December 12, 2013

Demo Day @ USC

Demonstrations of Student-Produced Games Held

It’s an exciting time for student video game design and production at the University of Southern California. Year after year, the quality of student games produced by USC Games students continues to get better and the industry is taking notice. 

On December 11, the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) and the Viterbi School of Engineering's Department of Computer Science hosted Demo Day at the School of Cinematic Arts. The event was a combination of one-on-one interviews with top executives from the video games industry and demonstrations of student games.

“Demo day has become our own version of E3, where we show off the best of our new games, which include an exciting range of platforms and concepts,” said Tracy Fullerton, the EA Endowed Professor and Chair of IMGD.  “We have mobile games, VR games, PC games; as well as serious games, comedic games, indie games and hardcore games. It's a really great group of projects.”

Representatives from the biggest entertainment companies, including Activision, Disney, Electronic Arts, Sony, and others, were on hand for the debut demonstrations and interviewed graduating game design students. The projects range from first-person virtual reality and multiplayer fantasy extravaganzas to emotional and even therapeutic games—touching on a variety of interactive, immersive experiences.

The games at Demo Day were part of the Advanced Games class which is a joint class between Cinema and Viterbi.

Games on display at Demo Day included:

Miralab – A 3D PC based game about exploring a diverse range of ecosystems as an immortal jellyfish. The goal is to survive and help this beautiful, mysterious, and haunting underwater world thrive as you cycle through the shifting perspective of three life stages.

Glide through ocean currents as an adult or roll along the floor as a blob. Embed and uncover memories as you journey through non-linear areas across lifetimes. Experience the feeling of engaging with other-worldly ecosystems as a tiny but powerfully immortal jellyfish.


Rhea – First-person virtual reality game in which players harness a powerful form of flight to explore a mysterious and gradually deteriorating open world.

In Rhea, the player assumes control of an adventurer who is drawn to a strange world and granted the ability to fly by a divine element called aether. When in an area containing aether, the player can freely explore the remains of a dilapidated civilization. As the player navigates through the open world, the landscape and city ruins deteriorate, creating obstacles and revealing new spaces to explore. Provided with no exposition to explain why the area has been deserted, the player must investigate the artifacts of the missing inhabitants to uncover the story behind their absence.


Cole – A 2D dark comedy action-art-game that takes place on the S.S. Spaceship. You are an alien slave whose job it is to shovel coal into the furnace that powers the ship. At first, all the game ever tells you to do is shovel coal, but you can disobey the game’s instructions, escape the coal room and begin exploring the rest of the massive, imaginative ship, where the real adventure begins.


Bloom – Bloom is a 2.5D adventure platformer where you play as a seedling named Sprout who wields the powers of nature in order to reclaim earth from the dangerous machines who have taken over.


The Mastros – An online multiplayer real-time strategy game set in a humorous fantasy world where you control a commander and a squadron of wildly cuddly and mildly vicious minions. Play as either the diesel-punk knights from the Kingdom of Teutonia with their clunky mechanized robots or as the gaudy alchemists from Genoma with their beautifully twisted chimeras.

Unlike most other RTS games, there are no structures for you to build; your commander is your mobile headquarters. As you kill the creeps that are scattered across the map, your commander will produce basic units. Once you have enough of these simple units, you can transform them into stronger units with various capabilities.


Fat Loot – Fat Loot is a 3rd person PVP action stealth game where four players plot against each other and try to steal the most out of a heist. You control a wacky thief master diving into the ancient Chinese palace to pull off the ultimate heist. However, facing the daunting guards and tricky competitors, you must act sneaky and plot wisely. Bump, trap and make noise to ruin your friends’ plans and be the biggest winner in this treasure hunting race!


Social Clues – Social Clues is a point-and-click, puzzle-adventure game for children with autism and developmental disabilities that teaches communication and social skills. Players control Pete and Kate Mum as they traverse a stylized, cartoon world to solve a humorous “who-done-it?” and search for their lost toys. Behind-the-scenes player actions are tracked via key metrics, providing parents and therapists informative data and insight into player progression and behavioral change.