By Elizabeth Howell
Photos by Chris Roussakis

From playing virtual “catch” to immersing players in virtual worlds and battles, computer projects from students in the Bachelor of Information Technology’s Interactive Multimedia and Design program dazzled visitors during a showcase on April 12, 2019.

The developers of Dadirri play their game on a computer keyboard amd game controller.

The developers of Dadirri.

Working together in groups of four to six people, students created animations and games to cap off their studies in the Faculty of Engineering and Design at Carleton University.

Artwork of a floating island from a videogame is posted on a corkboard.

A Project of their own Design

“They end up being substantial projects because they’ve been working on it for a while,” said Prof. Audrey Girouard in the School of Information Technology, one of three faculty advisers for some 40 participating students. “It’s a project of their own design. The faculty is there to advise, to help guide them and make sure they do things and processes in the right way.

“Overall it’s a good type of experiential learning and opportunity for them, because it does give them the full range of the necessary skills and typical skills needed to take a project to completion.”

Among those students was Allison Chow, whose six-person team created a collaborative game called “An Arm and a Leg.” Up to six players use hand and arm controllers, combined with wearable sensors, to play catch, archery or to cycle. The result is a bit of a Frankenstein-like character on screen, with multiple people controlling the character’s limbs and movements.

“I wanted to do something with wearables, and pitched it as a really funny joke, but then everyone seemed to like it,” said Chow. “We just ran with it, and we thought of different mini-games that would work with what we have. We had to become creative and think of how the controllers worked and how they mapped to different actions.”

The creators of Round Trip talk in front of a television displaying their work.

Integrating Core Skills

The project integrated many of the core skills students learned at Carleton, not only in terms of teamwork, but also technical skills such as graphical texturing and using controllers. The students also had to create their own technical documentation, because at times they discovered that the software they were working with did not have a lot of information for the controllers they planned to use, said Chow.

The full list of projects includes:

  • An Arm and a Leg: A 3D multiplayer game that allows up to six people to use wearable controllers to move a character, through activities such as archery, cycling or catch.
  • Dadirri: A 3D game following the story of Avro, a Guardian who is trying to protect both Earth and the land of Dadirri, which floats above Earth as an island nation in the sky.
  • Iridescence: A 3D animated short film about two creatures called Pneuma who are working through trauma using magic.
  • Metal Shepherd: A 3D game that follows the story of a shepherd who is forced to rescue a herd after an unknown “destructive force” attacks and abducts it.
  • R.E.M.: A 3D animated short that represents dreaming and the subconscious mind.
  • Round Trip: A short visual effects film designed like an art exhibit, with the plot constructed so that the audience can watch at any time during the film “loop.”
  • Sentinel: A 3D adventure game following the adventures of the Sentinel, which comes to life on an alien world and joins the fight against the world’s dictator.
  • Take In: A short visual effects film portraying the story of Sam, a janitor, who hears fighting in a nearby auditorium during a normal workday.
  • Toaster Studios: A 3D animated short film about robots and the young inventor who created them.
A group of students wearing shirts with the name Dark Shore Interactive on them play a video game using controllers.

Monday, April 15, 2019 in
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