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ABOUT UAT
University of Advancing Technology is an elite, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With three centers of research and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.

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    KalqueLord, Created in UAT Game Studios

    KalqueLord, Created in UAT Game Studios

    (Jul 21, 2017)

    After a long journey, UAT Game Design alumni Godric Johnson is excited to announce that a game demo that he’s been working on for some time called Cyberpunk Casanova is available...

    The summer semester is winding down, but many UAT Game Studios development teams are still hard at work trying to complete as much work on their games as possible before the Greenlight Celebration on August 13.

    Each semester, student game developers pitch a game concept to UAT Game Studios Professors hoping to be greenlit into production for the semester. At the end of the term, each team lead presents their game build, hands out team awards and demos the game for the public.

    During this summer session, six games were created and developed over 15 weeks.

    The games made over summer semester are: Reign & Rebellion (3rd person, multiplayer, action game with a pair of industry veterans as the product owners), Operation: Red Rhino (1st person, multiplayer shooter that focuses on a node-based map selection system), Call Center Simulator (a VR shooter that has paired with alumni-founded Monster Vault Entertainment), Morpheus (a 3rd-person puzzle/ adventure game), World of Martz (a 3rd-person multiplayer fighting game built in Unreal), and KalqueLord.

    KalqueLord is a game that was developed for an external client, which serves an impressive example for their resumes.

    “KalqueLord is an engine that turns students, teachers and parents into heroes.”

    KalqueLord Town Assets

    According to team lead Donald Schepis, KalqueLord is an edu-tainment application designed to empower students to engage with learning content at their own pace and give teachers the tools to easily personalize instruction. By taking the feedback loop found in role-playing games and merging it with a math curriculum, KalqueLord gives students a visualization for the progress they make and put the drive to excel in their hands.

    Students earn points to purchase items and equipment to power up their characters, allowing them to face greater challenges and push themselves beyond their limits. With a ground-level teacher integration, almost every element of KaluqueLord can be easily customized for a student by an instructor, from the amount and type of content assigned to students, the focus of their day-to-day practice, to even the rewards they earn for both individual and group progress. KalqueLord will provide students with the opportunity to exceed the normal pace of a classroom while allowing teachers to provide the individualized support every child needs.

    To get valuable feedback, the developers have invited a group of children from the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home to UAT on Aug. 11, to playtest UAT Game Studios games. This is the fourth time this group of kids have acted as official playtesters. They enjoy the ability to try out new games and ask questions or provide feedback directly to the developers.

    Check out more information on the client’s game KalqueLord on their website.

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    UPDATE: UAT Student Competed in Unspoken VR Game Tournament

    UPDATE: UAT Student Competed in Unspoken VR Game Tournament

    (Jul 13, 2017)

    This short neo-noir mystery film was created for DVA241 Digital Video Production class by students Joe Ciaramitaro, Jake Turocy, and James Carrillo, and stars UAT Enrollment Advisor Daniel Link who is...

    Alumni Jesse Rogers, who studied Game Design at UAT, had the chance to compete in the final stage of Oculus’s The Unspoken VR Tournament for Oculus Rift Touch last month in New York City. Because Jesse made it to the Top 8, he won airfare and a hotel stay in New York City so he could participate in the finals.

    See our previous blog on how Jesse earned a spot in the Top 8!

    So how did the tournament go?

    Jesse checked into the hotel and took a ride to the Microsoft Store on Fifth Avenue. At the studio, he met with Insomniac developers, broadcasters and the production team for the tournament. The tournament participants took professional photos and were given fancy game tournament t-shirts to look official.

    The Unspoken VR Tournament in NYC

    The Unspoken VR Tournament in NYC

    On Saturday morning, the competitors had some time to practice and get the feel for the game before the competition began.

    The tournament consisted of four matches and the best of three rounds wins. Jesse won one round, but was eliminated and did not place in the competition.

    Jesse did learn a lot about competing in an eSports Tournament including setup, flow of the event, how to take a business trip alone, how to talk to people in the industry and he especially enjoyed exploring New York City and seeing a new city. Jesse said he met cool people, and he found it interesting the competitors had such different personalities.

    Jesse said “Overall, participating in the VR Tournament was a fun experience, but wish I would have had more time to talk to the Insomniac team, because he’s interested in working for them one day.”

