From Game Designer AQUMA (IMGD MFA ’16), “When I had to make a thesis game for the IMGD MFA program, I wasn’t sure what to make at first. I knew I wanted to get better at making games and that making a lot of work was the only way there. So I decided to try and make a game a week (or so) and just create many of the things I had in the back burner of my head. The goal was to craft experiences that were personal, simple, and unique. After a while, I realized that I could start sequencing these games together as a sort of mixtape that tells a larger story when played in order. Now I have a couple chapters, and I’d like to complete a couple more before releasing it.” Features: Code and playtest a game Navigate an angry online mob Relax with some breathing exercises Roll a joint Get some tacos Talk to your mom Exploring Aquma’s cell phone! More information can be found at: [website] frknwknd.com
700 to 730 is an interactive video installation that allows the audience to create a montage within a story about solitude. The audience is invited to enter a theatre space, with a controller in the front that resembles a vintage radio. There is a knob that the audience can tune to alter the shot currently playing on the screen. Each audience interacts with the controller differently, thus creating a distinct montage experience unique to them. Different interpretations are encouraged. Art is “interactive” in a number of ways; missing details requires the user to fill in the missing information. We are asked to follow pre-programmed, objectively existing associations… but 700 to 730 asks the user to assume the mental trajectory of a new media artist. “Through observing the world of a 7-year-old girl as she lives with her grandparents,” says Director Zekia Zhan, “I want the flow of inner speech to be activated by montage, and build toward an emotionally significant event, all through the power of visual juxtaposition.” Features: Interactive cinema experience Open for different interpretations Solitude as a state of existence that blurs the boundary between life and death Story background is set in a small town in Northern China More information can be found at: [website] www.thezhan.work [project twitter] @700to730 [artist twitter] @_z7studio [contact] email@example.com
From Steve Cha (IMGD MFA ’16), Revision’s Creative Director; “I developed REVISIONS as my thesis project. I wanted to create a project that showcased my sensibility, told my story, and reflected on the craft of design. The idea came to me in small bits during classes. During Visual Expressions, Bruce Block talked about limited space. This lead me to wonder, what’s behind that limited space, behind the panel? This inspired the game’s main twist: what starts as flat and 2D reveals itself as 3D. Tracy Fullerton told me that it’s sometimes best to acknowledge a ludonarrative tension in a project. To that note, REVISIONS is essentially an internal argument about how design and narrative (don’t) work together. Writing out the Annie Hall / M. Butterfly inspired dialogue in Maureen McHugh’s class solidified for me that this is what I wanted to spend my last year creating. A game about using game design metaphors as epiphanies about real life seemed like the perfect ending to my formal education in game design.” Features Five vignettes about growing up as Steve Cha! Midgame twist; it’s actually a 3D game! Go behind the scenes in 3D and learn about the game’s origin! EXCLAMATION POINTS! More information can be found at: www.revisionsgame.com
Who says childhood anxiety can’t be fun? James Earl Cox III (@just404it) created the Twine prototype in a single night to hit an interactive fiction deadline. After gathering feedback where people actually liked being subjected to childhood horror, he scoped out the final design for the game. Julie Buchanan (@GoodkingJules) and Joe Cox (@JoeCawks) joined the project bringing it to life and amplifying the atmosphere. While still a work-in-progress, ‘You Must be 18 or Older to Enter’ has already dredged up prepubescent memories at Tokyo Game Show, AMAZE. / Johannesburg, Blank Arcade, and Game Happens! festival. Once complete, it will be Seemingly Pointless (http://www.seempoint.com/) first release. ‘You Must be 18 or Older to Enter’ will be free to download and play. Features Looking-at-porn-for-the-first-time-as-a-kid-simulator awkward-maker dredger-upper of childhood confusion memories horror without monsters or death More information can be found at: Website: http://www.seempoint.com/ Itch.io: https://seeminglypointless.itch.io/18orolder GameJolt: http://gamejolt.com/@SeeminglyPointless Twitter: https://twitter.com/seempoint
