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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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    Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It? [ 2021 Guide ] - University of Advancing Technology


    Computer Science Degree: Is it Worth It? The percentage of students taking computer science courses has increased over the past 20 years. More and more students are becoming interested in the STEM fields and the near-limitless opportunities computer science has to offer....

    Computer Science Degree: Is it Worth It?

    The percentage of students taking computer science courses has increased over the past 20 years. More and more students are becoming interested in the STEM fields and the near-limitless opportunities computer science has to offer.

    However, many question the necessity of acquiring an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science in order to find a job in this field. Is getting a computer science degree worth it? What are the costs versus benefits? These are questions we aim to answer.

    If you are interested in studying computer science, we’re covering some important factors to consider, including education costs, job prospects, and which programs are best suited to your professional goals.

     

    What is Computer Science?

    Computer Science (CS) falls under the umbrella of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and involves understanding the underlying principles of computer programming and algorithms. Computer scientists primarily focus on designing systems and software to meet the needs of businesses, organizations, and individuals.

    Computer science also applies the principles of mathematics, engineering, and logic to create systems and tools that benefit our everyday lives. Software development, artificial intelligence, and algorithm formulation are emerging technologies that fall under computer science.

     

    Why Study Computer Science?

    Computer science is an ideal choice for those who enjoy math, technology, programming, and problem-solving. It’s a field that produces lucrative job opportunities, whether through employment under an existing organization or as an independent contractor.

     You might want a degree in computer science if you:

    • Love solving complex problems
    • Enjoy working with computers
    • Are interested in designing systems, networks, or software
    • Are looking for a field that is challenging yet fulfilling
    • Are searching for a field with endless job opportunities
    • Want to make an investment in your future by entering a potentially lucrative field

     

    Is it Worth It Getting an Undergraduate Degree in Computer Science?

    Getting a degree in computer science may be challenging but is well worth the investment. This is due to the ever-growing demand for highly skilled computer science professionals across a range of industries.

    According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer occupations are the fourth fastest growing occupational group and will add more than 531,000 jobs by 2024. An undergraduate degree in computer science could make your skills highly valuable and marketable, opening the door to new job opportunities.

    We’ve also seen more minorities entering STEM fields and entering the CS workforce. Women in computer science and racial minorities in tech are leveling up their skills and taking a seat at the table in a historically male-dominated industry.

    female computer science student looking at computer


    Is a Master's Degree in Computer Science Worth It?

    A master’s degree in Computer Science will significantly widen your career potential and job prospects. In fact, many employers are preferring to hire applicants with a master’s degree over a bachelor’s degree.

    A graduate degree is a great way to acquire additional skills that make you more marketable as a computer scientist. Also, consider that the average salary for a software engineer is $84,000 while the average salary for a software engineer with a master’s degree is $123,000.

     

    Can I land a Computer Science Job with No Experience?

    There are certainly entry-level positions that don’t require a computer science degree, but even these are available to CS graduates who already have an array of skills suited to the job. So, in order to be competitive, you will want to have some experience under your belt.

     You should have had some exposure to programming and a basic understanding of software development and coding. These are skills that can be self-taught or learned through online courses, internships, or job shadowing.

     Internships are a great way to gain valuable, hands-on experience. As an intern, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in your chosen field. You will be working alongside professionals, learning new skills, and honing your existing skills to help you land your dream job.

     Don’t let lack of experience deter you from entering a career in computer science. What matters most is that you have a desire to learn and are willing to hone your skills over time.

     

    Types of Computer Science Jobs

    There are a variety of jobs available to those with a BS or MS degree in computer science. The most popular computer science careers include:

    Specializations in Computer Science

    What can you do with a computer science degree? Quite a lot! Whether you work under an existing organization or as an independent contractor, a degree in computer science allows you to tackle nearly any job related to computer programming, software development, and beyond.

    Keep in mind that you can always specialize, acquire continuing education, or get advanced certifications to hone your skills. This will make you even more marketable and likely to hit a higher pay grade.

     

    How Much Do Computer Science Jobs Pay?

    The average base salary for a computer scientist in the United States is $126,830 per year in 2021. Salaries vary based on location, education, and experience level.

    The highest paying careers in computer science are:

    • Machine Learning Engineer: $150,035
    • Computer Vision Engineer: $142,041
    • Deep Learning Engineer: $133,778
    • C++ Developer: $111,494
    • Research Scientist: $107,745

    illustrative chart showing that a computer science major can earn 40% more than the college average


    Career Outlook

    Employment of computer scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029. This is much faster than the average for most other occupations.

    With an increased demand for data collection technology, businesses have a growing need for data-mining specialists and information research scientists. Additionally, the field of cybersecurity presents ever-growing opportunities for computer scientists who are skilled in finding innovative ways to prevent cyberattacks.

    How to Get a Job in Computer Science

    A bachelor’s degree in computer science remains the industry standard for entering the field of computer science and can help you launch a financially rewarding career. Having a degree will help you appear more attractive to employers, as you have an established foundation in the skills they are looking for when hiring a computer scientist.

    Earning an advanced degree in computer science is a great way to land an even better position and increase your earnings. So, it may be worth it to get your master’s in order to maximize your potential.

    Applying for Computer Science Jobs

    Once you have the proper education, training, or skills in place, you can begin applying for computer science jobs. Check job boards at your local college or university, or look into online job boards such as LinkedIn, Monster.com, or Indeed.com.

    Here are some tips for applying to computer science jobs:

    • Read job descriptions thoroughly and write your cover letter to match the requirements the company is looking for.
    • Have a friend or advisor review your resume, checking for errors and providing tips on how to make it more appealing to hiring managers.
    • Look into additional certifications to improve your skills and appeal to employers.
    • Practice your job interviewing skills to master your interviews.
    • Follow up with employers via email to keep your name top of mind and thank them for their consideration in interviewing you.

    At University of Advancing Technology, we equip students with the education they need to enter the field of computer science with confidence. We also offer advising to help you land an internship or job in your chosen field. Alumni can also audit classes for free, as often and as long as they like, to keep skills current and knowledge cutting edge.

     

    Earn a Degree in Computer Science at UAT

    A degree in computer science could be a game-changer for your career. With the proper education and skills, you’ll be equipped to apply to computer science jobs and enter the field with confidence.

    A degree in computer science, it is worth it if you want to maximize your earning potential and make your resume more attractive to employers. Having earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can be confident that you have the skills to do the job and the attitude to work hard no matter what position you land.

    If you believe a career in computer science may be right for you, request information about our Computer Science degree. At University of Advancing Technology, we’re passionate about helping students enter STEM fields and acquire the skills they need to land a lucrative and rewarding career in computer science.

    Computer students at University of Advancing Technology

     

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    Spring Competition Recap: UAT Students Win Big in Tech Events


    UAT students don’t just study all semester… they build, innovate, and compete in addition to their regular coursework. This year the professors held a variety of exciting contests, from March Madness coding to detecting fake news. Read on to find out more about the winners and their pioneering work!  Data Science Fake News Contest...

    UAT students don’t just study all semester… they build, innovate, and compete in addition to their regular coursework. This year the professors held a variety of exciting contests, from March Madness coding to detecting fake news. Read on to find out more about the winners and their pioneering work! 

    Data Science Fake News Contest

    The Fake News competition was a way for students to practice machine learning skills with Python. With advancements in technology, the opportunity to spread disinformation has never been easier. Dr. Jill Coddington tasked students to use advancements in technology to stay ahead of disinformation through Data Science and Machine Learning, creating a model that could “read” an article and determine whether it is real or fake.

