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Student-created video games invade university campus

Game Development and Entrepreneurship students show off their projects at GAMESCON

Best Second-Year game: Dodge Bomb (Bird Brain Games). From left: Robbie Savaglio, Graham Watson, James Swain and Rebecca Joly (team members not in photo: Campbell Hamilton and Jack Hamilton).
Best Second-Year game: Dodge Bomb (Bird Brain Games). From left: Robbie Savaglio, Graham Watson, James Swain and Rebecca Joly (team members not in photo: Campbell Hamilton and Jack Hamilton).

Video game playing requires good problem-solving, and spatial and hand-eye co-ordination abilities. But if you want to plan, design and create your own games from scratch, you need a whole other set of skills.

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Business and Information Technology (FBIT) immerses Game Development and Entrepreneurship (GDE) students in the game design and development process from day one in their first year. They also have many opportunities to showcase their creations at events like FBIT’s annual GAMESCON.

The sixth-annual GAMESCON in April gave the campus community a chance to pick up a controller, immerse themselves in the GDE students’ fully functioning video game projects, and vote for their favourite games.

Bird Brain Games, a collective of second-year GDE students, showcased its Dodge Bomb game. Campbell Hamilton, Jack Hamilton, Rebecca Joly, Robbie Savaglio, James Swain and Graham Watson produced a game that not only won the Best Game award for their year, but also took home Best Gameplay and Best In Show.

The group applied concepts they learned in class to produce what they describe as a light-hearted, toon-based game with ‘Toy Story aesthetics’ where players take on their friends and throw bombs at their opponents’ robots.

Members of the student-run Game Development Society (GDSOC) put GAMESCON together with help from FBIT professors.

“Many graduates have found success thanks to the skills learned in class, combined with project-showcasing opportunities at events like GAMESCON,” says Jacob Vorstenbosch, Vice-President, GDSOC.  For example, Kenny Wang (class of 2013) recently accepted a position with Menlo Park, California-based Facebook as a Developer for the Oculus virtual reality system.

GAMESCON recently garnered the attention of industry representatives from companies such as Ludia, a mobile developer in Montreal, Quebec. “We're hoping in the future to continue seeking industry representatives of all kinds to appear at our showcase and expand our horizons,” says Vorstenbosch.

Ten GAMESCON teams were selected to participate in the LevelUp Showcase in Toronto. LevelUp features the best students from design, animation and computer science programs from universities and colleges across Ontario.

GAMESCON winners:

Best First-Year Game:

Studio: Liquid Crystal
Game: Guns N Wands

    • Sean Cho
    • Matthew Demoe
    • Egor Lukoyanov
    • Stephen Saunders
    • Connor Smiley
    • Adam Smith

Best Second-Year Game:

Studio: Bird Brain Games
Game: Dodge Bomb

    • Campbell Hamilton
    • Jack Hamilton
    • Rebecca Joly
    • Robbie Savaglio
    • James Swain
    • Graham Watson

Best Third-Year Game:

Studio: Ominous Games
Game: Summit Smash

    • Josh Belyk
    • Rylan Koroluk
    • Owen Meier
    • Samantha Stahlke

Best Fourth-Year Game:

Studio: David and Mike
Game: Air Guitar Hero

    • David Arppe
    • Michael Van Vaals

Best Aesthetic

Studio: Frame Perfect Labs
Game: Kinetic

    • Michael Ardizzi
    • Damian Jaundoo
    • Danny Luk
    • Shane Scott

Best Technology

Studio: N.A.P Time Studios
Game: N.A.P Time

    • Aaron Alphonso
    • Nour Halabi
    • Priya Kartick

Best Gameplay

Studio: Bird Brain Games
Game: Dodge Bomb

Best In Show

Studio: Bird Brain Games
Game: Dodge Bomb

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