Video games designed and developed by ACU students published on a large gaming platform | KTAB

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB / KRBC) – Digital entertainment and design students at Christian University of Abilene (ACU) develop video games as soon as they arrive on campus.

Now their games are published on Steam, one of the largest online gaming platforms in the world, for the public to play and review.

ACU sophomore Jared Wright said his first gaming experience was when he was just 9 years old when his brothers gave him a Gameboy Color with a Pokemon game on it.

He has since played video games, falling in love with immersive stories, which sparked his interest in making a career out of it.

Wright created the game “Melo”, in which you play as a marshmallow trying to save his family from the fire monsters.

Screenshot of Melo, courtesy of Jared Wright

His classmate Ben Briggs also grew up playing video games, and said it was the friendships he made while playing Halo on the Xbox that got him hooked.

“That was naturally what I went for,” Briggs said. “Go out and play video games.”

Briggs said he made his choice of college based on what he did in his spare time, which was playing video games.

He is the creator of “Wave Player”, a game reminiscent of the arcade game “Joust”, where the goal is to defeat flies and blob monsters with a bow and arrows.

Screenshot by Wave Player, courtesy of Ben Briggs

Briggs and Wright gathered at ACU to learn how to program, code, and design characters as soon as they set foot on campus.

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Briggs said.

Rich Tanner, who taught their introductory class, helped them design their games during the fall semester.

“Juggling all the pieces and how things fit together is very doable,” Tanner said. “The tools we use and the engines we teach make it very manageable, but it’s still a very monumental task.”

Students are responsible for designing and developing their games within three months, and the best games will be released online.

Tanner said he was amazed at how well the students adapt and hone their skills during the semester.

He said it was an impressive achievement for them to go from an unprecedented experience to a fully developed, multi-level game.

“It’s a semester, it’s very ambitious,” Tanner said. “Without the help of tutors and YouTube, it may not be possible to do this in a semester.”

Wright and Briggs have both said their games are just the first stepping stone in their career as a game designer, and both want to continue making a popular, faith-based game in the future.

“They [players] can step into a little piece of this world that you’ve created, and that’s deeply rewarding, ”Wright said.

Tanner said ACU partners with Unity, one of the world’s largest game design engines, and this gives their students the opportunity to use professional software early in their careers.

Abilene Christian also ranks in the nation’s top 30 for game design, according to the Princeton Review.

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