Indie Game Challenge

SMU students win big in 2011 Indie Game Challenge

'Inertia' screencapEight graduate students from The Guildhall at SMU have been named as big winners of the second annual Indie Game Challenge (IGC). Their 2D arcade-style game, Inertia (pictured right), won the top prize in the Non-Professional category, as well as the Gamer’s Choice Award selected through online voting.

Founded by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, GameStop Corp. and The Guildhall at SMU, the IGC was created to foster innovation in gaming by independent developers. The top teams for 2011 were named on the closing night of the annual D.I.C.E.™ (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit at the Red Rock Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The SMU squad, who call themselves “Team Hermes,” graduated in December 2010 from the Guildhall’s nationally recognized graduate-level video game development program. They are the first SMU students to make the finals in the international competition and won $130,000 in cash and prizes for their efforts.

A total of 90 individuals selected by the AIAS served as judges for the competition – all professional game designers with groundbreaking titles on their résumés.

John Bevis of the Guildhall at SMU
John Bevis
Waylon Fong of the Guildhall at SMU
Wayland Fong
Michelle Hayden of the Guildhall at SMU
Michelle Hayden
Evan Skarin of the Guildhall at SMU
Evan Skarin
William Swannack of the Guildhall at SMU
William Swannack
Brandon Stephens of the Guildhall at SMU
Brandon Stephens
Christopher McCrimmons of the Guildhall at SMU
Christopher McCrimmons
Erasmo Simo of the Guildhall at SMU
Erasmo Simo

The team members include:

  • Evan Skarin – Team Lead, Level Design, and Art
  • John Bevis – Level Design and Music
  • Wayland Fong – Level Design and Programming
  • Michelle Hayden – Art Lead
  • William Swannack – Programming Lead
  • Brandon Stephens – Executive Producer and Level Designer
  • Christopher McCrimmons – Producer and Level Designer
  • Erasmo Simo – Level Design and Programming

“We’re so excited for Team Hermes,” said Peter Raad, The Guildhall at SMU founder and executive director. “Our graduate program is extremely challenging and our students are very busy on class projects. When we decided to become one of the founding members of the Indie Game Challenge, we realized that our own Master’s degree candidates would have very little chance to create a winning entry.

“The total production time for Inertia was 12 weeks while some of the other professional and non-professional finalists worked on their entries for two years or more,” Raad explained. “This winning game is a tremendous accomplishment that our students essentially did in a six-week class project and then six weeks on their own during a break in the summer. We could not be prouder of them.”

Inertia features an innovative mechanic that allows players to suspend gravity and use inertia to bounce off walls, float through space, and move through the game’s environment – a decaying space station on the brink of collapse. The game has been published on Xbox Live Arcade and is available in a full version and as a free demo.

“Since Inertia was developed at SMU, without a doubt the hardest part about making it was finding the time to balance between working on the game as a team and individual assignments from other classes,” said team leader Evan Skarin in an interview for the IGC website. “Our artist and programmer were also required to split time with other projects, so the level designers had to fulfill multiple roles in order to get the job done.”

The winners and awards include:

  • Professional $100,000 Grand Prize and $15,000 EEDAR DesignMetrics™ Winner: LIMBO
  • Non-professional $100,000 Grand Prize and $15,000 EEDAR DesignMetrics™ Winner: Inertia

Category winners include:

  • Kongregate Award for best browser-based game: Symon
  • Technical Achievement ($2,500): Inertia
  • Achievement in Art Direction ($2,500): LIMBO
  • Achievement in Gameplay ($2,500): Inertia
  • Gamer’s Choice Award, selected through online voting ($10,000): Inertia
  • Electronic Entertainment and Research DesignMetrics™ title research assessments to Inertia and LIMBO worth $30,000 for both groups combined

SMU’s role in the contest is limited to preparing the games for judging. The University has no part in the official judging of the contest. Teams are identified by team names only.

The recipient of the $50,000 Indie Game Challenge SMU scholarship will be announced later this year. SMU students are not eligible for this award.

The 2012 Indie Game Challenge will be open for entries May 1-Oct. 3, 2011. For more information on the competition and to learn more about each of the winners, visit indiegamechallenge.com.

