Skyshot

Collin Kelly

Skyshot is a ball-and-hoop sport where players use grappling hooks to swing across the stadium, steal the ball, and score in a 3v3 first-person game. Platform: PC Game FEATURES Networked Multiplayer Steam Support Grappling Hook Mechanics Parkour Movement Ball-Steal Assist Ball-Passing Assist Lobby and Team Selection The mechanics of the game was originally designed and programmed by Aaron Hong, Nathan Iskandar, and Kyle San during one of the core classes for Computer Science (Games). Friends of the engineers gathered together and developed a pitch for Skyshot, which will take the mechanics and player experience and transform them into a new digital sport. TEAM SKYSHOT Eu-Ann Liu – Game Director Izzy Benavente – Lead Producer, UI, Social Media Zach Chaco – Producer, Social Media Charles Hankins III – Lead Designer Richard Chen – Designer, 2D Artist, UI Valerie Lin – Designer Albert Yue – Lead Engineer Wenfei Cao – Engineer Aaron Hong – Engineer, UI Nathan Iskandar – Engineer Kyle San – Engineer Steven Truong – Engineer, UI Devin Li – Lead Usability Audrey Cheng – Usability Jasmine Ying – Lead Art Caroline Chiou – 2D Artist Iisha Huff – 3D Artist Migeul Ocana – 3D Artist Enrique Silva – 3D Artist Thomas Kelleher – Lead Audio Davis Natzle – Music, SFX, Audio Graham Southern – Music, SFX You can follow Skyshot on Facebook, Twitter and on their website at http://www.skyshotgame.com. You can also reach out and contact the team at teamskyshot@gmail.com

Smooth Criminals

Collin Kelly

Smooth Criminals is a 3D action adventure game where you play as a team of 4 art thieves and steal from the clutches of the narcissist Count Egor von Vile. Platform: PC Game FEATURES Switch at anytime between 4 characters with different skills: Fighting, Shooting, Driving, and Platforming Disable security systems and sneak past guards. Steal paintings and escape! Made in the USC Advanced Games Project class using Unreal 4 engine. TEAM Kyle Vaidyanathan – Game Director Robyn To – Lead Producer Aditya Radhakrishna – Lead Engineer Aditya Sareen – Lead Designer Stephen Jensen – Audio Director Hunter Patton – Lead Usability Ted Park – Art Director Ashley Yu-Chih – 3D Art Lead Tristan Bridge – Lead Narrative, Designer Robin Park – Assistant Producer Nathan Chau – Audio Engineer Matias Franco – General Engineer Jason Ulloa – Usability Assistant/Engineer Esty Bharier – Narrative/Dialogue Writer Jason Xu – Designer Brady Thomas – 3D Environment/Character Artist Lindsay Wood – 3D Character Artist Vasudha Goel – 3D Environment Artist Cory Carrilio – 3D Environment Artist Weston Mitchell – 3D Environment Artist Alex Luu – Character Concept Artist Marcus Emery – 2D Animator Chan ha Kim – 2D Artist/Animator Kaley Cho – 2D Artist/Animator Kenny Regan – Composer Adam Barnett – Composer Jano Manzali – Composer Molly Chiffer – Voice Actor, “The Hands” Brooke Lewis – Voice Actor, “The Feet” Jonathan Von Mering – Voice Actor, “The Eyes” Zachary Roozen – Voice Actor, “The Tail” Jonathan Von Mering – Voice Actor, “Egor von Vile” Harrison Poe – Voice Actor, “Guard Dog” You can follow Smooth Criminals on Facebook, and on their website at http://SmoothCriminalsGame.com. A download of the game will be available soon on their website! You can also reach out and contact the team at smoothcriminalsgame@gmail.com

