Sheridan Students Sweep Level Up Showcase in Toronto
Fourth year students from Sheridan’s Honours Bachelor of Game Design were the big winners at the seventh annual Level Up Student Showcase held at the Design Exchange in Toronto last night. The students won 10 of the 12 awards available in the four categories of Best Overall Game, Technical Innovation, Artistic Achievement and People’s Choice Award, where a first, second and third prize are up for grabs in each category. Sheridan swept the entire categories of technical and artistic and won first place in all four.
The Level Up Student Showcase puts the next generation of game developers at the forefront, highlighting Ontario’s top postsecondary talent in the field of game design. The competition attracted approximately 80 games submitted by 14 institutions such as Algonquin, OCADU, Ryerson, University of Toronto UOIT, and York. With judges who hail from industry giants like Ubisoft, AMD, Uken Games and VR Headspace, the experience for students can be both exhilarating and nerve wracking.
“This outstanding achievement reflects the core strengths of our program and the depth and breadth of experience of both our faculty and advisory council,” explains Ronni Rosenberg, Dean of the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design.
“Our students study the historical, cultural, sociological, and psychological aspects of computer games so they know how to engage with an audience. By designing within the framework of an overall narrative structure, they learn to help people develop an affinity with the characters. Courses in design, mathematics, physics, art, and artificial intelligence support our emphasis on design, art, computation and technology. By managing the production of a game from concept to distribution, our students also gain important business skills like scheduling, budgeting and project management.”
Rosenberg adds, “All of this is made possible by faculty members who are active professionals, with direct ties to industry,” adds Rosenberg. “Their technological savvy, contacts and experience bring both knowledge and partnership opportunities to Sheridan, which give our students a deep foundation for game design careers. The program benefits from the input of a Professional Advisory Council, whose members are drawn from industry and provide input into curriculum to ensure currency with industry requirements and trends. It’s also housed in a Faculty that’s a world leader in digital media and animation, creating exciting opportunities for collaboration and the fusion of learning and ideas.”
Sheridan entered twelve teams in this year’s competition, with five teams (consisting of a combined 27 students) winning an award. Sheridan’s winning games included: Unspokin, Twin Switch, Disco is Dead!, Valhalla Showdown and Detective VR. Judges remarked on the distinctive preparation, audience interaction, printed media and overall attention to detail demonstrated by the Sheridan teams.
“Our achievement confirms that the students are learning what they need to be competitive in an industry that’s maturing in complexity and sophistication,” says Dr. Angela Stukator, Associate Dean of Animation and Game Design. “By offering a broad education that’s based on fundamentals, we won’t limit our students to any one particular platform or render them obsolete by the time they graduate. We want them to leave Sheridan with the skills and knowledge they need to create their own opportunities as well as to be able to help define where the industry is going next.”
Past winners of the Best in Show category have gone on to achieve commercial success -- the 2014 winner was released on the Nintendo Wii U. In 2016, a team of then second-year students from Sheridan won Best Overall Game Design and the top prize for Artistic Achievement for their game Arrowheads, which the team is currently working on taking to market.
Sheridan’s Bachelor of Game Design program launched in the fall of 2013 as the first four-year Honours degree of its kind in Canada. Curriculum includes game design, mechanics, narrative design, 2D and 3D art and animation, programming, development, sound design, and project management. Assignments and class work focus on case studies, simulations and lab projects. Students complete a mandatory co-op work term in industry.
For more information on the program, please visit: https://academics.sheridancollege.ca/programs/bachelor-of-game-design
Game Name (Team Name) & Members
Unspokin (5 Horsemen Games):
Katherine Elliott, Eirik Murbræch, Danielle Rainey, PJ Tremblay, and Filipe Seabra
Help the little girl and the bear develop their friendship in this game about empathy.
Twin Switch (Scend Interactive)
Stefano Della Croce, Armand Mech, Jake Nissen, and Mohammad Qureshi
Competitive gaming at its best; a great experience for players and spectators.
Disco is Dead! (Third Floor Games):
Nuha Alkadi, Coulter Baker, Jeffrey Barkun, Jennifer Johnson, Kassandra Kadar, and Melissa McQuarrie
Slap your way in zombie land, disco style, with a new slapping controller design!
Valhalla Showdown (Suplex Games):
Siddharth Akolkar, Jin Cai, AJ Luciani, Raymond Luk, Milad Mojab, and Andrew Wade
Help the Viking lords protect Valhalla!
Detective VR (Sixty Forty Games):
Mike Amato, Jostein Aasland, Jonathan Bandhu, Mernan Behri, Isaac Munene, and Samuel Mortimer
To solve this crime, you need to be immersed in a new reality, a virtual reality.
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