GAME LAUNCH: Slide, slide, slippity, slide with Line Slider – 3/30/19

Slide, slide, slippity, slide with Line Slider

Line Slider screenshotLine Slider, a free, fun and exciting side-scroller, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Paint and slide your way around as Bip, a mischievous vandal intent on mayhem! Paint and draw your way through foreign lands where the villagers can’t stand you and the bigger the mess you can make, the better! Cruise through rolling green hillsides and quaint villages, but be sure to escape the grasp of the angry villagers! Forget about being a hero, bad guys have all the fun! How many villages can you leave you vandalize before you get caught?

The mobile game was created during the 2018 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP) by students Dain Woods from Brown, Victoria Yong and Tristan Lacroix from Becker, Alice Li from Wellesley, Nick Carbonara from NYU, Zena Abulhab from Colby and Maxime Gautier from Berklee College of Music.

Working over the summer, the team produced a beta/near-release version of the game – watch the trailer here. From there, we brought the game into our LiveStudio program at Becker during the fall ’18 and spring ’19 semesters. Through LiveStudio, more students across a range of disciplines, including business students, had roles in polishing the game and getting it ready to launch. For a roster of all the contributors to the game, check out the credit roll. You can download Line Slider today for iOS and Android.

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GAME LAUNCH: Double, double, toil & trouble! Spell Strike hits the stores – 3/26/19

Double, double, toil & trouble! Spell Strike hits the stores

Spell Strike iconSpell Strike, a free, fun, arcade-style game, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Play as a magical witch who must defend her town from destruction at the hands of evil monsters! Hone your skills and tap your way to victory! Cast your spells against the demons and monsters crawling their way out of the underworld through dangerous portals! Do you have what it takes to be the guardian of your town?

The mobile game was created during the 2018 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP) by students Leo Bunyea from WPI, Xijie Guo from Mt. Holyoke, Chloe Tibets from Becker, Aaron Kang from Swarthmore, Tolga Sen from UMass Boston, Melody Cheng from RISD and Maxime Gautier from Berklee College of Music.

Working over the summer, the team produced a beta/near-release version of the game – watch the trailer here. From there, we brought the game into our LiveStudio program at Becker during the fall ’18 and spring ’19 semesters. Through LiveStudio, more students across a range of disciplines, including business students, had roles in polishing the game and getting it ready to launch. For a roster of all the contributors to the game, check out the credit roll. You can download Spell Strike today for iOS and Android.

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GAME LAUNCH: CyberDrive 2077 blasts off – 3/26/19

CyberDrive 2077 blasts off

CyberDrive imageCyberDrive 2077, an intense fast-paced, action-packed arcade-style endless runner, is available for download now for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Race your car through a neon digital landscape at breakneck speeds and drive through endless and challenging obstacles that block your path. The system is trying to stop you, but can’t hold you forever. Break the firewall, infiltrate the system, enter the mainframe. You’re the last hope of society. Can you survive?

The mobile game was created during the 2018 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP) by students Trisha Surve from CMU, Eva Khoury from Pratt, Bert Calderon from Becker, Reuben Heatley Mulhall from LYIT (Ireland), Andrew Rogers from Becker, Tori Rossini from RIT and Maxime Gautier from Berklee College of Music.

Working over the summer, the team produced a beta/near-release version of the game – watch the trailer here. From there, we brought the game into our LiveStudio program at Becker during the fall ’18 and spring ’19 semesters. Through LiveStudio, more students across a range of disciplines, including business students, had roles in polishing the game and getting it ready to launch. For a roster of all the contributors to the game, check out the credit roll. You can download CyberDrive2077 today for iOS and Android.

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Sliptime Sleuth takes grand prize in eighth annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest – 2/25/19

Worcester, MA – February 25, 2019 – Sliptime Sleuth by Sunburst Studio won the Grand Prize in the eighth annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest this weekend.

Sunburst Studio teamSliptime Sleuth, an isometric, neo-noir puzzle game where the player, a time-traveling detective, slides through time in order to uncover clues and solve a crime, was created by Sunburst Studio, a team made up of six Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) students Tyler B Marcus, Mari Endo, Dylan Valev, Jasmine Duerk, Mackenzie Goldschlager and Karen Hou.

