Spotlight on Intel® University Games Showcase at GDC

At GDC 2014 this past March, Intel debuted the inaugural “Intel® University Games Showcase”, an event focusing on outstanding student game projects from universities all over the United States. 12 student project teams from nine different universities were on deck to demo their games in just nine short minutes, with the goal of winning the award for either “Best Gameplay” or “Best Visual Quality”. 

Teams representing USC, Drexel, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Utah, UC-Santa Cruz, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the DigiPen Institute, and UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) demonstrated their projects in front of a panel of industry thought leaders, including Chris Skaggs of Code-Monkeys (seen in a video below). More from the SMU Forum blog:

“Prizes will be awarded based on innovation in gameplay, game performance, immersiveness, art style, entertainment value, and quality in rendering, character design and user interface. In addition, Intel® will conduct live polling of the audience and display the results in real time as input to the judging panel.

The programs represented by the winning projects will each receive a $10,000 hardware grant from Intel®.” – SMU Guildhall graduate students compete at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco

SMU Guildhall swept both awards with their entry titled “Kraven Manor”, winning $20,000 in hardware grants from Intel.  In the following video, visual artists Dustin Davis and Whitney Alberter from the Intel® University Games Showcase Best Visual Quality winning game Kraven Manor talk about the game and what their next steps are at the Guildhall at SMU. Watch below:

In this video, game designer Ben Roye talks about the concept behind Kraven Manor; basically, it’s a first person shooter survival horror experience with elements of puzzles and “build your own adventure”. Kraven Manor is on Steam Green Light and he hopes to make this game available to a broader audience very soon. Watch:

SMU Guildhall Director Gary Brubaker speaks in this next video about the program at Southern Methodist University, which is a two year master’s degree program in video game development. There were two student teams from SMU that entered into this year’s competition, both with capstone projects:

Competition at this event was fierce, as stated in the following video from developer Chris Skaggs of Soma Games, who are known for their orbital shooter adventure “Stargate Gunship”. They’ve tweaked the UI of this game completely around the RealSense camera, making it completely controller-free. Soma Games also just started production on a game based on the incredibly popular Redwall books, and they are excited about taking RealSense – especially facial tracking – and applying it to this new adventure.

Chris was “blown away” by the entries in the Intel University Games Showcase, and noted that the creativity was “staggering”. Here are his thoughts on the entries:

You can see all the Intel University Games Showcase projects here, as well as get detailed information about each one.