These students got game

A deep-sea diver investigating a mystery. A 4-inch-tall girl trying to bring joy back to a widower. An ex-Yakuza cat on the prowl in a Japanese city. These and more could become the next hit independent video game.

They are just a few of the student-produced video games that will be on display during the University of Utah’s “EAE Launch 2021,” the annual event hosted by the university’s nationally ranked Entertainment Arts & Engineering video game development program.

The virtual-only day will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28. It is open to the public and can be viewed on EAE’s Twitch channel.

More than 20 video games from the program will be on display during the video stream including graduate-student project games, undergraduate capstone projects, and first-semester graduate-student prototypes. Students from The Therapeutic Games and Apps Lab (The GApp Lab), a collaboration among EAE, the Center for Medical Innovation and the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, will also be demonstrating their medical-based games.

All of the entertainment-based games will eventually be available for digital download through online gaming markets such as Steam.

“Passion, skill and creativity are at the forefront of this year’s showcase games,” says EAE Director Michael Young. “With eight hours of live streaming, viewers will get the chance to see highly polished, published student games made by interdisciplinary teams, early game prototypes, machinima and a range of course projects highlighting student talent.”

Here are some of the games that student teams will demonstrate:

  • Abyss of Neptune
    A first-person underwater survival horror game where you control a deep-sea diver to investigate mysterious underwater signals throughout the world.
  • Tethered
    A puzzle game where rewinding back to specific tether points allows players to navigate a mysterious and ethereal cave.
  • Deadly Daycare
    A virtual reality game where you must take care of a cast of chaotic creatures before they destroy you and your daycare.
  • Shattered Slime
    Play as slime that can change its physical properties—like mass—to solve puzzles, platforms and avoid getting shattered.
  • VR Foley Insertion Sim
    A virtual reality medical tool designed to teach nursing training staff in assisting with urinary catheter insertion.

The day’s live stream will also include student-produced machinima shorts (short films produced with video game engines) and visits with EAE alumni who are now working in the video game industry.

Entertainment Arts & Engineering, which is under the U’s College of Engineering, launched in 2007 and has become one of the most highly regarded video game development programs in the nation. Last year, EAE was ranked the No. 1 public university in games worldwide, according to the latest rankings by The Princeton Review. And last month the program was ranked No. 1 on the list of Top Public Game Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S. from Animation Career Review.