Octobo is a reactive plush octopus toy with a tablet display on his head, soft sensors throughout his body, and his own interactive storybook! As parents and children read the book together, they discover what Octobo wants, give him things they find in the book, interact with Octobo, and see him respond to them. Octobo has been selected for alt.ctrl.GDC 2016, IndieCade Showcase @ E3 2016, and Indie Prize Showcase | USA 2016. The Octobo team is starting to look for interested partner companies for manufacturing, marketing, and distribution, and is planning a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Features Interactive plush that combines seamlessly with tablet Octobo responds to touch and storybook pieces Fun for the whole family New stories available on the app store About YUTING SU and OCTOBO: Octobo’s creator, Yuting Su (IMGD MFA ’16), is a maker, designer, and producer of games and new media. She feels a strong affinity toward tangible products and innovative combinations of different media forms. Octobo began as her MFA thesis project at the University of Southern California’s Interactive Media and Games program. In a world where children are turning away from physical toys in favor of unfeeling screens, she hopes Octobo can introduce a new kind of seamless digital/physical hybrid gameplay that brings back the joy of tangible play. More information can be found at: http://www.playoctobo.com On Twitter @playoctobo Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
SoundStage is a virtual reality music sandbox built specifically for room-scale VR. Whether you’re a professional DJ creating a new sound, or a hobbyist who wants to rock out on virtual drums, SoundStage gives you a diverse toolset to express yourself. From creator Logan Olson: “If you look at old rock concerts, you’ll see these HUGE synthesizers that the musicians connect together to make electronic sounds. These instruments are literally enveloping the player. SoundStage attempts to capture the feel of those epic music machines then take it to the next level with tools only possible in a virtual environment. You can hook up your sounds to the electro-maracas or drive your keyboard with a 3D theremin. All in a world inspired by the airbrush paintings and computer graphics of the 80s. When I was a kid during that time, this is how I’d imagine making music would look ‘in the 21st century.’” About LOGAN OLSON: An alumni of the IMGD, Logan Olson is an experience designer who has worked in immersive entertainment since 2008. He started building for room-scale VR at the Institute for Creative Technologies with Mark Bolas then moved on to theme parks and interactive toys. SoundStage is his first independent project. More information can be found at soundstagevr.com twitter.com/soundstagevr facebook.com/soundstagevr/
Occurring through October 14-16, the University of Southern California and IndieCade are proud to announce that this year’s festival of independent games will be hosted at the School of Cinematic Arts. In addition, admission to the main exhibits will be free for all USC students, regardless of major. In addition, students will receive a 30% discount on tickets to GameU, think:summit and Night Games. “We’re thrilled,” says Tracy Fullerton, director of USC Games, “that the world’s largest independent game festival will be hosted this year at the SCA on the USC campus. We encourage everyone to come out and experience the best of what the independent game world has to offer.” IndieCade celebrates the work of independent game developers everywhere. In the vast medium of games, IndieCade shows off the ingenuity of the impressive independent developers around the world. Full of games dedicated to new artistic and experimental experiences, IndieCade is an opportunity to support unique developers and to experience games that have yet to be released. The games exhibited at IndieCade range from VR games, large party games, tabletop games, video games, and more — all of which can be played by the public. Some of USC Games’ very own will exhibit their work at IndieCade. Attend and support your fellow Trojans! See the full IndieCade schedule here. UPDATE 10/04: Additional information was added, clarifying what exactly the free ticket includes.
Honored as LA Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Woman of the Year, Director Fullerton used her time in the spotlight to highlight and underline the importance of creating a space where the best voices in the medium can thrive. While the magazine is on stands now, Fullerton is quoted as saying, “The way that you grow a medium is by building communities of makers who can support each other… One of the most important things about the community at USC is how welcoming it is to people who may not have envisioned themselves as game designers early on in their lives.” Director Fullerton then goes on to state that, “[to create a vibrant culture] you have to actually think about all of the people who are working in a community and continue to build a place where they can do their best work.” Keep your eyes on this space for news about Director Fullerton’s upcoming game Walden, which explores the famous experiment and philosophical practices of the writer Henry David’s Throeau, and his titular work.