“It was like a dream come true for all of us when Sliptime Sleuth won the Game Challenge,” said Marcus. “If you love making games then this is a must-attend event. You learn so much from the judges and all the other competitors, too.”

The game edged entries from top independent game developers as well as other student game developer teams representing other institutions such as Northeastern University, Champlain College and Becker College. Sliptime Sleuth (gameplay video) will be released on PC next year.

“The feedback we received at the event was outstanding,” said Endo. “We have a much clearer sense of the direction we need to go to produce the game we want to make and how to make it successful.”

Sliptime Sleuth images

The MassDiGI Game Challenge, in its eighth year, helps indie and student game developers and entrepreneurs hone their business focus, shape their ideas and products for launch. This year 37 teams from across the New England registered to compete in front of a packed house at the Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the campus of Becker College in Worcester.

Other top winners included Feral Frontier (teaser video) which won the Indie Category and People’s Choice Award. The game was created by Beverly, MA-based Dirty Beast Games, a team made up of three independent game developers Josh Cheney, Felicia Santos and Ken McHugh.

“Earning the Indie and People’s Choice honors for Feral Frontier exceeded our expectations,” said Cheney, “This was our first time at the Game Challenge and the experience was amazing.”

Feral Frontier is a retro side-scrolling platformer game for PC featuring an all animal cast in a world where primal nature meets advanced technology. Vibrant pixel art graphics accompany an eclectic synth soundtrack to create an environment where fast paced action, exploration and adventure await.

Feral Frontier splash screen

Since the MassDiGI Game Challenge began, nearly 300 different teams from around northeast and beyond have pitched games and taken home prizes valued at over $100,000. Top past winners include titles such as Salad Hunt, Intern Astronaut (VR), PWN, Catlateral Damage, Depression Quest, Wobbles and Starlot Derby.

The annual event is a showcase for the expanding game development community in the area. Over the event’s two days, dozens of game industry veterans served as judges and mentors.

As the Grand Prize and a College & University Group winner, the Sunburst Studio team won cash and other prizes valued at about $5,000.

“This year’s contest was as close a competition as I’ve seen,” said Monty Sharma, managing director of MassDiGI, “Every team was really very impressive and the creativity and skills on display improves every year as do the games.”

The other College & University Group winners were Basic Witch from Becker with Project Birchtree, a mobile game about a laid-back, enchanted latte-throwing barista witch trying to save her town from being overrun by demons. FPS from Northeastern with Fruit Postal Service, is a battle racing game for PC where you play as a member of the FPS and try to pick up and drop off the most packages to become the employee of the month. And, Team Disco*Vision from Champlain with Blood to Ink, a narrative-based murder mystery game for tablet.

CrypticCHAD, a team of Nashua (NH) North students, won the High School Category with Soul Mates, a dating simulator mixed with a role-playing game.

Runner-up awards went to:

Indie Category – Runner-up

  • Snow Pumpkins with Sole Iron Tail

College & University Groups – Runners-up

  • Shatter Journal Games with Floaty Fighters (Becker College)
  • Hard Hats Studio with Maximum House/Property Damage (Becker College)

The complete results are posted here.

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About MassDiGI

The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) is the statewide center for academic cooperation, entrepreneurship and economic development across the Commonwealth’s games ecosystem. Established in 2011 and based in Worcester at Becker College, MassDiGI has launched several initiatives that support entrepreneurship and strengthen the talent pipeline between higher education and the game industry. Well-known initiatives include the Summer Innovation Program LiveStudio and the Game Challenge – all of which bring students and professionals together to work on real projects. For more information, please visit www.massdigi.org.

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Post also on Gamasutra here.

