Art of Game Design MFA

Art of Game Design MFA

Sandy Appleoff


Chair for Art of Game Design MFA 

As a visual artist, educator, administrator and founder of Laguna College of Art + Design’s BFA in Game Art program, Sandy Appleoff remains in tireless pursuit of strategic solutions that proffer sustainable growth. The continued success of LCAD’s Game Art BFA programs speaks volumes. This success is related directly to why graduate programs in partnering schools seek ongoing engagement with LCAD’s undergraduate Game Art production pipeline. This dynamic is poised for acceleration with the launch of LCAD’s innovative new Art of Game Design MFA program looming. In the eight years Appleoff has served the BFA Game Art program, her penchant for new directives has impacted the future of education and communication, and has served in building bridges between schools and programs. Those connections have yielded an exponentially growing network of game changing individuals. Game design is shaking our very foundations creating a Renaissance, or, better yet a ‘positive disruption’ in every aspect of life.

James Finley



James Finely comes to LCAD’s Art of Game Design MFA program from an unlikely background. Born into a family of medical professionals deep in the heart of California’s Inland Empire, Finley doesn’t strike a picture with which the game industry is very familiar. Developing an early passion for video games and their immersive capacity for story-telling, Finley’s every move has been toward becoming a game development professional. Today, Finley is a senior software engineer and CEO for Broken Circle Studios, a third party development that specializes in entertainment and mobile technologies. With a master’s degree in Software Engineering from Cal State Fullerton, as well as over a decade of experience teaching at a variety of art and technology schools throughout Southern California, Finely takes pride in combining the structure and rigors of computer science along with the creative spontaneity of the video game industry. From small start-ups to massive enterprises, from serious to silly, and from public to secretive, James Finley finds that with every client comes a new opportunity to learn and to express his many talents.

Lisa Brown Jaloza


I am primarily interested in the increased fetishization of print and the theoretical as well as pedagogical implications as print and digital culture continue to converge. Having previously drawn on the work of Gérard Genette to examine the ways in which a reader’s interpretation of a given work’s peritexts is affected dependent upon the specific medium through which the work is encountered (print, audiobook, e-book, &c), as well as the potential benefits to be derived from these media in a classroom setting, my goal is to extend that line of inquiry beyond the functional shifts of peritexts to the derivation of textual meaning in toto. While print is likely to remain the dominant form through which we engage in the study of literature, I hope to challenge the hegemony of print and explore the marginalized position currently occupied by digital content despite its arguably more egalitarian avenues of access. I expect science/speculative fiction and dystopian narratives as well as remix culture as it relates to post-humanism and ecocriticism to figure heavily in the next phase of my study, as these fields are rife with opportunities to explore issues of access and engagement in the print as well as digital space.

Chris Bateman

Adjunct Professor

Chris Bateman_

Dr. Chris Bateman is a game designer, outsider philosopher, and author who has worked on over forty game projects. From 2013 to 2014, Bateman became the first person to attain a doctorate in the aesthetics of play, via a PhD by Publication. He currently is pursuing research exploring phenomenological and neurobiological distinctions between different play styles and preferences, and recently completed a trilogy of books exploring the philosophy of imagination. His first book, Imaginary Games (2011)  examines imagination in games and art, asking if games can be art or whether all art is a kind of game. Bateman’s second title, The Mythology of Evolution (2012) explores the role of imagination in the sciences, asking if it is possible to present the story of life without distorting it. His latest book, Chaos Ethics (2014) explores the role of imagination in morality and defends a conception of moral chaos.

Awards and recognition for Dr. Chris Bateman and his consultancy, International Hobo Ltd. include:

  • 2015-16 – Invited reviewer for FDG 2015-16, ACM CHI 2016, DiGRA 2016
  • 2014 – Invited to join the editorial board for International Journal of Play
  • 2011-14 – Philosophical work praised by Kendall Walton, Mary Midgley, Allen Wood
    Imaginary Games, The Mythology of Evolution, and Chaos Ethics endorsed by major philosophers.
  • 2010 – Winner European “Best Learning Game”
    Awarded to Green My Place, a serious game project designed by International Hobo Ltd.
  • 2008 – Invited to sit on IEEE’s Task Force on Player Satisfaction Modelling
  • 2007 – International Game Developers Association “MVP Award”
    For “outstanding and immeasurable contributions” to the game development community, including
    founding the IGDA North West UK Chapter and the Game Writers Special Interest Group.
  • 2004-07 – Faculty for Game Developers Conference (GDC) four years running
  • 2003 – Nominated for two Develop “Industry Excellence” Awards
    Best Outsourcing Company (International Hobo Ltd), Best New IP (Ghost Master).
  • 1999 – Critical acclaim for first video game, Discworld Noir
    The Times: “the best scripted game ever made”, Terry Pratchett: “good enough to be a novel in its own right”,
    also winner of Best Adventure Game 1999.



