2017 sees UDEN meetings back on a regular cadence as we progress the community building goals we set out last year, as well as offering the chance to network with the brightest and the best of Utah's creators of digital content & technology!

Join us for our 2nd birthday at UDEN #13 when... 

  • We'll be updating everyone on the progress made on the action teams at the January meeting
  • We'll have a Hive Ignite featuring the Entrepreneur Launch Pad and also the Aurora Awards
  • Plus we'll be discussing the question: "Should we all focus on VR?" - more below



Should We All Focus on VR?

We'll have a small panel to kick about the pros and cons, to be followed by an audience discussion.

The central idea of the December digital summit was that we should come together in a coordinated effort and work to build an effective business in Utah for the digital industry of the future.  Given the diversity of the entertainment sector here in the state, it was proposed that perhaps we should specialize in one area and all excel in that - VR was the example. Thus, Utah would become known as a center of excellence for all things virtual world: film, gaming, advertising, YouTube etc.  Our technical skills would be transferable, our educational programs would align to support this growing area of specialty. It would provide a focus for investment and incentive programs.  Not to the exclusion of anything else - but simply a unifying focus to amplify our collective skills.

Our super-smart panel includes:


Lanie Dixon

Co-founder, Octothorpe

Lanie is an evangelist of games user research working to spread the good word about player research. Her education and work are focused in psychology with an emphasis in human factors and cognitive science. Lanie is the Co-Founder and Director of User Research at Octothorpe, a game studio in Salt Lake City. In addition to her work with Octothorpe, she also conducts research at the University of Utah, studying how games can help us understand fundamental differences in spatial cognitive abilities between men and women. As one of the 4 game developers and business owners running the Utah Games Guild, Lanie works with the guild to promote, support, and raise awareness of the growing Utah indie game dev community



Chris Madsen

Director of AR/VR, Morph 3D

Ranked by Onalytica as a top influencer in the VR/AR space, Chris is an experiential technology evangelist at heart. Industry involvement includes Co-founding Utah VR, Social VR Liaison for Road to VR, VR Ambassador for Edge of Discovery and VR consultant to Popular Mechanics. With a focus on Social VR, Chris can often be found roaming the far flung corners of the metaverse.

With 20 yearsof mental health work under his belt, Chris believes social scientists around the world should grab a front row seat to see how transporting our consciousness to shared virtual spaces will impact many areas of our life including, business, education, healthcare, entertainment and global relationships.

Chris is Director of AR/VR at Morph 3D, a company specializing in avatar creation, management and distribution for virtual, augmented and mixed realities.


Roger Altizer Jr., Ph.D.

Director of Digital Medicine – Center for Medical Innovation, University of Utah

Roger is the co-founder of the Entertainment Arts and Engineering, the top ranked game design program in the nation, the Director of Digital Medicine for the Center for Medical Innovation, the founding Director of The GApp lab (Therapeutic Games and Apps) and former director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Art and Technology at the University of Utah. Roger earned his Ph.D. in Communication at Utah and specializes in serious and medical games as well as game design and development. His heart and his research focuses on the importance of play and how good design encourages it. Creator of The Design Box, a participatory, inductive design methodology, Roger strives to include users as designers in his work. A former games journalist, he is an internationally recognized speaker who has presented at industry conferences such as the Games Developer Conference and Penny Arcade Expo, and academic conferences including the Digital Games Research Association and Foundations of Digital Games. 


Jarom Sidwell

Producer, 4thWallFX

BYU graduate Jarom is a visual effects animator whose credits include Tim Timmerman, The Avengers, X-Men, Avatar and Transformers to name but a few. He tells us: "You might say I got my start in themed Party Planning. Oktoberfest ist Wunderbar! 
I thrive in the creative environment and excel at wrangling chaos. I moved to LA to take a stab at Film, not live action stuff, but the digital, VFX being my primary interest. I got my foot in the door at Digital Domain and cut my teeth on Transformers, We Own the Night, The Hitcher, Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Beginning and Zoom. I wanted to be more involved on a high level, so I went into VFX to produce commercials at Radium / Reel FX where I assembled bids, helped managed pitches, actualized budgets and learned the beginning and end and everything in between needed for a successful production. 

2+ years later, New Zealand called. I had to go - it was Avatar. The animation department was my home and after that first production my boss gave me the reigns to oversee my own projects. I learned the systems and workflow, mastered it, earned a higher title and with some hard work and skillful planning began delivering my projects months ahead of schedule. I like that reputation. Weta credits :Man of Steel, Avengers, The Adventures of TinTin, X-Men: First Class, A-Team, Gulliver's Travels, Avatar. 



Richard Reagan

Creative Director (moderator)

Rich got his start as a part of Utah's third party development community where he contributed to titles such as Mortal Kombat, Super Empire Strikes Back and some Tecmo sports titles along with WWF and WCW wrestling titles.  Later, Rich focused on guiding sports titles like MLB Inside Pitch, plus the Links and Amped franchises as a part of Microsoft's and Take-Two Interactive's sport division.  Following that endeavor, Rich moved onto Disney Interactive where he worked on multiple multi-million selling titles like Toy Story 3, Hannah Montana Spotlight World Tour and the final two Disney Infinity titles.  Rich is currently with Electronic Arts as a part of their Mobile Division, but also previously contributed Creative Direction on multiple titles tied to EA's Hasbro initiative and their Tetris games


Join us, have your voice heard or just come to listen and mingle.



YUGE thanks to our event sponsors, Access Salt Lake and AR/VR startup Soliton Reach!  Come see the great working spaces at Access and hear about the innovative, natural controllers being developed by Soliton Reach. Click image below for more info!




March 08, 2017 at 6:00pm - 8pm
Access Salt Lake
175 W 200 S
Basement/garden level
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
United States
Google map and directions
Gordon Cooper Rodney Olmos James Montgomery Joe Gabriel Alex Johnstone Jeffrey Morain Tim Huntsman Josh Sutphin Lisa Matsukawa Marc Stephens Brianne Christiansen Christie Newman Lance Thornblad Ricardo Flores Carol Dalrymple Drew Clark Chance Thomas Daniel Haworth Greg Squire Chris Nielsen Doug Steel mike lott Weston Bury Jon Dean Nathan Bushman Joseph Jones Jonathan Olson Tyson Williams Tom Lear Robert Catapano Jeff Moyes travis ashby Brad Gurney James Leyba Nathan Miller Joseph Burgan Pat Wright Martin Bammes Ron Jensen Wil Bown Chris Wasden Valeria Rodriguez Fernando Lara Lola Reyes Chris Madsen Justin Wilde Chris Baker Zak Larsen

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