GAME LAUNCH: Click, clickety, click, click with Merge Critters! – 10/24/19

Click, clickety, click, click with Merge Critters!

Merge Critters, a free, fun and combining clicker, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Merge Critters imageA swarm of dastardly demons have attacked a planet of adorable animals! These creatures have to unite, get stronger, and fight the evil horde to take their home back! Combine two of the same animal to get a new, stronger critter! Send your creatures off to fight and bring back gold and glory, then use that to buy even stronger animals with crazy weapons. Who will you add to your army in your quest?

The mobile game was created during the 2019 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP) by students Valeria Yang from Wellesley, Katarina Tesmer from RIT, Julian Hernandez from MIT, Gavin Camlin from Becker, Dana Hsiao from Cornell, Maddy Marzano from Emerson and Ethan Reese from Berklee.

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 ’19 semester. 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 Merge Critters today for iOS and Android.

 

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GAME LAUNCH: Fire it up with Save the Flame! – 10/23/19

Fire it up with Save the Flame!

Save the Flame, a free, fun and high-flying runner, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Save the Flame imageExplore the world of Vishal as you play Omar, a young fire magic prodigy and last hope for humanity. In this endless runner, Omar is trying to take back The Flame from the ancient spirit Onii, while dodging possessed obstacle fragments, and collecting coins to help with his quest. Will you be able to save the flame, or will Onii plunge humanity into darkness forever?

The mobile game was created during the 2019 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP) by students Angel Ortiz from Lesley, Savannah Gaspar from Becker, Sebastian Schindler from Becker, Emma Lowry from WPI, Toby Maclure-O’Reilly from LYIT, Griffin Beels from Brown and Ethan Reese from Berklee.

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 ’19 semester. 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 Save the Flame today for iOS and Android.

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GAME LAUNCH: Play Bloom Blast! The ultimate plant puzzle game – 10/22/19

Play Bloom Blast! The ultimate plant puzzle game

Bloom Blast, a free, fun and cute puzzle game, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Join Cyp the Cat as they travel the cute, colorful world of Bloom Blast in the Plantmobile. Tap the plants that customers want to complete challenges!

Bloom Blast imageThe mobile game was created during the 2019 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP) by students Tyler Marcus from WPI, Tulani Reeves-Miller from Wellesley, Julia Krawiec from RPI, Jordan Kegler from Becker, Jamie Camera from Northeastern, Brandon Li from Brown and Ethan Reese from Berklee.

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 ’19 semester. 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 Bloom Blast today for iOS and Android.

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GAME LAUNCH: Bop some baddies in Roller Riot – 10/21/19

Bop some baddies in Roller Riot

Roller Riot, a free, fun and fast-paced beat-em-up game, is available for download now on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Roller Riot imageCrazy cyborgs are causing chaos in the city and have made their way towards the Roller Derby District. You are the last one standing. Punch, kick and roll your way through a frenzy of different enemies hell bent on taking you down. Show them that you are a force to be reckoned with and that they chose the wrong street. And, don’t forget to use your cyber upgrades to take down more enemies!

The mobile game was created during the 2019 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program (SIP) by students Oriana Carletto from SVA, Denis Gillespie from LYIT, Ben Aube from Becker, Jason Gertner from Becker, Amanda Saker from MECA, Sarah Ke from Mt. Holyoke and Ethan Reese from Berklee.

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 ’19 semester. 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 Roller Riot today for iOS and Android.

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Here’s to one hell of a summer – 8/7/19

Here’s to one hell of a summer

By Ethan Reese, Berklee College of Music ’19

As SIP is coming to an end, everything seems a little bittersweet and surreal. After almost four months of living and working with so many amazing humans, normal life back at school will certainly be a wild change.

My favorite experience during SIP was definitely being able to work with every team here. As the sole audio representative, it is my job to make all of the music and sound effects for every game this summer. Each team had a different game that required its own style of audio which made every day full of a variety of work. It was great fun being able to record and write in so many styles and even record some of my co-workers for some of the sound effects. This was extra fun because all of the people here are incredible, not just as co-workers but also as friends.

