This Tuesday afternoon, The Poly theatre in Falmouth is filled to the brim. Students and lecturers take up the seats in the audience, and the rest is filled with mostly nerves and excitement.
It’s the annual Show and Tell event for the Digital Games course, which consists of roughly 220 students in total. This event lets students have the opportunity to present the games they’ve been working on the last semester to their peers and tutors on the course.
This Show and Tell event focused on first and second years only, while the third year students were given their own closed event.
A lot of the students are new to presenting and are visibly nervous, which the rest seem to be aware of as they do their best to cheer everyone on and create a good atmosphere for the presenters. There is a lot of love in the crowd, and being a part of it, even just for a short while, feels amazing.
Over the course of the day, 20 different video games were showcased, of various genres and for various platforms. The developer groups were all given a mere fifteen minutes each, which included a presentation and a short Q and A.
Here are some of the projects presented:
Firelock – developed by R-LOC
Oscar Værnø of R-LOC Studios presented Firelock, a tactical third-person shooter game set in a vibrantly colourful world, with art inspired by the Napoleon era. The shooter uses a “hotseat” multiplayer style, which essentially means that several players use one console / machine and take turns playing.
“We wanted to step aside from the standard grey colour-plate for shooting games,” says Værnø, adding that the game was designed so that the player would be able to explore and enjoy the surroundings, instead of just shooting.
Parted – developed by Probably Cats
A narrative-driven puzzle game, Parted is a mobile game produced by Probably Cats that puts the player in the place of a character with the ability to split themselves up into fragments, only to be put back together again. This skill allows the character to get across caps in the map and to solve different puzzles across 10 different levels.
Second year students Alex Turner and Jacob Urantowka explained to the audience that the game was designed to be easy to pick up and put down, so it would be perfect to play as you are having a cup of coffee, or as you are commuting.
“We tried to identify a gap in the market though which our game seemed to fill,” says 3D artist Luke Philp-Hines about the process of creating a puzzle game with proper story elements.
While the game has no official social media sites where one can go to get updates, Parted is expected to hit the Google Play store later this year.
My Uncle Thomas – developed by Tin Can
My Uncle Thomas is also a narrative-driven puzzle game, this being developed by Tin Can.
The game explores the story of a man called Thomas who suffers from dementia, who is telling the story of his life to his niece, whom he does not recognize.
This sets the player off on a journey across the three stages of Thomas’s life: child stage, adult stage and elderly stage.
Each stage has its own unique fashions and areas stylized according the respective time periods they were set in, one example being the child stage which sees Thomas wearing evacuee clothes.
The production of the game was halted when the production team had to scrap the entire first build of it in January and start from scratch.
“It was very bad,” said presenter James Livingstone of the original game demo.
Wild Heart – developed by Two Ravens
One of the final presentations of the day was the game Wild Heart, a turn-based animal strategy game for PC developed by the Two Ravens development team.
“It is aimed at exploring the environment and using battle environments to your advantage,” explains Jade Ostle, one of the two presenters.
The game, which is reminiscent of the Shelter games, features a vibrant woodland world which is open for you to explore alongside your pack.
While the main story deals with two enemy wolf packs that are fighting over control of the forest, the player takes control of a fox that is trying to rescue a wolf cub from one of the packs, to return him to his mother.
In addition to playing as the wolf, the player can bring along other animals such as snakes and moles. You can even encounter mean animals, such as a badger that lurks on every level.
While the team was happy with their current product, they explained to the audience that the development had not been easy.
“It was hell,” says Jimmy Jones about trying to sort out the different characters and their unique stats, which were added to create a proper strategy element to the game.
At the end of the day, all of the students were given the chance to vote for their favourite showcase of the day. Out of the second year projects, the Wild Hearts game accumulated the most votes, along with a first year battle game titled You Do Voodoo.