Chataclysm

Collin Kelly

Chataclysm is a live streaming game where the commander, played by a streamer, protects their city from a giant monster controlled by their audience. Platform: Twitch Streaming Game FEATURES Defend your city as the commander with real time strategy tactics Or, join the crowd and control the monster with Twitch Plays Pokemon inspired chat controls Stream the game live to play against a limitless number of opponents This game was inspired by our love of Twitch, the Twitch Plays Pokemon phenomenon, and the resulting rise of stream-first games. We hope to help Twitch become a new platform for inventive and social gameplay experiences. TEAM EPICENTER Chris Mooney – Creative Director Vincent Bertoni – Assistant Director Aditya Valvi – Lead Designer Yohanes Shimeles – Lead Engineer Cristian Guzman – Usability Lead Sam Wang – Designer Naomi Jade – Designer Will Gauthier – Engineer, Animator Will Kim – Engineer Kathrine Wang – Artist Porfirio Barrera – Artist Will McKay – Composer Micheal Azuma – Sound Effects Ethan Aronson – Legal Advisor You can follow Chataclysm on Facebook, and on their website at http://www.chataclysmgame.com. You can also reach out and contact the team at chris@chataclysmgame.com

Quiet of the Leaves

Collin Kelly

Quiet of the Leaves is a 2D side-scrolling narrative adventure game where you play as a young woman named Mars on a two week backpacking trip with her estranged father in the North American Ozarks. The planned bonding trip goes awry when the two separate after a huge fight and find themselves hopelessly lost and alone in the wilderness. Equipped with only their trusty walkie talkies and ingenuity, the father-daughter pair must work as one in order to come back together both physically and emotionally. Platform: PC Game FEATURES 2D Narrative Adventure Game “I grew up near the Ozarks in the Midwest,” says Ryan Bobell, the game director of Quiet in the Leaves, “so the setting is one that’s very important to me. I think backpacking and camping are the best ways to really learn about a person, and about yourself. Everything is bared in such situations, and it triggers really honest conversations. “I thought a game based around this scenario would be a really interesting opportunity to explore themes that are really relevant and important to my life, and yet I don’t see them in any games made previously. For me – and several folks on my team – we found ourselves changing significantly throughout high school and growing progressively distant from our parents. “That distance only grew more as we moved away from our parents in college, and our parents came to have a harder time seeing us as the people we had become while at school. This game is about that exact experience, and about how the people you love can grow and change in ways you can’t expect or understand, and how two people can learn to communicate more openly and honestly.” Developed in the University of Southern California’s Advanced Game Project capstone program, with help from students at the Laguna College of Art and Design and the Berklee School of Music. TEAM Ryan Bobell – Game Director and Narrative Designer Caribay Franke – as Mars Isaac Jay as Dad Madison Rook – Lead Narrative Designer Maria Ferreri – Narrative Design Ryan Rose Aceae – Narrative Design Funkster Scerbak – Art Director Kindra Dantone – Lead Character Artist Camille Ticheur – Lead Environmental Artist Yizheng Fang – Lead Character Animator and Engineer Sam Becerra – Artist Evelynn Burt – Artist Christina Hanson – Artist Anthony Sun – Artist Nicki Wichman – Artist Bill Wong – Artist Yifei Liu – Co-Lead Engineer Griffin Sloves – Co-Lead Engineer Tina Ryu – Engineer Momo Wang – Engineer Minghui Wanghan – Engineer Manolo Rosenberg – Lead Designer Timothi Ellim – Designer Heather Robertson – Designer Andre Corea – Original Music Michael Shlafman – Audio Design Bridget Tang – Audio Design Amy Zimmitti – Audio Design Austin B. Conway – Dialogue Recording Engineer Max Kreminski – Lead Usability Mario Morales – Producer Alfredo Arevalo – Original Prototype Team Member Prathit Kadam – Original Prototype Team Member Jocelyn Kim – Original Prototype Team Member Brendan LoBuglio – Original Prototype Team Member Alex … Read More