     

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    Cyberpunk Casanova

    Cyberpunk Casanova

    (Jun 27, 2017)

    A short documentary about amateur gold prospectors in Arizona, produced by students Charlotte Foley and Harmony Summer Jones for DVA241 Digital Video Production class. Related PostsNew DV Work: Typography –...

    After a long journey, UAT Game Design alumni Godric Johnson is excited to announce that a game demo that he’s been working on for some time called Cyberpunk Casanova is available for download!

    Cyberpunk Casanova is a dystopian visual novel that incorporates the goal of creating a visual novel with a western approach. To achieve this and maintain balance with what fans like about the genre, the team decided to contrast the “grimdark” setting with bright and vibrant artwork. The game devs also made a decision to raise the danger level. Choices you make in game will not only influence how a person feels about you, but can also shape future “life or death” scenarios and major events for both you and the NPCs.

    Pimpin Scott

    Pimpin Scott

    Download the Cyberpunk Casanova demo on Jetstreame and get your game on!

    Godric Johnson has worked as the Producer and Creative Director for Jetstreame for the last four years. Prior to this experience, Godric worked his way through the industry by teaching game design, working as a graphic designer, artist/animator and game designer for various companies.

    Congrats on your game demo release, Godric! We are very excited to see what’s next for Jetstreame.

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    UAT Game Studios Host Summer Greenlight Celebration

    UAT Game Studios Host Summer Greenlight Celebration

    (Jun 20, 2017)

    A from-scratch recreation of the opening title sequence to the FX animated series ARCHER, created for DVA254 Motion Graphics class by student Harmony Summer Jones. Created with Adobe After Effects,...

    Do you love video games? Our Game Studios students not only love to play games, but also spend a lot of time making them, too.

    Come see what UAT Game Studios has been up to this semester at the 2017 Summer Greenlight Celebration, an event for UAT to acknowledge the fantastic work of its students.

    Greenlight is a celebration of games, where students demonstrate the games they’ve been working on for the last semester to fellow students and to the public.

    Happy Skies demo at the Greenlight Celebration

    Happy Skies demo at the Greenlight Celebration

    The Greenlight Celebration takes place on Aug. 18, from 5-7 p.m. in the UAT Theater and Commons area.

    The UAT Game Studios is a multidisciplinary collaboration of students across undergraduate and graduate degrees and on-ground and online programs consisting of mostly game design and game programming students, as well as art and animation majors to form well-rounded game development or game dev teams.

    Who: Students working in the UAT Game Studios 

    What: Greenlight Celebration, awards ceremony and game demos

    When: Friday, Aug. 18, 5-7 p.m.

    Where: University of Advancing Technology, 2625 W. Baseline Rd. Tempe, AZ 85282

    We hope to see lots of game enthusiasts join us to play students’ games at the Greenlight Celebration!

    Follow UAT Game Studios on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

     

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    Summer Game Jam at UAT

    Summer Game Jam at UAT

    (Jun 20, 2017)

    Can Virtual Reality (VR) help to reduce stress levels in college students? Let’s find out. High school student Kristy Taing, who attends BASIS Chandler, is conducting her senior research project...

    UAT Game Studios is hosting a summer Game Jam at UAT on July 7-9, to power up the level of energy and productivity around campus.

    Game Jams unfold quickly in just 48-hours, giving developers a deadline of completion. UAT Professor Ben Reichert is a huge advocate for Game Jams and students starting their own indie game studio.

    Game Jams are held at UAT multiple times a year usually producing some really awesome games. Some notable past Game Jam winners have been Whiskered Away, Couch Game, Happy Skies and Crimson Nights, which have all seen further development.

    How does a Game Jam work? We spoke with Game Programming student Jesse Rogers about his experience working in Game Jams and he described the process.

    • Reveal the theme
    • Form a team
    • Discuss ideas and concepts quickly (less than 2 hours)
    • Gather and write a quick game document – functions, features, art assets, etc.
    • Get to work, individual skills – development stage
    • Test game regularly
    • Sleep and eat when you can, aim for 6 hours per night to function
    • Remove bugs and features, broken or ran out of time
    • Submit finished project
    • Judging and awards

    “Most people will come up with an idea at the beginning and half way through will have to pivot just like in actual game development. Prepare for things to go bad, just don’t freak out about it,” Jesse said.

