Game Changer: Episode II

IMG_1570Before we knew it, Game Day (Tournament) was upon us! I can’t speak for my team members but as for me, I had mixed feelings on the “morning of”.  There was a sense of excitement and anticipation of friends, family, colleagues, and strangers trying out our game for the first time; a bit of nervousness to uncertainty (i.e. what kind of response would we get to our game and what kind of competition were we up against); a sense of relief that the production phase of our project was complete and the easy part was upon us; and ultimately that all the things we had planned over the past few weeks were now coming to a close…and the end was near.

Mind you, I’m a closet introvert (like many nerds) so being at the center of attention (& in large groups) is not the most comfortable thing for me but I do derive some pleasure out of it.  🙂

Brenda and Cecily arrived on campus early to make sure we had enough time to arrange our table decorations while I raced to the other side of town to pick up our table banner and hurried back.

DW-banner

Before we knew it our table was assembled, iPads charged and ready-to-go, Dark Waters shirts adorned, and Cecily’s husband Jason in costume playing the Pirate.  Even before the Tournament started, we had students wanting to play.

In the Commons, Matt made a few announcements to the teams and the crowd.  With the assistance of last year’s Winning Team, they cut the Ceremony Ribbon and away it went!  We had an excellent attendance by not only students, faculty, administration, and staff but also the community as well.

As you can see, we weren’t the only ones to go “all out” on their game presentation!

We also had local media in attendance as well:  LLCC’s Public Relations & Marketing Department, State-Journal Register, NewsChannel 20, and Fox News.  Of course, in this day and age, there were numerous cellphone pictures, videos, and live-streaming going on as well.

Career-driven LLCC teams compete to make best video game

By Jason Nevel, Staff Writer – SJ-R.com
Posted Apr 27, 2017 at 5:47 PM
Updated Apr 28, 2017 at 6:39 AM

IMG_7255Fernand Nogues couldn’t put down the iPad Thursday once he started playing “Clumsy Professor,” a video game created by Lincoln Land Community College students.

Nogues, a student at LLCC, tapped the screen and stared intently as his character jumped over oncoming tentacles and collected coins.

“It’s addictive,” he said. “It’s a fun, mind-focusing game.”

Nogues was one of dozens of students who stopped in the commons area Thursday morning for Lincoln Land’s second annual Video Game Design Tournament.

Lincoln Land professor Matt Shaver said 43 students from the school’s entry- and advanced-level video game design courses formed 16 teams who each designed a game that can be played on an iPad.

Thursday’s event was open to the public, so anyone could stop by, play and vote for the best game, most innovative game and most enjoyable game. The winners will be announced Monday.

“The video-game industry is growing by leaps and bounds and is now a multibillion-dollar industry,” Shaver said.

“We want to give our students the best avenue for starting here and either moving into an apprenticeship at a game-design firm, or if they want to move on to finish off their bachelor’s at another location.”

Career-driven LLCC teams compete to make best video game Shaver said each team spent 12 to 14 weeks designing the games, starting with developing a concept and storyboard. The students then developed the games from scratch, designing the look of characters, as well as both visual and sound elements.

While the students are developing the games, they also learn invaluable skills along the way, Shaver said.

“Academically, these students work in teams, so they have to learn teamwork skills, communication skills and have trust and integrity within their team,” he said. “There is also a lot of critical thinking that goes into the scripting and programming.”

Lincoln Land sophomore Ryan Shereda and his team developed a game called “String Theory,” where players navigate a cat through a maze and collect balls of strings along the way.

The idea popped into his head at 3 a.m. one morning, Shereda said.

“I thought, ‘This is crazy enough to work,’” he said.

Working with his classmates to design a video game was a great experience, Shereda said. After Lincoln Land, he plans to pursue a four-year degree in video game design.

“There is something about taking nothing and then throwing stuff at it until it works, refining it and then seeing something entertaining come of it,” he said.

Blaine Melton, a sophomore at LLCC, said taking the course reaffirmed his desire to pursue video game design as a career.

His team’s game was called “Climb,” where players jump up platforms and try to avoid hitting rocks and being shot by enemies.

“I was wanting to go into game design before I took the class, and now I realize it’s definitely something I want to do,” Melton said.

Even though it was only a half-day event, after it was all over…I was spent.  It was really incredible to see and feel all the enthusiasm on the student developers, the positive responses from the event’s attendees, the colorful displays from each table, the media coverage, the support from the campus, and the attendance (especially considering it was during the day when many people are working).

As I’ve said before (and I’m sure I’ll say again), it was an experience I’ll never forget…and I’m so glad my wife Brenda got to share it with me.  Taking this class has been given me a whole new insight on game design AS WELL AS an opportunity to meet some really great people (especially you CECILY! :-D).  Looking forward to what the future may bring.

Now the hard part.  Waiting for the Awards Ceremony.  *ugh*

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