Students collaborate at Hoosier Games pitch night

Hannah Lavine • Feb. 10, 2016
Ph.D. student Jessica Tompkins.
Doctoral student Jessica Tompkins’ game, Resurrection Man 2.0, takes players to graveyards to break in, dig up graves and steal cadavers for dissection. A demo of the game is already available on Unity. (Jill Moore | The Media School)

Can you figure out what color to paint a house inhabited by a colorblind bear, based solely on the bear’s habits? Can you guide a machine on another planet to discoveries?

These were just two of the game design ideas presented at Wednesday’s Hoosier Games pitch night, a bi-annual event for the IU group of those interested in learning how to create games. About 60 people listened to a dozen or so pitches from Hoosier Games and Women in Game Design members, who wanted to gauge interest as well as solicit some collaborators to help them develop their ideas.

Junior Adam Christie.
Junior Adam Christie described his idea for a children’s game, Colorblind Paint Co., to Hoosier Games at their bi-annual pitch night. The objective of Colorblind Paint Co. is to paint the houses of blind bears who can smell color. (Jill Moore | The Media School)

At the beginning of each semester, Hoosier Games members pitch ideas to the rest of the club in hopes of making their ideas a reality, and they outline what they need to make that happen in the hopes that aspiring designers, audio, video or coders will want to join the project.

Attendees last week heard about the children’s game, Colorblind Paint Co., which takes place on an island inhabited by colorblind bears who want their houses painted. The players must figure out what colors the bears prefer based on what the bears like, such as a smell.

Another pitch, Sol, takes the audience to another planet, where a machine helps the user explore their surroundings.

The four students who pitched their games showed demos, explained their timelines for game development and stated what kinds of collaboration they needed, such as artists, audio design or narrative writers.

After pitches, the floor was opened to questions and critiques from the audience. Members of the club signed up for games to work on during the semester.

Women in Game Design, part of the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology group at the School of Informatics and Computing, met briefly before the event to discuss pitch night and ideas. Many of the members also work with Hoosier Games members in Media School classes as well as on club projects.

Sol game design team.
From left, master’s degree student Kevin Logan, IU alumnus Taylor Hocutt, junior Dakota Hotchkiss and senior Raymond Stump presented their game, Sol. The team said they hope to finish an alpha version of the game by next year so that they can send it to Steam Greenlight, a game distribution platform that selects games to be released on its website. (Jill Moore | The Media School)

Doctoral student Jessica Tompkins, who pitched her game at the event, said adding CEWiT’s presence meant many more women were present at this semester’s pitch night than ever before.

“We want to encourage more women to get into Hoosier Games because it’s a great place to connect and network with others,” Tompkins said.

Graduate student Chris Ingerson said he knows how important launching and working on games through Hoosier Games or CEWiT can be for fledgling game developers. He pitched his game design idea two and a half years ago at a Hoosier Games pitch night. The result, Text Quest, will be released this year through the Steam Greenlight program, which publishes independently created games on the Internet’s largest digital game distributor.

“I started out as a basic designer without a skill set, and through working with games I learned how to scope properly,” Ingerson said.

Sophomore Sarah Lally pitched her game, Scotty the Phi Chi and the Adventure of a Lifetime, at the Wednesday gathering.

Sophomore Sarah Lally.
Sophomore Sarah Lally’s game is Scotty and the Phi Chi Adventure of a Lifetime. She said she envisions the game having a dark sense of humor and a unique, quirky soundtrack. (Jill Moore | The Media School)

“I decided I really wanted to write about video games in some capacity, and the best way to write about something is to know what goes on behind it,” Lally said. “So, I joined Hoosier Games to get an understanding of how to make games and really understand video games so I can write about them better.”

Hoosier Games meets 7-9 p.m. every Wednesday, in Studio 5 at the RTV Building. Anyone may attend.