December 13, 2011

USC Games Gets Hands On

First Joint Demo Day Held at USC

By Katie Dunham & Ryan Dee Gilmour

The USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Viterbi School of Engineering are known for their ability to make visions a reality. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the design and production of video games. On November 7th, SCA’s Interactive Media Division and Viterbi’s Computer Science Department hosted Demo Day, a presentation and hands-on demonstration of the new student-produced games of 2011.

Norris Cinema Theatre hosted the first joint Demo Day

 “I’m exceptionally proud of the quality of the games this year,” said Tracy Fullerton, the Chair of the Interactive Media Division. “It’s nice to see so many games from our advanced game design that push the medium into directions that the industry hasn’t even explored yet. Our students are real pioneers.”

“Demo Day gives our students a goal to reach when designing their games for class,” said Michael Zyda, Director of USC Viterbi’s GamePipe Laboratory.  “Knowing their games will be presented before an audience of gaming industry executives energizes the students to do the best they can.  Demo Day is a celebration of their efforts.”

Industry guests included representatives from Microsoft, Disney, Atari, Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Riot Games and Sony Pictures Interactive.

The games presented included:

  • Combiform:A new gaming console delivering a series of highly social games, transforming the players’ focus back into the physical environment and onto social interactions.
  • In Memory:Search your own fragmented mind for the answers that could save your daughter’s life.
  • Clockwork Zombies:Watchmaker Benjamin Salisbury steps up to the task of saving his home space colony from the evil Clockwork Zombies. Time is running out!
  • Nevermind:A psychological horror game that leverages biofeedback technology to detect fear

    Lead Designer of The Moonlighters Teddy Diefenbach demonstrates his game to an
    industry guest in the SCA Gallery
    and stress in the player. Braving horrific scenarios and the menacing unknown, players must remain in control of their stress-induced impulses, as panicking will only make things worse.
  • Tales from the Minus Lab:Harness the power to shrink and grow at will as you explore the uncharted worlds hidden within a single room. Tales from the Minus Lab is a first-person adventure of ever-changing proportions.
  • Blink: A third-person action-stealth game in which the player takes the role of Iris, a deadly saboteur who has gained the ability to teleport. She must escape from dangerous weapons and a robotics facility, choosing to do so either by moving through the shadows or taking down all in her path using combat maneuvers with her newfound ability.
  • Forestwalker: Use your iPad to lead a family of powerful heroes through the dark forest in search of their missing children.
  • The Moonlighters:A heist action role-playing game that immerses you in the glamorous world of 1950s Hollywood. Take control of your group of hepcat entertainers who resort to pulling heists when their fame and success fade under the shadow of rock ‘n’ roll. In each episode, you assemble the perfect team, case the joint, plan the heist and steal the show!

In addition to the presentation held in Norris Cinema Theatre, guests and industry professionals were invited back to the SCA Complex for hands-on game demonstrations, a first for DemoDay, now in its seventh year.

In March of this year, USC was voted the number one game design school in North America for its graduate and undergraduate degree programs by the Princeton Review and GamePro Media for 2011.