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2019 MassDiGI Game Challenge winners – 2/23/19

The 2019 MassDiGI Game Challenge winners are:

Indie Category

  • Winner – Dirty Beast Games with Feral Frontier
  • Runner-up – Snow Pumpkins with Sole Iron Tail

College & University Division A – Pie Category

  • Winner – Team Disco*Vision (Champlain College) with Blood to Ink
  • Runner-up – Shattered Journal Games (Becker College) with Floaty Fighters

College & University Division B – Donut Category

  • Winner – Fruit Postal Service (Northeastern University) with Fruit Postal Service
  • Runner-up – Hard Hats Studio (Becker College) with Maximum House/Property Damage

College & University Division C – Brisket Category

  • Co-winner – Sunburst Studio (WPI) with Sliptime Sleuth
  • Co-winner – Basic Witch (Becker) with Project Birchtree

High School

  • Winner – CrypticCHAD (Nashua (NH) North HS) with Soul Mates

People’s Choice

  • Feral Frontier

Grand Prize

  • Sliptime Sleuth

Honorable mention recognition: Best Technology – Wrong Warp Games (Champlain) with Arachnotron, Best Art – Bone force Games (Northeastern) with Deadboy, Best Business Plan – Project Birchtree, Best Design – Sliptime Sleuth

More information to be posted soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People’s Choice

Grand Prize

 

 

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2019 MassDiGI Game Challenge finalists announced – 2/23/19

2019 MassDiGI Game Challenge – Finalists

Indies

  • Dirty Beast Games with Feral Frontier #8
  • Lantana Games with Mondrian – Plastic Reality #15
  • Snow Pumpkins with Sole Iron Tail #18

College & University – Division A – Pie

  • Socha Studios (Northeastern University) with Mazu #19
  • Team Disco*Vision (Champlain College) with Blood to Ink #22
  • TOUGON (Becker College) with Smush #26
  • Shattered Journal Games (Becker) with Floaty Fighters #17

College & University – Division B – Donut

  • FPS (Northeastern) with Fruit Postal Service #10
  • Hard Hats Studio (Becker) with Maximum House/Property Damage #14
  • Wrong Warp Games (Champlain) with Arachnotron #27
  • Bone Force Games (Northeastern) with Deadboy #3

College & University – Division C – Brisket

  • Gungus, Wungus, & Jimmy (WPI) with Friend Sighting #13
  • Starflight Studios (Becker) with Shooty Dart #20
  • Sunburst Studio (WPI) with Sliptime Sleuth #21
  • Basic Witch (Becker) with Project Birchtree #2

High School

  • Cryptic Chad (Nashua North HS (NH)) with Soul Mates* #7

Stay tuned for more updates.

Due to the distribution of competitors this year the Grand Prize winner will be selected from the winners of each of the above categories. Total competitor pre-registrations: 37.

*Sole competitor

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Save the dates – 12/4/18

Save the dates

Our 2019 dates to remember are:

  • January 4, 2019 – SIP Application Period opens
  • February 22-23, 2019 – MassDiGI Game Challenge
  • March 19, 2019 – Made In MA at GDC
  • March 28, 2019 – Made In MA at PAX East

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Inaugural Pre Game Challenge a success – 12/3/18

Inaugural Pre Game Challenge a success

By Timothy Loew, Executive Director

This past Saturday MassDiGI hosted our first-ever Pre Game Challenge. The event, held on campus at Becker College’s Colleen C. Barrett Center, featured a full house on hand to listen, learn and pitch.

The crowd, made up primarily of college and university students, including those from institutions such as Becker, WPI and Baruch among others, were in the room to hear from game industry veterans Jeff Goodsill (Dailybreak CP), Rich Gallup (Otherside Entertainment) and Oleg Brodskiy (BostonFIG Fest) about what goes into a great game pitch.

PGC '18 First Place - Suburst Studio

PGC ’18 First Place – Sunburst Studio

After hearing some excellent advice and getting some tips, tricks and insight into the elements of a pitch, a dozen teams signed up to take part in the inaugural PGC Minute To Pitch It Contest. The contest, judged by Jeff, Rich and Oleg, featured a lot of well-constructed pitches from many talented, budding game entrepreneurs and in the end the judges chose Sliptime Sleuths by Sunburst Studio, a team from WPI, as the first place winner. In second place was another team from WPI, Gungus, Wungus & Jimmy with Cryptid College. Third place went a team from Becker with Prototype Arrow. An honorable mentioned was awarded to WPI’s Kobi D. with Bloody Mary’s.