    Sandibell Vega was the winner! She created a model that achieved an accuracy of approximately 99% when predicting whether news is real or fake. Using this model, she constructed a tool that evaluates the inputted text as Real News or Fake News. According to Dr. Coddington, “This was way above what we expected and was very impressive.”

    Fake News-1

     

    Western Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

    CCDC is a nationwide cyber competition during which UAT students compete against other schools, testing their information technology skills against a live red team (professional industry penetration testers) and maintaining critical business infrastructure.

    This spring, UAT’s team placed 4th place overall and 2nd place for customer service. They did very well as a team of only six people, compared to the other teams of eight. The team was led by Program Support Specialist Jeremy Bunce and included: Mawadda Abuhamda, Dawson Greeley, Bradley Chavis, Tyler Higgins, Brandon Amundson, and Chris Armour.

     

    Brand Wars: Valentine's Day Edition

    Brand Wars is a contest for UAT students to pit their brand, logos, and marketing strategies against one another. The Valentine's Day version incorporated the holiday to theme brands for awareness and interest. 

    Samantha Jaros was the winner for her Samantha Lee’s Marketing logo. According to Dr. Mark Smith, “Samantha took a very creative angle on how to position the holiday theme in her company's favor. She customized a temporary logo for the holiday, and her brand strategy to support it was perfect for her company's marketplace. She is one of the most creative and tenacious students here at UAT and always showcases top notch work.” 

     

    Global Game Jam

    The 2021 Global Game Jam was completely remote. Organized via Zoom and Discord, UAT was one of 585 virtual game sites across the world.

    Here are the award-winning games for the UAT site:

    • Best Design: Quester
    • Best Art: Fatal Distraction
    • Best Animation: Mystical Mis-adventures
    • Best Tech: Lost! (and Found)
    • Best Audio: Lost Friend
    • Best Theme: Find our Game
    • Best Tabletop: Curse of the Pirate King

    Check out the completed games for the 2021 Global Game Jam.

      

    UAT March Madness Code Jam

    Forget basketball, Dr. Jill Coddington held a March Madness Coding Contest this year. According to Dr. Coddington, “This was the BIGGEST and BEST coding contest ever!” There was excellent student participation, and many deserving winners.

     

    Place 

    Students

    Link to Entry

    1st overall 

    Jarad Broyhill 

    AI Contest

    2nd overall 

    ZineDin Bautista and Chad Oertel 

    Contest time sensitive fun!

    3rd overall 

    Mike Hinsberger and Brittney Tollison 

    Leprechaun Quize

    Best in C++  

    Dan "Cody" Mitchel 

    Bracket Creator

    Best in Chatbots 

    Sanibell Vega 

    World Water Day

    Best in Java 

    Kirk Walls 

    Whiteboard Model

    Best in AI 

    Alejandro Salas 

    Chilecto

    Best in Graphics 

    Max Edwards

    Cat In The Hat Candy Dish

     

    Virtual Citizenship Award

    This award is recognizing online students who go above and beyond to support their peers in online courses. These students support their peers as if they are on campus sitting right next to them in class.

    The Spring 2021 Virtual Citizenship Award was presented to Devon Caballero-Zarate. According to Dean Brandi Beals, “Devon is a passionate individual who is constantly striving to support his peers and his community. As a Network Security student, he has been trained to spot potential threats to a system. Recently, Devon recognized what he believed to be criminal activity involving a minor. He worked quickly to gather as much information as he could and worked with UATs esteemed faculty to determine if the virtual situation was truly criminal activity or not. Devon’s knowledge and demonstrated vigilance has shown a true passion for protecting his community.”

    Devon Caballero-Zarate

     

    Student Innovation Project (SIP) Awards

    The SIP Showcase is the pinnacle of a student’s experience at UAT, and this semester did not disappoint! Led by Professor Valenzuela and Dr. Kathleen Dunley, choosing the winners was no easy task.

    Best SIP Pitch: Project Roft by Tyrease Teer

    Most Market Viable: Custom 3D by Alina Iovita

    Viewers’ Choice: Booklight with a Brain by Amanda Grose

    World Changer: LogBox by Danny Ghazal

    Ingenuity Prize: Helter Skelter by Jonathon Sherwood

    Best in Show: Tecam by Alejandro Salas

     

    Brooke Cayce Legacy Leadership Award

    This honor is awarded once per term to a student who emulates Brook Cayce, former UAT student who was driven, friendly, involved, and always happy to lend a helping hand. To honor that legacy and her memory, the Brooke Cayce Legacy Leadership Award goes to a student who is a great member of the UAT family.

    This semester, the Brooke Cayce Legacy Leadership award was presented to Kandi Alexander—Resident Assistant, mentor, friend, and trailblazer. She has been a go-to person on campus, and if she doesn’t know an answer, she will walk around campus until she figures it out. Kandi is also working diligently on increasing cultural awareness around campus and doing whatever she can to support her peers.

    IMG_1310

     

    Congratulations to all of the students who have worked hard, putting in extra effort to build their portfolios and show off their skills. You’re going to do great things!

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    The New Normal for Technology Education


    As graduating students are making their plans for the fall, some aspects of college are returning to a more normal feel, while many parts will likely be forever changed.  Earning a STEM education is crucial in today’s economy. ...

    As graduating students are making their plans for the fall, some aspects of college are returning to a more normal feel, while many parts will likely be forever changed. 

    Earning a STEM education is crucial in today’s economy. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degrees are highly coveted due to the knowledge and skillsets that allows workers to serve a variety of unique, complex functions. This includes, but is not limited to, fields in Network Security, Computer Science, Data Science, Robotics and others.

    This reflects in median earnings as well. The median annual wage of STEM occupations in 2019 was $86,980. That is more than twice the amount non-STEM occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

    Moreover, if we took a microscope and focused solely on this year, we would see is that pursuing a STEM education is even more vital. Positioned in the throes of a global pandemic, our society has leaned heavily on the use of technology to communicate, work, grocery shop and even “e-see” our doctors for telemedicine appointments. We’ve been forced to find new ways through technology to live our daily lives and though there is an expected economic consequence of potential lay-offs, experts are confident that the technology sector will be the first to bounce back in the post-pandemic era. Fields such as artificial intelligence will see a high demand for STEM educated graduates as companies who have been damaged the most from the pandemic must think of innovative strategies to deliver their products via technology. Contactless cashiers and drones delivering packages will be commonplace.

     

    virtual city skyline with University of Advancing Technology banner

     

    Human production will not be replaced per se; it will simply be refocused as skilled workers will need to support, create and implement these devices. A PwC Artificial Intelligence report supports this, stating that, “any job losses from automation are likely to be broadly offset in the long run by new jobs created as a result of the larger and wealthier economy made possible by these new technologies”.

    We are all adjusting to a new society that not only uses technology but relies on it to survive and thrive. Choosing to pursue a STEM degree right now will pay dividends in the future. A degree with UAT will not only position students within the STEM fields, but it will provide them with hands-on learning, real world applications, expert faculty and a caring environment that supports them every step of the way.

    Robert Walker of University of Advancing Technology

    Want to start your technology education journey? Apply to UAT now!

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    Spring 2021 Student Innovation Project Showcase


    UAT's Spring 2021 Student Innovation Project, SIP, Showcase was a success! University of Advancing Technology students continue to build technology that entertains, educates, connects, and protects us. This semester’s projects included a PC rhythm game, a goal-setting app, a customizable 3D...

