University of Michigan game development professor Austin Yarger is a favorite on Cronicle Press, for introducing our readers to new indie games and AR/VR tech coming out locally. Yarger recently completed his project to turn a list of 60+ gaming studios in Michigan into a database, and we want to share it with you. The website is MichiganGameStudios.com.
Santa has gone online this year, to meet with children across the world. We caught up with Saint Nick in his workshop this week as he was busy scheduling sessions with his business elf. Visiting with children online makes a Santa visit more accessible for kids with sensory issues or who can’t get out to the mall during social distancing. It seems Santa has even more to do this year during a season that already requires a magical touch to get everything done. Is Santa overworked in the era of COVID and Zoom? And how is the wifi at the north pole?
As summer camps went virtual across the U.S., we had a sneaky little thought. Who is to know if your kid is doing the remote summer camp… or you are? Some activities are fun for all ages. If you’re looking for summer activities at home for your kid, or… yourself, look no further than our own back yard. Ann Arbor in Southeast Michigan is home to dozens of world-class summer camp programs, and now you can access them from anywhere.
In a short month, everything from grocery delivery to contactless delivery robots are becoming commonplace as the American workforce adjusts to work from home. You can still go out of the house for essentials even during stay-at-home orders in most cases, but what if you’re looking to have contactless delivery of as many supplies as possible? We put together a list of top newer delivery services you may not know are now in your area. We focused this list on Southeast Michigan where we have tested the services, but many of these services are national or quickly expanding in your area, too. Most offer a zip code check to find out if you are in the delivery zone.
Ann Arbor is a great place to raise kids, and a great place to found a new tech company, but it’s not often you can do both at once! Wild Swan Theater in Ann Arbor is celebrating the launch of their new production Coding To The Moon: Margaret Hamilton and the Apollo Missions, with a pre-party at Circ Bar February 5th. This production is a great family event, appropriate for anyone 9 years old and up, and will run March 4th through 7th in Ann Arbor. If you would like a preview, join The Wild Swan Theater a month before the play comes to the stage for a $20 ticket.
It’s New Years Eve, so we’re looking back at the most popular posts on Cronicle Press Tech News out of Ann Arbor-Detroit about the growing Great Lakes tech scene in 2019. Turns out, it was a banner year for Ann Arbor tech and Detroit startups in particular, so we just scratched the surface of all the latest news. First up, the most popular post by far, professor Austin Yarger’s master list of game development studios of Michigan. Also included at the end are some followup interviews with a few of those gaming studios that are either growing in Michigan or started here.
This last week, we made it out to Professor Yarger’s student video game showcase in Ann Arbor, which highlights games from University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan students. Games ranged from multi-player space pirates Space Subterfuge to a game call I’m a Chopstick, where two chopsticks attempt to get dinner to the table. (“We are not responsible for any relationship troubles that arise due to gameplay!” the creators warn in their trailer.) If you couldn’t make it out to the expo, you can still check out the trailers from games including Light’s Out, Apotheosis, I’m a Chopstick, and others below. There were well over a dozen games on hand, many of them extremely cute or fun to play.
Hands down, our most popular posts in Cronicle’s first 6 months have been the feature on indie game design studios in Michigan from University of Michigan professor Austin Yarger, plus all the followup interviews of game designers from Finji Games to Heart Shaped Games to Dreaming Door. We caught up with Yarger again recently to ask when his popular student gaming showcase was taking place. Turns out, we were just in time.
“I began working at Menlo Innovations in February 2018 as a Software Developer, though recently I’ve shifted to Quality Advocate (QA) as my main role,” says Kyler Wilkins, or Ki5 as he’s known in the local music scene. Kyler is a hip hop artist, beatboxer, singer/songwriter, and looping artist. His music sounds like a combo between hiphop and EDM, and he’s good. He does a lot of covers, but the music he put together on the night we saw him in Ann Arbor was original, complex, and intriguing. He’s been featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered, and says it was a natural progression for him to step up in his role at Menlo, which is now famous for its founders “joy-based” software and culture design process for engaging work environments, to combine tech and music.
MVCA’s Executive Director Ara Topouzian Balances Economic Development with Award-Winning “Side Hobby” in Armenian Music
We met him at the TechCity Jam early this fall. The local jam session for tech workers who have music careers or hobbies on the side included everything from pop songs to electronica to incredible traditional Armenian music. We wanted to know who was playing in this award-winning band that came seemingly out of nowhere to the stage and played a brilliant set that would be inadequate to just call foot-tapping. Ara Topouzian, pictured right above, plays the qanun (kanoon), an Armenian 80-string harp that goes back to the 5th century and is still played today. The music sounds traditional, and yet it’s still extremely catchy.