Viz students’ entries sweep video game design contest at K-State

Viz students also earned awards at the 2016 KSU contest.

“Polynesian Panic,” a video game that pits a player against rising South Pacific floodwaters, earned its developers, four undergraduate Texas A&M [visualization] ( students, first place in a game development contest at Kansas State University.

The students triumphed over the competition at a Feb. 10-12, 2017 game jam in Manhattan, Kan. hosted by KSU’s Game Development Club, in which contestants had 48 hours to create a game after learning the contest theme — inundation.

“We spent the first two hours of the contest brainstorming, and took awhile after that to settle on our final idea, while other teams started to develop their game in the first hour,” said Michael Bruner, a member of the winning team. “Our team had a lot of different ideas to sort through.”

A player’s success in the game depends on rescuing people stranded by floodwaters on a Polynesian island. More rescues increase a player’s ability to overcome flood-related obstacles.

After team members settled on a concept, Bruner and team member Matt Rago worked on the game’s programming while team members Lisa English and Ben Quigley created the game’ rain, splash effects and overall look.

“Getting the water to move in a believable way and creating the art and character animations were particularly challenging,” said Bruner.

The team’s members all hail from the Department of Visualization’s LIVE Lab , where students and faculty collaborate to create interactive educational software.

The contest’s second place award went to “Tubular,” created by undergrad Viz student Daniel Valdez with Eric Buxkemper and Bradley Kern, computer science majors, and Austin Ruff, a computer engineering major.

It’s the second strong showing in two years for viz students at the KSU contest. In 2016, they were part of game development teams that captured first-place honors in four contest categories.

posted March 30, 2017