    UAT's Spring 2021 Student Innovation Project, SIP, Showcase was a success!

    University of Advancing Technology students continue to build technology that entertains, educates, connects, and protects us. This semester’s projects included a PC rhythm game, a goal-setting app, a customizable 3D garment interface, a digital course for content creators, an alternative login solution based on steganography, a discord bot for reporting cheaters, a stealth game that flips the traditional role of lighting to offer new perspectives, a secure flash drive that uses your phone for authentication, a physical server protector, a multi-player AR game, a reading log book light for kids, an object detection program for international travel and a detachable cover for shopping carts to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,  just to name a few!

    These projects exemplify what UAT stands for, innovating for the future. The hard work students do on their projects makes each SIP Showcase a proud moment for faculty and staff and I'm grateful for the opportunity to lead and guide these aspiring technologists. 

    Enjoy learning more about the student projects!

     

    Student: Tyrease Teer

    Project Title: Project Roft

    Project Description: A PC rhythm game that challenges one’s keyboard literacy.

    Degree Major: Game Programming

    SIP URL: http://miijii.weebly.com/project-roft.html  

    Roft

     

    Student: Zachary Lloyd

    Project Title: Interactive Spawn System

    Project Description: Spawn system is directly impacted by preferences set by player and player position.

    Degree Major: Game Programming

    SIP URL: https://zacharylloyd.weebly.com/sip.html  

    Interactive Spawn

     

    Student: Takota Berry

    Project Title: Hikari no Yami

    Project Description: A stealth game that flips the traditional rolls of light and dark that offers the player a unique perspective of both how they see themselves, and the world around them.

    Degree Major: Game Programming

    SIP URL: https://sites.google.com/view/portfolio-takota-berry/sip  

    Hikari

     

    Student: Mickyl Rodriguez

    Project Title: Retro Forge

    Project Description: Pixel-based fighting game that allows the players to fully customize various aspects of their fighters within an evolving system that increases the resolution and customizability.

    Degree Major: Game Art & Animation

    SIP URL: https://mickyl0804.wixsite.com/website/about  

    RetroForge

     

    Students: James Cortezano, Katelyn Jensen and Ethan Dean

    Project Title: GoalMania

    Project Description: GoalMania is a goal setting app with dress-up assets to help motivate the user to complete their real-life goals within games rewards. The app also keeps tabs on the user's accomplishments to displays what they’ve completed along with notifications of pending goals.

    Degree Major: Katelyn Jensen - Game Art & Animation, James Cortezano - Game Art & Animation, Ethan Dean - Game Programming

    SIP URL: https://katelynjensenartist.weebly.com/goalmania.html  

    Goal Mania

     

    Student: Alina Iovita

    Project Title: Custom 3D

    Project Description: A web interface of 3D character garments that can be customized by the user for purchase.

    Degree Major: Game Art & Animation

    SIP URL: https://alinaiovita.wixsite.com/portfolio/innovation-project   

    Custom3D-1

     

    Student: Joseph Chilton

    Project Title: Triad Pursuit

    Project Description: Triad Pursuit is a team-based racing game that competes for points using asymmetrical gameplay.

    Degree Major: Game Art & Animation

    SIP URL: https://josephchilton.weebly.com/sip.html  

    Triad Pursuit 

     

    Student: John Balog

    Project Title: Voodoo Doll

    Project Description: Voodoo Doll is an on-screen UI element and an accessibility option for Action/Hack’n Slash players to more easily make use of limb targeting lock-on mechanics.

    Degree Major: Game Art & Animation

    SIP URL: https://grayjhon289.wixsite.com/portfolio/student-innovation-project  

    Voodoo Doll

     

    Student: John C. Pratt

    Project Title: Contextual Object Weathering

    Project Description: A system in which objects in a game world can be interacted by various weathering effects and how to achieve them. The system will showcase the effects of wind and water weathering.

    Degree Major: Game Art and Animation

    SIP URL: https://johnsartroom.weebly.com/sip.html  

    Contextual Object Weathering-1

     

    Student: Ruth Luis

    Project Title: Mechanics Mirror

    Project Description: Integrate real-world players as key assets into multi-player AR gameplay through the use of the front-facing camera.

    Degree Major: Game Art & Animation

    SIP URL: https://ruthf10.wixsite.com/ruynis/art-work  

    Mechanics Mirror

     

    Student: Jonathon Sherwood

    Project Title: Helter Skelter

    Project Description: Helter Skelter is a system that encourages player creativity by allowing them to assemble their character’s body parts in any combination in order to solve different puzzles and challenges.

    Degree Major: Game Design, Game Programming & Advancing Computer Science

    SIP URL: http://jonathonsherwoodportfolio.weebly.com/sip.html  

    Helter Skelter

     

    Student: Kady Morse

    Project Title: Songbird Mansion

    Project Description: A single-player horror level in which the player must stay calm. If the player becomes stressed, the environment they are in will change drastically. With the use of synesthesia noises, what they hear can guide the player down the right path.

    Degree Major: Game Design

    SIP URL: https://kadymorse.weebly.com/student-innovation-project.html  

    Songbird Mansion

     

    Student: V. Greffin

    Project Title: Freedom of Movement MOBA

    Project Description: The Freedom of Movement MOBA takes the MOBA genre and introduces the idea that players can move in any direction, creating a new experience for MOBA fans, new and old.

    Degree Major: Game Design

    SIP URL: https://vgreffinportfolio.weebly.com/student-innovation-project.html  

    MOBA Dracopedia

     

    Student: John Leddon

    Project Title: The G.R.I.P.

    Project Description: The G.R.I.P. is an innovative solution to help mitigate the spread of germs though a detachable, and easy to clean handle for shopping carts.

    Degree Major: Advertising Art

    SIP URL: https://penpointgraphics2u.wordpress.com/sip/  

    GRIP

     

    Student: Daniel Rosca Leal

    Project Title: SIP Social Media

    Project Description: An innovative digital course that walks content creators through the steps for converting their content to other social media platforms.

    Degree Major: Business Technology

    SIP URL: https://danleal.wixsite.com/sip1  

    SIP Social

     

    Student: Dawson Greeley

    Project Title: LinuxTKS

    Project Description: LinuxTKS is a simple to use toolkit that features elements such as file change and SSH connection detection.

    Degree Major: Network Security

    SIP URL: https://dawsongreeley.com/sip  

    LinuxTKS

     

    Student: Danny Ghazal

    Project Title: Log BOX

    Project Description: Log Box is an innovative login solution that utilizes the principles of steganography to make logging into applications safer and easier.

    Degree Major: Network Security

    SIP URL: www.dannyghazal.weebly.com  

    Log Box

     

    Student: Cordell Ruzewski

    Project Title: Ghost Drive

    Project Description: A secure flash drive that uses your phone for authentication.

    Degree Major: Network Security

    SIP URL: http://www.dellbox.info/sip.html  

    Ghost

     

    Student: Kyle Stecki

    Project Title: HomeVul Scan Bot

    Project Description: Discord bot for reporting cheaters in video games and network security education.

    Degree Major: Network Security

    SIP URL: https://www.kylestecki.com/sip.html  

    HomeVul

     

    Students: Gregory Pacheco and Andrew Sturgeon

    Project Title: Serve Save Protection

    Project Description: Serve Save Protection gives server rooms physical protection along with software like firewalls. This protection is going to be similar to bank or store protection where you push a button and metal walls are deployed on the windows and doors for physical protection. In this case, a Kevlar sheet will deploy and protect the server.