    Join the Game Studios Game Jam at UAT on July 7-9. For more information visit the UAT Game Studios Facebook page.

     

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    Game Professors Present VR at Science With A Twist at Arizona Science Center

    Game Professors Present VR at Science With A Twist at Arizona Science Center

    (Jun 16, 2017)

    Professor Paul DeNigris, Program Champion for Digital Video at University of Advancing Technology, was recently recruited by Hollywood actor and fitness model Andy McDermott (Hawaii 5-0, Sons of Anarchy) to...

    The Arizona Science Center is blowing up the night for a special adult-only event featuring a twist on science demos and experiments, a high energy DJ, specialty drinks and a presentation on “Animation and Virtual Reality” by UAT Game Studios Professors Jorge Portillo and Ben Reichert, who just returned from a week at E3, the Electronics Entertainment Expo in California.

    UAT’s VR slide show presentation, which will be held in the IMAX Theater, will include information about UAT degrees in Game Design, Game Programming, Art and Animation and Virtual Reality. Professor Portillo, who specializes in game art, will touch on the principles of animation, and other areas he teaches to students at UAT such as concept art, texturing, rigging, and 3d modeling.

    UAT Professor Jorge Portillo, Game Art and Animation

    UAT Professor Jorge Portillo, Game Art and Animation

    Virtual Reality games and concepts from UAT Game Studios will be featured showing off a few of our student’s recent game builds from Busta Worm and Call Center Simulator. Professor Reichert will also discuss trends from E3 and what the future of VR has in store for us tech lovers!

    UAT Professor Ben Reichert, Game Studios

    UAT Professor Ben Reichert, Game Studios

    Come out to Arizona Science Center tonight to be part of the action. Remember Science with a Twist is a 21+ only event! Buy your tickets here.

     

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    Game Design Student Ranked Top 8 in VR Tournament – Finals This Weekend!

    Game Design Student Ranked Top 8 in VR Tournament – Finals This Weekend!

    (Jun 01, 2017)

    Technology continues to evolve around us changing the landscape of businesses and how they operate on a global scale. On Thursday, Jan. 26, the Arizona Technology Council is pleased to...

    Game Programming student and avid gamer Jesse Rogers put his skills to the test in The Unspoken VR game tournament against other local gamers taking first in the local and regional competitions. These consecutive wins secured Jesse a spot in the Top 8 to complete in the Finals this weekend in New York City.

    The Unspoken VR, played on Oculus Rift, is holding a nationwide tournament hosted by Insomniac games, Microsoft and Oculus. The game is a 1v1 magic throwing player vs player game and the winner takes the best of three rounds.

    Jesse had never played this game before, but said he is pretty good at games and he also has some experience with Virtual Reality in games he’s developed for the HTC Vive in the UAT Game Studios class. After two days of practice, Jesse participated at the Scottsdale Microsoft store and won the tournament’s first round, advancing to the regional bracket where he then played against players at nine other Microsoft stores.

    UAT Game Design student Jesse Rogers

    UAT Game Design student Jesse Rogers

    What’s even more impressive is that Jesse beat the third ranked player in the world during the regional competition. Good job Jesse! We guess he is pretty good at games.

    This weekend, join UAT in rooting on Jesse as he battles against seven other contenders!

    Keep up with Jesse’s progress on Twitch, tune in at 3:00 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. PT) on June 3 with live shoutcasting by Siefe and OpticJ.

    Good luck to Jesse Rogers a.k.a. CloudExSolider representing the West A region.

     

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    Southwest Video Game Showcase Winners

    Southwest Video Game Showcase Winners

    (Jun 01, 2017)

    As in years past, the Digital Video Program at University of Advancing Technology has partnered with One Community to produce their annual “Change Agent” honoree video. This year, the video...

    UAT Game studios students and alumni featured indie games for four days at Phoenix Comicon at the 4th annual Southwest Video Games Showcase (SWVGS), presented by Game CoLab.

    “Game CoLab proudly presented its 4th annual video games showcase, highlighting awesome games from Arizona and beyond.”

    -UAT Professor Ben Reichert

    The Southwest Video Games Showcase was an opportunity for the public to meet the game developers, play their games, and sit in on industry panels, vote on awards and more.

    SWVGS was held May 25-28, 2017 at the Phoenix Convention Center during Phoenix Comicon in the Hall of Heroes, among celebrities and other exhibitors including Cobra Arcade.

