UW-Stout students design video game that wins first at national - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UW-Stout students design video game that wins first at national competition


Menomonie (WQOW) - The name of the game at UW-Stout right now is first place. A group of stout students won a national first place award for video game design. The students and professors just returned from the Entertainment Software Association E3 conference in Los Angeles, the largest video game convention in the country.

Before he knew how it was done, Hassan Javaid grew up wanting to work on what others play.

"That was my childhood dream and when people wanted to be astronauts or that kind of thing, I wanted to make games," said Javaid.

Javaid is closer to his goal now after he and 11 other game design students at UW-Stout tied for first place Thursday at the inaugural E3 College Game Competition. The game, Flash Frozen, was made entirely from scratch.

"In the game, you're trapped in this flooded and frozen cruise ship, and you're trying to maintain your own body heat, and survive that harsh environment and escape the ship. But there's also something else on the ship that's alive, an entity that's kind of warping the environment," explained Javaid.

Fellow student Keith Catalano says making the game is a total team effort, and much harder than playing it.

"One of the challenges of this particular atmosphere was that we needed to make it feel cold and we needed to make it feel dangerous. So using colors, ok there's ice here, there's water here, based on my previous experiences in the game I know this is going to be a dangerous area," Catalano said.

Even though it is just a game, the work is real. And it will help prepare the students for life after graduation.

"They take this both the fall and the spring semester, so they're on a team with the same in this case 12 students for the entire year, working on the same game for the entire year. And that is their capstone achievement in the class," said Dave Beck, Assistant Professor of 3D Game Design at UW-Stout.

Besides the prize, the students were given a booth to display their work at E3, the largest video game convention in the United States that more than 48,000 people attend each year.

"In my opinion, it's the pinnacle of what you can hope to achieve if you're showing off a game. To be invited to go to E3 is something that I wasn't even thinking would happen to me in ten years," added Catalano.

Think you can beat the kids at their own award winning game? You'll soon be able to try.

"In the next week or so we're going to put it up online for free for people to download both for the PC and the Mac version," said Javaid.

To see a trailer and learn more about the game, click here.

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