    Degree Major: Andrew Sturgeon - Network Security, Gregory Pacheco - Robotics & Embedded Systems

    SIP URL: gregorypachecosite.wordpress.com/sip/    

    SIP URL: https://andrewsturgeon99.wixsite.com/portfolio/sip  

    Serve Save

     

    Student: Amanda Grose

    Project Title: Animookites – The Booklight with a Brain

    Project Description: This project aims to create a different kind of booklight; specifically, booklights that are shaped like animals that can keep track of minutes read. The product will also feature a reading log app.

    Degree Major: Robotics and Embedded Systems, Game Programming, Game Art & Animation

    SIP URL: https://agrose071479.wixsite.com/website-1  

    Animookites2

     

    Student: Alejandro Salas

    Project Title: Tecam

    Project Description: Tecam is an Object Detection program responsible for recording, analyzing, predicting, and displaying estimated wait times of the commercial vehicle lanes in Tecate, Mexico port of entry.

    Degree Major: Advancing Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence

    SIP URL: https://salas10alex.wixsite.com/salasportfolio/sip-1  

    Tecam

     

    Student: Edwin Edwin

    Project Title: Interial

    Project Description: A smart stock analytics platform that utilizes Machine Learning technology to analyze real-time stock market data to help investors.

    Degree Major: Artificial Intelligence

    SIP URL: https://edwinkys.com/  

    Edwin

     

    Student: James Guillory

    Project Title: Spider Swarms

    Project Description: Spider Swarms focuses on making the spider robot move through edge scanning video feed from its camera.

    Degree Major: Advancing Computer Science

    SIP URL: https://jamesguillory23.wixsite.com/website/shedule-1  

    Spider

     

    Students: Brittney Tollison and Tyler Denton

    Project Title: Programme Facile

    Project Description: Programme Facile is poised to disrupt an antiquated ballet industry with a simply, user-friendly web interface that allows users to easily create a schedule and manipulate it based on their needs. An added feature is the replacement of a dancers who cancel allowing the Instructor to fill the position in real time.

    Degree Major: Advancing Computer Science

    SIP URL: https://britolli.wixsite.com/brittney-tollison  

    Programme Facile

     

    Student: Russell Pickney, Jr.

    Project Title: Tower Defense Tactics

    Project Description: Tower Defense Game

    Degree Major: Advancing Computer Science

    SIP URL: https://pickneymoo.wixsite.com/portfolio/sip

    Tower Defense Tactics

     

    And the winners are… 

    Best SIP Pitch 🏆

    Project Roft by Tyrease Teer

     

    Most Market Viable 🏆

    Custom 3D by Alina Iovita

     

    Viewers’ Choice 🏆

    Booklight with a Brain by Amanda Grose

     

    World Changer 🏆

    LogBox by Danny Ghazal

     

    Ingenuity Prize 🏆

    Helter Skelter by Jonathon Sherwood

     

    Best in Show 🏆

    Tecam by Alejandro Salas

     

    Congratulations to all students for your excellent work!

     


    Check out past SIP Showcases:

    Students Put Their Innovation on Exhibit at SIP Showcase

    SIP Showcase Demonstrates UAT Student Success

    Summer SIP Showcase: UAT Students Present Industry Innovations

     
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    Happy Earth Day 2021


    Every year on April 22, we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the environmental movement of the 1970s, also known as the Modern Environmental Movement—or the third wave of U.S. Environmentalism. Since its founding in 1970, Earth Day has grown to become a global event, which now incorporates over 190 countries worldwide. Nations rich and poor take time on this day to bring...

    Every year on April 22, we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the environmental movement of the 1970s, also known as the Modern Environmental Movement—or the third wave of U.S. Environmentalism. Since its founding in 1970, Earth Day has grown to become a global event, which now incorporates over 190 countries worldwide. Nations rich and poor take time on this day to bring attention to a variety of global issues currently facing our world.

    IMG_2278

    In conjunction with Earth Day and its intention to spread global awareness, University of Advancing Technology (UAT) has developed a series of three Environmental Science courses dedicated to the holistic study of the science behind sustainability and the challenges that lay before mankind in the coming decades. Each course, starting with Environmental Perspectives-350, takes students on a journey of understanding about how their everyday actions and behaviors impact our world.

    Students come to recognize the environmental consequences of their activities, and work together to provide possible policies and technological solutions to help reduce the university’s—and their own—environmental impact on the planet. Students finish the three-course sequence with Sustainability in Practice-345, working to develop and implement the environmental solutions from previous courses with a hands-on approach to the work needed to develop a more sustainable university and world.

    In remembrance of Earth Day this year, take a moment to break away from electronics and step outside to savor the environment for all that it truly is. Recognize that everything you have, from the clothing on your body, to the cellphone in your pocket all come from the planet on which you live. Give pause to how you think about that environment and how you treat it, because your decisions today will affect how our environment will look in the future.

    Find out more about Earth Day 2021.  #RestoreOurEarth 🌎

     


     

    Download the full catalog of UAT courses. To enroll, call and speak to an advisor at (800) 658-5744 or email admissions@uat.edu

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    Tempe University Provides New Community Scholarship for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale


    We’re excited to announce our new University of Advancing Technology (UAT) Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) Community Scholarship. Any high school junior or senior who has attended one of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale clubs is eligible (along with proof of high school graduation or GED, as well as acceptance by UAT)....

    We’re excited to announce our new University of Advancing Technology (UAT) Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) Community Scholarship. Any high school junior or senior who has attended one of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale clubs is eligible (along with proof of high school graduation or GED, as well as acceptance by UAT).

    The BGCS Scholarship award is a one-half tuition scholarship to be credited evenly over 8 consecutive semesters or 4 academic years, for a total amount of approximately $50,000. Scholarship recipient(s) must attend on campus, and those who meet award maintenance requirements will receive the scholarship for up to 8 academic semesters.

    Valerie Cimarossa, UAT’s Vice President of Marketing and Technology, feels that the partnership is a perfect fit for UAT’s tech-centric curriculum. “We are always looking for every opportunity to show young people that an education and a career in technology is a viable (and an awesome) choice.”

    Last November, BGCS opened the Ellie & Michael Ziegler STEAM Makerspace Studio inside the Virginia G. Piper clubhouse. At this Makerspace, Club members have access to specialized STEAM programming beyond the K-12 education system. “When BGCS first invited us to join their Makerspace Committee,” Cimarossa said, “we knew the natural next step was to provide an opportunity for these students to begin exploring a career in the technology BGCS had exposed them to.”

    That step is the new UAT scholarship.  

    We spoke to Dr. Donna Jagielski, Director of STEAM Makerspace Programs for BGCS, about how they are utilizing tech in their clubs and how students can participate.

    DrDonnaJagielskishowsMakerspaceEquipmentDr. Donna Jagielski

    What is the importance of STEAM education in your clubs?

    At Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale we are committed to inspiring youth and teens in STEAM-related fields to prepare them for Arizona careers of today and tomorrow.

    In our Clubs, STEAM is all about making a positive impact and being a changemaker through innovation. You have to be willing to rock the boat sometimes if you want to make a difference. Change is not always comfortable, but it is a necessary ingredient to move forward.

    Our STEAM and Makerspace programming provides the development of that mindset through our organized programming, meeting youth/teens where they are and providing them with and teaching them to use cutting-edge technologies as their tools to make it happen.

    What does the STEAM and Makerspace Program entail?

    Our STEAM and Makerspace programming introduces youth and teens to a balance of organized programming and opportunities for open/free exploration of their individual interests and the freedom to seek answers to their own questions using cutting-edge tools.