Tim Pryor

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Tim Pryor is currently the Director of Production at Broken Circle Studios, a third-party Unity game development studio. Tim has worked bringing completion to countless projects from many notable companies including Scopely, Sega, Adult Swim Games, Rosetta Stone, Cisco, Dynamighty, and Eyefluence to name a few. In the past, Tim has worked as a sound designer for film, tv, and web formats including Video Games: The Movie before entering the game industry as a project manager for Broken Circle Studios and Unity Studios. Tim also accepted a position at LCAD and Norco College to help incorporate his experience with topics on production, game audio, and programming into their courses.

Adam Tuliper

Adjunct Professor

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Adam Tuliper works as a Technical Evangelist for Microsoft helping others achieve their technical vision. While he works extensively with the game development community in the western United States, Tuliper also co-runs the Orange County Unity Meetup and is an indie game developer working on new titles. He teaches game programming and presents nationwide at conferences, such as //build, Visual Studio LIVE, TechEd, and GDC, and speaks regularly at user groups. Tuliper also writes for and  MSDN Magazine.


Chris Ulm

Adjunct Professor

Chris Ulm

Chris Ulm is a twenty-year veteran of both the publishing and video game industries. Ulm is co-founder and CEO of Appy Entertainment, a mobile game developer and publisher that is “Deadly Serious About Stupid Fun!” Appy’s original games have been downloaded over 30 million times, have all achieved Top Twenty status in their category and have all been featured by Apple. Titles include “Best App Ever” winner, Trucks & Skulls, the popular photo boxing game FaceFighter Ultimate, Zombie Pizza, Candy Rush and SpellCraft School Of Magic, which, since its release in December of 2011, has garnered a “Best App Ever” nomination and hundreds of thousands of happy players. Appy released the innovative free to play RPG battle game Animal Legends. Prior to Appy, Ulm co-founded console game developer High Moon Studios and was co-creator of its original video game property, Darkwatch. As Chief Development Officer, he was a key player in building High Moon into a AAA developer and was integral to the acquisition of High Moon by Vivendi Games in 2006 and in its later transition to Activision-Blizzard. Ulm has developed video games at Oddworld Inhabitants and was the co-founder of Malibu Comics Entertainment, the publisher of Men in Black and the Ultraverse line of superhero comics. While at Malibu, Ulm served as Editor-in-Chief, overseeing the development of a wide variety of both original and licensed properties, and was integral to the acquisition of Malibu by Marvel Comics. Ulm has been featured in numerous industry books and publications including Gamers At Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play (2012).


Emmanuel Valdez

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A twenty-year veteran of the video game industry, Emmanuel Valdez is currently Game Director, Animation Director, and Co-Founder of Appy Entertainment, a social mobile game publisher and entertainment company. Appy’s games have been downloaded over 25 million times, have all achieved Top Twenty status in their respective categories, and have all been featured by Apple. Titles include, Animal Legends, Spellcraft School of Magic, Trucks and Skulls, FaceFighter Ultimate, Tune Runner, Zombie Pizza, and Candy Rush. Prior to Appy, Emmanuel co-founded independent game developer High Moon Studios and was the Game Director of The Bourne Conspiracy and co-creator of the vampire western FPS, Darkwatch. Valdez also is the creator of Ready 2 Rumble Boxing and sequel Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 for Midway Home Entertainment. His other video game credits include B.I.O. Freaks, ESPN Extreme Games, NFL Gameday, and ESPN Baseball Tonight. He also worked at Sammy Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, and Park Place Productions.

Stefano Gualeni

Adjunct Professor

Stefano 2015

Trained as an architect, Dr. Stefano Gualeni is a philosopher and game designer who is best known for creating the videogames ‘Tony Tough and the Night of Roasted Moths’ (1997) and ‘Gua-Le-Ni; or, The Horrendous Parade’ (2012).

His work takes place at the intersections between continental philosophy and the design of virtual worlds. Given the practical and interdisciplinary focus of his research – and depending on the topics and the resources at hand – his output takes the form of academic texts and/or of interactive digital experiences. Being both a philosopher who designs videogames and a game designer who is passionate about philosophy, Dr. Gualeni studies virtual worlds in their role as mediators of thought: as interactive, artificial environments where philosophical ideas, world-views, and thought-experiments can be explored, manipulated, and communicated objectively.

His recent book, ‘Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools’ (Palgrave, 2015), identifies computers as instruments to (re)design ourselves and our worlds: as gateways to experience alternative possibilities of being. Put somewhat more simply, he recognizes virtual worlds as the contexts where a new, projectual humanism has already begun to arise. Full CV available at his website:

PhD. in Philosophy

M.S. in Architecture

M.A. in Fine Arts
Senior Lecturer in Game Design at the Institute of Digital Games (University of Malta), designer of ten commercially released videogame titles (starting in 1997), author of the book Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools (Palgrave, 2015), and contributor to Creativity in the Digital Age (Springer, 2016), and Experience Machines, the Philosophy of Virtual Worlds (Rowmman & Littlefield, 2017). So far, Stefano’s research was supported by – and contributed to – two European research grants (BD4CG Biometric Design fo Casual Games, FORETELL Fire and Flood Safety Awareness in Virtual Worlds).

