Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?I am a game designer! Right now, I am a second-year graduate student in the USC interactive media game division. I received my B.E in my undergraduate, but I didn’t want to be an engineer. Fortunately, I got a programmer’s position in a famous mobile game company GAMELOFT. I quickly grew from a newbie to a lead programmer within two years. After another two years, I got promoted as a game producer. One year later, my team earned more than 13.5 million USD of profits between 2014 and 2015 by working on Despicable Me 2: Minion Rush China Android version. In late 2015, I started my own business with a friend. I worked mainly as a game producer and the pet simulation game, Moe Monster, has published in China and India in January 2018.
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In 2017, I quit my company which was inspired by a question: “What is the video game means to me?”. I realized that video game can be not only a ruthless profit machine but a heartwarming beacon light as well. I also realized that in order to create my ideal games, I need to restudy the game from a game designer’s perspective. With this motivation, I came to USC and has studied hard on my level designer’s road. Now I am mainly working on creating VR experience for mental health.
Please tell us about your art.I want to make games that not only fun but also beneficial. With this idea, I am working on four different projects: for health, for education, for the environment and for mental health.
Neuro Rider: I am working with Dr. Judy Pa in her neuroscience laboratory. It is a study of whether Virtual Reality can prevent cognitive decline, dementia. It is a VR biking experience to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Participants have to pedal on the exercise bike and keep their heart rate up. In the VR experience, they are trying to learn and remember a route while picking up food items by hitting the brakes, then feeding the food to some animals.
Walden, a game (Education Version): Working with our professor Tracy Fullerton. Walden, a game is an exploratory narrative and open world simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. The game begins in the summer of 1845 when Thoreau moved to the Pond and built his cabin there. Now we are working on a free educational version for kids in school.
Climate Change(working title): Working with Dr. Vangelis and LA natural history museum. It is an XR experience about how climate change affects the life of caribou and us.
There You Are(working title): It’s a first-person VR experience about telling a story about grief.
As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?To be honest, I won’t define success as how much money you made and the highest position you reach in your working career. For me, it is how many people play your game and feel good about it. We have limited time to live, which means we have limited time to do great work. Saving time, working hard are essential to success as an artist.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?It’s easy to find my work in bechance: https://www.behance.net/dengrong
Image Credit:Pa Lab, Walden Team
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