Video games challenged and entertained high school students from throughout the region on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Florida Polytechnic University’s annual Fall Game Expo. The event showcased games created by teams of students from the Game Design 1 course.
High school students from throughout the region attended the event to get a close-up look at the campus and what the computer science program has to offer.
“We want to try to show the visiting students why they would want to come here and encourage them so they know they can do this program, and this is the school for them,” said Dr. Brad Towle, the event’s organizer and assistant professor of computer science at the University.
More than 20 student-created video games were on display at the event.
Jacqileen Custer, Brian Curci, and Joyselle Sarmiento, all seniors majoring in computer science with concentrations in game development and simulation, designed the game “Meow-gic,” The game follows Nya, a wizard cat who ventures out to find the evil entity that turned its 2D village into 3D.
“There were so many individual pieces that we were concerned about hooking together and seeing how it would all interlock, but being able to actually make it work was one of the most exciting things ever,” Custer said. “I enjoyed it but didn’t know how other people would feel about it until they played it, but our play testers loved it, and it was one of the most thrilling feelings.”
Jake Shonts, a senior majoring in computer science with a concentration in game development and simulation, said he was proud to show off his team’s puzzle-based platform game, “NOVA the Spell Slinger.”
“Nova is a spell slinger, and she is new to magic,” he said. “Her goal while wandering through the cosmos is simply to learn along with the player.”
Eric Weakley and Andrey Cuevas-Andreev, also seniors majoring in computer science with a concentration in game development and simulation, worked with Shonts on the game.
Nathan Campbell, a senior at Everglades High School in Miramar, Florida, said he enjoyed checking out the student-produced games.
“This was something that really interested me because I want to go into creative directing, and having a strong background in computer science will help with that,” he said. “Knowing that these games were created by students who are still learning is pretty impressive.”
Curci, part of the Meow-gic team, said he was excited to show high schoolers his team’s hard work and encourage them to follow their academic dreams.
“I wasn’t able to come to one of these game expos when I was in high school, but I think if I would have it would have locked me in for Florida Poly really early,” he said. “Maybe one day I can work with a big company. There’s been a lot of games that have changed my life, so I want to make something that can change someone else’s.”
The next game expo will take place during the end of the spring 2024 semester.
Director of Communications