The Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts creative technologies program will host it’s first ever face-to-face Games Showcase on Friday, May 6 in the Center for Visual Arts Room 110, 11 am-3 pm The 2022 Games Showcase will feature selected digital and analog games made by students during the 2021-2022 academic year in the creative technologies program at Illinois State University.
The event will bring together student-made games from CTK’s game design sequence as well as the larger Illinois State community and RSOs. Visitors can drop by to play more than 25 board, card, mobile, and video games, all made by ISU students. Two of these games will be the first capstone projects of the recently launched game design sequence, created by seven game design senior students over a year. In addition to the games, visitors will be able to view examples of other student work from the CTK program such as UI/UX designs for games, digital paintings, and videos.
Faculty member and head of the game sequence, Dr. Sercan Şengün, is excited for the showcase and hopes that it will bring together game enthusiasts from the larger University community such as art, information technologies, Redbird Esports, and others.
Students have worked hard all year to create and perfect their games for the showcase and have enjoyed every minute of the process. Graduate student Ian Cooper, and team lead for Occentatia, a digital game exploring inclusivity and queer theory through an action-adventure lens, states that, “I am big on collaboration, big on inclusivity and wanting voices to be heard, so the rewarding process of this is to be working with a group of people who believe in the message of Occentatia like I do.” Cooper and his team will be presenting their game along with a VR (virtual reality) experience so that players can be transported to the aquatic, celestial oasis where Occentatia takes place before they play.
Preparing for this showcase has not been all fun and games. The student game creators ran into several challenges when it came to making their games playable. Cody Doerr, creator of Waterfall Panic! a digital, Plinko-style game where the player uses a boat to catch food items falling down a waterfall in order to take them to the dock in exchange for points, said that the most challenging part of the process was formatting the game to be played on mobile devices, especially Android systems. Rafael Gonzales talked about his group’s struggle to create an efficient set of steps for game play for their game Cavern Crawlers so that all interactions with item and cavern cards made sense. Many of these problems were worked out through playtesting, where the students played each other’s games and tried to find loopholes and problems that the creators might have missed. Gonzales mentioned this as his favorite part of the process saying he enjoyed hearing other people’s perspectives and how they thought about a game.
While still in its early years, the game design sequence is capturing the interests and passions of many students in the creative technologies program.
“The best part of the Game Design Sequence in the Creative Technologies program is the teaching philosophies and amount of knowledge among the different professors teaching each class,” said Cody Doerr, a student and game creator. “I have had quite a bit of experience with Unity through another club and experience with game design concepts through my own studies. This program has taught me new things every day, whether it be the promotion of sharing open ideas among students in the class or teaching through lectures about concepts that many YouTube videos or Twitch streamers pass over. Every single class period in every different class has taught me many new things that I can add to my game design toolbelt, and I am ever grateful for that.”
Creative technologies hopes to continue to host the Games Showcase annually to highlight the hard work that their game design students put in each year. For 2022, attendees are invited to have a jamboree with the elderly, find a route to treasure, fly your helicopter to victory, prevent a war in the bug world, grow your baby dragon, climb the tower before the time runs out, or keep jumping to a rhythm—through student made analog and digital games.