game. The analogy culminates in a cliché rumination on the universality of Sproggi's flaws, ...
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Excellent postmortem from +Freehold Games' Jason Grinblat on Sproggiwood -- recently featured on the home page of +Gamasutra :)  Congratulations to Jason, along with partners +Brian Bucklew and +Jaana Heiska, on their incredible success with the game -- which is also featured on the App Store ("Best New Games")!
 
+Freehold Games' Jason Grinblat delivers a fantastic postmortem of Sproggiwood on +Gamasutra and shares how the vision of a game can evolve with time: "As development progressed, two truths became apparent. First, we couldn't integrate the town and dungeon mechanics in a meaningful way. Each system was tangled up in its own complexity, and any bridge between the two was tenuous. Essentially, we were building two games on top of each other." 
[Warning: The author draws unabashed comparisons between his experiences developing Sproggiwood and the journey of guardian spirit Sproggi, the eponymous character in his game. The analogy culminates in a cliché rumination on the universality of Sproggi's flaws, shamelessly including the words ...
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Insightful interview with Aleskey Grigoryev of +Snowforged Entertainment by +PCGamesN's +Jeremy Peel. If you're interested in seeing how Starfall Tactics pushes the envelope on the RTS genre using UE4, check out the +Kickstarter campaign and show your support for Aleskey and the rest of the Siberian team -- including +Pavel Guralnik and Vasiliy Tedeev: https://www.kickstarter.com/pro…/2099269382/starfall-tactics
 
Aleskey Grigoryev gives an in-depth look at what +Snowforged Entertainment is doing to make Starfall Tactics one of the most immersive space games of our generation in his interview with +PCGamesN's +Jeremy Peel: "We want players to stay for the long haul. Our plan is to provide an immersive experience that is very different than a 100% session-based game."
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Novy News is out -- and there's a lot to share! Thanks to the +novy unlimited team for making all of this fun stuff happen: +Drew Utterback, +Cat Wendt, +Grace Lim, +Aaron Goldman, +Blane Humphries, +Alan Katana, +Jay Egger, +Jake Scherzer :)
 
Spring sprung . . . a while ago -- so it's high time for another installment of Novy News! This edition features: +Weird and Wry, +Cards and Castles, +SongArc, +TurboTapeGames, +Arcane Magic, +AtomicTorch, +Agent Awesome Official, +BreachTD, +Weaver, +Netherfire Entertainment, +WoweezGames, +Skywings, +Gaffa Games, +Incredible Circus Remix, +Daylight Studios Pte Ltd, and +Bloober Team. Enjoy!
Welcome to the fifth edition of Novy News! This is the newest update from your groovy friends at Novy. As always, this newsletter allows us to . . . provide more background on who we are and what we do (and why you're reading this); brag (ad nauseam) about recent projects from our clients ...
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Education
  • USC
    MA, Communication Management, 2003 - 2004
  • UCLA
    BA, Mass Communication / Business Administration, 1989 - 1992
Basic Information
Gender
Female
Looking for
Networking
Birthday
March 20
Relationship
Married
Other names
Grote, Gruenewald
Story
Tagline
lead author/series editor (game development essentials), composer/performer (piano/voice), entrepreneur, game education consultant
Introduction

Jeannie Novak is the Lead Author & Series Editor of Delmar Cengage Learning’s widely acclaimed Game Development Essentials series (with more than 15 published titles), co-author of Play the Game: The Parent’s Guide to Video Games, and co-author of three pioneering books on the interactive entertainment industry—including Creating Internet Entertainment.She is also Co-Founder of Novy Unlimited and CEO of Kaleidospace, LLC (d/b/a Indiespace, founded in 1994)—where she provides services for corpora­tions, educators, and creative professionals in games, music, film, education, and tech­nology. Jeannie oversees one of the first web sites to promote and distribute interactive entertainment and a game education consulting division that focuses on curriculum development, instructional design, and professional development. As Online Program Director for the Game Art & Design and Media Arts & Animation programs at the Art Institute Online, Jeannie produced and designed an educational business simula­tion game that was built within the Second Life environment—leading a virtual team of more than 50 educators, students, and industry professionals. She was a game instruc­tor and curriculum development expert at UCLA Extension, Art Center College of Design, Academy of Entertainment & Technology at Santa Monica College, DeVry University, Westwood College, and ITT Technical Institute—and she has consulted for several educational institutions and developers such as UC Berkeley Center for New Media, Alelo, and GameSalad. Jeannie has also worked on projects funded by the National Science Foundation and Google for Lehigh Carbon Community College and the University of Southern California (USC) Information Sciences Institute.

An active member of the game industry, Jeannie has served as Vice Chair of the International Game Developers Association-Los Angeles (IGDA-LA) and Vice President at Women in Games International (WIGI). She has participated in the Online Gameplay and Connectivity selection committees for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ DICE awards since 2003 and has developed game workshops, panels, and breakout sessions for events and organizations such as the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), GDC Next, Macworld Expo, Digital Hollywood, USC’s Teaching Learning & Technology Conference, and the Los Angeles Games Conference. Jeannie has been profiled by CNN, Billboard Magazine, Sundance Channel, Daily Variety, and the Los Angeles Times. Jeannie received an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School (where her thesis focused on using massively multiplayer online games as online distance learning applications) and a B.A.in Mass Communication/Business Administration from UCLA (where she graduated summa cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa and completed an honors thesis focusing on gender role relationships in toy commercials). A native of Southern California, Jeannie grew up in San Diego and currently resides in Santa Monica with her husband, Luis Levy. She is also an accom­plished composer, recording artist, performer, and music instructor (piano/voice).

Bragging rights
15+ game dev books currently in publication; created the first web site to sell a CD online in 1994; sang backup on Randy Newman's "It's Money That Matters"; played "Stairway to Heaven" on the piano for 6th grade graduation processional (12 years old); marched as a baton twirler in a San Diego Chargers game (8 years old)
Work
Occupation
lead author/series editor (game development essentials), composer/performer (piano/voice), entrepreneur, game education consultant
Employment
  • Novy Unlimited
    Co-Founder, 2011 - present
  • Cengage Learning
    Lead Author & Series Editor, 2003 - present
  • Indiespace
    Founder & CEO, 1994 - present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Santa Monica, CA
Previously
San Diego, CA
Jeannie Novak's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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