Space pirates, a king who loves taters and a young woman seeking medical help for her sole friend are central characters in innovative games unveiled on campus by USC students at two high-profile gaming showcases.
The woman is a key part of Vanishing Point, one of the games displayed at USC Games Demo Day, one of two USC-hosted events introducing student-designed games on Dec. 10. The other, the GamePipe Laboratory Fall Showcase, celebrated the lab’s 10th anniversary and featured more than a dozen games.
Every year, we are leveling up the USC Games program, and this year is especially exciting.
“Every year, we are leveling up the USC Games program, and this year is especially exciting,” said Tracy Fullerton, director of USC Games, chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division and director of the USC Game Innovation Lab. “We have such a range of games — in virtual reality, two screen experiences, mobile and more. I’m so proud of this year’s cohort because they are really stretching themselves and innovating in the field.”
Mike Zyda, USC GamePipe Laboratory director and professor of engineering practice, said: “Over 1,500 computer science students have graduated from our program and gone on to make games played by over 880 million players. These alumni have helped build games that have made over $45 billion in revenue over the last 10 years. It is doubtful that there is another academic games [computer science] program that has had this size of an impact on the game industry.”
It is doubtful that there is another academic games [computer science] program that has had this size of an impact on the game industry.
Time to play
One of the many games at the Fall Showcase was Toward the Stars, an action game in which players take control of a spaceship and experience the wonder and perils of space. From space pirates hijacking the ship to accidental kitchen fires, players must band together to make it through the chaos in one piece.
Other games were ElemenTerra (USC Games), a virtual reality, world-building adventure in which the user must restore life on a small planet; King Basil and the Quest for the Crown of Spudly Awesomeness (USC Games), an iPad entry about a monarch’s bid to earn free tater nuggets for life; Apophis (GamePipe), an adventure about a bounty hunter with the power to grant life or take it away; and Flick Chess (GamePipe), which adds new elements to the strategical board game.
The events represented a collaboration between the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science that has helped make USC the No. 1-ranked game design school in North America in 2014 by The Princeton Review.