At Purgatory ChasmEach day is filled with many ideas being thrown around, everyone asking for critique on their work, people learning form one another, many laughs, and (after work) maannnyyy games of Super Smash Bros.

In the beginning of this summer I was worried about being on so many teams because I was afraid that no one team would truly see me as a member; that I’d be seen as my own team. This worry quickly dissipated due to the spectacular people and I couldn’t imagine a better way to work with my fellow SIPers! However, being on so many teams was an interesting task too as I had to juggle many equally weighted responsibilities. Over the summer we all used a method called Kanban to manage tasks and track progress. Although this was great for each team individually, I found that I needed to develop my own way of keeping track of my progress on a macro level so that nothing was forgotten.

Overall, my time here at SIP has been absolutely incredible and has taught me more than I imagined I would learn about games, problem solving, collaboration, and just being a decent human being.

P.S. I second Denis and Toby. Don’t let Brandon cook steak.

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From across the pond – 7/29/19

From across the pond

Hi, we’re Denis Gillespie and Tobias Maclure-O’Reilly from Letterkenny Institute of Technology in Ireland. We are both programmers who have just finished our final year and are taking part in the Summer Innovation Program at MassDiGI.

L-R: Denis Gillespie, John Conaghan (LYIT lecturer), Tobias Maclure-O’Reilly

We were gifted the great opportunity to participate in the programme and jumped at the chance to come to the states. So far, we have been introduced to the inner workings of a game development studio, met industry professionals, and experienced American culture. While we have been working here, we have been able to enhance our ability to work with a team of artists, programmers, and an audio designer (shout out to Ethan Reese). Over our time here so far we have met industry professionals from WB Games Boston, the Indie Game Collective, Demiurge Studios and past SIP alumni. These meetings provided us with the opportunity to learn about the industry and playtest our games, which gave us valuable feedback to further the development of our games. But it is not all work, we have also been able to enjoy national parks taking in the sights, experience our first 4th of July, American food and nightlife.

We are part of two seperate teams, Team Banoffee and Team Cherry. Banoffee consists of three artists – Amanda Saker, Ben Aube and Oriana Carletto, three programmers – Jason Gertner, Sarah Ke and myself (Denis), and the audio designer Ethan Reese. The working title of our game is Roller Riot – a mobile arcade brawler with a futuristic Roller Derby theme. Cherry is made up of three artists – Angel Ortiz , Emma Lowry , Savannah Gaspar three programmers – Griffin Beels, Sebastian Schindler, myself (Tobias) and the always busy audio designer, Ethan. We are developing a mobile endless runner about a young hero, Omar, that must save his people from the diminishing light. The game has the working title of Save the Flame! Both team Cherry and Banoffee are reaching the end of their development goals for the summer program. With the aim of a soft release this autumn.

Here’s a sneak peak of what our games currently look like:

Roller RiotSave the Flame

 

For both of us this was our first time across the pond. It has been a once in a lifetime experience, that we are sure we will never forget.

P.S. Don’t let Brandon cook steak

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Improving skillsets – 7/18/19

Improving skillsets

Hi, I’m Benjamin Aube, an Interactive Media in Game Art student from Becker College. SIP is beginning to wrap up, and I wanted to look back on how much of an impact it’s had on our skill sets. I am part of Team Banoffee as an artist and lead designer on Roller Riot. I am primarily a 3D artist, but I really wanted to improve my illustration skills this time around and agreed to make it fully 2D. And I’m so glad I made that decision because I absolutely love how our game looks and plays right now.