David Jaloza

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David Jaloza has been in the game industry for eight years, focusing heavily in game design as well as production. Jaloza began his career at inXile Entertainment, where his efforts were focused equally on production and game design. During his five-year tenure at inXile, Jaloza worked in concert with publisher Crave Entertainment to launch the following titles: PurrPals (DS/Wii), BabyPals (DS), MonsterPals (DS/Wii), Defendin’ De Penguin (DS/Wii), and other publishers which he produced Line Rider (DS/Wii/PC), as well as Super Stacker for the Playstation Network. With the initial release of the iPad, Jaloza began producing mobile titles for the first time. Following the iPad launch of Line Rider, his focus shifted to producing mobile/casual games including Fantastic Contraption 2 (iOS/Web), Impossible Quiz (iOS/Web), and Platform Racer 2 (Web). In 2011, Jaloza left inXile entertainment to join JumpStart as a producer working on their expanding web and mobile titles. At JumpStart, he has produced mini-games within the free-to-play (F2P) virtual world of JumpStart and headed up the design, production, launch, and maintenance of a new IP with Eat My Dust (EMD), a F2P virtual world centered around automobile racing. In 2012, JumpStart partnered with DreamWorks Animation Studio to develop titles centered around the DreamWorks brands of Madagascar and How to Train your Dragon (HTTYD). Jaloza was Lead Producer for JumpStart’s most recent virtual world, which focuses on science-based education within the HTTYD universe of School of Dragons (SoD).

Sean Patton


Sean Patton made his first game at the age of 10 on a TI-80 Computer.  It was then he wanted a career at the nexus of art and technology.  He received a degree in Theatre Arts from Cal Poly – Pomona. His first full time job after graduation was working for Interplay Productions on such classic franchises as Baldur’s Gate, Descent, and Star Trek.

In his nearly 20 years in the industry he has focused mostly on production and game design for companies such as GameSpy, inXile entertainment, Disney Interactive and Blizzard Entertainment.  In addition to traditional game development, Sean has had a strong slant towards emerging technologies.  He spearheaded development of game streaming technologies at both Interplay and GameSpy, led the development for inXile’s mobile division, drove development of Disney’s Toys to Life business on mobile platforms and currently is venturing into the exciting world of Esports with Blizzard entertainment.

Disney Infinity 3.0 
·   2016 Toy of the Year Awards “E-Connected Toy of the Year” Winner
·   2016 Kids’ Choice Awards “Favorite Video Game” Nominee
·   2016 BAFTA Awards “Best Family Game” Nominee
·   E3 2015 Game Critics Awards “Best Family/Social Game” Nominee
Disney Infinity 2.0
·   2015 Kids’ Choice Awards “Most Addicting Game” Nominee
·   2015 NAVGTR Award “Game, Franchise Family” Nominee
·   E3 2014 Game Critics Awards “Best Social/Casual Game” Nominee
Bard’s Tale
·   GDC Awards – Best New Studio Nominee
·   Interactive Achievement Awards – Best RPG of the Year Nominee
·   Interactive Achievement Awards – Outstanding Character Performance Nominee

Wyatt Cheng


Wyatt Cheng has worked in the game industry for more than 18 years. He has work for Electronic Arts, Totally Games, and, for the past 12 years, at Blizzard Entertainment. At Blizzard, Cheng helped develop World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. He currently is Senior Technical Game Designer on Diablo III. While at work on Diablo III, Cheng became a representative between the community and development team designing new patches. He holds a B.A.Sc in Electric Engineering from Simon Fraser University.


Wanda Meloni

Wanda Meloni

Wanda Meloni is CEO M2 Advisory Group and Editor-in-Chief of Gaming Business Review. She is sits on the Board of the Open Gaming Alliance, a non-profit business trade association focused on supporting growth of the games industry.

Wanda is an international technology and entertainment strategist and has been working with top companies digital media and entertainment for over 15 years. Focused on interactive media trends, she had a deep understanding of interactive media for content development, emerging platforms/tech/games, community empowerment, customer engagement, and development trends.

She has published numerous reports and articles over the years on game development, emerging technologies and media trends. M2 Advisory Group has provided strategy, business intelligence, investment and community positioning for some of the top entertainment, consumer goods, enterprise and technology companies. Previous clients have included Sony Computer Entertainment America, Disney, Warner Bros, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Dolby, Autodesk, Adobe, EMC, Badgeville.

Wanda also works with a wide range of developers, smaller technology providers, investment firms and international trade agencies.