The Pre Game Challenge was designed to give attendees a chance to hear from experts and practice pitching well in advance of our annual late winter/early spring Game Challenge. And, to that extent, the event was a great success – we can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

 

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MassDiGI receives grant for esports lab – 11/2/18

Becker College is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Collaborative Workspace Program grant from MassDevelopment. The grant will to be used by the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) New Ventures Center at Becker to create the first-ever esports lab of its kind in central Massachusetts. The lab will be located within the College’s Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which opened earlier this year on its Worcester Campus.

The $21,400 grant was one of 28 awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration through MassDevelopment to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth. The awards support the physical infrastructure that will spark the growth of new entrepreneurial ventures, while spurring innovation and job creation at the local level.

“We are grateful to MassDevelopment for this support,” said Tim Loew, executive director of MassDiGI at Becker and general manager of the College’s Varsity Esports Program. “With these funds, Becker can outfit the labs with top-tier, cutting-edge equipment, such as customized PCs and high frame-rate monitors, which will enhance the team’s competitive edge.”

  • Read the full press release here.

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Getting from student to game dev – 7/23/18

Getting from student to game dev

By Katherine Wang, RISD ’19

MassDiGI’s Summer Innovation Program introduces developers to challenges they’re less likely to bump into while working on a personal or individual project. Challenges like how to focus on a joint project without forgetting about individual development.

SIPX wallSometimes you’ll find what’s right for your portfolio isn’t right for your game. Rather than build a game from the ground up as SIP does, the SIPX program focuses on specific aspects of a pre-existing project—like its UI/UX or a mini game mechanic. There are times where what needs to be done now just doesn’t fit with your past work or future goals. So rather than shoehorning in extraneous work in order create a collection of work with a cohesive voice, how do you strike a balance between finishing the present tasks and planning a future portfolio?

As an illustrator I’ve found that compiling your work into a narrative arc can showcase both what you’ve produced and your personal identity as a problem solver. While it differs from case to case, employers often want to see your thought process. What kind of peg are you and how can you fit in their team? If your work can hook them at a glance (sorry, programmers and audio devs), it’s not a bad idea to feed them a bit more info to delve into. It’s the same excitement as seeing unreleased concept art or rifling through a sketchbook: unadulterated thinking before all the what if’s and could be’s are cutout.

At the end of the day visuals in games are meant to convey an intangible idea. They can’t stand by themselves. By identifying the cornerstone of our work, that concept in our mind’s eye, we can show viewers what our constraints were, how successful our execution was, and whether this work will be a good fit for their project.

While everyone has a different method to their madness, it helps to start with the foundations. Showing sketches of inspirations or a quick quip about your research gives a familiar setting to help orient viewers. For a person who’s never seen your work, context is king. Maybe after that, proof of how your work moved the project along. Sure, you want to show your voice but did iterations of your art elucidate the concept your team was scratching their head over? Or did it waste time by making the conversation meander back and forth? What kind of deliverables can they expect out of you and why did you make this design choice or use that presentation? No employer wants to take a risk on inconsistent work.

But honestly in the end one of the best ways to get your name out in the game industry is to physically show up at events. I’ve been finding that after just a few days of studio tours (thanks, MassDiGI) and going to Boston game development talks I’m already seeing familiar faces thanks to the size of the industry. Of course, it was incredibly intimidating and still is! One way to prepare yourself is to start in a structured environment. Go to a talk related to your particular interest. Research who’s going to be there. Bring a friend along (please don’t forget about them). And when you’re comfortable ask the guest speakers questions that can eventually become discussions. Maybe after a while you’ll become a regular. Remember participation grades? It’s a bit like that. The more you contribute to the discussion, the more relevant information people are willing to give back. So, if putting yourself out there feels awkward or pointless at first, just remember the best part of the event hasn’t even begun yet.

 

 

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