UMBC’s 25th Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) reached more viewers than ever before, with visitors connecting online from as far away as Spain, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, Bhutan, Germany, and the U.K.. Audiences logged more than 11,000 visits (compared with 8,000 in 2020) and posted more than 3,500 comments over the course of the week-long event.
For UMBC’s video game designers, going virtual was not new. Marc Olano, associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering, mentored four projects presented at URCAD, each led by a group of about four students. They include Sword Shibe; Recurring Moment – A Time Travel Puzzle Platformer; Jump Starters, and the two-player Android and PC strategy game Hamster Toaster Checker. Students in UMBC’s computer science game development track collaborated with students in animation and interactive media to envision and begin developing the new games.
“The beauty of the CMSC 493 class is that it brings artists and programmers together and the management of the project is completely led by us,” says Kristian Mischke ‘21, computer science, the game designer for the Recurring Moment project.
In Sword Shibe, players take a dog with a sword through different paths. The student team that created it drew inspiration for its concept designs from Japanese culture, folklore, and legends. The dog in the game is also inspired by a Shiba Inu, which is a breed of hunting dog from Japan.
Olano worked to model the students’ project experience on the structure of the game design and development industry. “Students began working through ideas in small teams and worked their way through prototypes and onto a bigger team,” he explains. “In the game industry, you have to work collaboratively or you fail.”
Mischke explains how he would bounce ideas off the artists for visual appeal or about the game’s narrative arc. With the other programmers, he talked through implementation feasibility. “We all would give feedback and discuss adaptations together,” says Mischke. “Everyone on the team was able to be part of the process and apply their unique skill set.”
This post was adapted from a UMBC News article written by Catalina Sofia Dansberger Duque.
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