Guildhall student team among 12 finalists in the 2011 Indie Game Challenge

A team from The Guildhall at SMU is among 12 finalists in the 2011 Indie Game Challenge (IGC), making them eligible for awards and prizes worth more than $130,000.

The winners will be announced Feb. 11 at the Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (D.I.C.E.) Summit at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. SMU’s eight-member squad – known collectively as “Team Hermes” – includes:

  • Evan Skarin – Team Lead, Level Design, and Art
  • John Bevis – Level Design and Music
  • Waylon Fong – Level Design and Programming
  • Michelle Hayden – Art Lead
  • William Swannack – Programming Lead
  • Brandon Stephens – Executive Producer and Level Designer
  • Christopher McCrimmons – Producer and Level Designer
  • Erasmo Simo – Level Design and Programming

The team members graduated from the Guildhall in December 2010.

Team Hermes’ entry, Inertia, is available for trial and purchase on Xbox Live Arcade. The arcade-style game allows users to suspend gravity and fly through space as an astronaut trying to escape a space station on the verge of collapse. It was named Best of the Indies 2010.

IGC is an annual competition for video game developers offering more than $350,000 in prizes for professional and non-professional categories. Prizes include cash awards, scholarships, national consumer exposure for the top games and an opportunity for the finalists to obtain professional feedback and seek commercial avenues for their games through face-to-face meetings with representatives from the leading video game publishers.

Founded by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, GameStop Corp. and The Guildhall at SMU, the IGC was created to foster game development innovation by independent developers.

> Read more from SMU News

Tune In: Training tomorrow’s game designers

What does SMU’s master’s-level program in game design have in common with medical school? Peter Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU, talked about The Guildhall’s blend of theoretical and hands-on training – and its involvement in the inaugural Indie Game Challenge – with GamerLive.TV during the 2010 D.I.C.E.™ (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit in Las Vegas in February. Click the screen to watch the interview:

For the win: Indie Game Challenge celebrates inaugural honorees

Indie Game Challenge logoTwo teams received $100,000 each as winners of the inaugural Indie Game Challenge sponsored by The Guildhall at SMU, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and GameStop Corp.. The honorees were announced Feb. 19, 2010, following the conclusion of the D.I.C.E.™ (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit in Las Vegas.

In attendance were representatives from each of the 12 finalist teams along with game publishers, developers and associated enterprises. The awards ceremony was hosted by Adam Sessler, host of G4 TV’s “X-Play.” Among the presenters were Guildhall Executive Director Peter Raad, AIAS President Joseph Olin and GameStop Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing Tony Bartel.

The $100,000 winners are:

Screencap from 'Gear'Grand Prize, Non-Professional category: Gear, submitted by Team 3: Joshua Maiche, team lead; Mike Halbrooke, level designer; Ben Frazier, level designer; Brian Lee, designer, graphics, art and music; and Andrew Hill, level designer. All team members are students at the Digipen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington.

Gear is a 2D puzzle game for Windows in which the player controls a robot with the ability to change its hand into a gear. The player has to swing around sockets, ride on rails, swim and even rotate the world in order to get through 10 unique levels and beat the “boss.”

Screencap from 'Cogs'Grand Prize, Professional category: Cogs, submitted by San Francisco-based Lazy 8 Studios and a three-person team: Rob Jagnow, team leader; Brendan Mauro, artist; and Luke Gilbert, sound and music.

Cogs is a puzzle game for Windows in which players build machines from sliding tiles. Players can choose from 50 levels and three gameplay modes. New puzzles are unlocked by building contraptions quickly and efficiently.

Screencap from 'Altitude'Category winners include:

  • Technical Achievement ($2,500): Altitude, an aerial battle game for Windows, Mac and Linux submitted by professional team Nimbly Games headed by life-long friends and Las Cruces, New Mexico, neighbors Erik Measure and Karl Sabo
  • Achievement in Art Direction ($2,500): Cogs
  • Achievement in Gameplay ($2,500): Cogs
  • Gamer’s Choice Award ($10,000): Altitude

The recipient of the Indie Game Challenge SMU scholarship will be announced later this spring. The winner of the Gamer’s Choice Award Sweepstakes will be selected from all eligible sweepstakes entries and announced March 19.