    Our Club members are encouraged to take risks in voicing ideas and “failing forward,” cultivating self-efficacy and thus empowering our youth and teens with the knowledge that they CAN be changemakers.

    It was important to me when designing our programming that the environment was one that is safe and supportive for our members to explore their interests with our guidance, yet without the influence of our own ideas.

    1- Makerspace Wideshot XBY_5145The Ellie & Michael Ziegler STEAM Makerspace Studio

    How can students participate in the STEAM Makerspace Studio?

    All of our Club members (K-12th grade) have access to our Studios and STEAM Makerspace programming, allowing them to participate in organized programming and to develop their own projects as they pursue their own interests.

    This past February, teens from our Virginia G. Piper Branch participated in the University of Arizona Connect2STEM and SciTech Festival with their own livestream event from our Makerspace Studio. These teens highlighted innovation with drones to design, test and complete a successful delivery mechanism.

    We are planning for a variety of engaging opportunities for our members to be challenged and inspired.

    How do you encourage students to pursue STEAM professions?

    Our programming facilitates the development of a “maker mindset” and global thinking to help our members become agile and nimble with the understanding that most likely the job they will find themselves in has not yet been created. We encourage respect and collaboration, and at the same time help members develop a hard shell for criticism. Additionally, we focus on:

    • Developing and striking a balance between both right and left sides of the brain
    • STEM/STEAM mirrors real life and we help members identify that it is interwoven in everyday life and activities

    How has UAT’s contributions to the development of your maker spaces been helpful?

    From the inception of our STEAM Makerspace project, UAT has been by our side every step of the way, providing guidance and access to resources to ensure that we are indeed providing our members with world-class STEAM opportunities. UAT has also provided us with desktop computers that we use as part of our VR area.

    And now, we are blown away with this new opportunity for our members to receive scholarships for tuition to UAT.

    What does a UAT scholarship mean for your students?

    Through this partnership, our Club members will be able to continue following their passions for STEAM learning as they continue on into post-secondary learning. UAT’s innovative degree programs will provide our members with cutting edge learning to prepare them to be our next STEM industry leaders.

    Boys&GirlsClub-Makerspace-139

    To find a BGCS location near you, visit www.bgcs.org. And to explore UAT degree options, visit https://www.uat.edu/.


    Check out the UAT Foundation for more information about UAT scholarship opportunities! https://uatedufoundation.org 

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    Experience a True Player vs. Environment Game


    Looters of the Arcane is a post-modern survival horror game where players travel to past eras to find mysterious objects. With the use of a Time Sphere, players can collect these objects for the antiquities company they currently work for in the distant future. The purpose of the game is to find the arcane objects and sell them to the highest bidder. Because the lost...

    Looters of the Arcane is a post-modern survival horror game where players travel to past eras to find mysterious objects. With the use of a Time Sphere, players can collect these objects for the antiquities company they currently work for in the distant future.


    The purpose of the game is to find the arcane objects and sell them to the highest bidder. Because the lost objects are things that shaped the current world, the game has a surreal effect.

     

    Creator Regis Jerry says this game is an “environment with a personality.” Also known as True PVE, this sets the game apart from other PVE games and gives it an innovative factor. The game’s AI gives the player a completely immersive experience through environmental challenges thrown at the player.

     

    As a player levels up, the environment becomes more difficult to beat. This sense of differing personalities gives the player the ability to use the environment or let it hinder them. Visit places like Ancient Egypt, The Asylum, Ancient Greece and Feudal Japan.

     

    Players can use guns and crosses found within the different environments to fight off elements of the environment that is trying to kill them.

     

    You can play Looters of the Arcane on Steam for free.

     

    Are you interested in the gaming industry? UAT offers degrees in Game Design, Game Programming and Game Art and Animation.

     

    UAT-blog-Looters

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    Hey… Suite Games!


    University of Advancing Technology (UAT) is known for innovation—students take that to heart and are even inspired to rearrange their dorm rooms because of it. Ross Hall, Kevin Albregard, Darren Palermo and Andrew Weisenberger are a group of suitemates who decided to convert their connected bedroom...

    University of Advancing Technology (UAT) is known for innovation—students take that to heart and are even inspired to rearrange their dorm rooms because of it. Ross Hall, Kevin Albregard, Darren Palermo and Andrew Weisenberger are a group of suitemates who decided to convert their connected bedroom suite into a sleeping room and a game room.

     

    They moved all four desks into one room and the beds into the other room to create a paramount lounge and gaming space. The game room is filled with gaming systems and computers, making it the ultimate gaming man cave. They’ve set up an unmatched gaming experience that everyone on their floor wants to be a part of.

     

    Interested in a future with gaming? UAT offers degrees in Game Programming, Game Design and Game Art and Animation.

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    Importance of Emotional Intelligence


    In both your professional and personal life you will need to develop your emotional intelligence IQ which is usually referred to as your (EQ).   Communication is key to success in any relationship so it is very important to hone this skill of understanding the emotional state around the person that you are interacting with. An example of this is seeing someone...

    In both your professional and personal life you will need to develop your emotional intelligence IQ which is usually referred to as your (EQ).

     

    Communication is key to success in any relationship so it is very important to hone this skill of understanding the emotional state around the person that you are interacting with. An example of this is seeing someone that you want to communicate with is sad, you will naturally change your approach in how you open your conversation with them because you can visibly see they’re sad. The same would go for any other emotional state as you want to have the most pleasant experience when interacting with another person. This is the most basic way of looking at this skill set but this understanding can go much deeper along with being useful.

     

    The understanding of emotions and the best way to manage them is a great way to ensure that you will always have a constructive interaction with anyone you meet. Keep in mind you need to be aware of your own emotions and manage them as well. Knowing your own personal tendencies with emotions will allow you to manage them to be a more effective communicator.

    Having these skills allows you to effectively understand the best way to approach and communicate with another individual in any situation. This can be a very important tool if you are ever in leadership or managing people as you need to have a grasp on the best way to approach your employees. It can also be very good at diffusing tension between individuals or uplifting people that may be down.

     

    Overall, emotional intelligence is an understanding of how people feel and work, which allows you to be a more effective communicator, motivator or leader.

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    Principles for Research


    Information: Is It Reliable? Information is not difficult to find. Search engines utilize web databases, reviewers’ blogs and RSS feeds. Practicing research techniques that help you become adept at locating the information you need is easy. But how do you know if the information is accurate or relevant?   So, we need an understanding...

    Information: Is It Reliable?

    Information is not difficult to find. Search engines utilize web databases, reviewers’ blogs and RSS feeds. Practicing research techniques that help you become adept at locating the information you need is easy. But how do you know if the information is accurate or relevant?

     

    So, we need an understanding of the diversity of information sources, which are largely developed through varied beliefs and influenced by social interactions.

    To simplify, the information sources must be evidence-based science, innovative technological facts, non-biased ethical standards, and stem from global mindfulness. Below is a list of 5 ways to determine if the information you are gathering is reliable and timely.

     

    1. Examine Sources

    • Issue: Where are people getting their information?
    • Solution: Use only credible sources

    2. Reliable Tech Innovation

    • Issue: Are splash page reporting on emerging technologies really in the marketplace?
    • Solution: Investigate if the technological innovations are actual or theoretical.

    3. Evidence-based Science

    • Issue: Are the scientific discoveries evidenced or advertising gimmicks?
    • Solution: Investigate if the scientists have published their research findings in credible publications.  Anyone can make a claim.

