“Pick your car, choose your color, and get ready to battle,” said Christina Thomas, one of the nearly 50 Florida Poly students who presented their online games at the University’s fifth annual Florida Poly Games EXPO on April 11.
The senior computer science and information technology major from Stuart, FL helped players prepare their vehicles and then unleashed them to bash each other over the edge in her team-created Bumperkart Madness multi-player game, one of 25 games on display for industry leaders, judges, faculty, and peers. The event was held in the Saddle Creek Logistics Commons at the University’s Innovation, Science, and Technology Building.
Game creators Kyle Storch-Dolcelli and Evan Nave have big visions for their first-person-combat style game, System-Out, which was on display at the EXPO.
“We’ve chosen to work on the Unreal platform as Unreal is currently doing a MegaGrants program,” said Storch-Dolcelli, a sophomore majoring in computer science from Lutz, Florida. “We’re applying for a grant that would let us work on the game through the summer and then release to the STEAM gaming platform later in the fall.” Nave is a freshman majoring in computer engineering from Geneva, Florida.
With games featuring everything from cars, bananas, and fighting spacecrafts to otherworldly warriors, food truck drivers, and floating orbs, attendees had the opportunity to experience the creativity, skill, and passion that students put into their game projects.
“If I had to describe what I saw here today in one word, it would be ‘innovation,’” said Ray Fisher, senior consultant for Modern Service Management at Microsoft and one of the EXPO’s industry judges. “You really see the students’ ability to unleash their creativity while they still connect with gaming trends, both local and international.”
For Pairris Jones, Florida Poly’s associate director of career advancement, the interaction of industry and students is what the Game EXPO is all about.
“It’s critical we provide opportunities for our students to connect with strong companies, build their confidence in talking about their work, and prepare them for their careers,” said Jones. “These organic experiences take everything out of the classroom and one step closer to the corporate world.”
While the industry exposure, coding knowledge and presentation skills serve each student in their Florida Poly #ChangeMaker journey, the excited shouts, friendly heckles and high-fives show that sometimes–it’s just fun to play a game.
Assistant Director of Communications