U Students Win Video Game Competition with “Cyber Heist”

(Photo Courtesy of Jake Muehle)

(Photo Courtesy of Jake Muehle)

(Photo Courtesy of Jake Muehle)
(Photo Courtesy of Jake Muehle)

 
The U has claimed national honors yet again — this time for video games.
A group of U students traveled to Orlando, Fla. to take part in an annual competition called the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge. Eighteen games were selected as finalists. “Cyber Heist,” the video game created by U students, came out on top for the student category.
The team was composed of 13 graduate students: nine engineers, one artist and three producers. Jake Muehle, the lead designer of “Cyber Heist,” said the goal of their game is to eliminate student debt, something he thinks is relatable for many college students. It is set in the future, and two players can work together.
“Players have to learn to communicate and cooperate to make their way through each level,” Muehle said. “[They] frequently find themselves improvising ways out of difficult and stressful situations.”
As part of the entertainment arts and engineering graduate program, students began working on the prototype of “Cyber Heist” in January 2013 and published the game to Desura.com in April 2014. In November of this year, “Cyber Heist” was put on Steam Greenlight to drum up additional support.
Vincent Horiuchi, spokesperson for the U’s College of Engineering, said the video game team focused on effective collaboration in creating “Cyber Heist,” which aided in their success. In addition to the 2014 Best Student Game Award from the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge, the team was awarded four copies of Autodesk Creative Suite, design software valued at $30,000 in total. The 3D modeling program included in the package will help the team create additional content for the game.
Muehle said “Cyber Heist” is important, apart from the awards, because it fostered collaboration between the team members, and he hopes it will do the same for those who play the game.
“Bringing additional recognition to the U’s nationally-ranked EAE program is something that each member of our team is proud to do,” he said.
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