A Slime in Time

Collin Kelly

A Slime In Time puts holographic slimes into your real world, makes you their ruler, and lets you fight another real human or an AI for dominion of your living room! Platform: Microsoft HoloLens Game FEATURES Microsoft HoloLens! Real Time Strategy! Multiplayer! Shared holograms! Throw fireballs! Pinch enemy slimes into nothingness! TEAM Ian Glow – Team Lead Josh Bollar – Lead Producer Derek Om – Engineering Lead Guayo Llach – Art Lead Drew Okenfuss – Engineering + Audio Engineer Christie Xu – Art Adam Barnett – Composer Mimi Tran Zambetti – Art + Marketing Jeffrey Ye – AI Engineer Zhaoyang Han – AI Engineer Kevin Lei – Engineer You can follow A Slime in Time on Twitter, and on their website at http://www.aslimeintime.com/

From Light

Collin Kelly

From Light is a 2D puzzle platformer that uses photography-inspired mechanics to light-paint your own platforms and rescue your lost penpal. Platform: PC Game FEATURES Freeze portions of the world with Freeze Frame Draw your own platforms with Long Exposure Solve challenging puzzles Discover Paradise 252-B and its inhabitants We started out in Intermediate games back in Spring 2015. Upon concluding the class we were selected as one of the PAX 10 and decided to continue development. We then got into AGP where we wanted to focus on making a highly polished demo that we’re excited to show at demo day! TEAM FAFFINABOUT Ryan Cox – Animation Ivy Lomax – Animation Sean McPartland – Animation Jessica Valenzuela – Animation Di Wu – Animation Amy Huang – Art Megan Maniago – Art Elizabeth Nedashkovskaya – Art Maura “Mo” Perlow – Art Dean Tammachat – Art Katie Yu – Art Kat Gray – Art Director Michel Wong – Design Max Maynard – Design Chris Toczauer – Design, Engineering Thomas Watson – Lead Designer McLean Goldwhite – Engineering Will Hight – Engineering Matt Levonian – Lead Engineer Kevin Shi – Narrative Lex Rhodes – Lead Narrative Ben Young – Music Alysha Bermudez – Sound Ethan Zeitman – Sound Napoleon Martinez – Usability Andrew Maney – Web Development Rhiannon Brogan – Voice Michael Malconian – Voice Jamie Sara Slovon – Voice Katie Snyder – Voice Edwyn Tiong – Voice Brian Chantrupon – Production Dan Choi – Production Sherveen Uduwana – Production Alejandro Grossman – Game Director Steven Li – Game Director You can follow From Light on Facebook, Twitter, and on their website at http://from-light.com/ You can also reach out and contact the team at contact@from-light.com.

Second Nature

Collin Kelly

Second Nature is a co-op only platformer where every aspect and interaction is designed for two players. Take up arms as Terus and Zeph, two orphaned guardians, as you conquer a blight-infested landscape to restore vitality to your home. Explore the lush environments of Lura, overcome obstacles as a team, and master asymmetric co-op mechanics to reclaim your homeland. For a truly cooperative experience, look no further than Second Nature. It’s perfect for close friends and complete strangers alike. Form an unstoppable duo as you traverse the beautiful alien landscapes of Lura. Platform: PC Game FEATURES Asymmetric cooperative mechanics Truly cooperative gameplay and level design Beautiful 2.5D landscape with Tundra and Forest environments Challenging platforming and enemy combat Controling the balance between speed and turning leaves space for hardcore players to master. We built Second Nature because of our love for co-op games and beautiful platformers. Some of our favorite childhood memories can be traced back to games we played with friends and siblings in the classic couch co-op setting. Second Nature is our fresh take on the cooperative platformer with a singular focus on designing every experience for two players. After finding its roots in the Intermediate Games class at USC, Second Nature has become a labor of love for its dedicated developers. TEAM Aaron Cheney – Game Director, Lead Engineer Zoe Serbin – Lead Artist Will Anderson – Lead Designer Sabrina Yam – Lead Narrative Lori Fu – Lead Usability Drew Welch – Lead Producer Isumi Lan – Lead Usability Aharonit Elior – Artist Boris Yu – Artist Daniela Rodriguez – Artist Jennifer Smart – Artist Josefina Dickinson – Artist Rebecca Genin – Artist Yotty Kim – Artist Charlie Fu – Engineer Cynthia Zhang – Engineer Sam Sintz – Engineer Shin Kang – Engineer Aadit Doshi – Designer Alex Stewart – Designer Nathan Lim – Designer Eric Pratt – Sound Effects Jonathan Bodian – Composer Logan Nelson – Composer Thomas Keller – Sound Effects Tiffany Tarampi – Composer Geoff Wong – Narrative Matthew Shin – Producer Rachel Emig – Producer Eddie Mestre – QA Eva Wierzbicki – QA Michelle Pina – QA You can follow Second Nature on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on their website at http://secondnaturegame.com/ You can also reach out and contact the team at secondnature.agp@gmail.com.