    4. Original Ideas and Experience

    • Issue: Accountability in using other’s ideas for your projects.
    • Solution: Build upon original works and give credit to the originator and go out in the real world and experience your ideas first hand.

    5. Invention

    • Issue: Invention is an engineering solution and must be novel and reliable.
    • Solution: Invention is a term that is both practical and conceptual. An inventor can be the originator and/or an innovator. Innovators build off what is already in the marketplace. Inventive leaders think about and adopt reliable and lasting solutions, until a new solution comes about.

     

     

     

     

    The above five bullet points are tenets I apply in my own research and teaching.  In fact, information gathering and assimilating has become a bit of “telephone tag.” To resolve this, be proactive in obtaining information from reliable sources and pass them on with credit to the originators.

     

    Here are a few facts that might cause all of us to pause: “According to the poll, conducted by Don Bates of The George Washington University:

    • “89 percent of reporters and editors turn to blogs for story research”
    • “65 percent look to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn”
    • “52 percent use microblogging sites like Twitter”
    • “61 percent use Wikipedia.” (Adler, n.d.).

     

    Is Bates’ information reliable? To find out, I would need to go directly to GWU and look for scholarly articles written or published by Bates. I did and it was. But this is only the first step because the second step would be to find other statistics on the same topic from other sources to compare.

     

    In the end, the onus is on us to do our own due diligence and get the facts straight! Difficult? Not too much. It can be a fun challenge.

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    Gamers Galore


    University of Advancing Technology (UAT) students love unwinding with video games after a long day of classes and studying. Students thrive when they have a healthy school-life balance and playing cult classic video games is one way they relax while out of class.   Find your friends...

    University of Advancing Technology (UAT) students love unwinding with video games after a long day of classes and studying. Students thrive when they have a healthy school-life balance and playing cult classic video games is one way they relax while out of class.

     

    Find your friends at UAT and chill out while playing the hottest, or longest running, video games. UAT is chock full of gamers, on and offline, physical and digital, with favorites like League of Legends, Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls.

     

    Check out our Game Studies degrees!

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    H@xc0rd


    H@xc0rd is a simple yet powerful Discord bot for the utilization of common tools frequently used in network security, without the need to understand Linux. “With only one command to start it, there’s no reason not to love it,” says H@xc0rd mastermind Bradley Chavis (Advancing Computer Science, ...

    H@xc0rd is a simple yet powerful Discord bot for the utilization of common tools frequently used in network security, without the need to understand Linux.

    “With only one command to start it, there’s no reason not to love it,” says H@xc0rd mastermind Bradley Chavis (Advancing Computer Science, Network Security). “No more struggling to set up a Linux machine, or trying to find all the tools compatible with Windows. It’s just one command and you’re done.”

    H@xc0rd tools range from exploit to recon, including Hashcat, Hydra, Nmap, Shodan and many more. Each tool has its own custom-built help section to guide the user through understanding what the tool is, how to use it and how to use the results gained from it.

    H@xc0rd was built off the node.js run time library, leveraging many libraries along the way, such as Discord.js and axios. The different commands are based on modules, enabling them to be loaded dynamically. This offers another benefit — the ability to limit users to certain tools and commands. Since many tools within this project can be intrusive to the local network that it’s hosted off of, the bot owner can adjust who has access to what tool at any time, significantly limiting the chance for it to be abused.

    H@xc0rd is even simpler to use on the server this bot is hosted on — only a Discord account and a basic knowledge of the platform is needed. To use the bot, simply tighten the specified prefix that can be found packaged sub.js on file and the command you want to run. Such as a “!ping” command, which gives you latency to the bot.

    Crack a password hash with java ripper and show off the results to everyone on the server. You no longer need to export the results of the tool to a file and send that file to others, time and time again. Better yet, want to find information on how many times a certain password has been compromised, like password? Use the “!haveibeenpwed,” which utilizes the haveibeenpwed guy to query and display the results.

    Want to find out information about a machine accessible to the public internet through “!shodan,” and don’t know where to start? Start with H@xc0rd. Just add the help argument after any command for a comprehensive description of the tool, arguments that can be used with the command and external resources to learn more about that specific tool.

    Now you may ask, how do I know all the commands in the first place? Well, the command “!commands” of course, which lists out all the available commands. Currently, there are approximately 15 types of tools implemented into this project.

    As time goes on, new tools come along and current ones slowly fall out of date by not getting updated. To accommodate this, Bradley and project partner David Austad (Network Security) will consistently update the tools within the project, removing and replacing them with new ones that provide similar results.

    If there is a tool that hasn’t been implemented yet, but you really want to use it, you have the freedom to add it yourself. H@xc0rd was built so that a new tool can be implemented in a matter of minutes!

    During the building of this project, Bradley and David ran into a big issue — at first, the only way to run H@xc0rd was on Linux. Since this didn’t comply with the final goal of utilization by everyone, they searched for a solution and found Docker, a virtualization platform that allows operating systems’ environments, like Linux, to run on systems that generally wouldn’t support that, such as Windows or Mac OS. Docker’s implementation into this project allowed H@xc0rd to be hosted on nearly every operating system and can easily be tuned if one doesn’t work perfectly through the provided install script.

    Another goal of the project was to make it as simple as possible for the user to set it up through install scripts. The entire install process was automated through bash scripts to run natively on most Linux systems.

    Saving the best part for last, it’s free and open source. Bradley states, “You will never be limited with what you can do with this project, only by your imagination.” As time goes on, Bradley hopes others will contribute to it as well. Currently, H@xc0rd is only available via GitHub with plans in the works to host it through Docker as well.

     

    Take your ideas and make them happen with UAT’s Advancing Computer Science degree.

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    Smart House Security Solutions


    Inspired by the lack of Internet of Things (IoT) security in homes and small business environments, Andrew Maddox (Network Security) created Smart House Security Solutions, a budget solution to network segmentation for home use of IoT networks. The project provides underutilized methods and tools for securing everyday IoT environments...

    Inspired by the lack of Internet of Things (IoT) security in homes and small business environments, Andrew Maddox (Network Security) created Smart House Security Solutions, a budget solution to network segmentation for home use of IoT networks. The project provides underutilized methods and tools for securing everyday IoT environments through a less expensive means of network segmentation, which is vital for the future and creates a demilitarized zone for the IoT devices.

    To create the project demo, Andrew and fellow peers took advantage of the equipment in the lab and quickly got their hands dirty making IoT devices.

    UAT’s segmented network was used as an example for this project. UAT’s primary segmented network leads to the primary front facing router with the switch delegating internet access based on IP range from the primary front facing router to personal computers or any computer that might be connected to the network. The IoT network has a wireless access point that facilitates all IoT communication between the devices and server.

    The primary (public) router cannot ping the IoT network or device. As far as the front-facing router is concerned, the information was already passed to the IoT network router which distributes the information to the IoT devices for a more downstream flow. Without direct communication between the primary router and the IoT device/network, the IoT network becomes a demilitarized zone and handles the primary server communicating with the IoT devices and io network.

    Andrew pursued the IoT project because of the experience he would gain and the opportunity it presented. The project involved systems administrative experience, network engineering, team management, problem solving and more. Throughout this project, Andrew learned a great deal about network segmentation as a component of the layers of network security, which is becoming more relevant as IoT becomes more pervasive.

    Andrew is currently a Network Security major in his eighth semester at UAT, a previous CCDC team member and student ambassador and now a full-time employee at Norton LifeLock as a site reliability engineer.

     

    Take security into your hands with a Network Security degree from UAT.

