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TMCNet:  It's game on for city students who are showing off their design skills [Derby Evening Telegraph (England)]

[December 11, 2012]

It's game on for city students who are showing off their design skills [Derby Evening Telegraph (England)]

(Derby Evening Telegraph (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) COMPUTER games enthusiasts are expected to flock to try out the latest online thrills and spills at a University of Derby exhibition next week.

While computer games can take years and millions of pounds to develop, students at the university had only 12 weeks to create the ones they will be exhibiting.

About 100 Derby students and graduates are taking part in the Games@Derby free public event from 3pm to 7pm on Wednesday, December 19, in the Atrium at the university's Kedleston Road campus.

It is being sponsored by global software giant Microsoft. Visitors are being welcomed to play working computer games featuring alien landscapes, comic characters and high-octane thrills. They have been created by current students on degree courses in computer games programming, computer games modelling and animation.

The courses are taught by former games and software industry professionals.

Also at the free event will be displays by independent games companies set up by for city students. These include Derby-based Indieskies and Pillowdrift, who have published their own games on Apple and Google app stores, as well as for Xbox 360 and Windows Phone and Windows 8. Dr Tommy Thompson, university programme leader for computer games programming, said: "Computer games on sale in the shops, such as Halo and Call of Duty, can take years to develop.

"We've put our student teams, each with five programmers and five artists, through a very stripped-down version of that process.

"We gave them 12 weeks to go from initial concept to a playable game. Our lecturers have utilised their industry experience to guide these students as they handle a range of creative pressures." Final-year computer games programming student Peter Innes, 21, described the work he had been doing.

He said: "We're making a game called NYZ, involving zombies and time travel. We wanted to make a game where you were a zombie, attempting to infect a whole city." Student Karn Bianco, 23, is part of a different project team but is also dealing with the theme of horror for his game, Director's Cut.

He said: "One of the things we tried to avoid was trying to put too many ideas into the game's design. We worked on having an original idea that was simple and wanted something playable from early on in the project." Staff from games companies will join lecturers in a judges' panel, which will assess the students' work and award prizes.

zhawley@derbytelegraph.co.uk "We gave the students 12 weeks to go from initial concept to a playable game. " TOMMY THOMPSON (c) 2012 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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