QUIET OF THE LEAVES: AN INTROSPECTIVE ADVENTURE

Collin Kelly

In the prehistoric era of video games, even before Pong (1972), that many of our parents love to regale stories about, there existed a game called Tennis for Two (1958). Tennis for Two was in many ways similar to Pong yet played on an extremely high tech computer that when not calculating the trajectory of a pong ball it calculated the trajectory of missiles to assist in the defense of the United States. For many years afterwards, games would continue to be extremely minimalist and focus primarily on mechanics. It wasn’t until the last few years that games began to focus on narrative on top of strong game mechanics. Today, in the second floor of the building that the Interactive Media and Game Division call home, exists the workspace for the team behind Quiet of the Leaves, a narrative driven game which allows players to witness both sides of a strained relationship. Players make decisions which affect the relationship for the better or inadvertent worse. A far cry from the the games of old. The game industry has come a long way from games like Pong where there was hardly any story embedded within. However, that’s not to say that Quiet of the Leaves will be a game better suited for a medium like film with its narrative heavy parts. What makes the concept so interesting is that the player will balance emotional and rational decisions. There aren’t any right or wrong answers, but perhaps the way players answer will be indicative of who they, the player, are. Quiet of the Leaves is an introspective adventure for both the daughter-father duo and the player. THE NARRATIVE To a western market, Quiet of the Leaves may be an odd sight. The game’s protagonists are Latinx and feature a woman as a main character. “We’re not trying to send a message about anything,” said Ryan Bobell. “In writing the characters, a lot of us felt it was a natural fit. Many people on the team are people of color or marginalized backgrounds. A lot of us put some of our own identities into the game.” Quiet of the Leaves aims to show that featuring people of color is a normal sight. There is no narrative reason why the main characters are Latinx and there isn’t a reason for them to be anything else either. The main characters are just people. Fortunately this is also a far cry from games of old. Ryan describes a typical grievance they have, “Some people might say, ‘This character is queer. What about that is motivating the character?’ And, ‘What about that is relevant to the plot? If it’s not relevant to the plot then why have it?’ “But I think it’s important to show these other identities and life experiences even when they’re not relevant to the plot.” Yet, all that doesn’t mean the game won’t be a slog of a text adventure — it’ll be fun and enjoyable on top of being gripping. “We’re working … Read More