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    IoT.io


    IoT.io is an Internet of Things (IoT) device communication framework created by Dylan Crockett (Advancing Computer Science, Artificial...

    IoT.io is an Internet of Things (IoT) device communication framework created by Dylan Crockett (Advancing Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence). IoT.io is designed to make IoT solutions and systems development easier, and is the first of its kind IoT-focused ecosystem of management libraries. IoT.io is easy to implement without previous knowledge and enables developers to focus more on their devices and user experience, rather than on the minute communication details. IoT.io even allows hobbyist developers to get into IoT development without proficiency in networked device communications.

    IoT.io is open source under the MIT license allowing it to be used for commercial or open source projects and is available to anyone!

     

    How Does it Work?

    IoT.io uses new technologies, such as WebSocket, to make connecting and communicating with IoT devices easier. Using WebSocket, IoT.io is able to provide two-way communication between the IoT device and the IoT manager, which is the server endpoint for the device. This allows for real-time two-way communication, which is a huge benefit as many other IoT frameworks don’t offer this functionality.

    Through WebSocket, IoT.io increases the available range of hosting locations while also making it easier to host user interfaces and IoT devices’ backend on the same platform, with very little overhead for the actual implementation.

    When the device connects, the manager will initiate a WebSocket connection to allow the client to pass information. WebSocket then uses a two-way communication protocol between the device and the server, enabling the user to receive information from the device after that point. IoT.io is intuitive and an easy-to-use event-style messaging system for sending and notifying the client and server to handle and react to specific actions as they happen.

    This same connection enables the server to collect information on clients when they first connect, such as a unique ID, device type and other information that the developer can choose to provide.

    IoT.io includes useful features such as its automatic connection and disconnection detection. This means that if a device connects or disconnects, the server is able to enact a process, such as notify the user that their device has disconnected. The system also supports multiple device types. For example, users can have a light, lock and smart speaker on the same app, and through IoT.io; communication works among the devices without conflict.

    IoT.io offers a way for the servers to take action in real time, allowing for an instant response wherever the data is processed. While the library doesn’t provide functionality of the actual IoT device, it provides all the communication, allowing users to define what type of data gets passed, create events for something to happen and trigger events.

    With IoT.io, designing IoT systems has never been easier!

     

    Looking to innovate how technology communicates with other technology? Check out UAT’s software engineering degrees.

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    Project Transition


    Josue Espinoza Beltran (Game Programming) is an avid horror game player fascinated by the hair-raising environmental change effects that many horror games have. This has always mesmerized Josue for its ability to spin a game’s story and make the player question reality. One day while playing, Josue got to thinking...

    Josue Espinoza Beltran (Game Programming) is an avid horror game player fascinated by the hair-raising environmental change effects that many horror games have. This has always mesmerized Josue for its ability to spin a game’s story and make the player question reality.

    One day while playing, Josue got to thinking about the possibility of changing a whole character model as players approached non-player characters (NPC). Specifically, Josue wanted to bring a mind-bending aspect to monsters — players can see monsters in the distance, but as they approach one, the NPC morphs into a human form.

    Once he got the concept down, Josue started experimenting within Unity, which led him to use the Level of Detail (LOD) technique to accomplish the character model change.

    LOD is used with several game objects. Sometimes it’s used for the scene, like when trees, mountains and other non-moveable objects transition into the player’s field of view. It can also be used to update character models into better looking versions with more detail, as the camera focuses on the character.

    The LOD technique allows the number of triangles rendered for a game object to be reduced, based on its distance from the camera. To use it, a game object must have a number of meshes with decreasing levels of detail in its geometry. These meshes are called LOD levels. The farther a game object is from the camera, the lower-detail LOD level is rendered. Game objects appear and disappear as the camera comes closer or moves away from the game object.

    Josue made use of Unity’s LOD system not only for the traditional use of updating the triangles, but also to transition the 3D characters to different models as the LOD levels change.

    For game programmers, polygons and the high level of detail required for character models are not easy to create, understand and change. Speaking from experience, the LOD system makes it easier and more efficient for game programmers to facilitate changing character models in video games. Last summer Josue proved it — he tried the same transition with programming before innovating the use of the LOD system. The results? He’s been more comfortable using the built-in LOD system — with three character model changes, the LOD system was time efficient and easier to maneuver.

    In the future, Josue would like to work to deliver more polished transitions between character models, implement his prototype into a game and make Project Transition available for interactable objects in addition to character models.

     

    Ready to take the game industry by storm? Check out UAT’s Game Programming degree.

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    Creators of the Dark


    For years, Michael Nicholson (Game Design, Game Art & Animation) has had the goal to better connect games with the streaming industry, and through his Student Innovation Project (SIP), he saw the opportunity to...

    For years, Michael Nicholson (Game Design, Game Art & Animation) has had the goal to better connect games with the streaming industry, and through his Student Innovation Project (SIP), he saw the opportunity to create that bridge.

    Creators of the Dark is a co-op horror game built for interactive streaming through live interactive features. Users on streaming platforms, such as Twitch or Mixer, can connect their game, allowing viewers to participate and play alongside the streamer. Each viewer has a role and ability based on their status and ranking within the streamer's chat.

     

    Where it All Started

    Creators of the Dark started as a project geared towards helping partnered Mixer streamers earn more through Mixer’s monetizable currency, Ember. Each Ember is worth approximately a penny and partners keep roughly 10%, leaving little to be earned from Ember patronage. To earn a greater percentage, streamers need to reach certain milestones each week and increase viewer engagement, which requires viewers to watch for long periods of time. This also created competition amongst partner streamers for viewers.

    Throwing a wrench in Michael’s project, Mixer shut down abruptly on June 22, 2020, forcing him to switch everything to Twitch, a different streaming platform. Mixer’s functionality had everything built in as a party plugin, used within Unreal, but Twitch doesn’t have the same functionality. Even though Twitch was more complicated to work with, Michael wasn’t fazed. He quickly jumped into learning about databases and plugins, integrating casting with blueprint actors, rewriting code from scratch, and redesigning aspects of the game.

    There are only a few interactive games that support Twitch interactivity currently, but sadly, most of these games rely primarily on viewers voting and inspecting the results. Michael knew that he wanted viewers to participate rather than just spectating from the start. This is where the original design for Creators of the Dark came from.

    Based on legends from around the world, Creators of the Dark is designed to be an interactive, four-player horror game where users try to escape a monster. Once streamers connect the game to their Twitch account, an array of options are unlocked for the viewers, allowing them to play alongside the streamer.

     

    How Does the Game Work?

    In each session, users are given a primary goal and two optional objectives to complete by using the stream chat to activate commands at the start of the game. These commands include abilities, AI prompts for each user, and participation in rituals, such as banishing the monster. The primary goal is modified depending on the status of the match. Once an objective is completed, active participants will be notified of what their next objectives are.

    The viewer also has a set amount of spare energy that depletes with each activated command and also has the ability to use bits, a paid digital currency on Twitch, to multiply the effects of abilities or temporarily boost player stats. Alternatively, viewers can sacrifice their spare energy to activate these effects. One user’s action, or lack thereof, does not prevent another user’s action.

    This supports the streamer by keeping their chat engaged and active, giving viewers a meaningful role as they launch and control their commands. This also encourages collaboration and individual effort among viewers.

     

    How is the Game Different?

    By allowing viewers to control the game’s AI remotely, they are no longer influencing the game's world or voting on what happens next, a common issue with interactive games on Twitch. Along with the streamer, viewers are directly engaging and completing gameplay objectives as if they were in the game.

