The University of Utah’s No 1-ranked Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) video game design program is debuting its slate of new games from this year’s undergraduate and master’s students, ranging from a virtual reality thriller about being trapped with a horde of dolls to a serious game that explores a family’s struggle with abuse. This is a hallmark moment for the EAE program as its students have now published over 50 games during the past 10 years.
This year’s games — seven projects from graduating seniors and five master’s students’ games — will be on display during the annual EAE Launch Party Wednesday, April 26, from 3 to 6 p.m. in EAE’s studio on the University of Utah campus, Building 72 (the old law library), 332 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City. The event is free and open to the public. (There is free parking in the lot east of the building and after 4 p.m. at the Rice-Eccles stadium lot across 400 South).
In addition to the many undergraduate and master’s projects, EAE also will be showing off four “games” from its Therapeutic Games and Apps Lab (GApp Lab), which produces therapeutic and educational games and applications in conjunction with the U’s Center for Medical Innovation. They include a virtual reality application that allows amputees to see and manipulate a virtual arm to help relieve phantom pain and a simulation that teaches children how environmental change affects populations of various rodent species native to Utah.
“We are incredibly proud of our graduating students” said Robert Kessler, Director of EAE. “Working in large interdisciplinary teams, the students took their own brand-new idea and turned that into a complete published game that reflects an incredible amount of hard work and perseverance topped with wonderful creativity.”
The 12 undergraduate and master’s games will be published and sold to the public this spring via Steam, the PlayStation Network, Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google Play. Most will be available for free. The games are for various platforms including PC, the PlayStation 4, iOS and Android.
Some of the titles that will be on display include:
RoBros — The first strategic escort shooter where you plan your path before grabbing your gun. First, map your route on a 2-D map and then gun down rogue robots that impede your path while protecting your partner. (PC)
Boy and His Beard — A whimsical wave-based survival game where you fight with your beard in an attempt to steal and collect the beards of your enemies. (PC)
Trapped with the Dolls — A virtual reality-based psychological thriller that requires you to solve puzzles and mysteries in order to escape from dolls. (PC)
Shadowscrapers — A mobile game where you navigate the rooftops of a mysterious city and solve puzzles using lights that cast solid shadows. (iOS, Android)
MEGAMIX — A rhythm/action/platform game in which you move to the beat to clear platforms, fight enemies, and save the world. (PC)
Deliriant — In an interactive exploration of family abuse, a mother wanders the empty rooms of her home, discovering that her family’s emotions have left deep marks. (PlayStation 4)
Also at the open house, students will show off the updates to first-year master’s student games to be published in 2018, projects from the junior alternative game development class, experimental games, serious games from two graduate classes, and machinima short films (movies made with video game engines).
The University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering is an interdisciplinary program launched in 2007 and represents work between the U’s College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts. Since the EAE program launched, it has quickly become one of the most highly regarded video game development curriculums in the nation. The program has been ranked the No. 1 video game design program in the nation for three of the past five years by The Princeton Review.
Recently, EAE announced it is forming the U’s first college-sponsored varsity esports program. Utah esports will compete in multiple video games, including the online multiplayer battle arena game, “League of Legends,” as well as additional games to be announced. The U’s esports program is the first of its kind from a school out of the Power Five athletics conferences (Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern).
To see a list of most of the game demos on display during EAE Launch Party and screenshots for each, go to eae.utah.edu/2017-published-games/