    Waden Kane Studios at Comicon

    Waden Kane Studios at Phoenix Comicon (Alumni: Harrison Snyder, Tony Johnson)

    UAT students and alumni were in attendance at SWVGS featuring Terrasect Mobile with Wizards 2 VR on the Samsung Gear VR, Waden Kane Studios featuring Space Prisoners VR for HTC Vive, a game created for a local client, Spiky Fish Games showing off Crimson Nights (available on Steam) and current UAT Game Studios indie game, Morpheus. It’s safe to say UAT was in good representation at SWVGS and Phoenix Comicon.

    Morpheus, currently in further development in UAT Game Studios

    Morpheus, currently in further development in UAT Game Studios

    Not only did the game development team members hang around for the long weekend, but they welcomed friends and classmates to volunteer a few hours with their booths in exchange for some free time exploring Comicon. Many students took this opportunity to hang out in the indie game world and experience Comicon all in the same day!

    Terrasect Mobile with Wizards 2 VR at Comicon

    Terrasect Mobile with Wizards 2 VR at Phoenix Comicon (Alumni: Jeff Rosenberg)

    The awards ceremony for the Southwest Video Game Showcase Awards was moderated by Jessica Conditt of Engadget and Ben Reichert of UAT and Founder of Game CoLab, as well as event Moderator.

    “Our big mission and goal is to help video game developers connect with each other, get the resources they need and create awareness about what they’re doing.”

    This year’s winners received a cool golden controller trophy “controlphy” made by local small business Evil Controllers.

    Southwest Video Game Showcase golden controlphies from Evil Controllers and Game CoLab

    Southwest Video Game Showcase golden “controlphies” from Evil Controllers and Game CoLab

    Awards:

    Phoenix Recognition Award – E-Line Media
    Juiciest – (what game feels the juiciest) – Negative Space
    *Runner up – Bluff Mountain
    Best in Show – Planetoid Pioneers
    *Runner up – Waden Kane Space Prisoners VR
    Audience Choice – ChromaShift
    *Runner up – Negative Space

    Watch the Awards Ceremony on GameCoLab’s Facebook Live.

     

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    Custom Whiskered Away Xbox Controllers Made By Local Startup

    Custom Whiskered Away Xbox Controllers Made By Local Startup

    (May 24, 2017)

    Photo: Kenny Ryan (left) checks the Axosoft to-do list with Crimson Nights artist Terrence Miller. The UAT Game Studios class brings together students from different disciplines such as game programming, game design,...

    The Phoenix Global Game Jam returned to UAT for the second consecutive year in January, bringing game developers from all over the Valley to our campus. UAT Game Studios students came out in full force forming small teams and collaborating their skills to make a playable game in just 48 hours.

    The result was over 20 completed indie games revolving around the theme of waves, which gave team “Whiskered Away” a fun idea for a 2D party game. See the most recent trailer here.

    Whiskered Away game development team

    Whiskered Away game development team

    Picture a beach with cute, colorful cats collecting shiny coins, but this treasure belongs to Poseidon. The goal of gameplay is to avoid being caught in the sea, as Poseidon makes waves to capture them in the sea’s current. On the flip side, if the cats win the coins from Poseidon, he will be teased by laughing dolphins.

    So how do you play Whiskered Away? The game requires four wired Xbox 360 controllers which gave the team another idea! Game Programming student Noah Stumpf said, “We wanted to have a good showing at GDC. Professor Ben Reichert connected us with local company Evil Controllers, who custom wrapped our Xbox controllers. It definitely helped attract more people to play our game.”

    Art and Animation student Audrey McEvoy created the controller art concept you see below. The team loved it and sent the ideas to Evil Controllers just in time to be completed for GDC.

    Whiskered Away Custom Controller

    Whiskered Away Custom Controller

    Game designer Kenny Ryan said, “The game jam was a great experience for all of us collaborating with each of our different disciplines. Some of us had worked together before, but never this close and it was such a blast! We are extremely excited that the whole team will be attending and we plan to make the most of our GDC trip.”

    Whiskered Away at GDC

    Whiskered Away at GDC

    Overall the mission was to make a fun, playable, finished game and Whiskered Away met their goal and then some. Whiskered Away won the Game Jam’s grand prize, which were passes and a booth at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last February. This was a substantial experience for young game developers to showcase and market their game at the largest conference in the game development industry.

