In an open letter to his students today, Roger Altzier, director of game design and production in the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering Program, announced the launch of the latest game out of the program’s Master Games Studio. Altzier’s letter underscores that not only is the accomplishment itself noteworthy, but also the drive, creativity and interdisciplinary teamwork that is making it happen.
The second EAE:MGS thesis game was published last night on Desura.com. A big shout out has to go to the amazingly talented team that created it, and to Kurt Coppersmith, who was team lead on “Robot Pinball Escape,” for putting in a ton of work to get it published after they have all graduated.
Here is the game: http://www.desura.com/games/erie.
“Erie” is already one of the top games on the service and really is a beautiful, interesting project that started with a great core concept and is the result of a highly iterative, agile team.
I cannot stress the importance of this moment. Few students graduate with a published game under their belt, and practically none with teams as large as ours. I have game industry folks, and even more educators, constantly asking us about publication, how we do it, what it takes, etc. Our approach sets us all apart.
For students, having a published game can help launch a career, especially if it’s as good as the ones we make. Game credits are like film credits. Having one makes you a game developer. Not having one makes you someone who wants to be a game developer. It is the fruit of a job very well done and the product of a new kind of world-class education.
Together we have created a place that is truly academic and truly professional. It is a place for scholars and practitioners to inform each other’s work and to advance the field of videogames. We are pushing entertainment in our thesis games, prototypes, client games, and games for health. We make horror-maze games and motion controlled games for kids with cancer, because in the end, it is understanding and making games that is our domain.
I am proud to be spreading the word about “Erie.” It not only helps the students and the program, but games as an academic discipline.
I cannot adequately express how much I appreciate the work this team did, and the work of all the people who supported them. Making a game of this scope is extremely difficult. Getting it out there–much less loved, as “Erie” seems to be–is even harder.
Be very proud of your work and of what you are a part of.
Click here to learn more about the programs and people in Entertainment Arts & Engineering at the U.