The virtual game design showcase is May 25

In Greek mythology, an enraged Hades punished Sisyphus, the former king of Ephyrus, for cheating death twice by forcing him to roll a huge boulder endlessly up a hill – only to bring it back down each time. that he was approaching the top.

In 2021, Sisyphus also faces the downside of a fairly large boulder – but his modern day struggle is captured in a set of constantly moving pixels and is for fun, not revenge.

“Sisyphus” is one of many computer games designed by students of the Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC) program, whose work will be made available to the public for trying and reviewing at the annual Game Design Showcase, to be held virtually from 4 to 4 7 p.m. on May 25. The showcase can be accessed here.

Graveyard Shift is a stealth action game where the janitor of a science lab tries to escape mutants and zombies that can’t see.

For the second year, the event will be broadcast on the Discord communications platform, which will allow attendees to broadcast their own games, stream others, and interact with game developers. Prior to the pandemic, the event took place at the ACCEL labs at Carpenter Hall and typically attracted 500 to 600 people.

“The great thing about Discord is that it allows us to go back to the old spirit, where you would go from room to room, and there would be a different game and you could experience it,” said Walker White, Director of GDIAC, MS ’98, Ph. RE. ’00, Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.

“We were concerned last year that no one would show up,” he said, “but it turns out the numbers were as big as they ever were.”

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, White said the approximately 155 students in his two classes – CIS 3152 Intro to Game Development and CIS 4152 Advanced Game Development – have found some gems.

“Sisyphus is exactly what it sounds like,” White said. “In this game, Sisyphus is chained to a boulder and he tries to move around the map by pushing or throwing the boulder. … It has a very high production quality; he looks ready for the festival.

Another prominent game, White said, is Graveyard Shift, an action game with a stealth bent. A janitor in a science lab tries to escape mutants and zombies, but there’s a twist: attackers can’t see.

“All they can do is hear from you,” White said. “So when you walk you create sound waves. If you take keys, your sound waves ring a little more. You throw bricks to break glass at another location to send the mutants in a different direction, so you can get to an exit.

Other games that will be unveiled during the showcase include:

  • Dire Deal, a card strategy game filled with monsters;
  • Panic Painter, in which the player has to paint quickly for one client before the other clients get impatient; and
  • Lumia, in which the player attempts to move around the game using a slingshot action similar to that of Angry Birds.

White is delighted that the public can take a look at his students’ creations. “These games all have a professional feel,” he said.

A total of 21 games – including 12 on desktop and nine on mobile – will be available for the public to try out.


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