Read more about the winners at www.indiegamechallenge.com
Find a complete list of finalists
See The Guildhall at SMU online
Learn more about the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Visit the GameStop Corp. website

Choose a winner in Guildhall’s Indie Game Challenge

indie-game-challenge-logo.PNGThe video game industry’s best and brightest will choose the $100,000 winners in the 2010 Indie Game Challenge, cosponsored by The Guildhall at SMU. Here’s your chance to second-guess them. Vote for your favorite to win the $10,000 Gamer’s Choice Award by noon Central time Feb. 19 – and register for a chance to win a trip to the G4TV studios in Los Angeles, $1,000 in spending money, a studio tour and the opportunity to meet G4TV host Adam Sessler.

Visit the Indie Game Challenge website

By | 2010-02-16T11:35:50+00:00 February 16, 2010|Categories: News, Save the Date|Tags: , , , , |

Guildhall-sponsored Indie Game Challenge announces finalists

Your Game Here logoThe Guildhall at SMU has announced the selection of 12 finalists in its inaugural Indie Game Challenge (IGC), cosponsored by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and GameStop.

The IGC finalists – six nonprofessional and six professional teams – are eligible for more than $350,000 in prizes and scholarships. The winners will be announced Feb. 19 at the AIAS’ D.I.C.E.™ (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit at the Red Rock Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Hosting the awards ceremony is Adam Sessler, host of G4’s “X-Play” and editor-in-chief of games content for G4tv.com.

All 12 finalists will have the opportunity to pursue potential commercial avenues for their games while at D.I.C.E. AIAS is arranging face-to-face meetings between the finalists and video game executives from publishers and developers such as Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Microsoft, NAMCO/Bandai, THQ, Ubisoft and others.

The finalists are as follows:

Non-Professional Category (Game/Team)
Climb to the Top of the Castle – TwO Bros. Games
Dreamside Maroon – Terraced
Galactic Arms Race – Galactic Arms Race
Gear – Team 3
Waker – Poof Productions
zeit2 – Brightside Games

Professional Category (Game/Team)
Aaaa! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity – Dejobaan Games, LLC
Altitude – Nimbly Games
Cogs – Lazy 8 Studios
Fieldrunners – Subatomic Studios
Miegakure – Marc ten Bosch
Vessel – Strange Loop Games

For more information on the competition and to learn more about each finalist, visit www.indiegamechallenge.com.

Visit the Guildhall at SMU online
Read more about the Guildhall and the Indie Game Challenge

Deadline extended for Guildhall’s Indie Game Challenge

'Your Game Here' logoDue to overwhelming interest, organizers of the 2009 Indie Game Challenge – including The Guildhall at SMU – have announced that the entry deadline has been extended from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, 2009.

Amateur and professional video game developers will compete for almost $300,000 in prizes and scholarships, including a $50,000 scholarship to the Guildhall. They will also get a chance to present their games to top publishers. Their pitch videos will be broadcast on GameStop.com and GameStop TV, where they will be seen by millions of gamers and be eligible for additional prize money and a special People’s Choice Award.

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and GameStop join the Guildhall as sponsors of the contest, which launched July 14. GameStop customers have seen the distinctive “Your Game Here” boxes and entry cards in stores throughout the summer.

New and previously developed games are eligible for entry so long as they have not been professionally published, in accordance with the complete rules found at www.indiegamechallenge.com. This includes the eligibility of games previously submitted to other awards competitions, whether or not those games received awards. Online or self-published games that have appeared in Apple’s iTunes Game Store may also be eligible so long as they are not from a major publisher.

Judging will be conducted by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences after Oct. 31. Up to 12 finalist teams will be announced on or about Jan. 15, 2010, and up to five members of each finalist team will be flown to an awards reception Feb. 19, 2010, at the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas.

The organizers expect a number of student entries from video game educational programs across the nation, says Peter Raad, Guildhall founder and executive director. “The Challenge provides a tangible opportunity for students across the country to bring their ideas to fruition while developing their aptitude for teamwork and collaboration,” he says. “We’re looking forward to seeing some of the fresh ideas these teams are capable of creating.”

For additional information, visit www.indiegamechallenge.com or e-mail indiehelp@smu.edu.