    Here is a demo of the staff at Evil Controllers playing Whiskered Away with the cool, custom controllers.

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    Happy Skies, A Cultural Game For Kids

    Happy Skies, A Cultural Game For Kids

    (May 19, 2017)

    Do you have friends or siblings who like to pop Bubble Wrap? Most people enjoy this simple, yet satisfying task, which is why it’s the perfect idea for a video...

    Who likes traveling? No airfare is necessary when you travel UAT’s Happy Skies!

    Immersion is a great way to learn about other cultures and Happy Skies is a cool kids game that brings the traveling adventure to you!

    Happy Skies is a high flying, adventure, mobile game that allows the user to learn about other cultures in a fun way. Kids can learn which country is known for giraffes, which Presidents are the face of Mount Rushmore or where you could find the Great Wall.

    The idea for the game spawned from UAT Game Studios-grown indie game company Terrasect Mobile, LLC., a studio which has released seven mobile games to Google Play in their two years of existence.

    The initial concept for game play was a whimsical game where a plastic bag floated around the sky, and this idea later developed a bit further. Currently the user plays as an animal relevant to the historical site and transports from landmark to landmark around the world in a balloon, discovering facts and information. As the user travels around the world, they experience mini games, puzzles and challenges while trying to avoid hazards like flying monkeys, storks, trade winds and powerlines.

    Terrasect Mobile working on Happy Skies

    Terrasect Mobile working on Happy Skies

    The game is made for entertainment, but incorporates educational elements. Instead of teaching facts about a country, this game acts like a gateway for the user to find out more information and do their own research. It’s important for kids to learn about how other cultures live at a younger age and Happy Skies is a great tool to accomplish just that.

    Production on this game in the UAT Game Studios has seen about three semesters or one year of development, but at its current build Team Lead Donald Schepis said, “It’s about 30 percent done. The team began development on Happy Skies without a ton of dev experience and made a lot of mistakes, but we’ve learned a lot and just need more time to devote to the project.”

    Although Happy Skies is not finished, there have been playable builds the team has demonstrated to the public on a few occasions and received fantastic feedback on the game so far.

    Happy Skies Public Demos:

    • Mesa Public Library playtest – Summer 2016
    • Arizona Video Game Showcase at Phoenix Comicon – June 2016
    • Game On Expo – August 2016
    Happy Skies demo at the Greenlight Celebration

    Happy Skies demo at the Greenlight Celebration

    “We find that kids ranging in age 9-12 have the most fun playing Happy Skies. Parents liked the game and even teens were interested, but the aesthetic walked the fine line of too cutesy to hold their attention. It was interesting to watch as many kids returned to play Happy Skies for a second time,” Donald said.

    Another group of youngsters from Sunshine Acres came to UAT to test out the game on campus. The kids loved it, but were a little too eager and kept asking for features that are in the works for future plans, but haven’t been developed yet. During the playtest, they competed between themselves to see who could collect the most coins, something that isn’t part of the game, but it was impressive to see such passion ooze from the young play testers.

    Happy Skies has been on hiatus for a few months while other projects take priority, but it’s not going away as there are definite plans for completing the game.

    Donald has high hopes for Happy Skies, but some things have to unfold before then. “One of my hopes down the road lies in that I’ve been speaking to Angel Investors and VC’s interested in funding another project. Once that project is finished, I’ll be able to use a lot of investor resources to fund development on Happy Skies and get it properly released.”

    Happy Skies taught the team a lot of about marketing their game. They handed out media cards for the first time. These cards contained a QR code that led to a survey of the game, a newsletter to sign up for the Beta invitation and email list collection. They also tested out marketing on social media, and by trial and error were able to determine the best way to reach their audience.

    Screenshot of Happy Skies game

    Screenshot of Happy Skies game with landmark of Golden Gate Bridge

    “We discovered that well-thought out posts about the landmarks helped to connect users to the game. Posts that were less salesy seemed to get the best engagement. This just went to prove how important landmarks were to the people interested in Happy Skies,” said Donald.

    Some of the needs for future development on Happy Skies are more functionality and art. Stay in the loop with Happy Skies updates on their Facebook page.

    When completed, Happy Skies will be their eighth mobile game on Google Play. You can test the beta version here.

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