    There is a lot more to come from this project! Michael’s goal is to release Creators of the Dark to the public in the near future.

     

    Take your passion project to the next level with a degree from UAT in Game Design!

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    In Art


    Alessandra Caballero Sosa (Game Art & Animation) has always loved art and learning about art history. She has been fortunate to attend lectures on this topic, but that’s not the case for everyone. To create a more immersive learning...

    Alessandra Caballero Sosa (Game Art & Animation) has always loved art and learning about art history. She has been fortunate to attend lectures on this topic, but that’s not the case for everyone. To create a more immersive learning experience for art and accommodate different learning styles, Alessandra created In Art.

    In Art is a 3D environment created from famous paintings that enables the user to move around the 3D model painting and gather knowledge related to the artwork. To bring this vision to fruition, Alessandra recreated everything from the layouts, lighting and mood to matching the art style by imitating the technique through texturing.

    Inspired by “the particular ambiance” in Vincent van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night (1888), Alessandra chose Impressionism for the prototype.

    First, Alessandra had to conceptualize a 3D environment out of the 2D painting and used Google Maps to view the actual location to get a better idea of the physical layout. After drawing a couple of sketches, she used Maya to start creating assets and arranging the scene. She also decided to texture the objects with a base material she created to simulate brush strokes.

    One of the trickiest aspects was getting the textures right. Impressionism has thick, heavy brushstrokes that appear as if done quickly. Using Substance Painter, Alessandra tried to recreate this in her material creation and integrated it into the 3D environment following the layout she previously created. She also limited the environment by using blocking volumes and a plane with texture that matched the original painting. Material creation alone didn’t emphasize the painted effect accurately enough, so Alessandra found a tutorial on post-processing effects, which gave the environment an enhanced brushstroke look that better mimicked the original painting.

    Next, Alessandra developed the educational aspect of the project. She chose to create text pop-ups that would appear as the user moves around the scene, showing information and interesting facts about the artist and the painting. For this, she created a blueprint to make the pop-ups. At first, text appeared in the game, but post-processing made it hard to read, so she moved the text to the user interface.

    Finally, Alessandra created a menu to navigate start, options, and quit to have a more complete prototype. Here, the user can choose different artists and paintings to view. She also created a start sequence to cinematically showcase the scene before the user enters around the painting.

    Alessandra learned many new skills during the course of this project, including blueprints, user interface, menu functionality, and object interaction. The future ahead for this project and Alessandra is bright! This project can be used in K-12 schools, post-secondary education, and wherever art history is taught, such as museums.

     

    Do you dream of creating the next best game? Check out UAT’s Game Art and Animation degree.

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    Easy Rearranging


    Last semester, Audra Jackson (Advertising Art) was helping her boyfriend and his roommates rearrange their furniture through the use of digital graphing. This sparked an idea — what if there was a service that allowed people to see their room rearranged without actually moving their furniture? Thus, Easy Rearranging was born....

    Last semester, Audra Jackson (Advertising Art) was helping her boyfriend and his roommates rearrange their furniture through the use of digital graphing. This sparked an idea — what if there was a service that allowed people to see their room rearranged without actually moving their furniture? Thus, Easy Rearranging was born.

    Easy Rearranging is an interior design company and app that provides digital layouts of arrangement possibilities for any space, enabling users with a way to rearrange their furniture in less time. The app is designed to allow users to send in the measurements of their room(s) and furniture and Easy Rearranging will create the layout and arrangement possibilities for just a small cost.

    Easy Rearranging is dedicated to providing the best options to fit users’ needs, and can create layouts that may include getting new furniture or getting rid of an old piece, and can also provide layouts that bring everything closer or even create a more inviting space for large family gatherings.

    How it Works

    When opening the Easy Rearranging app for the first time, users sign in to their account through Facebook, Google or with an email and password. Once logged in, the homepage provides an example of furniture rearrangement after a remodel. The ‘pricing’ page details the cost of layouts provided based on the number of furniture items being moved. The ‘about’ page provides a description of what Easy Rearranging is and the services provided with contact information included at the bottom of the page.

    The ‘measurements’ and ‘info’ pages enable users to fill out their personal information, measurements of furniture and reason for rearranging, as well as the option to attach images. Once a user submits this, a form is sent to the team email and the user receives an automatic inquiry email letting them know their request was received.

    After the request is reviewed, the user will receive an estimate for the cost of digital layouts. Once the payment is received, the user receives a confirmation email with a timeframe for completion and delivery of the layouts. Finally, the user receives an email with the digital layouts attached. Users are encouraged to respond to the email if they have any questions or concerns.

     

    Discover your opportunities to create with UAT’s Advertising Art degree.

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    Reach My Rainbow Learning About Color


    Earlier this year, Aubrey Dahl (Advertising Art) was hired to host a painting-themed party for a group of eight-year-old girls. She prepared canvases with art for the girls to paint. While the girls were painting, Aubrey asked them questions about the colors they were using and mixing. Unsurprisingly, there were some aspects to color and...

    Earlier this year, Aubrey Dahl (Advertising Art) was hired to host a painting-themed party for a group of eight-year-old girls. She prepared canvases with art for the girls to paint. While the girls were painting, Aubrey asked them questions about the colors they were using and mixing. Unsurprisingly, there were some aspects to color and color traits they weren’t familiar with but once Aubrey explained basic color theory concepts, they were able to comprehend.

    This made Aubrey question why they weren’t familiar with this material in the first place and why it isn’t taught to more of an extent, as children are receptive to art, especially color. Being a visual medium, using gamification to learn about color and color theory can be enriching at a young age, especially when many children lose their love for art early on.

    While digging deeper, Aubrey discovered many educational games for math, science, reading, foreign languages … but nothing extensive in the area of art and color. That’s why Aubrey created Reach My Rainbow Learning About Color.

    Reach My Rainbow is an educational color and color theory game geared toward children and intended to be used in elementary art classes. The game includes 10 levels that teach different aspects of art, structured with a lesson, activity and reward.

     

    Reach My Rainbow Levels

    Level 1: Primary Colors

    Level 2: Secondary Colors and Mixing Colors

    Level 3: Tertiary Colors

    Level 4: Value and Monochromatic Color Scheme

    Level 5: Analogous Color Scheme

    Level 6: Complementary Color Scheme

    Level 7: Neutral Tones and Brown

    Level 8: Warm and Cool Colors

    Level 9: Create a Color Palette

    Level 10: Put it All Together

     

    The lessons teach concepts, and the activities allow children to test the concepts they just learned. Each level ends with a reward coloring page, where children use what they’ve just learned to color their own picture. The game has visual, auditory, and kinesthetic aspects to enhance learning and stimulate the senses.

    The art design and visuals in the game are meant to be simple yet cute, appealing to children.

    Aubrey is excited to get Reach My Rainbow into classrooms by licensing it to elementary schools, stating, “it can help save money and still be fun because they can say, ‘we’re going to art class now, go to the computers.’” In future iterations, Aubrey is interested in making lessons to be more in-depth, and possibly expand to include middle and high school versions.

     

    Discover your inner artist with one of UAT’s digital arts degrees.

     

    Team:

    Aubrey Dahl

    Advertising Art

     

    Contributions by:

    Amanda Grose, Robotics & Embedded Systems

    John Leddon, Advertising Art

    Alexis Serpas, Network Security

    Jaime Zamora, Virtual Reality

    Chirstopher Parness, Digital Video

    Jonathon Sherwood, Game Design

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