Team Banoffee

On the art side, my teammates Oriana Carletto and Amanda Saker and I all pitched multiple concepts and mood boards and spent a long time deciding on an art direction. We were worried that our team was falling behind, but that extra time paid off so much. We took inspiration from roller derby, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Blade Runner, and vaporwave aesthetics. I distinctly remember Amanda saying she hated the word aesthetic, and since then it has become our favorite word. In just the first week of concepting, I saw significant improvement to my art skills. I’ve learned a lot from my teammates showing off concepts to each other and asking for critiques on our assets. We all have different strengths, and so far its made for an interesting experience. We’ve all been able to teach each other things that we never would have learned otherwise.

I’ve been able to delve into animation and have been able to make rough animations for an enemy character. Amanda has been incredibly helpful through the animation process, she provided invaluable feedback on my animations and how to improve them. Oriana taught me a lot about anatomy and lining, and helped me finally figure out how to draw hands. They also helped me gain confidence in my art and taught me how to deal with impostor syndrome.I feel like I am no longer restricted to just working on 3D games, and it feels great. SIP has been an unforgettable and life changing experience for me, and I am so grateful to have been given the chance to work with such talented people. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates, I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished and I hope to work with them again some day.

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SIP Jam round-up – 7/15/19

SIP Jam round-up

Hey! My name is Jordan Kegler, I’m a VFX and environment artist here at SIP – and a Becker College student! This year we tried something a little different from what normally happens in the off time during SIP, we decided to have a game jam!

SIP Jam pictureGame jams are basically quick little spans when you make a game, either as a team or as an individual! My friends and I from Becker constantly participate and plan different game jams, but we thought it would be a cool idea to do one with all of the people in SIP, too! I even started programming my first game during this jam which was a wild experience! Altogether, 7 games were launched after SIP Jam, all made in 24 hours, and updated slightly afterwards!

Here are links to all of the games! Overall, we’re really happy with how everything came out, and hope this can be a tradition going forward!!

Siren Serenade (Mobile) – https://jasoonmargoon.itch.io/siren-serenade

SQUIFA 2019 (PC) – https://gavin-camlin.itch.io/squifa

Bird Go Up (PC) – https://dialupnoises.itch.io/bird-go-up

Bullethell (PC) – https://tbmarcus.itch.io/bullethell

Crab Smash (PC) – https://dnos.itch.io/crabsmash2

Blame the Controller (PC) – https://demmydev.itch.io/btc

Love Hunt (PC) – https://elijahcobb.itch.io/love-hunt

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Creating a consistent art style – 7/10/19

Creating a consistent art style

Hi, I’m Julia Krawiec, an Electronic Arts and Games Simulation Arts and Sciences major attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as well as the lead artist on Team Blueberry.

We’re already past the halfway point of SIP and all the teams have made significant progress on their projects! Team Blueberry is making a “Match 3 Game” (similar to games like Candy Crush, Bejeweled, and Juice Jam) where you play as Cyp, a cat selling plants from their plant van all over the world.

One of the biggest challenges Team Blueberry encountered was how to keep our art style consistent. Blueberry’s art team is pretty large, having 4 artists to 2 programmers, each with a unique art style, so we wanted to make sure everyone’s art looked cohesive. On top of that, each of our artists had different strengths, ranging from animation, to 3D modeling, to 2D illustration, and we wanted our game to make the most out of everyone’s area of expertise while also making room to pick up new skills.

We tackled this problem by drawing a couple iterations of our main character, Cyp. Then, we decided which version worked the best, fit the feel we intended, and was in a style that others could easily replicate. This image became our reference from there on so everyone could stay consistent and have a visual to look at when creating any assets for the game. We also went through similar processes for other game components like icons and game boards. After we had an art style set, we looked through all the assets we needed to create and decided what could be created in 2D and what could be 3D.

These early concepts and planning were essential for us. It has given all the members of Blueberry a solid idea of what the feel of our game is and how to create cohesive looking art assets. We’re over 7 weeks in and our unified vision of what we’d like our end product to look like has made the process go rather smoothly.

SIP has been a blast for Team Blueberry so far and ourselves and all the other teams are working hard to produce some awesome games this summer! I’ve learned so much from my fellow teammates and all the other SIP members and can’t wait to get even more out of it!

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