SKYSHOT: CHANGING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A FPS GAME

Collin Kelly

Score tied. Match point. I run along the side of a wall past a defender and shoot my grappling hook to swing around another. My team yells in excitement as I carry the ball closer and closer to the goal hoop. All I have to do is throw the ball in and my team will have bragging rights for weeks amongst the playtesters of Skyshot. Bounding across platforms, I reach the goal hoop at the top of the tallest structure in the arena and see the last defender running towards me. I only have two options: shoot the ball at a bad angle or run away. I’m paralyzed with my options and the pressure. In less than a few seconds of reaching the top of the pillar and going along the flowchart of my options, the defender steals the ball from me and leaves me in the dust. A NEW ADDITION TO eSPORTS An FPS game without guns or death, Skyshot offers a new definition for the common phrase used in gaming culture: First Person Sports game. USC Games student, Eu-Ann Liu is the game director of Skyshot, currently being developed as an Advanced Game Project (AGP). “As a dedicated FPS [game] fan, since I was a child,” says Eu-Ann, “my biggest enjoyment in FPS games is the whole experience that you’re kinda there and you’re living it. It’s very in the moment. I feel like players who resonate with FPS shooters can transition into [Skyshot] really easily.” Set in a futuristically designed arena, Skyshot players score points by shooting a ball through a hoop and outmaneuver opponents by using grappling hooks and superhuman agility to run along walls. “I want to deliver a FPS/sports experience which hasn’t really been done before,” says Eu-Ann. “All the sports games that you play are third person like Super Mario Strikers or FIFA — but what if we make a FPS/sports game and make that a competitive eSport?” The first person perspective, parkour mechanics, unique sport concept and grappling hook allows players to make incredibly skillful plays by stringing a long different mechanics to score. Skyshot’s unique mechanics can’t be replicated in real life, of course, so the game utilizes the medium of video games to deliver an experience that can’t be received anywhere else. COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENT The game started as a small side project among friends. Back then, the game was more of like a toy or sandbox game. Only the parkour and grappling hook mechanics were implemented, there wasn’t any objective besides to just move around. However, Eu-Ann saw something more in the mechanics and that further developing their idea would mean creating something truly unique and worthwhile. Today, Skyshot is still a project among friends. “I’ve never been in a community that’s so welcoming, so open, and so collaborative,” says Eu-Ann. “Everyone here is passionate. Everyone here share similar interests, and if you don’t there’s always a space for you.” Because Skyshot is a multiplayer game, it adds a whole … Read More

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE FROM LIGHT TEAM

Collin Kelly

  When I first signed up to playtest a 2D puzzle platformer called From Light, I didn’t know what to expect. I slouched in my seat and kept an eye on the time to make sure the playtest coordinator didn’t keep me playing longer than I had signed up for. Instead, an hour passed by in minutes as I lost myself to the game. I intuitively solved puzzles through the freezing of time by taking a snapshot of the current game state, or by creating trails of light through long exposure photography. The only disappointment I felt was when I reached the end.     From Light captured not just moments in the game, but my heart as well. I sneaked a peek at the planned 2.5D art overhaul for the game and just looking at the art was as captivating as playing the game. Moving through the world From Light takes place on will undoubtedly charm many players once implemented. While From Light may look simple from images, the game was exhibited at PAX and already has seen success in its unfinished state. EARLY STAGES OF FROM LIGHT Rarely seen in the gaming industry, having two co-directors on a project typically creates more problems than solutions. In the chaotic process of designing games, two heads working to realize one vision is cumbersome, thus many games only ever have one director. However, USC students Alejandro Grossman and Steven Li go against traditional wisdom and lead the From Light team, together.                 An inseparable duo since meeting freshman year, Steven and Alejandro partnered up for the Intermediate Game Development class (referred colloquially as Intermediate) and began work on what would become From Light. “We went into Leavey [Library],” says Alejandro, “in front of a whiteboard and pitched ideas at one another every day after class, and we just kept shooting each other down.” Amidst academic pressures, Alejandro and Steven kept their dedication to game design strong everyday after class. However, the future co-directors didn’t find their unique mechanic in the brainstorming sessions at Leavey Library. In actuality, they found the photography mechanic after Alejandro looked at a wireframe image that reminded him of long exposure photography and attempted to pitch an idea to Steven. “When [Alejandro] described it to me,” explains Steven, “I didn’t really take it seriously or understand what he was saying — at all.” Fortunately, the duo humored the idea of mixing photography with video games and eventually prototyped the idea. With a prototype finished, Steven and Alejandro faced one last hurdle: naming the game. “I wanted to call it Exposed,” Alejandro laughs. The co-directing duo eventually settled on the familiar name, From Light, after completing the Intermediate Game Development class. THE ART AND STORY What happens to a community or a world, rather, when the very thing they’ve relied on for survival disappears? The Skelk, an alien race in From Light, are living on a desolate planet that used to be … Read More