Archived Story

UM game design students win contest

Published 11:39am Wednesday, October 23, 2013

By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – What would it be like to play a game without using your hands?

A little more than a month ago, the challenge of creating a hands-free game was posed to game designers nationwide by GameCareerGuide, a nationally recognized website for game design.

Once all entries were submitted, four University of Montevallo students came out on top.

The students, Amy George, Holden Moss, Garrett Roth and Shaunie Groover, took part in the conceptual design challenge as part of a required class for their game studies and design minor at UM. The program involves students of all majors and focuses on the history and culture of different types of games, including video games, board games, card games and others.

The competition asked students to consider those with disabilities when submitting their design plans and to create games that would be accessible to all people, according to the website. Six games were selected as best entries.

Groover, a UM student majoring in psychology, created a game that allows players to use their sense of smell to guess clues. In lieu of using hands, selections are made with foot pedals and a voice-controlled electronic game board.

Roth created a foot-controlled fighting game designed to increase leg strength and serve as therapy for amputees.

“It was great to find out that there were others out there legitimately interested in my ideas,” Roth said. “It’s exciting and certainly a morale boost.”

Moss created a strategy game that places the player in command of an army. The player uses his voice to control troop movements, which he said is more realistic and accessible.

Amy George, an art student, created a game based on nature and fantasy. The player uses body movement to create wind, which helps guide a lost pollen mote from the city back to its home in a field of flowers.

“The player uses the wind to soar the mote safely through twelve scenic levels that become progressively more rural the closer the player gets to the family while exploring, avoiding enemies, swinging past familial patches of flowers for directions and power ups, and keeping on correct track to get the mote back to its family at the seaside,” George said.

“Honestly, (winning the competition) is validation. It’s also a lot of encouragement. It makes me feel like I have good ideas that are valid in places outside of the classroom and can compete against other people in the field.”

Cathlena Martin, coordinator of the program, said she was thrilled to have four winners in the competition.

“It’s a fantastic site for game design students,” Martin said. “I’ve always been impressed with the range of other schools that are shown. I have been doing this for two years, and it’s not always just students competing. A couple of years ago, I noticed somebody who worked at EA. People (are competing) that actually work in the business.”

For more information about the game studies and design program, visit Montevallo.edu/games.

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