Monday, January 28, 2013

Students Blend Art and Video Games over 2013 Winterm

Edge of Nowhere by Jake Thompson

While many students spent the Winterm playing games at home, DES 256: Interactive Environments, was making them.  For two and a half weeks in early January, fifteen UW-Stout students spent over eight hours a day (five days a week) creating their own video game environments. They drew on their previously learned knowledge of 3D modeling, and combined it with newly acquired skills in programming and game engine design.  Roughly half the class was Entertainment Design majors, while the rest was composed of Game Design & Development (Art Concentration) students.  Dave Beck, Assistant Professor of 3D Animation and Game Design taught the course. 
Nearly all of the artists worked on their own, utilizing Autodesk Maya and Unity, the artist-friendly 3D video game engine.  Their goal was to create artistic experiences for the viewer to explore as virtual installations.  Students were responsible for creating everything themselves (models, materials, lighting, animation, scripts, sounds, etc.).  Elements of sculpture, performance, interactivity, game design, and art/game history were incorporated into the course and the student-designed environments. 
In addition to creating their own games, students also presented examples of published video games which demonstrated impressive 3D environments and interactivity.  The daily presentations included both a research-style presentation and a class-wide playtest session.  Games such as Far Cry 3, Bastion, Dear Esther, Half Life 2, and Super Mario Sunshine were presented and play-tested.
Please feel free to experience a few select examples of these projects, here:

Temple by Keith Catalano

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